News In Brief

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The US

The White House must accept $10 billion to $30 billion in additional curbs on the growth in Medicare spending, Senate Budget Committee chairman Pete Domenici (R) of New Mexico said. Domenici added that he's prepared to make a deal with conservative Democrats this week if Clinton doesn't offer more domestic spending cuts. Meanwhile, House Speaker Newt Gingrich proposed an amnesty that would give delinquent taxpayers up to a year to pay back taxes without penalty.

James McDougal was scheduled to return to court in Little Rock, Ark., for sentencing on 18 counts of fraud and conspiracy. McDougal faced 84 years in prison and $4.5 million in fines after his convictions last May. But he delayed sentencing by agreeing to talk with investigators about possible financial improprieties by President Clinton, his former Whitewater partner. McDougal reportedly corroborated allegations by ex-Arkansas banker David Hale that Clinton once pressured Hale into extending an illegal $300,000 loan to McDougal's former wife, Susan.

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Golf prodigy Tiger Woods broke several barriers at the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga. Woods' 12-stroke victory over Tom Kites gave him the greatest winning margin in any major since 1862. He's the first black to claim a major title and the youngest person to win the Masters. The 21-year-old shot 270 over four rounds - 18 strokes under par.

The color line in major league baseball was shattered 50 years ago today by the Brooklyn Dod-gers' Jackie Robinson. Clinton planned to attend pre-game ceremonies marking the occasion at New York's Shea Stadium and join Robinson's widow, Rachel, and acting baseball commissioner Bud Selig on the field during a break in a game between the Dodgers and Mets.

The US Supreme Court rejected an appeal challenging as racially discriminatory federal sentencing laws that punish crack cocaine offenders more harshly than those caught with powdered cocaine. It let stand, without comment, the 10-year prison sentence of a man convicted of distributing crack cocaine in the District of Columbia. The appeal said it takes 100 times more cocaine power than crack to draw the same 10-year minimum sentence for drug trafficking.

Some 35,000 farm workers and their supporters marched in Watsonville, Calif., in what the United Farm Workers union described as its largest procession. The UFW is trying to organize strawberry pickers, who say they are asked by employers to work overtime without pay and are illegally required to buy their own gloves. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and UFW cofounder Dolores Huerta led the march.

At least 800 police were on alert in a south Philadelphia neighborhood where about 500 people took part in a racial protest march. Some whites were turning their backs on the mostly black marchers, and a brief scuffle broke out. The march is in response to the beating of a black family by a mob of white men in February.

General Motors announced its best North American performance in more than 10 years. The automaker earned $1.7 billion in its first quarter - up from $714 million a year earlier. Sales grew to $42.26 billion from $39.24 billion.

The US Air Force planned to resume its search for a missing A-10 Thunderbolt plane in the Colorado Rockies. Radar data and witness accounts indicate the pilot, Capt. Craig Button, broke away from his training formation over Arizona without explanation and flew to Colorado April 2. The plane was carrying four 500-pound bombs.

The Clinton administration says it will begin blocking meat exports from the European Union today if a "veterinary equivalency" agreement isn't struck. The US decision would affect about $300 million a year of EU meat exports. It came in response to the EU's new food safety standards that will block some $50 million a year of US poultry exports.

The World

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said the first Jewish homes in a disputed Jerusalem neighborhood wouldn't be finished un-til 2000 - leaving time to conclude a final peace deal with Pal- estinians, the newspaper Yediot Ahronot reported. Analysts called the move a face-saving way out of the current political crisis for Palestinian Authority President Arafat, since 2000 is the year Netanyahu's term ends. Meanwhile, the two sides were expected to face off at a meeting of Mediterranean foreign ministers on Malta.

Serbs in the eastern Slavonia region of Croatia were given an extra day to vote in the country's elections because of what the UN called "inadequate" organizational work. Visiting Assistant Secretary of State John Kornblum also criticized the preparations and hinted the US might recommend prolonging international administration of mostly Serb eastern Slavonia, which is due to be reintegrated into Croatia in July.

Zaire's capital was deserted as millions of people joined a 24-hour strike to demand the ouster of President Mobutu. One of the few signs of activity in Kinshasa came when troops broke up a crowd outside the home of opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi. Meanwhile, rebel forces claimed they had captured the western provincial capital, Kananga.

Saying, "We've already waited too long," a UN official vowed to begin distributing food aid in turbulent Albania even before a multinational protective force was in place to provide cover. But she said the plan could be scrapped if conditions became too dangerous.

There were signs that both Iran and European countries wanted to defuse the legal and political controversy between them that began last week. Most European governments said they would recall their ambassadors after Iran's rulers were implicated in a murder conviction in Germany, and Iran threatened retaliation. But the Europeans stopped short of cutting diplomatic or trade relations, and at least five ambassadors had yet to leave Tehran. For his part, Iranian President Rafsanjani referred to the crisis as a "passing storm."

Embattled Indian Prime Minister Deve Gowda reversed course and said he would quit as leader of his 15-party coalition if that would end the country's political crisis. Gowda has served as caretaker since his government lost a confidence vote instigated by the rival Congress Party in Parliament. But he previously had refused a Congress demand to leave his post at the head of the United Front coalition. Congress officials said they'd support another coalition leader.

For the first time, former antiapartheid activists were summoned to testify before South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Two officials of the ruling African National Congress were subpoenaed to tell what they know about a 1985 explosion that killed three whites in a Durban tavern. The move was seen as an attempt to answer complaints that the commission is biased in favor of those who struggled against apartheid.

Justice officials in Rome considered whether to hold a joint trial of two ex-Nazi officers for their roles in a 1944 massacre. Erich Priebke and Karl Hass admit taking part in the deaths of 335 Italians in caves south of the city, but claim they were only following orders. Priebke was found guilty in an earlier trial, but was released on a technicality.

Despite Saudi warnings and a heavy security presence, Iranian pilgrims led an anti-Israel/anti-US protest rally at the Muslim holy city of Mecca. News reports said the Iranians were joined by Pakistanis, Algerians, Libyans, Tunis-ians, Palestinians, and Kuwaitis. There were no reports of violence. Ten years ago today, 402 pilgrims died in clashes with Saudi forces at a similar Iranian-led rally in Mecca.

Etceteras

"The rest of us never had a chance to win."

- Runner-up Tom Kite, on Tiger Woods' performance at the Masters, in which he won by the greatest margin at any major golf tournament since 1862 and became the youngest and first black champion.

In December 1995, networking pioneer Bob Metcalfe, founder of 3Com Corp., predicted in Info- World magazine that the Internet would collapse within a year - and said he'd eat his words if he was wrong. He was, so he did. On a stage in Santa Clara, Calif., he tore up a copy of his prediction, mixed it with a clear liquid in an electric blender, poured the concoction into a bowl, and attacked it with a spoon.

Watching TV footage of Midwesterners trying to cope with flood conditions gave Redding, Calif., garden shop owner Karen Powell a growing feeling that they deserv-ed a touch of spring. So she and partner Sam Gruneison are shipping packets of flow-er seeds to the 1,700 folks of Ada, Minn. - for planting when the waters recede.

The Day's List

First Black Big-Leaguers After Jackie Robinson

Fifty years ago today, Robinson broke baseball's color line with the Brooklyn Dodgers. In time, every other pre-expansion major league team followed the Dod-gers' lead. Those teams, their first black players, and the years in which they debuted:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Cleveland Indians: Larry Doby July 5, 1947

St. Louis Browns: Hank Thompson July 17, 1947

Chicago White Sox: Sam Hairston '51

Philadelphia A's: Bob Trice '54

Washington Senators: Carlos Paula '54

New York Yankees: Elston Howard '55

Detroit Tigers: Ossie Virgil '58

Boston Red Sox: Pumpsie Green '59

NATIONAL LEAGUE

New York Giants: Monte Irvin '49

Boston Braves: Sam Jethroe '50

Chicago Cubs: Ernie Banks '53

Cincinnati Reds: Chuck Harmon '54

St. Louis Cardinals: Tom Alston '54

Pittsburgh Pirates: Curt Roberts '54

Philadelphia Phillies: John Kennedy '57

- Associated Press/"Total Baseball," 4th Edition

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