News In Brief


President Clinton says Democrats and Republicans owe it to the American people to work together. Clinton has said he'll make a balanced-budget deal the top priority for the Republican-led 105th Congress. The GOP says it's waiting for the president to make the first move toward a bipartisan deal.

Another top aide is leaving the Clinton administration. Deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes said he was quitting after Clinton named North Carolina businessman Erskine Bowles chief of staff, replacing Leon Panetta. But Ickes may not be leaving Washington just yet. Administration officials said he may be a possible replacement for departing Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

The Army plans to investigate military bases around the US for evidence of sexual harassment after instructors at a training base in Aberdeen, Md., were charged with raping and harassing female recruits. The Army has filed charges against five men ranging from rape to sending improper love letters. One man is charged with threatening to kill three trainees if they told anyone he raped them. Fifteen other instructors have been suspended.

Republican Rep. Steve Largent of Oklahoma suggested Newt Gingrich step aside as Speaker of the House until the ethics issues surrounding him are resolved. Gingrich spokesman Allan Lipsett said the Speaker wants the ethics committee to complete its investigation before Congress reconvenes in January.

Federal prosecutors could file criminal charges against at least one individual in the Texaco racial discrimination case as early as today, The Wall Street Journal said. Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that investigators hired by Texaco concluded that a senior executive did not use a racial slur at a 1994 taped meeting. Their analysis, based on an enhanced digitized copy of the tape, contradicts earlier claims about what former Texaco treasurer Robert Ulrich said.

US officials said Clinton is delaying a decision to include US troops in an international force in central Africa until its scope and mission are agreed upon. A central question is whether to return more than 1 million refugees in eastern Zaire to Rwanda and Burundi gradually - a plan the Clinton administration favors - or keep them in refugee camps for the long term.

Attorney General Janet Reno rejected Republican calls for a special prosecutor to investigate fund-raising during the 1996 presidential campaign. Instead, the Justice Department said Reno was creating a task force in its Criminal Division "to fully explore" the allegations.

People near the Great Lakes got an early taste of winter when a storm dumped up to two feet of snow on parts of Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Michigan's Upper Peninsula was expected to receive as much as three feet of snow. At least nine deaths were blamed on the storm, and about 60,000 Cleveland residents were without electricity as the snow continued to fall yesterday.

Minivans sustain unnecessary damage during low-speed, bumper-to-bumper crashes that should leave them unscathed, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said. The institute tested the vans' front and rear bumpers by crashing them into barriers at 5 m.p.h. Nine popular vans fared poorly. The 1996 Ford Aerostar had the worst results, averaging about $1,400 in damage.

Clinton led the country in observing Veterans' Day. He was to give a speech honoring veterans at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia after laying a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns.

The International Union of Gospel Missions says a recent survey finds that 1 in every 3 homeless men seeking refuge at its missions is a military veteran. The number, which is far higher than the percentage of veterans in the general population, has been growing gradually over the last three years. The nondenominational union has conducted the survey for the last eight years.


Small quantities of food and medicine reached Goma in eastern Zaire after secessionist Tutsi rebels said foreign relief missions could return to the region. More than a million refugees were displaced by a month of fighting between the rebels and Zairean government troops. In Ethiopia, African foreign ministers met to debate ways of protecting the aid flow. And in Kigali, Rwanda, UN, EU, and Rwandan officials discussed how to deal with the refugee crisis.

Cuban President Fidel Castro all but stole the show at a regional meeting of 23 Latin American heads of state in Chile. Castro was criticized for not opening up his country to multiparty elections but said he remains in power because "it is the people who have me there." An estimated 10,000 supporters of Chile's Communist Party rallied in his behalf, although he did not attend.

Palestine Authority President Yasser Arafat spurned efforts by Israel to reach a deal on the redeployment of troops in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telephoned Arafat to argue that his government's demands for new security measures in the city of Hebron were necessary before Israeli troops could be moved. Palestinians had wanted a deal before the start of a regional economic conference today in Cairo.

A senior Bosnian Serb commander said Gen. Ratko Mladic was still in charge of his troops despite being fired over the weekend. Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic dismissed Mladic on grounds that international opposition made it impossible for him to remain in command. Mladic has been indicted for war crimes in the Bosnian conflict and was relieved of his duties once before, but refused to step down. In northeastern Bosnia, meanwhile, a Dutch peacekeeper was wounded in an exchange of gunfire between Serbs and Muslim refugees attempting to return to their villages, the UN reported.

Ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto vowed to appeal her dismissal to the country's Supreme Court. Bhutto said President Farooq Leghari had committed an illegal "constitutional coup" in replacing her with caretaker Meraj Khalid last week and predicted the high court would restore her to office "within a month." Pakistan's former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, also dismissed by presidential order in 1993, was later returned to power by the court.

North Korea threatened to boycott proposed peace talks with South Korea, which the US and China would mediate. Pyongyang said demands by the US that it apologize for a submarine incursion into South Korean waters in September were a "revocation" of the talks. South Korea calls the incident a spy mission. North Korea said engine trouble disabled the sub.

A runoff election in Lithuania completed the process of ousting ex-Communists from power. The Conservative Party of Vytautas Landsbergis, who led the country's independence bid in 1991, gained an outright majority in parliament, with 70 of a possible 137 seats. The former Communists, now known as the Democratic Labor Party, fell to third place, with 12 seats.

Zambia's largest university was ordered closed after two days of riots. Police using tear gas and billy clubs broke up a planned march on the presidential palace in Lusaka by students who seek reform of the country's voter-registration policies. They also intended to ask President Frederick Chiluba to reopen dialogue with seven opposition parties. Those parties are boycotting next week's elections because the constitution bars some of their candidates from competing. At least 17 people were injured in the rioting.


''There aren't many positions available in civilian life for tank drivers."

-- Stephen Burger of the International Union of Gospel Missions, on a survey that found 1 in 3 homeless men seeking refuge at its shelters were military veterans.

The University of Virginia offers etiquette lessons for students who may someday be invited to dinner with the company president. Among the job-killing "don'ts" taught by instructor Joanne Mahanes: crumbling crackers into soup and taking leftovers home in a doggy bag.

When Republican candidate Bob Dole carried North Carolina last week, it was with the help of one vote he shouldn't have had. Elections officials in Durham say a 14-year-old cast a ballot without anyone questioning his eligibility. The youth says he registered at a rock concert. North Carolina lets citizens register via the honor system.

Some scientists plan to shoot the moon - literally. In an effort to collect rocks from Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, experts at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California want to fire a missile that would blast loose chunks of frozen crust to see if they contain water.

An unlikely place has jumped the gun on the rest of the world in decorating for Christmas. "Celebration Singapore," a commercial festival, opens Friday. But the wreaths, blinking lights, and plastic reindeer have been in place for almost a month at malls, hotels, and other locations. The Asian nation has a tropical climate, and fewer than 10 percent of its residents say they're Christians.


Best Cities to Call Home

The best cities for expatriates to live in (divided by continent) as ranked bv the Geneva-based Corporate Resources Group.

North America:

Vancouver, Canada



South America:

Montevideo, Uruguay

Buenos Aires

Santiago, Chile


Zurich, Geneva


Asia and Pacific Region:

Auckland, New Zealand




Cape Town



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