News In Brief

The US

President Clinton is expected to offer a balanced budget and propose big spending increases for schools, child care, medical research, and the environment in tonight's State of the Union speech. He's also expected to advocate expansion of the Peace Corps, a consumers' "bill of rights" for health care, an anti-smoking initiative for children, and greater investment in federal efforts on food safety, medical research, and AIDS treatment. Iraq, NATO expansion, and plans for an Asia bailout will also be addressed.

Clinton again strongly denied having a sexual relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He issued the denial during a White House event unveiling new education and child-care proposals. Hillary Rodham Clinton also spoke at the event but did not address the allegations. Lewinsky and Vernon Jordan, the president's friend and an influential Washington lawyer, are among those scheduled for questioning today by independent counsel Kenneth Starr.

The Clinton administration commissioned its own public opinion survey by longtime Democratic pollster Mark Penn after several polls showed the president's popularity is falling. The poll, funded by the Democratic National Committee, is intended to help guide the president and his aides in countering allegations that he had an affair with a White House intern.

The US Supreme Court agreed to review federal regulations aimed at opening the $100 billion local-phone market to long-distance companies. The justices voted to study a federal appeals court ruling that struck down Federal Communications Commission guidelines for the prices competitors must pay to connect to local phone networks. The appeals court ruled last July that such pricing authority belongs to the states, not to the FCC. The court also ruled that older workers who believe they were illegally pressured to quit their jobs do not necessarily have to give back severance pay before suing for age bias.

A Super Bowl XXXII victory celebration is scheduled for today for the Denver Broncos, who beat the defending champion Green Bay Packers 31-24 after breaking a fourth-quarter tie. Running back Terrell Davis was voted most valuable player after making Super Bowl history with three touchdowns. It was the first victory for the American Football Conference in 14 years. Afterward, Denver police used tear gas repeatedly to clear violent crowds celebrating the victory.

Compaq Computer Corp. agreed to buy Digital Equipment Corp. of Maynard, Mass., for $9.6 billion. If approved by stockholders and regulators, the deal would be the biggest buyout in the history of the computer industry and make Compaq a world leader in making computers. Houston-based Compaq already is the world's biggest maker of personal computers but has said it wants to be among the three largest computer manufacturers overall by the turn of the century, the Associated Press reported.

Northwest Airlines will acquire a 14 percent stake in Continental Airlines Inc. to form a strategic global alliance, the latter announced. It is buying the stake in Continental now owned by Air Partners LP and its affiliates for $519 million in cash and Northwest stock.

US astronaut Andrew Thomas was given permission to take up residence at the Mir space station after adjustments were made to an emergency spacesuit that he said didn't fit properly.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service became the largest federal-agent force in 1996, with more personnel under arms than either the Bureau of Prisons or the FBI, the Justice Department reported. The number of federal agents with arrest power increased by 31 percent by mid-1996, the report said. The Border Patrol, whose force is heavily concentrated along the US-Mexican border, accounts for about two-thirds of the INS's growth.

The World

Two old friends of Iraq resumed efforts to end the country's standoff with the UN over arms inspections. Russia sent Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov to try to find a negotiated way out of the confrontation. French President Jacques Chirac said Iraqi officials need-ed to understand that it was in their interests to cooperate with UN inspectors because "there is another road to take than confrontation." In Washington, President Clinton said any decision on a US response to the standoff would not be affected by his alleged affair with a White House intern.

Choosing to jump before it was pushed, Northern Ireland's Ulster Democratic Party (UDP) pulled out of negotiations on the future of the province. The party is the legal representative of the outlawed Ulster Defense Association, which has admitted responsibility for at least three of the eight slayings of Catholics in Northern Ireland since Christmas. The British and Irish Republic governments were to vote later Monday on whether the UDP could remain a partner in the talks.

Indonesia began a week of major national festivals with relative good news from its financial markets. The major stock index closed up 5 percent, the battered rupiah improved by almost 1,000 to the US dollar from last Friday's close of 14,500, and the US investment firm Morgan Stanley confirmed that it was discussing financial aid measures to the beleaguer-ed country.

Opponents of Cambodia's government quickly cried foul over parliament's approval of an elections commission considered unlikely to be neutral when voters go to the polls in July. Lawmakers voted 70 to 15 for an 11-member panel to organize, monitor, and verify the election. But opposition leaders said its composition favored Premier and coup leader Hun Sen. Critics call the election a bid by Hun Sen to regain legitimacy for his regime.

Tens of thousands of police and soldiers in combat uniforms guarded Tamil neighborhoods across Sri Lanka to prevent a backlash by Buddhists after the terrorist bombing of a temple Sunday. The blast killed at least 15 people; 21 others are hospitalized. Analysts warned the attack could drive an even deeper wedge between the island's majority Sinhalese population and Tamils, who are fighting for autonomy.

Pope John Paul II returned to the Vatican after ending his five-day visit to Cuba with an appeal for the US to end its embargo of the Communist-ruled island. He also called on exiled opponents of the Castro regime to "cooperate in a constructive and respectful way" in Cuba's progress. President Castro dismissed speculation that the visit might bring early change to his style of leadership.

Turkey's government is investigating possible fraud in a pyramid investment scheme similar to those whose collapse brought chaos to nearby Albania last year, a spokesman said. Such schemes are not illegal in Turkey, but the spokes-man said tax laws might have been violated. The news followed sensational revelations late last week that the government had spent $50 million between 1993 and 1996 on narcotics dealers and known terrorists hired to kill opponents living in exile.

Unidentified gunmen killed 23 people and suspected Muslim separatists detonated a rocket near Srinigar in northern India, disrupting the country's Republic Day celebrations. The casualties were Hindus, among the relative few who chose to stay in the volatile state of Jammu and Kashmir after Muslim insurgency erupt-ed there in 1989. No one was hurt in the rocket explosion.

Etceteras

"Other than my wife and my four kids, there's nothing better than this."

- Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, on his first Super Bowl victory in four tries and the American Football Conference's first in 14 years.

Realtor Nancy Alperin knows a lot about houses - just not the one at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. But that didn't keep her photograph from appearing on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer beside that of Monica Lewinsky as part of the newspaper's coverage of the alleged affair involving President Clinton. Reason: Alperin, who works in the City of Brotherly Love, is a Lewinsky look-alike.

Buddy, the Clintons' puppy, may not feel much warmth toward Socks, the family cat, as news photos have shown. But that could change. Consider the bond between Hudson and Zoe, Liz Beaumont's dog and cat, respectively. Reports from London say Zoe was somehow trapped inside a hot clothes drier. Seeing her predicament, Hudson barked until Ms. Beaumont arrived, stopped the spinning appliance, and rescued the frazzled feline.

Speaking of Britain, the latest motorist to have his license suspended there is retired racing champion Nigel Mansell. Perhaps forgetting he wasn't on the track, he was clocked at almost 100 m.p.h. Britain's top speed limit: 70. It was his third such offense.

The day's List

Terrell Davis Joins The List of Super Bowl MVPs

After Denver's 31-24 victory over Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII, Bronco running back Terrell Davis was voted most valuable player by a panel of writers and broadcasters. The 10 most recent winners of the award:

1997 Desmond Howard, Green Bay

1996 Larry Brown, Dallas

1995 Steve Young, San Francisco

1994 Emmitt Smith, Dallas

1993 Troy Aikman, Dallas

1992 Mark Rypien, Washington

1991 Ottis Anderson, New York Giants

1990 Joe Montana, San Francisco

1989 Jerry Rice, San Francisco

1988 Doug Williams, Washington

- The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1998

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