News In Brief

The US

President Clinton's State of the Union address tomorrow will draw a map of the "land of new promise" but includes few surpri-ses, aides say. He plans to present a budget Thursday to Congress that includes $93 billion in proposed tax cuts, said Franklin Raines, director of the Office of Management and Budget, on NBC's "Meet the Press." Also included: a virtual elimination of capital gains taxes on the sale of homes and tax breaks for college students, Raines said.

The nation's governors plan to meet with Clinton today to discuss his budget proposal to cap spending on individual Medicaid recipients. They're concerned the plan will shift costs to their states. The governors are in Washington for their winter meeting.

Experts defused the third mail bomb found in the San Diego area last week. The package containing a pipe bomb powerful enough to blow out the inside of a house was mailed to the home of a federal employee in Chula Vista, Calif. Earlier, police detonated a package send to FBI headquarters in San Diego and disarmed another sent to a waste disposal firm.

Unpack your shorts and T-shirts. Groundhog forecaster Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow Feb. 2 in Punsxutawney, Pa. According to legend, that means spring is around the corner. If the rodent had seen his shadow, six more weeks of winter would lie ahead.

The White House said it was unfortunate that a New Jersey stock promoter convicted of criminal securities fraud was invited to a coffee with Clinton in December 1995. Eric Wynn bilked millions from investors after already serving two years in prison for theft and tax charges, The Washington Post reported. Also, Hillary Rodham Clinton said a database she had created was used to keep track of who came to the White House for events - not for political fund-raising. But Truman Arnold, a top Democratic fund-raiser, said the database was used to find prospective donors and reward big contributors with rides on Air Force One, sleepovers in the Lincoln bedroom, and presidential coffees.

More than 200 noncitizens registered to vote by an immigrant rights group may have voted illegally in an election in which US Rep. Bob Dornan (R) lost to Loretta Sanchez by fewer than 1,000 votes, the Los Angeles Times reported. The newspaper found the names of 374 people who registered to vote at Hermandad Mexicana Nacional matched the those of people who Hermandad said were not yet US citizens.

New England Patriots coach Bill Parcells left the team after disagreeing with owner Bob Kraft on how this year's Super Bowl runner-up should be managed. Kraft said he was ready to enforce a contract that prohibits Parcells from coaching next season unless the Patriots receive compensation. Reportedly, the New York Jets are considering hiring Parcells.

Florida said it would appeal the decision of a West Palm Beach judge, who ruled that Charles Hall has the right to end his life with his physician's help. Circuit judge Joseph Davis said his ruling only applies to Hall, who was diagnosed with AIDS contracted from a blood transfusion. An appeal automatically would stay the decision, which protects Dr. Cecil McIver from prosecution for helping Hall commit suicide.

Clinton again urged Congress to expand the family medical leave law to allow parents to take time off work to deal with family obligations. Under the proposal, workers would be allowed to take up to 24 hours of unpaid leave a year to attend parent-teacher conferences or to take a child to dental or medical appointments.

A black female juror was dismissed from the O.J. Simpson trial for failing to report that her daughter worked for the Los Angeles District Attorney's office. The only black juror on the panel, she was replaced by an Asian-American. The judge told the jury to begin deliberations all over again.

Workers at a GM truck assembly plant in Moraine, Ohio, approved a new contract. The workers went on strike for three days before reaching agreement.

THE WORLD

US and Chinese negotiators reached agreement in Beijing on a new four-year pact aimed at "leveling the playing field" in textile trading. The accord came two days after a deadline passed for imposing millions of dollars in sanctions. The talks had snag-ged on US demands for increas-ed access to China's markets.

Voters in Pakistan prepared to go to the polls today, where they'll choose new members of parliament. An interim government has served since Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was dismissed Nov. 5 for corruption and mismanagement. Bhutto has been trailing arch-rival politician Nawaz Sharif in preelection surveys.

Despite bitter cold temperatures, Russian President Boris Yeltsin received his first foreign visitor since becoming ill early last month.Yeltsin and French President Jacques Chirac met at a government residence outside Moscow. They were expected to discuss NATO expansion into eastern Europe.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announced a new round of talks with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat. The meeting was set for Thursday. Netanyahu's move followed an appeal by Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak for faster-paced negotiations toward a wider Middle East peace. Mubarak and Netanyahu met at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzer- land. Meanwhile, Israeli and Palestinian commanders discussed the reopening of a key street that runs through the Jewish district of Hebron in the West Bank as part of the deal on Israeli troop redeployment in the volatile city.

There were no signs of unusual military activity in Northern Ireland as Catholics prepared to march on the 25th anni- versary of the incident known as "Bloody Sunday." That was the day in 1972 when British troops fired on a protest march in Londonderry, killing more than a dozen unarmed Catholics and wounding 13 others. No soldiers were hurt, and an official investigation later exonerated those who had been involved.

Muslim insurgents were blamed for another round of violence in Algeria. A newspaper reported that armed men forced residents of a town south of the capital, Algiers, into the street and killed 31 of them. There were no immediate claims of responsibility. But Islamic fundamentalists have vowed to fill the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with terrorist incidents, and more than 300 people have died in such attacks since it began.

Guatemala's Army deployed troops and tanks in a show of force against rebellious military police. The two sides exchanged gunfire, although no casualties were reported. The insurgents seized their own headquarters last week in the first sign of resistance to the peace accord signed in December between the government and rebel forces. The accord calls for the 4,000-member military police to be disbanded later this month.

Separatist militants on Corsica defied a French government crackdown by exploding 54 bombs, most of them between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m. It was the most violent night on the tourist island in just under a year. None of the bombs caused injury, and police reported no arrests. The blasts targeted banks, post offices, and other symbols of French authority.

A new challenge to Serbian President Milosevic's authority emerged in the province of Ko-sovo. As protest marches against Milosevic continued in the capital, Belgrade, for the 75th straight day, Kosovo's opposition Democratic League accused Serb police of ambushing a car containing three ethnic Albanians. All three were killed. Serb officials say the Albanians fired first and that three policemen were wounded. Kosovo's population is 90 percent Albanian, and Milosevic has been attempting to prevent secession since 1989.

Etceteras

We're not in a mess. You're the ones who turned the White House into a Motel 1600 - renting out the Lincoln bedroom."

- US Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky to Democratic Party chairman Roy Romer on CNN's "Inside Politics."

OK, you're in Ann Arbor, Mich., you need to do some grocery shopping, and you're in a hurry. Just don't whip into a parking spot near the front entrances to Busch's Valu Land stores - unless you're pregnant. The chain has set aside reserved parking stalls as a convenience for expectant mothers. Each one is marked by a sign showing a stork carrying a newborn baby in a blanket.

Members of the Highpointers Club in Arcadia, Mo., have one aim: to conquer the tallest summit in each state. But in Rhode Island, 812-foot Jerimoth Hill appears insurmountable. Retiree Henry Richardson's land blocks access to the hill and he won't admit visitors because earlier climbers left too much litter on his land. It's posted, "Keep Out!" and "We will prosecute violators."

Many a country-western song refers to the local sheriff. But that cuts no ice with Sheriff Dan Breda of Chelan County, Wash. Callers to his office - if put on hold - used to hear country artists croon-ing about life's darker impulses over the county's phone system. That soun-ded unprofessional, he complained. So now callers who are put on hold hear silence.

The Day's List

College Hall of Fame to Add 12 Football Players

The newest players selected by the National Football Foundation for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame (with their senior years and schools):

Ray Beck, 1951, Georgia Tech.

Randy Duncan, 1958, Iowa.

Dave Elmendorf, 1970, Texas A&M.

Charlie Flowers, 1959, Mississippi.

Ricky Hunley, 1983, Arizona.

Alex Kroll, 1961, Rutgers.

Ken MacAfee, 1977, Notre Dame.

Bob Reifsnyder, 1958, Navy.

Dave Rimington, 1981, Nebraska.

Dave Robinson, 1962, Penn State.

George Rogers, 1980, South Carolina.

Danny White, 1973, Arizona State.

- Associated Press

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