News In Brief

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THE US

The US continued its plans to send US troops to Zaire, despite the return of Hutu refugees to Rwanda, Defense Secretary William Perry said. He welcomed news of the refugees' exodus from Zaire, but said they would still need humanitarian support. The US agreed in principle last week to send 1,000 troops to Zaire and several thousand support personnel to neighboring countries.

President Clinton arrived in Honolulu for a weekend of relaxation before continuing east to visit Australia and Thailand and attend an Asia-Pacific economic summit in the Philippines. The president had to forego a scheduled round of golf because of torrential rains that brought flooding and mudslides to Hawaii.

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The president's foreign policy drew criticism from some members of Congress. For instance, Sen. Dan Coats (R) of Indiana attacked the extension of the US military mission in Bosnia and said it may be premature to send troops to Zaire. He reminded Clinton of an unkept promise to pull US troops out of Bosnia within one year.

A member of a wealthy Indonesian family at the center of a Democratic Party fund-raising controversy has visited the White House 20 times, presidential aides said. The disclosure of James Riady's visits came after Clinton told a newspaper that the Democratic National Committee erred in sending fund-raiser John Huang to Taiwan to raise money. On six of his White House visits, Riady met with the president, security records show.

Former White House aide Mark Middleton issued a statement denying any wrongdoing. The Wall Street Journal said Friday that Middleton had entertained clients in the White House staff restaurant after leaving the government in February 1995 to set up a consulting business.

Texaco agreed to a $176.1 million settlement of a lawsuit filed by six black employees in 1994. Planned weekend demonstrations against the company's racial policies turned into celebrations in Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York after the announcement. It was reportedly the largest racial discrimination settlement ever by a US corporation.

Lockheed Martin and Boeing will compete for a $219 billion contract to build almost 3,000 jet fighters between 2005 and 2030, the Pentagon said. The announcement eliminated McDonnell Douglas from the competition. The Pentagon hopes to save money by developing a single fighter for the three armed services. Critics say that by 2005, the US will have upwards of 3,000 fighters with the latest technology - or more than the air forces of Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and Iraq combined.

The Army said four of the 10 noncommissioned officers under investigation for sexual misconduct at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., had been charged with violating a ban on personal relationships with trainees. One instructor at the base had admitted earlier to having sex with three trainees and was sentenced to five months in prison.

The US dropped spying charges against former Russian KGB agent Vladimir Galkin. Russia had threatened to retaliate against CIA agents on its soil, saying the US had broken "unwritten rules" of espionage by giving a former spy a visa, then arresting him when he arrived in the US.

Output of US factories fell in October for the first time in seven months, the Federal Reserve said. A spokesman blamed the 0.5 percent decline to a ripple effect from recent strikes against General Motors.

Jury selection for the first trial stemming from the Oklahoma City bombing was set to begin March 31, nearly two years after the incident. The trial of Timothy McVeigh is expected to take up to six months.

Alger Hiss, who helped lay the groundwork for the United Nations and saw his career destroyed by charges he was a Communist spy, died in New York. The scandal that sent Hiss to prison for perjury helped to propel Richard Nixon to higher office.

THE WORLD

The UN put the number of refugees streaming home to Rwanda at 300,000 and growing. Officials called the exodus from Zaire a vital step in easing the humanitarian crisis in central Africa. At the same time, aid workers warned that more than a half-million refugees remain cut off from food supplies in the hills of eastern Zaire. Meanwhile, the first Canadian troops who will lead the international force in the region set up headquarters in Rwanda's capital, Kigali.

NATO officials planned to call today for a longer mandate to keep peacekeeping troops in Bosnia. The international force now in place would be shrunk by about half, to 30,000 troops. The current mandate expires Dec. 20. The US signalled its willingness to participate in an extended Bosnian mission last week.

Somewhere during Stage 4, Russia's long-awaited mission to Mars failed, officials said. Ground controllers lost contact with the probe, which was unable to leave Earth orbit after liftoff from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Experts said the failure was a serious setback to the struggling Russian space program and represented the loss of 10 years' work.

The Irish Republican Army is observing an unofficial ceasefire, a Dublin newspaper reported. The Sunday Tribune said the truce began after twin attacks on a British Army base outside Belfast Oct. 7 that killed one person and injured 30 others. The newspaper said the new ceasefire was aimed at winning better terms for the IRA's political ally, Sinn Fein, at multiparty negotiations on Northern Ireland's future. The British and Irish governments, which plan a review of the peace process Wednesday, did not comment on the report.

Late voter-preference polls in Romania gave political outsider Emil Constantinescu a slight edge in Sunday's presidential runoff election. Constantinescu, a former geology professor, was attempting to unseat Ion Iliescu, who has led Romania since 1989. Iliescu's Social Democracy Party slipped to second place in parliamentary elections Nov. 3. Romania ranks as one of Europe's poorest countries.

The UN Security Council is scheduled to consult with the US today on the renomination of Boutros Boutros-Ghali for a second term as secretary-general. Washington repeatedly has called for new leadership for the UN but has offered no alternative nominations. Boutros-Ghali was formally renominated last week by Egypt. Most of his predecessors have served two terms.

The US was among 15 nations adding last-minute "interpretations" to the plan for action as the world food summit ended in Rome. Washington sought to block lawsuits based on the plan, which contains references to the "right to adequate food" and the "right to be free from hunger." Muslim countries wanted to specify that principles in the plan did not run counter to Islamic codes.

Opponents of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko clashed with security forces, demanding his resignation and freedom of the press. An estimated 10,000 demonstrators gathered in Minsk, the capital, but police did not wade in until marchers attempted to reach the parliament building. An opposition spokesman said at least 10 people were hurt and a dozen others were arrested. Lukashenko and parliament are locked in a confrontation over his attempt to assume broader powers through a constitutional amendment.

ETCETERAS

''Quite frankly, rebuilding the fabric of Bosnia's economic and political life is taking longer than anticipated. Economic activity is only just resuming.

-- President Clinton, on plans to retain 8,500 US troops in Bosnia, about half the number that has been there.

In 1946, Bennett Clark of Richland, Wash., loaned a month's pay - $250 - to help Navy buddy Norman Sevell start a business. Then they parted ways and Clark forgot about the debt. Meanwhile, Sevell settled in New Jersey and opened a garage. After years of searching, he located Clark via the Internet. On Nov. 1, an amazed Clark got a check for $4,166 - the principal plus 50 years' interest. "I'd have been happy just with the $250," he said.

Never one to pass up a promising business opportunity, McDonald's is taking to the ski slopes. The fast-food chain plans to open "McSki," the world's first ski-through restaurant at the Lindvallen resort in Sweden. Customers can schuss right up to the counter and order a burger and fries. No word on whether the new eatery will be placed on the expert, intermediate, or beginners slopes.

Call Sandy Sapienza a real doll; she won't mind. The Crownsville, Md., resident challenged craftspeople to supply her with toydolls that she could distribute to young patients at a Baltimore hospital. Six thousand dolls later, her house is stuffed with them, her gift list now includes other hospitals as well, and still the deliveries pour in. The Postal Service recognized the situation long ago and reserves a truck for trips to her address.

THE DAY'S LIST

Nations sending troops to aid refugees in Zaire

The following countries have offered to provide soldiers for a 10,000-strong UN force that would help feed more than a million refugees at risk in Zaire:

Canada

France

US

Britain

Spain

Italy

The Netherlands

South Africa

Senegal

Argentina

Brazil

Sweden

Portugal

- Associated Press/Reuters

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