News In Brief

The US

Democrat Lois Capps easily won California's 22nd congressional district open primary in the state's central-coast area with 45 percent of the vote. On the Republican side, antiabortion forces scored a victory, defeating an abortion-rights candidate recruited by House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Media attention was focused on this fight for second place between conservative Tom Bordonaro and moderate Brooks Firestone. Bordonaro surprised the GOP party establishment by taking 28 percent of the vote - 3 percent more than Firestone - despite being outspent more than 4 to 1. Bordonaro will oppose Capps in a March 10 runoff. A special election was triggered by the death of Capps's late husband, Walter Capps, the first Democrat in 50 years to hold the seat.

A key congressman said requested US subsidies for the International Monetary Fund were in jeopardy. Rep. Jim Saxton (R) of New Jersey, who chairs the Joint Economic Committee, called the IMF's Asia policies "counterproductive." Last year, Congress stripped funding for the IMF from a foreign-aid bill in a row over whether Washington should contribute to groups that support abortion. Clinton administration efforts to make $3.5 billion available to the IMF will be revived this year. The administration also wants Congress to approve a nearly $15 billion payment to cover the US share of an IMF quota increase.

An Internal Revenue Service audit revealed nationwide abuse of taxpayer rights. The report, covering 12 IRS districts coast to coast, said the agency had caused the problem by routinely rating its employees on the basis of how much money they collected. An earlier report found similar abuse in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

A burst of auto sales in December helped US retailers finish 1997 on a strong note after a mixed performance through much of the year, the Commerce Department said. Retail sales rose 0.7 percent last month. Sales for all of 1997 increased 4.2 percent, smaller than the 5.2 percent gain posted a year earlier.

Gov. Zell Miller (D) said he wants Georgia to give parents of newborn children a classical music cassette or compact disc as a means of boosting the infants' intelligence. Citing a study that reportedly indicates college students score higher on IQ tests after listening to a Mozart piano sonata for 10 minutes, the governor asked legislators to provide $105,000 for the music program as part of a $12.5 billion budget proposal.

President Clinton lifted a moratorium on new firms providing home health-care services to the elderly under Medicare. He said new antifraud regulations and other measures made it possible to lift a ban imposed in September. The moratorium followed a series of studies that found fraud rampant in the Medicare-financed home health-care industry.

ABC said it would broadcast National Football League Monday night games for another eight years. The network said its new contract also includes three Super Bowls, 17 regular-season games, and three preseason games a year. An industry source said ABC will pay $550 million a year - a total of $4.4 billion - for the broadcasting rights.

The US space agency gave astronaut David Wolf the go-ahead for a spacewalk outside Russia's Mir space station. Wolf and Mir commander Anatoly Solovyev were to inspect a troublesome hatch and examine the exterior of the outpost for signs of wear. Wolf, who has lived on Mir since September, is due to be replaced by Australian-born NASA astronaut Andrew Thomas later this month.

The president declared parts of Tennessee a major disaster area. The action makes federal relief funds available to affected individuals in Carter County and to eligible local governments in Carter, Cumberland, Jackson, and Johnson Counties on a cost-sharing basis. Those areas have been hit hard by storms and floods since Jan. 6.

The World

A team of UN weapons inspectors led by American Scott Ritter got no farther on its second day in Iraq than on its first. Government monitors again failed to show up to escort the team to sites it wished to investigate. Teams not led by Americans continued to do their work. In New York, the Security Council was expected to vote on a statement directing Iraq to accept the US-led team. But Iraqi news reports said the decision to impede Ritter's work would not be reversed.

International Monetary Fund chief Michel Camdessus follow-ed US Defense Secretary Cohen and Deputy Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers in visiting financially troubled Indonesia. He said he hoped to announce a package of reforms required for a $38 billion IMF bailout.

Asia's turbulent financial markets remained on an upward course for the second straight day after steep losses earlier in the week. Singapore's main stock index closed up 8 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng improved by 5.8 percent, and the Nikkei in Tokyo gained 2.5 percent. Analysts attributed the recovery in large part to the performance of the Dow Jones industrial average in the US.

Algeria reversed itself and said it would not permit a fact-finding mission from the European Union to visit after all. There was no explanation for the announcement; the EU team planned to seek ways to end the ongoing violence in the North African nation and submit a report in Brussels Jan. 26. Algeria repeated its denial of reports that as many as 400 people were killed last weekend in two massacres blamed on Muslim extremists. The government puts the casualties from the two attacks at 103 dead and 70 injured.

Canadian troops were given special arrest powers against looters to reassure anxious families it was safe to evacuate homes still without power and heat after last week's ice storm. An estimated 665,000 homes in southern Quebec and eastern Ontario remain affected. Officials say power may not be restored to some areas for up to two weeks.

Cardinal Jaime Ortega of Havana made the first appearance by a Roman Catholic leader on Cuban TV since shortly after the communist takeover of the country in 1959. His talk to the nation was allowed by the Castro government to help promote next week's visit by Pope John Paul II. Ortega's remarks avoided direct mention of the pope's role in opposing communism in his native Poland.

Bosnian Serbs loyal to indict-ed war-crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic launched a new private TV station to replace the channel banned for obstructing the peace process. Its first broadcast was devoted to celebrations of the Serbian Orthodox New Year, but analysts said the new outlet would give hardliners a voice to compete with state-run TV under Serb sub-state President Biljana Plavsic, Karadic's rival.

Under US pressure, Montenegro President Momir Bulatovic said he would step down with dignity following an earlier refusal to yield the office today to his elected successor, pro-Western reformer Milo Djukanovic.

Six years after losing the region of eastern Slavonia to Serb forces, Croatia formally regains control today. Peace in the mostly ethnic Serb area has been kept by UN troops since 1995. Analysts say Croatia's efforts at preparing for the take-over still fall short of the goal: resettling tens of thousands of people who fled Serb bombardment in 1991. Last June, a "peace train" to the region carrying Croatian President Franjo Tudjman was stoned by Serbs.

Etceteras

"All your economies are so interrelated. We need to have them all succeeding so ... Asia can again enjoy the incomparable growth it [had] for so long."

- International Monetary Fund chief Michel Camdessus, completing a tour of the financially troubled region.

If you flirt with coworkers on the job, a new report indicates you're not apt to admit it. Details magazine cites a survey of 400 adults employed in offices or in retail sales. Almost 75 percent of the men in the sample said they'd seen female colleagues flirting. Just under half of the women surveyed said they had been flirted with. But only 33 percent of all respondents said well, yes, they'd flirted at least once.

To hear Taiwan state radio tell it, China's ambassador to the Philippines must have a powerful thirst. Guan Dengming reportedly spent five hours in the lobby of a Manila luxury hotel, drinking endless cups of coffee as he kept tabs on the movements of Taiwan's visiting premier, Vincent Siew. China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province unworthy of foreign recognition, officially protested Siew's visit.

In diplomacy - as in real estate - location is everything. Case in point: the new British embassy in Kiev, Ukraine. It won't be built on the site originally proposed - next door to President Leonid Kuchma's new digs. The host government offered "various options of compensation" to avoid the possibility of the British listening electronically to his every word.

The Day's List

New Inductees Into Rock And Roll Hall of Fame

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, which opened in Cleveland in 1995, formally inducted its new members this week at ceremonies in a New York hotel. An artist becomes eligible for the hall 25 years after the release of his or her first recording or for lifetime contributions to the genre. The new inductees:

The Eagles

Fleetwood Mac

The Mamas and the Papas (Cass Elliot posthumously)

Santana

Lloyd Price

Gene Vincent (posthumously)

Jelly Roll Morton (posthumously as an "early influence")

Allen Toussaint, producer

- Associated Press

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