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A Chinese developer's brand-new import-export company began donating money to the Democratic Party in 1994 - only 10 days after it was formed in Arkansas, The Washington Post reported. The newspaper said it was not yet known how the firm managed to generate the funds for its donations so soon after opening for business. Federal law requires that such funds come from business done on US soil. The company is now defunct, but founder Ng Lap Seng continues to pay $4,000 a month for an apartment in Washington that is often used to entertain visiting Asian businessmen, The Post said.
NASA cancelled plans for two walks in space by astronauts from the shuttle Columbia. The agency said its engineers were encountering problems in freeing a jammed hatch on the shuttle's airlock leading to the cargo bay. - a first in the 15-year history of the program. Crew members Tammy Jernigan and Tom Jones had been scheduled to exit the Columbia to practice construction of NASA's space station, which is due to begin next November.
A cold front with expected strong winds, thick clouds, and rain was expected at Cape Canaveral, Fla., today, causing NASA to postpone the launch of the Pathfinder mission to Mars. Officials said thelaunch of the unmanned probe would be attempted tomorrow. Pathfinder, with the first rover planned for travel on Mars, is scheduled to arrive on the planet next July 4. NASA's Global Surveyor spacecraft is en route to Mars after its Nov. 7 liftoff.
Cleanup crews from Louisiana to Florida were at work after weekend tornadoes that struck the South. The storms were blamed for three deaths, seven injuries, and damage to a glass factory, a school, and at least 45 houses.
A blue-ribbon panel is scheduled to begin a three-day conference in Washington today to examine questions of presidential succession. Fifty historians, physicians, former presidential advisors, and others are charged with making specific recommendations on what should happen if the president of the US were to be kidnapped by terrorists or incapacitated by illness. The 25th Amendment to the US Constitution sets out presidential succession only in general terms.
Four major tobacco companies are scheduled to challenge a new Massachusetts law tomorrow that requires cigarette-makers to disclose the ingredients in their products. Lawsyers for Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard, and Brown & Williamson are expected to argue that the law violates federal trade statutes and would cause them to make trade secrets public. It also sets tough new tests for measuring nicotine intake from cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and snuff. The four companies sell more than 90 percent of the cigarettes purchased in Massachusetts.
Florida State won the year's most eagerly awaited college football game, defeating the University of Florida 24-21. The victory was considered certain to propel the Seminoles into the nation's No. 1 ranking and a Sugar Bowl matchup against the University of Nebraska for the unofficial national championship. Florida had been atop the major Division 1-A polls prior to Saturday's game.
In Los Angeles, Notre Dame lost its final regular-season game under outgoing coach Lou Holtz. Holtz finished his tenure with the Fighting Irish with 100 victories - six fewer than the school record set by the late Knute Rockne. The University of Southern California beat Notre Dame in overtime, 27-20. Holtz said on resigning that he did not want to break Rockne's record.
Tiny Tim, who built a career as a novelty entertainer on scraggly hair, a falsetto voice, and a ukulele, died in Minneapolis. His best-known song was "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" in 1968.
NATO expansion is expected to figure prominently at the 54-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit, which starts today in Lisbon. Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin reiterated his country's vehement opposition to any enlargement of the 16-nation Atlantic alliance. The OSCE is seen by diplomats as the ideal European organization because it embraces all the former Soviet republics and all the NATO nations, as well as every other European state.
A coalition of Serbia's opposition parties planned to take control today of seven cities where they claim to have beaten the ruling Socialists in local elections. A court believed to be under the control of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic annulled results of the elections, ordered a new round of voting, and announced victory for the Socialists. Popular support for two weeks of street demonstrations is on the rise.