News In Brief

THE US

The Army's sexual-abuse scandal appears to be widening. Three noncommissioned officers at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., have been charged with sexual misconduct. One court-martial proceeding was scheduled to begin immediately. The charges range from consensual intercourse to indecent assault. The Missouri case comes just days after five soldiers at a training base in Aberdeen, Md., were charged with offenses ranging from rape to sending improper love letters to female trainees.

President Clinton signed the parks bill into law. The measure affects nature and historic areas in 41 states, including protecting San Francisco's Presidio and establishing the nation's first protected tallgrass prairie in Kansas. Later, he called a session with Congressional leaders in hopes of finding areas on which the two can work together. Budget plans were to top the agenda.

House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he was willing to work with Clinton. Gingrich stressed the importance of cooperation - not just to the US, but also to the world - in a speech to GOPAC, the political action committee he chaired until last year.

Snow was falling again in Cleveland. The Ohio city was expected to get as much as 20 more inches of snow, on top of two feet already on the ground. The storm closed schools and blacked out thousands of homes. For the second time in as many days, a jet slid off the runway at Hopkins International Airport. No injuries were reported in either incident.

The Supreme Court rejected the government's attempt to open up local telephone markets to competition. The court refused to set aside a federal appeals court order that temporarily put on hold new rules designed to increase competition. The justices also ordered a lower court to reconsider striking down a majority-Hispanic congressional district in the Chicago area. And the court refused to hear the appeals of two Arkansas bankers once charged with misusing funds to help Clinton's career. They argued that prosecutor Kenneth Starr had overstepped his authority.

Jesse Jackson and Kweise Mfume, president of the NAACP, were scheduled to meet with Texaco officials to discuss the company's alleged discrimination against its 1,400 minority workers. Black leaders have threatened a boycott unless the company remedies the situation. The Wall Street Journal reported Texaco is in formal talks to settle the $520 million discrimination lawsuit against the company.

Clinton aide Laura D'Andrea Tyson said she is leaving her job. Tyson was head of the Council of Economic Advisers and the National Economic Council. She plans to return to teaching at the University of California at Berkeley.

A student protest against the end of affirmative action in California has ended with 20 arrests. About 150 students at the University of California's Riverside campus blockaded the administration building, demonstrating against the passage of Proposition 209, which bans using race or gender as considerations in public hiring, contracting, and college admissions.

Five Avis Rent-a-Car franchises in the Carolinas are accused of refusing rentals to blacks. The Washington Law-yers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs has brought a race-bias lawsuit against the franchises, saying owner John Dalton told his workers to do everything possible to avoid renting to blacks. Dalton denied the charges.

The space shuttle Columbia is set to blast off Friday after a week's delay. Managers pushed the launch back to study some unusual erosion on a rocket booster nozzle. A NASA spokesman said experts have figured out the problem, and engineers believe it is not likely to recur.

THE WORLD

Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Palestine Authority President Arafat failed to break the stalemate over redeployment of Israeli troops in the West Bank. The two met in Cairo at the opening of the annual Middle East economic conference. Israel's only senior representative at the meeting was due to leave before talks with Palestinians could be arranged. The loudest applause at the session came when EU speakers said the basis for a peace settlement in the region must be land-for-peace - a tradeoff rejected by Israel.

A strongly worded statement criticizing the world's largest agribusinesses was debated in Rome for presentation to the UN-sponsored conference on hunger. The draft statement, to be introduced by nongovernmental organizations, said major farming corporations "increase world poverty." It also called on wealthy nations to share their resources more generously with the poor.

Almost twice as many children under 15 have been put to work in developing countries as previously thought, the UN reported. A survey by the agency's International Labor Organization put the number of child workers at 250 million - half of whom work full time. The problem was rated worst in Asian nations.

Russian Defense Minister Igor Rodionov warned of "catastrophic consequences" unless parliament voted him the money to pay more than a million restive troops. Many Russian soldiers have not received their wages in months, and morale is considered low because of the failure to end the Chechen rebellion. Rodionov said the country's deepening economic and social troubles had pushed combat readiness "to the extreme."

NATO officials said it was not clear who fired first in a skirmish between Serbs and Muslims in northeast Bosnia. Three people were wounded, one of them seriously, at the village of Gajevi after scores of Muslim refugees entered the Serb-held area, apparently intending to settle in for the winter. A NATO spokesman said their actions seemed designed to "provoke a reaction" from Serb authorities.

The government of Georgia dismissed a presidential vote in breakaway South Ossetia as illegal. Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze rejected the election of parliament Speaker Ludvig Chibirov despite the latter's campaign call for independence through negotiations with the Tbilisi government. Peacekeepers have kept the two sides apart since mid-1992.

Tamil separatists in Sri Lanka rejected a government offer of conditional peace talks as "nothing new." A Tamil radio statement also said rebel units were preparing for suicide attacks against government installations on the disputed Jaffna peninsula. President Chandrika Kumaratunga said she was open to third-party mediation in resolving the country's 13-year civil war. Negotiators for the two sides last met in early 1995.

Bank investigators in Switzerland confirmed the validity of 11 claims for the assets of Jewish Holocaust victims, an ombudsman said. Hanspeter Haeni put the value of accounts located so far at just under $1.3 million. More than 900 claims have been filed, and some Jewish groups estimate the combined missing assets are now worth billions. The search is taking place under intense international pressure.

Military sources in India reported an in-flight collision of a Saudi jumbo jet with a plane belonging to Kazakh Airways. Early estimates put the loss of life at 350 people. The Saudi jet had just taken off from New Delhi and the Kazakh plane was about to land.

ETCETERAS

''The entire world is watching to see if we can make this experiment

of self-government work."

-- House Speaker Newt Gingrich, saying that Congress and President Clinton must cooperate for the good of the US.

A Florida couple is tucking into a big breakfast - thanks to coupon from 1935. Fred Simpson was thumbing through an old issue of Fortune when he saw a coupon (sans expiration date) that offered a mail-order pancake breakfast for $1. Four days later Jones Dairy Farm of Atkinson, Wis., delivered 1 lb. of pork sausage, a box of buckwheat pancake flour, and a jar of maple syrup. Officials at Jones say a deal's a deal.

Move over, Bugs: This bunny's going for a college degree in Connecticut. For his senior project, Wesleyan University theater arts major Steve Broido went to classes and meals for a week dressed in a furry, blue bunny suit to learn how actors sacrifice personal identity for those of the characters they play.

Ever sponsor someone in a walk for hunger at, say, a dollar a mile? Imagine what you'd owe if you agreed to support Argentine cowboy Hugo Gassioles. He's on a horseback ride for a children's charity. Gassioles arrived in Washington - 12,000 miles from home - and says he'll keep going till he hits New York.

California, home of trendsetters, has declared drive-through restaurants - a trend that began there in the first place - pass. Sierra Madre has banished them. Burbank no longer allows them to stay open all night. And Los Angeles now charges higher permit fees. Critics say what began as a convenience has turned into a pollution source.

THE DAY'S LIST

Top Grossing Films in US and Canada, Nov. 8-10

1. "Ransom," $34.2 million

2. "William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet," $9.0

3. "Set It Off," $8.8

4. "Sleepers," $3.7

5. "High School High," $3.1

6. "First Wives Club," $2.2

7. "Larger Than Life," $20

8. "The Ghost and The Darkness," $1.7

9. "Dear God," $1.5

10. "The Associate," $1.41

- Exhibitor Relations/AP

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