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News In Brief

By CompiledRobert Kilborn and Suman Bandrapalli / February 24, 1997

The US

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Independent counsel Kenneth Starr will report that White House aide Vincent Foster was not murdered , the Los Angeles Times said. It reported that Starr also has concluded that President and Mrs. Clinton played no role in covering up the circumstances surrounding Foster's death. Two earlier probes of his death by a gunshot wound in 1993 also have ruled out murder. Late last week, Starr reversed his decision to leave the independent counsel position Aug. 1 for a post at Pepperdine University in California.

In another report, the Times said special access to key Rep-ublicans in Congress was offered in exchange for generous donations by individuals and corporations. The newspaper said the offer was circulated in a fundraising letter from the National Republican Campaign Committee. A committee spokesman said, "Like it or not, we do it just as the Democrats do it." He said the access was not comparable to White House coffees made available to generous Democratic contributors.

Former Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor complained to the White House about being asked to grant favors to generous Democratic Party contributors, The Washington Post reported. Kantor told the newspaper that the practice left him "deeply concerned." The Post quoted former Democratic National Committee chairman Donald Fowler as saying he was just doing his job by telephoning such requests to Clinton Cabinet secretaries.

Congress returns from a one-week recess today to resume action on several high-profile issues: a constitutional ban on budget deficits, scrutiny of campaign fund-raising, and confirmation of two key Clinton administration appointees - Anthony Lake as director of central intelligence and Alexis Herman as labor secretary.

A high-powered Saudi delegation is due in Washington today to discuss a range of sensitive issues with administration officials. The two sides are expected to address defense, oil strategy, the Middle East peace process, and concerns over the probe of a bombing that killed 19 US military personnel in the kingdom.

Investigators in Atlanta sear-ched for links between an explosion inside a nightclub favored by homosexuals and two earlier bombings. The attack injured five people. Investigators said the nightclub explosion bore similarities to the Centennial Park bombing last July and the twin attacks in January on a clinic where abortions are performed.

The most powerful unmanned rocket in the US space fleet was scheduled to blast off from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The Titan 4B mission is designed to deploy a $200 million satellite capable of detecting enemy missile launches like the Scud attacks on Israel and Saudi Arabia by Iraq during the Gulf war.

Chinese-made electrical products imported by the US often carry phony safety guarantees, according to the magazine U.S. News and World Report. It said the problem was detected first in 1993 by safety tester Underwriters Laboratories on Christmas lights that carried false seals of approval. Also found to be defective: extension cords and six-outlet power strips.

Twice in a nine-hour span, Continental Airlines jets made emergency landings at Cleveland's Hopkins International Airport. The airline said both were for precautionary reasons - one because of a steering problem and the other when an indicator light in the cockpit alerted the pilot to a hydraulic problem. No one was injured.

Robert Sarnoff, who helped to usher in the era of color television, died. Sarnoff headed NBC from 1956 to 1965. Among his other achievements: bringing presidential-candidate debates to TV, extending network newscasts to 30 minutes, weekend news programming, and racially integrated entertainment programs.

The World

Russian President Boris Yeltsin renewed his attack on NATO's expansion plans but said a compromise could be reached at next month's Helsinki summit with US President Clinton. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov was in Brussels for talks with NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana. Both sides imposed a news blackout on the meeting, which followed an intensive bout of diplomacy aimed at overcoming Moscow's objections to NATO enlargement. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported that NATO expansion will cost more than $30 billion over the next 12 years. The US share: about $200 million a year.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin denied a request from Zhao Ziyang to attend tomorrow's memorial service for senior leader Deng Xiaoping. Diplomats say China's current leadership remains nervous of the influence of Zhao, now under virtual house arrest. Deng handpicked Zhao as his successor in 1987 only to sack him two years later for sympathizing with student demonstrators. Also, China banned an edition of the nation's most conservative magazine after it launched a veiled attack on Jiang.