News In Brief

The US

A court-appointed adjudicator disqualified Teamsters Union president Ron Carey from running in a new election ordered after a first vote was nullified because of illegal funds raised by his aides. Kenneth Conboy said Carey violated election rules by authorizing a $735,000 payment from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters that benefited his campaign. Conboy also said Carey knew of other violations committed by campaign aides.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was cutting short his speaking tour to tend to pressing matters in the Middle East. He also called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from Beverly Hills, Calif., to offer Israel's condolences after a deadly terrorist attack on tourists at a historic site in Luxor. Netanyahu was in California to assure North American Jews that Orthodox religious authorities in Israel won't be allowed to limit American Jews' religious rights.

Two senior California Democrats, Vic Fazio and Ron Dellums, chose the same day to announce plans to retire from Congress. Fazio holds the third-ranking position in the party's House leadership. Dellums is the ranking Democrat on the House National Security Committee. So far, eight Republicans and 14 Democrats have announced they will retire before elections next fall.

President Clinton planned to meet with Kazakstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Washington to forge closer ties between the US and former Soviet republic. Earlier, Nazarbayev and Vice President Gore signed a pact to improve the safety of Kazakstan's nuclear reactors and find peaceful, civilian uses for its existing infrastructure. The US is trying to encourage development of democratic institutions in the former Soviet republics and assist with economic growth.

The US offered $78 million to help stabilize the hastily built sarcophagus that covers the damaged Chernobyl nuclear reactor in Ukraine. The contribution is part of $300 million committed by the European Commission and the Group of Seven industrial nations. Total cost of the project is $760 million. Fifty potential contributor nations have been invited to a conference in New York tomorrow co-chaired by Gore and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.

Guns and armor-piercing ammunition found in Terry Nichols's home were stolen from her gun-show business five months before the Oklahoma City bombing, Karen Anderson testified in a Denver court. Anderson is a partner in Arkansas-based American Assault Co. Authorities allege Nichols robbed $63,000 worth of weaponry and cash from the company in November 1994 to finance the bomb plot. Earlier, an FBI agent testified that plastic bottles found in Nichols's home had labels describing the contents as ammonium nitrate fertilizer, which was used in the bomb.

Thirty-one states joined a lawsuit against Toys 'R' Us and four other major retailers. The original complaint filed in a Brooklyn, N.Y., federal court in October contends the New Jersey-based company bullied suppliers into denying popular toys to discount warehouse clubs, thereby inflating prices. The states also named Hasbro, Mattel, Tyco Industries, and Little Tikes as defendants, claiming Toys 'R' Us brokered an illegal agreement among them.

The United Mine Workers and leaders of the coal, electric, and railroad industries reached a rare consensus to oppose ratification of the proposed global climate treaty. All said the treaty could have a disastrous effect on workers. Representatives from 160 countries plan to meet in Kyoto, Japan, next month to work out an agreement among industrial nations on binding reductions in "greenhouse" gases.

Consumer prices rose a modest 0.2 percent in October, the Department of Labor announced. The figure matches the inflation rate of the previous three months.

The World

The US will send still more combat jets to the Gulf in response to the weapons-inspection standoff with Iraq, President Clinton announced. But in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Yvgeny Primakov said he and Deputy Iraqi Prime Minister Tariq Aziz had formulated a plan to avoid the use of force. (Story, Page 1.) Meanwhile, U-2 spy plane flights over Iraq resumed despite the Baghdad government's insistence that the UN would be the first to know whether it still held prohibited weapons.

Al-Gama'a, the country's largest militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack but said its original plan was to take hostages to force the release of its leader, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, from a US prison. President Mubarak replaced his interior minister, vowing tougher security measures. But analysts predicted the incident would be a devastating blow to Egypt's vital tourist industry.

Russian President Yeltsin rejected Communist Party demands that he fire Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais. Chubais, also the leading economic reformer in Yeltsin's government, is under fire for taking $90,000 to help write a book on Russia's privatization program. Communists in the lower house of parliament vowed to block passage of Yeltsin's 1998 budget until Chubais was dismissed, but later said they'd allow it to be discussed Friday.

The long-awaited plan to inject new energy into Japan's stalled economy was announced by the government. It features long-term deregulation, increased government loans to small- and medium-sized businesses, and greater financial support for infrastructure projects. It does not include tax cuts, although officials said a decision on those would be made next month. Japan is under US pressure to stimulate domestic growth so it doesn't have to rely heavily on exports.

Two days after releasing prominent dissident Wei Jingsheng from prison on "medical parole," China hinted it also may free equally well-known democracy-movement leader Wang Dan on similar grounds. A Foreign Ministry official told reporters he thought "this kind of situation . . . will continue" in the future. Wang, like Wei, is serving the second of two terms for his activities.

A senior administrator of China's official Xinhua news agency entered the race for a seat in parliament from Hong Kong, angering the territory's democracy activists. Jiang En-zhu's move, while legal, brought allegations that the former British colony is not as free as China promised it would be. The Xinhua bureau in Hong Kong was China's de-facto embassy before Britain yielded control July 1.

Six defendants went on trial in Berlin for the 1986 bombing of a nightclub favored by US military personnel. The blast killed two Americans and a Turkish woman and injured 230 other persons. Prosecutors allege two Palestinians, a Libyan, and two German women carried out the attack on orders from Libyan intelligence. Ten days later, US warplanes bombed the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi in reprisal.

Eighty Latvian Jews were the first to receive checks from the fund set up by Swiss banks to provide "humanitarian relief" to victims of World War II Nazi oppression. The payments in the capital, Riga, came from the $200 million fund established in response to claims that the Swiss had profited from the German war machine. Checks are in amounts proportional to the cost of living in eastern Europe, up to $1,000.

"Unfortunately, this sum isn't enough for a washing machine."

- Latvian labor camp survivor Riva Sefere, whose $400 check was the first payment from a special new Swiss humanitarian relief fund for victims of Nazi oppression.

Etceteras

If a common European currency were already in place, Italian treasury officials presumably wouldn't be apologizing for the 1,000-lire coin they issued last week . . . or hurrying to mint a new one now. A collector put one of the coins under a microscope and discovered its design had been etched using an out-of-date map of Europe and shows a divided Germany. But East and West Germany were reunified in 1990. A geographically correct version of the coin is due out shortly.

A third-grader in Copenhagen, working on a class project about the beloved fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen, went home and told her father about the assignment. That triggered a memory. He went to a long-forgotten file and pulled out a hand-written original poem entitled "To Frederik's Mother" that Andersen had sent to the girl's great-grandmother in 1836. The find, which is to be published for the first time as part of the school project, is being called "rare, genuine, and exciting" by literary experts.

The Day's List

Car Buyers Rate Makes They're Happiest With

If it costs a lot of money, customers tend to be satisfied with it. That's one conclusion drawn from J.D. Power & Associates' annual consumer survey of new-car owners. They were asked to rate their buying experiences in such categories as honesty, integrity, and communication. The maximum score is 160. This year's top 10 makes (with 1996 rankings in parentheses):

1. Saturn, 157 (1)

2. Mercedes-Benz, 156 (4)

3. Porsche, 154 (7)

4. BMW, 153 (9)

tie Lexus, 153 (1)

tie Volvo, 153 (2)

5. Audi, 152 (9)

6. Jaguar, 151 (6)

tie Land Rover, 151 (13)

7. Cadillac, 150 (3)

tie Infiniti, 150 (4)

8. Lincoln, 148 (5)

9. Mercury, 146 (9)

10. Buick, 141 (8)

- Associated Press

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