News In Brief

THE US

President Clinton's approval rating is holding steady at a relatively high level, a CBS News poll indicated. The survey showed 58 percent of respondents approving Clinton's overall performance, 38 percent disapproving. Also, some 42 percent approved the performance of Congress, while 44 percent disapproved - a big improvement for Congress since an April survey.

Four-fifths of Americans say they're not worried about losing their jobs, and 51 percent think work hours could be cut back so people could spend more time at home, according to a Time/CNN poll. About 55 percent said the economy is stronger than it has been for a generation.

Most American women feel motherhood was easier a generation ago and that their mothers did it better, according to a survey released by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. The main problem today is trying to balance work outside the home with raising a family, the survey indicated. Only 11 percent said mothers do a better job today.

The House passed a bill that would allow youths as young as 13 to be tried as adults. Youths 14 and up charged with murder, rape, aggravated assault, armed robbery, or major drug offenses would be routinely tried in adult courts, unless the attorney general held that the public interest would be better served by trying them as juveniles. If the attorney general agreed, even a 13-year-old could be tried as an adult. The measure would authorize $1.5 billion in grants to states that pass similar laws.

World chess champion Garry Kasparov and IBM's supercomputer headed into the finale of a six-game match in New York, tied at 2-1/2 points each. They played to a draw in the fifth contest on Saturday.

United Auto Workers members at a Chrysler engine plant in Detroit ratified a new three-year contract, ending a month-long strike that halted most of the company's truck production. More than a dozen parts plants in the US and Canada had cut back production, and more than 23,000 workers had been idled.

The Senate approved 55-to-45 a GOP measure designed to prevent government shutdowns. It is part of an $8.4 billion emergency disaster-relief bill. Clinton has vowed to veto it if the shutdown amendment is not deleted. The GOP amendment has nothing to do with disaster relief, but Republicans hoped attaching it to the bill would prevent a veto. The House takes up the bill this week.

Embattled Arizona Gov. Fife Symington (R) goes on trial in Phoenix today, facing fraud, extortion, and perjury charges that could send him to prison. He must defend himself against 22 felony charges in connection with real estate deals made over the past decade. If convicted on a single count, the two-term governor will be removed from the office he has held since 1991.

Western allies will have to maintain a military presence in Bosnia longer than anticipated, if the shaky peace in the former Yugoslavia is to survive, two congressional agencies said. The Congressional Research Service and the General Accounting Office released findings in separate reports a day after the Senate approved a nonbinding measure opposing any funds for a US troop presence there beyond June 1998, the pullout date Clinton has set for American forces.

Nearly 2,300 homes and businesses in Grand Forks, N.D., and neighboring East Grand Forks, Minn., may have to be moved or destroyed to make room for new dikes to protect against future flooding North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad said. He estimated the cost of buying people out and moving them at $333 million.

A 7-1/2-ton statue of three suffragists was moved to the Capitol Rotunda after spending 75 years in the basement. The statue of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucretia Mott is the first to feature women in the Rotunda. Black women's groups say the statue should include Sojourner Truth.

THE WORLD

Zairean President Mobutu returned home from meetings in Gabon and prepared for another round of talks with rebel chief Laurent Kabila to try to end the country's civil war. Meanwhile, Kabila's troops were said to have resumed their advance toward the capital, Kinshasa. In eastern Zaire, the UN said its efforts to repatriate Rwandan Hutu refugees were proceeding smoothly.

Relief supplies and volunteer aid workers poured into a remote mountainous region in northeastern Iran after a powerful earthquake devastated the area over the weekend. The tremor was blamed for at least 2,400 deaths and 6,000 injuries. Tens of thousands of villagers were forced to camp in open streets as aftershocks rocked the area.

Only 40 percent of the West Bank would be surrendered to Palestinians under Prime Minister Netanyahu's current plans, a senior Israeli source said. Palestinian officials said there was "no need for peacemaking" if Israel intended to hold to such a proposal. The exchange came as US envoy Dennis Ross continued trying to draw both sides back into negotiations.

North Korea has committed its armed forces to helping produce a "bumper crop" that would alleviate the country's famine crisis, official news agencies announced. The word came as a Hong Kong newspaper reported that armed North Korean troops were roaming both cities and rural areas, demanding food. The Morning Post based its report on accounts from visitors returning to China from North Korea.

Deputy President Thabo Mbeki and almost 8,000 other South Africans beat the deadline for filing amnesty applications with the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Mbeki led several senior officials of the ruling African National Congress in requesting indemnity for acts committed in the fight against apartheid. Among those not filing: President Mandela and two white predecessors, F.W. deKlerk and P.W. Botha.

Chanting verses from the Koran, hundreds of thousands of Turks filled an Istanbul square in a protest against military efforts to reduce the influence of Islam in daily life. They called on the government to defy orders by the armed forces and keep religion-based schools open. The government has dragged its feet in carrying out the order.

A member of Switzerland's Cabinet is searching for alternative ways to finance a $4.9 billion relief fund for Holocaust victims, according to reports. A Zurich newspaper said Defense Minister Adolf Ogi asked his staff to find measures that would be certain to win public approval. The current plan - using gold reserves from the central bank - must pass the Federal Assembly and a national referendum. Many Swiss have complained that the government caved in to international pressure in announcing the fund.

Government troops in Sierra Leone searched for casualties after rebels broke a truce and attacked a town 130 miles from the capital, Freetown, a military spokesman said. Dozens of civilians were reported killed or hurt and 87 houses were destroyed. More than 10,000 people died in Sierra Leone's five-year civil war, which ended with a cease-fire agreement in November.

Indian and Pakistani sources played down expectations for today's meeting between their prime ministers at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation conference in the Maldives. The talks were to be the first of their type since 1993. Diplomats said they should at least provide a framework for later meetings between the foreign secretaries of the two nations. Relations between India and Pakistan have been strained for 50 years.

ETCETERAS

"No one has officially asked me to stop my offensive. We shall continue."

- Zairean rebel leader Laurent Kabila, on his troops' steady advance toward Kinshasa, the nation's capital.

Time simply ran out for a thief in south Florida. He stole a $3,200 wristwatch at an antiques show in West Palm Beach, waited a couple of days, and then walked into a jewelry store in Miami, 70 miles away, to try to sell it. Problem was, the woman whose booth it was lifted from happened to be in the store at the time. She became - you might say - ticked off when she recognized the thief and the watch. A shriek and a phone call to the police later, the man was arrested.

Was this the year you finally were going to enter your favorite recipe in the million-dollar Pillsbury Bake-Off? Then if you haven't heard, be advised that the rules have changed. Time now is of the essence. Entrees may take no longer than 30 minutes to fix - and desserts 15 minutes.

THE DAY'S LIST

Most Problem-Free Cars, As Reported by Owners

The top three models by category from a survey of 43,752 owners of 1997 cars in their first three months of ownership, according to J. D. Power and Associates in Agoura Hills, Calif. Models are followed by the number of problems reported per 100 vehicles.

COMPACTS

Saturn SL 65

Toyota Tercel 65

Honda Civic 69

ENTRY MIDSIZE

Nissan Altima 77

Buick Skylark 80

Chrysler Cirrus 80

PREMIUM MIDSIZE

Honda Accord 51

Toyota Camry 53

Chevrolet Lumina 55

SPORTY

Acura Integra 60

Honda Prelude 71

Nissan 200SX 87

ENTRY LUXURY

Infiniti I30 46

Acura TL 52

Lexus ES300 61

PREMIUM LUXURY

Lexus LS400 36

Lexus SC300/400 50

Acura RL 55

- Associated Press

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