News In Brief

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THE US

President Clinton took the oath of office and was inaugurated for a second term amid tight security. He indicated he wanted his inaugural to help build bipartisan cooperation in Washington. Senate majority leader Trent Lott (R) of Miss. said that could depend in large measure on how the administration handles debate on a balanced-budget amendment, which the White House opposes. Meanwhile, three new public-opinion polls found the president's approval rating at or near 60 percent.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee recommended confirmation of Madeleine Albright as the nation's first woman secretary of state. The committee voted 11-to-0 for confirmation, but left open the possibility that other members who were absent would vote later. A full Senate vote could come today, committee chairman Jesse Helms said.

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The US House is to vote today on ethics committee recommendations that Speaker Newt Gingrich be reprimanded and pay a $300,000 penalty for admitted breaches of House rules. Republicans and Democrats debated whether the Speaker could use his political war chest to pay the penalty. The committee voted 7 to 1 in favor of the sanctions. Rep. Lamar Smith (R) of Texas cast the only "no" vote.

The US Supreme Court said it would reconsider a decision barring public school teachers from working at religious schools. On a 5-to-4 vote in 1985, the court ordered New York to stop sending public school teachers into parochial schools to teach such subjects as remedial reading. A decision in the case is expected by July.

Clinton declared a major disaster in two counties in Washington State hit by recent storms that caused floods and mudslides. The action makes residents of King and Snohomish counties eligible for federal disaster funds.

A pair of bombs rocked a Tulsa, Okla., abortion clinic, but caused no injuries. Investigators said they were exploring whether there was a possibile connection with a pair of bombings that caused a number of injuries near an abortion clinic in Atlanta last week.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s eldest son said he was forming an Americans United for Affirmative Action group to fight efforts to do away with affirmative action programs nationwide. Martin Luther King III made the announcement two days before the national observance of his father's birthday and a few days after a key supporter of California's Proposition 209 said he was setting up an American Civil Rights Institute to promote similar measures in other states. Prop. 209, which was approved by California voters in November, would end use of race and gender factors in state hiring, contracting, and university admissions.

The US trade deficit edged up slightly to $8.4 billion in November and industrial production jumped 0.8 percent in December, the Commerce Department said. The trade deficit was up 4.9 percent from an October imbalance of $8 billion. December's gain in industrial production matched the increase for November.

New pictures of the Jupiter moon Europa suggest life could exist there, scientists said. The photos came from the Galileo space probe.

US astronaut John Blaha ended a four-month stay on Russia's Mir space station and began the trip home aboard the US shuttle Atlantis. It was scheduled to bring Blaha and the five astronauts who retrieved him back to Earth tomorrow. Blaha was the third American to live on the Russian station. A fourth, Jerry Linenger, joined Russian cosmonauts last week when Atlantis reached Mir. Meanwhile, an investigation began into the explosion of an unmanned $55 million McDonnell Douglas Delta II rocket above Cape Canaveral, Fla. It was carrying a $40 million Air Force navigational satellite.

Former US Sen. Paul Tsongas of Masssachusetts, who briefly became the Democratic presidential front-runner in 1992, died Jan. 18 in a Boston hospital.

THE WORLD

Opposition leaders in Serbia lost a new round in their legal battle to gain control of Belgrade's city government. A municipal court suspended an election commission ruling that the opposition had defeated President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist Party in the capital in November elections. A spokesman said the Serbian Supreme Court would have to rule on who had jurisdiction in the matter. It was the second time Milosevic's forces successfully contested the election commission ruling.

Palestinian Authority President Arafat won a pledge from some Islamic leaders that they would not contest his rule in Hebron. Meanwhile, his security chief said he would try to make Hebron safe for Jewish settlers in the wake of Israel's troop withdrawal from 80 percent of the West Bank city last week.

NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana met Russian Foreign Minister Yvgeny Primakov at the Kremlin for discussions on improving bilateral relations. At issue was Russian concern over the alliance's plans to expand eastward by accepting into membership some former Soviet allies. Invitations to join NATO are expected to be issued at a summit in Madrid in July.

Indonesia's leading democracy activist was blocked from seeking reelection to parliament. Megawati Sukarnoputri's name did not appear on the list of 2,293 candidates approved by the government. The list did, however, include four children of President Suharto, his half-brother, a daughter-in-law, and one cousin - all running for parliament for the first time.

Sunni Muslims in Pakistan destroyed an Iranian cultural center and called for the shutdown of the port of Karachi today. The Sunnis blamed Iran for a Jan. 18 bomb attack that killed their leader and 24 other people and injured at least 100. Sunnis and Pakistan's minority Shiite Muslims have had a long-running feud. Shiites are in the majority in neighboring Iran.

Somalia's two most powerful faction leaders met for the first time to try to negotiate the reopening of the air and seaports in Mogadishu, the capital. Forces led by Ali Mahdi Mohamed control the capital's northern sector, and Hussein Aideed controls south Mogadishu.

Anti-government rebels in Sudan claimed to have advanced to within 45 miles of the power supply for the capital, Khartoum. The claim could not be independently verified, and government forces admit to losing only two towns further from the hydroelectric dam at Damazin. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak last week rejected appeals to send troops to help Sudan's Army.

US hot-air balloonist Steve Fossett landed in a village in central India - failing to complete his attempt at an around-the-world flight. But he broke his own record for staying aloft in a balloon as well as the record for the longest balloon flight

Chancellor-designate Viktor Klima of Austria broke two days of silence on the resignation of his predecessor, Franz Vranitzky. But Klima said only that he would discuss his plans for the future once he officially assumes the office - probably later this week. The finance minister was named to the chancellorship after Vranitzky abruptly announced his resignation Jan. 18. Vranitzky had held the post for almost 11 years.

Latvian Prime Minister Andris Shkele quit after his honesty was questioned in naming a key political appointee. Shkele was accused of pressuring parliament to approve the appointment of controversial businessman Vassily Melnik as finance minister.

ETCETERAS

I do solemly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution ..."

- The presidential oath of office, as administered to Bill Clinton by Chief Justice of the US William Rehnquist.

More and more executives are taking pacifiers with them on business trips these days. To cope with stress? Not exactly. The Travel Industry Association of America says that of 275 million business trips taken in 1995, 15 percent included the children of executives. Taking a child along actually provides relief for parents, the group says. They don't have to worry about how their offspring are being looked after at home. And growing numbers of host companies now offer day care as a courtesy.

You can be asked for a political donation almost anywhere - even at 35,000 feet. After leaving his wallet behind, Colorado Gov. Roy Romer had to resort to asking fellow passengers for money on a flight to Los Angeles. He raised about $100. Continuing on to Washington, he even got one sympathizer to loan a credit card so he could use the in-flight phone. Romer promised to repay all debts.

Language barriers can indeed have benefits. Case in point: Amsterdam, where a masked gunman recently tried to rob a snack bar. But he left empty-handed because the only employee on duty was a foreign national who had just a limited understanding of Dutch.

THE DAY'S LIST

Songwriters Hall of Fame Picks Five New Members

During June 10 ceremonies, five people will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Their names and some of their best-known works:

Joni Mitchell - "Chelsea Morning," "Both Sides Now," "Woodstock."

Phil Spector - "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," "Chapel of Love," "River Deep - Mountain High."

Harlan Howard - "I Fall to Pieces," "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail," "Heartaches by the Number."

Ernesto Lecuona - "Malaguena," "Sibony," "The Breeze and I."

Jimmy Kennedy - "The Isle of Capri," "Harbor Lights," "My Prayer."

- Associated Press

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