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News In Brief

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Boris Yeltsin's choice for new prime minister of Russia faces certain defeat tomorrow when the lower house of parliament votes on his confirmation, a Kremlin official acknowledged. Alexander Kotenkov, Yeltsin's liaison to the Communist-dominated Duma, said legislators might yet approve Sergei Kiriyenko for the post, but would take "another week or two" to lobby for changes in government.

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After major concessions from both sides, the International Monetary Fund and Indonesia announced a new try at salvaging a $38 billion bailout of the economy - the third in six months. Indonesia agreed to disband key monopolies in return for continued subsidies to some industries in an bid to hold down prices and prevent civil unrest. Worry about Indonesia's commitment to economic reforms led the IMF to hold up a $3 billion loan payment last month.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's 20-day-old coalition government in India was dealt its first setback when a junior member of his Cabinet resigned after being ordered to trial on corruption charges. Analysts and the rival Congress Party said the move was an embarrassment for Vajpayee, who led a clean-government campaign in elections last month.

New credibility was conferred on Cambodia's controversial July 26 election when the UN agreed to serve as coordinator for its monitors and poll-watchers. Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced the decision in letters to Premier Hun Sen and his ousted rival, Norodom Ranariddh, despite the latter's contention that the vote will not be fair. The election is widely seen as a bid by Hun Sen to gain legitimacy after he engineered last summer's violent coup that sent Ranariddh into exile. Until then, they had shared power under an earlier, UN-sponsored peace plan.

Donor countries haven't done enough to help rebuild the battered economy and infrastructure of Congo, self-appointed President Laurent Kabila complained. Kabila, who seized power last spring, said his government is trying to reverse years of neglect in the former Zaire. But potential donors have made assistance conditional on democratic reforms and a reversal of human-rights abuses, and critics say they see little of either under Kabila.

Suspicion fell on a terrorist movement known as November 17 for a rocket attack that heavily damaged an Athens branch of Citibank. No injuries were reported. The incident fit a pattern of recent attacks on US-owned enterprises in the Greek capital. It wasn't thought to be linked to the merger announced earlier this week between Citibank's parent company and the Travelers Group. A week ago, US Ambassador Nicholas Burns had warned that such attacks were likely to reduce foreign investment in Greece.

Etceteras

"Look beyond the bottom line. Face the reality that too much of what you're putting on the air is making our country more violent and vulgar ..."

- US Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D) of Connecticut, urging broadcasters to exercise judgement in their programming.

His best-known work is the symbol of an entire continent. It was formally open-ed by Queen Elizabeth II. World-class artists consider their careers incomplete if they've never performed there. And yet Joern Utzon, the Danish architect of the Sydney Opera House left town before construction was finished, vowing never to return. Utzon was disgusted at his treatment by local politicians. But that was 32 years ago, and a grateful city now hopes bygones are bygones. Its leaders have invited Utzon back to celebrate his birthday today. And this time they'reoffering the keys to the city.

Just when you thought the "Titanic" phenomenon was petering out, along comes word that a US-Swiss partnership plans an exact replica of the luxury liner - but with 21st century technology. That is, if the holder of the original blueprints gives its OK.

The Day's List

Rating 20th Century's Most Influential Leaders

Time magazine has published the first installment of a series celebrating what its editors call the 100 most influential people of the past 10 decades. The April 13 issue showcases the top 20 "leaders and revolutionaries," including "the Unknown Rebel" who stood alone before a column of advancing tanks near Tiananmen Square in Beijing June 5, 1989. The other 19:

David Ben-Gurion

Winston Churchill

Mohandas Gandhi

Mikhail Gorbachev

Adolf Hitler

Ho Chi Minh

Pope John Paul II

Ayatollah Khomeini

Martin Luther King Jr.

Vladimir Lenin

Nelson Mandela

Mao Zedong

Ronald Reagan

Eleanor Roosevelt

Franklin Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt

Margaret Sanger

Margaret Thatcher

Lech Walesa

- Reuters