News In Brief

The US

More than a dozen additional audio and video tapes covering another 30 Democratic fund-raisers were expected to be released by the White House. A day earlier, the Clinton administration gave investigators a second batch of tapes of more than 100 fund-raising events. They include footage from some of the most controversial contacts President Clinton had with donors during his first term, including the June 1996 Asian-American fund-raising dinner at which foreign money allegedly was laundered.

Clinton trimmed a mere $144 million from a $248 billion defense bill. Funds for the Blackbird spy plane were among the cuts. Administration officials said the president wanted to cut more but was restrained by the strictures of the line-item veto.

Three men won the Nobel Prize for chemistry for their work on enzymes. The University of California's Paul Boyer and John Walker of Britain's Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology will take home half of the $1 million award. Jens Skou of Denmark's Aarhus University won the other half. Also, two Americans and a Frenchman won the physics prize. Stanford University's Steven Chu, William Phillips of Maryland's National Institute of Standards and Technology, and College de France's Prof. Claude Cohen-Tannoudji were cited for their experiments to cool atoms to super-low temperatures.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft successfully blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on its seven-year, 2-billion-mile journey to Saturn. The probe in the $3.4 billion mission is the largest and most expensive ever assembled by NASA. Cassini is expect-ed to orbit the planet 74 times from 2004 to 2008. It will also release a probe to land on Titan, Saturn's largest moon.

Vice President Gore told 300 federal, state, and local officials in Santa Monica, Calif., that he and Clinton were warned by scientific advisers that the El Nino expected this winter could be the "climate event of the century." Los Angeles could receive three times its normal winter rainfall, he said. The El Nino weather condition is caused by warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean.

The five-year-old Florida Marlins became baseball's fastest expansion team to reach the World Series, defeating the Atlanta Braves four games to two in the National League Championship Series. The Marlins will face the winner of the American League playoff between the Cleveland Indians and the Baltimore Orioles. The World Series opens in Florida Saturday.

The Defense Department asked that its views be considered in a proposed nationwide tobacco settlement with 40 state attorneys general, a spokesman announced. The step makes the Pentagon the first federal agency to make such a request. Under the deal, tobacco companies would be required to pay $368 billion over 25 years for smoking-related health-care expenses. Pentagon officials have estimated that the military's share of that settlement should be $584 million a year.

Lawyers for Paula Jones suggested that Clinton should disclose whether he had sexual relations with women other than his wife when he was governor of Arkansas. Papers filed in federal court in preparation of Jones's sexual harassment suit asked that Clinton give written answers to 72 questions, including whether he asked a state trooper to summon her to a hotel room for him in May 1991.

Firefighters battled to contain a wildfire in affluent suburbs of Los Angeles that burned thousands of acres. At least two homes have been destroyed and schools and roads closed.

A cache of 100-million-year-old fossils found in Cedar Mountain, Utah, has filled an 80-million-year gap in the history of dinosaurs, according to an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The gap spans from the end of the Jurrassic period 145 million years ago to the beginning of the Cretaceous 65 million years ago.

The World

Communists in Russia's lower house of Parliament were attempting to muster enough support to pass a no-confidence vote against President Yeltsin's government. But Yeltsin's last-minute bid to defuse the showdown - by promising to seek compromise on his austere 1998 budget - was being considered by Duma members as the Monitor went to press. A successful no-confidence vote would have no legal effect unless followed by a second vote within 90 days.

Tamil rebels denied responsibility for a truck-bomb explosion that killed at least 15 people and injured 105 others in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo. Police said the casualties would have been more numerous if much of the city's business district hadn't been closed for a holiday. Ten hours after the blast, Army troops still were shooting at suspected guerrillas hiding in a newspaper building.

President Clinton promoted his free-trade agenda during a visit to Brazil's financial capital, So Paulo. He told a gathering of business leaders that "globalization is irreversible" and urged them to reject protectionism. But Brazilian officials said the visit had done little to overcome opposition to his push to set up a Free Trade Area of the Americas by 2005. Clinton then flew to Argentina, where he was to meet with President Carlos Menem.

Rebel forces in the Congo Republic claimed to have complete control of the capital, Brazza-ville, as well as the strategic oil town Pointe Noir, where witnesses said President Pascal Lissouba's troops put up little resistance. Former military leader Denis Sassou Nguesso's militia has been receiving help from Angolan troops and already controls much of the north of the country. Lissouba's whereabouts were not known, but Prime Minister Bernard Kolelas and several deputies fled the country.

"Until the last minute of the last hour of the last day," Colombian President Ernesto Samper vowed to remain in office, rejecting calls for his resignation as part of a new peace plan. The proposal, worked out in secret between former trade minister Juan Manuel Santos and leftist rebels, also would allow the rebels to help rewrite the Constitution. Samper's term ends next August.

Israel's secret service plan-ned to assassinate Hamas lead-er Khaled Meshal a year ago in Turkey, the Jerusalem newspaper Haaretz reported. But it said the plan was dropped to avoid a dip-lomatic break with the Ankara government. A failed attempt to kill Meshal last month in Amman, Jordan, has strained ties with Israel's strongest Arab ally.

In an attempt at marketing its economic potential, North Korea tried to woo international investors with promises of tax breaks, a labor environment in which there would be no strikes, and a crime-free society. Its pitch came at a World Economic Forum conference in Hong Kong. But a representative had only vague answers for questions about allowing private enterprise or access to the domestic market. The communist country has been battered by drought, malnutrition, and a state economy that analysts say is near collapse.

Other antidemocratic regimes may be penalized by the British Commonwealth, but the group will not expel Nigeria's military government, Secretary-General Emeka Anyaoku said. He said leaders of the 54-nation group would wait to see if the regime in Abuja makes good on a pledge to hold democratic elections by next October. Nigeria was suspended in 1995 for undemocratic practices. But as a major oil-producer and trading partner, commonwealth officials admit it would be difficult to impose tougher sanctions. The commonwealth conference opens next Friday in Edinburgh, Scotland.

"The President has clearly taken a hike and missed an opportunity to eliminate billions of dollars in low-priority, unnecessary, and wasteful spending from the defense budget."

- Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona, chastising President Clinton for not trimming more from the defense bill.

Etceteras

If you drive down Route 66 in East Hampton, Conn. this time of year, don't be spooked by Pumpkintown, USA. The tiny community set up in front of Paul and Sandy Peszynski's nursery features 54 pumpkin-headed residents who hang out in a shed-village that includes a fire station, church, and jail. Some of the featured pumpkin people, which are more than five feet tall, include mayor Leroy Butternut, pumpkin-in-chief Bill Clintompkin and his wife Hillary Horseradish.

Caught speeding? That will be $25, paid out in cans of tuna. Wrote a bad check? Baby food, $55 worth. In Magistrate Don Hensley's court in Simpsonville, S.C., offenders give back to the community - in food that goes straight to the poor. Hensley began imposing food fines on nonviolent petty offenders last month and has raised some $4,000 worth of canned goods.

Officials at the Atlanta Botanical Garden are hopping mad and wondering where their poison dart frogs have gone. They suspect a frog fanatic stole 22 of the brilliantly colored Latin American amphibians from the garden's collection earlier this month.

The Day's List

Nannies Find More Cash For Kid Care Down Under

Working families looking for someone to help watch their children know that finding the right person can be time-consuming and at times costly. But nannies can come cheaper, that is, if you live in a developing nation, according to a survey by New York-based ECA Windham, which provides cost-of-living data for more than 200 countries. Hourly pay for nannies in some of the world's larger countries:

Australia $8.27

Britain 5.83

US (live-in) 5.79

Canada 5.13

Japan (live-in) 4.62

Germany 3.19

Brazil (live-in) 2.66

Hong Kong 2.31

Mexico 1.13

China 0.53

- ECA Windham LLC

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