News In Brief

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THE US

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.

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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.

THE WORLD

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.

Defense Secretary William Perry is expected to conclude a an agreement with Japan to scale back US military presence on Okinawa. Under the agreement, the US will return 12,000 of the 58,000 acres now used by its troop there. The pact also includes key changes in Marine Corps training and flight operations and a reduction in aircraft noise.

The International War Crimes Tribunal sentenced Bosnian Serb soldier Drazen Erdemovic to 10 years in prison for his role in the massacre of 1,200 Bosnian Muslims. It was the first international war crimes sentence since World War II. During his trial in The Hague, Erdemovic admitted to being part of an eight-man execution squad that gunned down unarmed civilians near Srebrenica.

The IRA is likely to call a new cease-fire before Christmas, nationalist leader John Hume, a key peace negotiator in the Northern Ireland conflict, told BBC. Earlier, British Prime Minister John Major rejected demands by Sinn Fein, the IRA's political ally, for immediate inclusion in current multiparty peace talks if the IRA called a new truce. Major said any cease-fire must be "verifiable" before Sinn Fein could be admitted to the negotiations.

Thousands of Burundians fled to Tanzania as fighting intensified between the country's Tutsi-led Army and Hutu rebels, UN sources said. Burundi has been virtually cut off from the outside world since July, when the central African nation's neighbors imposed a crippling embargo after the Army seized power.

The Sierra Leone government and rebels signed a peace accord to end six years of civil war. Sierra Leone President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah and rebel leader Foday Sankoh vowed to usher in a new era of peace and democracy during a ceremony in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, which hosted the peace talks.

A peace deal to end 36 years of civil war in Guatemala is scheduled to be signed Wednesday in Oslo, Norwegian officials said. The pact between the government and leftist rebels includes 11 separate accords on Indian rights, troop reductions, and constitutional and election reforms. Analysts characterizedNorway, which mediated secret negotiations between Israel and the PLO in 1993, as an honest broker in world affairs.

Moldovan President Mircea Snegur faced stiff opposition from parliament speaker Petru Lucinschi in the former Soviet republic's first multi-candidate presidential election. In their campaigns, the two candidates blamed each other for delayed wages and pensions, an economic crisis, and rising unemployment.

ETCETERAS

''I've never felt this low. This is probably the toughest loss I've ever had."

- Outgoing Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, whose team lost to Southern California in what may have been his final game.

Sparky, a Waupun, Wisc., tiger cat, is proof of the old adage about "an ill wind that bloweth no man good." He disappeared in a tornado July 18. The lost-and-found columns and weekly calls to the Humane Society yielded no news of his whereabouts. But one day last month Sparky wandered into a parking lot 10 miles away, noticeably thinner and with one paw caught in a muskrat trap, but still wearing his ID collar. "I knew he was still out there," owner Mary Ellen McNaughton said.

Spiderman, meet Alain Robert. The French rock climber amazed passers-by in Hong Kong by scaling a 48-story skyscraper in half an hour, without any gear. But the police were less impressed. They took him away for possible arrest on disorderly conduct charges.

Here's a riddle: When is "Western decadence" not Western decadence? Answer: When Chinese President Jiang Zemin wants to entertain fellow guests on a pleasure cruise. After last week's economic summit in the Philippines, Jiang danced a few turns of the cha-cha and warbled "Love Me Tender," despite earlier denunciations of cultural imperialism.

Despite his regime's denunciations of cultural imperialism, Jiang broke into song and dance after last week's economic summit in the Philippines. Jiang did a few turns of the cha-cha and warbled "Love Me Tender."

THE DAY'S LIST

When Astronauts First Walked in Space

Walks in space have become so common that they now make headlines mostly when they are cancelled, as NASA did over the weekend for the crew of Columbia. The first space-walkers:

1. Alexei Leonov, Soviet Union, March 1965

2. Edward White, US, June 1965

3. Eugene Cernan, US, June 1966

4. Michael Collins, US, July 1966

5. Richard Gordon, US, September 1966

6. Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin, US, November 1966

7. Alexei Yeleseyev, Soviet Union, January 1969

8. Yevgeny Khrunov, Soviet Union, January, 1969

9. David Scott, US, March 1969

10. Russell Schweickart, US, March 1969

- "The Top 10 of Everything"

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