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THE US

Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana was selected by Republicans to head the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, which oversees the executive branch. It could be central to investigations in Democratic fund-raising, Whitewater, and other White House ethics probes. Concerned about Burton's strong criticisms of the Clinton administration, House leaders have discussed establishing a separate, special committee to handle the Clinton probes.

NATO needs a new name and mission to improve its image among Russians who distrust it, Alexander Lebed, Russian President Yeltsin's ousted security chief, said in a speech to the US-Russian Business Council in Washington. NATO should add to its tasks in combatting terrorism and drug dealing, he added. Lebed is on a five-day visit to the US.

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HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros announced he's resigning, saying he needs a higher-paying job to pay legal bills and college tuition for his children. He is the seventh Clinton administration Cabinet member to resign.

Some 13 civilian women filed a $3.4 million federal class-action lawsuit in El Paso, Texas, against Army Secretary Togo West Jr. The women claim they were not taken seriously when they reported sexual harassment by their male bosses at Fort Bliss. Complaints include: being passed over for promotions, fondled, and subjected to crude remarks from male bosses.

President Clinton ordered federal agencies to join food recovery programs for the needy and encouraged others to do the same. "Too much food goes to waste ... enough to feed 49 million people a year," he said. He also announced the release of a "Citizens Guide to Food Recovery," a guideline on setting up such a program, available by calling 1-800-GLEAN-IT.

Add $450,000 to the more than $1 million in questionable contributions the Democratic Party is returning this fall. An Indonesian landscape architect and his wife, former permanent residents of the US, will be refunded the donation because they apparently didn't file a 1995 federal tax return. Also, the Justice Department may ask the FBI to begin interviewing some donors about allegations that contributions made in their names actually came from other people, The Washington Post reported.

A Venezuelan general who led a CIA counter-narcotics program was indicted by a Miami grand jury. Gen. Ramon Guillen Davila was charged with smuggling as many as 22 tons of cocaine into the US from 1989 to 1992, The Wall Street Journal said.

Rescuers pulled one survivor from the Pacific Ocean after an Air Force Reserve rescue plane crashed into shark-infested waters off California's northern coast. Eleven people were on board the Oregon-based HC-130 Hercules aircraft, which reported engine trouble during a training mission before it crashed.

An Amtrak train carrying mail and 113 people sideswiped another train, derailed, and landed in a swamp in Secaucus, N. J. No one was killed, but 35 people were injured. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) of New Jersey, who visited the scene and spoke with officials, said mitered rails on a bridge may not have been completely closed after a boat passed through two hours earlier.

Clinton signed an order denying Sudanese government and military officials entry to the US. The move is an attempt to pressure Sudan for failing to surrender three Egyptians wanted for the June 1995 assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Exemptions will be made for those attending to UN business and on a case-by-case basis.

O. J. Simpson is scheduled to take the stand again today in a civil lawsuit in Santa Monica, Calif., filed against him by the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman. Earlier, the former football star denied that he killed his former wife and Goldman. He also denied domestic violence allegationS while plaintiff attorney Daniel Petrocelli displayed a photograph of Nicole's wounds after the Simpsons had a domestic dispute in 1989.

THE WORLD

UN officials began assessing the needs of up to 700,000 refugees still at large in eastern Zaire after being allowed into the region by anti-government rebels. Meanwhile, in Stuttgart, Germany, planning meetings for the international intervention force that expects to go to central Africa were in their third day. Canadian spokesmen said the participants were divided over how to coordinate the intervention because of a failure to agree on the number of refugees still at risk.

US President Bill Clinton used the regional economic conference in the Philippines for mini-summits with the leaders of China, Japan, and South Korea. A White House spokesman said Clinton and China's Jiang Zemin accepted each other's invitations for state visits over the next two years. But the two men agreed to little else during their 85-minute talk. Clinton reportedly asked Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto for help in cutting tariffs on information technology by 2000. Clinton is to stop in Thailand today after attending the opening of the annual economic conference.

A court in former Yugoslavia annulled many of last week's local elections. Results of the voting had given President Slobodan Milosevic's opponents victory in more than a dozen cities and towns, among them the capital, Belgrade. New voting was ordered in several cases. Elections officials declined to discuss the matter with reporters. Opposition leaders called for a campaign of civil disobedience.

Afghanistan's Taliban religious Army used heavy artillery and jet fighters to win control of a strategic town. The conquest of Guldarah drove anti-Taliban alliance forces further north from Kabul, the capital. Taliban radio reported also heavy fighting in Badghis Province, 360 miles west of Kabul.

Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard stalked out of a key meeting of his political party after receiving only lukewarm support in a vote on tougher language laws. Bouchard had wanted at least 80 percent of his Parti Quebecois delegates to back his position that French-only signs would harm the province's international reputation. But the vote was only 76.7 percent. The developments marred a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the PQ's first election victory.

Negotiators from 138 countries open a conference on biological weapons today in Geneva. The two-week session is aimed at deciding whether to provide for inspection and verification measures under the 1972 international convention that prohibits the development, production, and stockpiling of biological agents and toxins.

Rescue and salvage crews cleaned up the aftermath of a plane crash in the Indian Ocean off the Comoros Islands. The Ethiopian Airlines plane ran out of fuel after being hijacked on a flight from Addis Ababa to the Ivory Coast. Fifty-two people - two of them believed to be hijackers - survived the crash. Officials said 123 others died.

Voters in Belarus turned out in large numbers for a controversial referendum on expanding President Alexander Lukashenko's powers. Police were out in force in the capital, Minsk, for the occasion, which was boycotted by the opposition. Lukashenko seeks approval for a longer term in office and to hand-pick the nation's lawmakers and judges.

Voter turnout also was reported high in the disputed Azerbaijan enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, which was defying international opposition to elect a president. The region is populated mostly by ethnic Armenians, who began a war for independence in 1988 that took an estimated 25,000 lives. In Moscow, the Russian government warned that the election was a threat to the delicate peace efforts between Azerbaijan and neighboring Armenia.

ETCETERAS

''This is proof that power cannot be won in Serbia by elections, that power is won by robbery."

-- Opposition leader Zoran Djindjic, after a court annulled local elections his side had won over the forces of President Slobodan Milosevic.

Some second-graders in Des Moines, Iowa, were asked how best to prepare turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Among the suggestions: Roast it at 500 degrees for four minutes, make sure it goes into the oven at exactly 3 p.m., and stuff it with vegetables and chocolate.

The chefs at 28 hotels in oil-rich Dubai have a heavy responsibility these days. They're baking a 69-ton cake for next Monday's Independence Day celebrations. By the time the last dollop of frosting is applied, the date-and-banana confection is expected to cost $82,000. The cake is being nominated for the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest in history.

As far as Ukrainians are concerned, the weather forecasts for the city of Sevastopol are off base even when they're accurate. The Black Sea port now belongs to Ukraine, but until 1954 it was part of Russia and even now most of its residents are ethnic Russians. Ukraine officials are unhappy that weather reporters on Moscow public TV refer to the city as if it were still on Russian soil. They've written a letter of protest to the Russian Foreign Ministry, asking that the station be told to stop.

THE DAY'S LIST

Rating the World's Top Eighth-Grade Students

Selected rankings according to the Third International Mathematics and Science Study. The tests were administered in 41 nations.

Math Science

1. Singapore Singapore

2. S. Korea Czech Republic

3. Japan Japan

4. Hong Kong S. Korea

5. Belgium (Flemish) Bulgaria

6. Czech Rep. Netherlands

7. Slovak Rep. Slovenia

8. Switzerland Austria

9. Netherlands Hungary

10. Slovenia England

11. Bulgaria Belgium (Flemish)

12. Austria Australia

17. Ireland United States

28. United States France

- Associated Press

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