News In Brief

By , Lance Carden, and John Hoyle

The US

Paula Jones was to reveal whether she would appeal the dismissal of her sexual-harassment lawsuit against President Clinton. She had reportedly held meetings with her lawyers, who have said it was likely she would pursue the case. The suit was thrown out April 1 by US district Judge Susan Webber Wright in a stunning legal victory for the president.

The Christian Broadcasting Network said it would likely appeal a court ruling that it must produce notes by Monday about its financial dealings with the Christian Coalition. The notes are being sought as part of a Federal Election Commission investigation of allegations that the coalition violated its tax-exempt status by engaging in partisan politics. The Rev. Pat Robertson, who heads the network, said the notes - sought by a US court in Norfolk, Va. - were records from auditors.

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The US proposed mandatory changes in early model Boeing 737s, the world's most commonly used commercial plane. The proposed Federal Aviation Administration directive calls for electrical surge-suppression systems or shielding of wiring routed to the plane's fuel tanks, as well as flame arrestors and pressure-relief valves in fuel-vent systems.

A Paraguayan Embassy official said his country would pursue a complaint against the US over violation of Angel Francisco Breard's rights. Breard was executed Tuesday night in Virginia after Gov. Jim Gilmore (R) ignored pleas from Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the World Court that the execution be delayed. Virginia officials acknowledged they failed to inform Breard of his right to contact the Paraguayan consulate after his arrest on murder charges as required by the 1963 Vienna Convention.

Booming business on the Internet is boosting economic growth and moderating inflation, the Commerce Department said. Its report found that growth of data-technology industries accounted for more than one-quarter of the nation's growth over the past five years. It said Internet business, which was merely a trickle last year, could pass the $300 billion level by 2002.

A judge in Arkansas called for an inquiry into Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr's ties to other conservatives. US district Judge Henry Woods said groups accused of funneling money to key government witness David Hale might also have orchestrated removal of Woods from a Whitewater case. Woods, a Democrat, was assigned to hear a fraud and conspiracy case against then-Gov. Jim Guy Tucker (D) until the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals removed him in March 1996. Starr had asked that Woods be removed after the judge tossed out Tucker's initial indictment.

A planned launch of the space shuttle Columbia was delayed for at least a day because of an equipment problem. A space agency official said a device in the crew cabin that routes voice and data transmissions had failed during the final hours of the countdown.

A tornado skipped across northeastern Arkansas and western Tennessee, killing four people and injuring at least 22 others. Two of the deaths occurred in Manila, Ark., and two in southeast Dyer County, near Roellen, Tenn. Damage estimates were not immediately available. The incidents came a day after Clinton visited Alabama victims of last week's tornado activity. He offered encouragement and $3.2 million in additional US aid, raising federal disaster assistance for the state so far to $15.8 million. The White House said aid would likely increase as damage is more clearly assessed.

Average taxpayers won't earn enough to pay their 1998 US, state, and local tax bills until May 10 - the latest date ever, the private, conservative-leaning Tax Foundation said. This year's projected "tax freedom day" will come one day later than the previous high-water mark - in 1997 - the foundation said. The liberal Center for Budget and Policy Priorities charged the group with using inaccurate data.

The World

Skeptical Cambodian government officials requested the remains of infamous guerrilla leader Pol Pot to satisfy themselves that reports of his death were true. The ex-Khmer Rouge chief, blamed for the deaths of more than a million people in one of history's most brutal social experiments, apparently died of illness in a camp between the group's Anlong Veng stronghold and the border with Thailand. Exiled Cambodians and other survivors of the 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge reign of terror also expressed doubt at the reports.

Seventy-three percent of respondents to a poll in Northern Ireland said they'd vote "yes" on a referendum to certify the province's new peace accord - if it were held now. Similarly large percentages said the same in the Irish Republic and in Britain. Buoyed by the polls, the leader of Northern Ireland's largest pro-British party attack-ed hardliners in Protestant ranks who advocate rejection of the pact. David Trimble of the Ulster Unionists said claims that it would weaken ties with Britain were false.

Denying reports that he was prepared to submit a new nominee for prime minister, Russian President Yeltsin warned members of parliament that he'll once again propose Sergei Kiriyenko if they vote to reject him today. Kiriyenko received only 143 of the 226 votes needed for confirmation last Friday. By law, Yeltsin can dismiss parliament and call new elections if his nominee loses three times.

Twenty leading members of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party called on Prime Minister Hashimoto to resign. Analysts said the revolt was the first open indication of a deep political split over the country's ongoing economic troubles. Hashimoto's position was regarded as precarious but safe, at least until after July's election for the upper house of parliament. But the dissidents reportedly told him the party couldn't win the election without new leadership willing to use drastic measures to stimulate the economy.

In South Africa, the trial of former President P. W. Botha on contempt charges was postpon-ed until June 1 so his lawyers can study documents indicating he helped to authorize the killing of black activists during the apartheid era.

For the first time in 35 years, voters in Lebanon will have the opportunity to choose mayors and other local office-holders, the interior ministry said. Municipal elections will be held on four consecutive Sundays, beginning May 24. Civil war and political crisis have prevented voting since 1963.

The UN's investigation of atrocities against Hutu refugees will be withdrawn from Congo (formerly Zaire), informed sources said. Investigators have received little cooperation from the government of self-declared President Laurent Kabila or from local officials. Thousands of Hutu from neighboring Rwanda are believed to have been killed by Kabila's forces in the months leading up to his takeover last May; an estimated 250,000 others are missing.

Under heavy guard, 10 US college students and three professors returned to Guatemala to testify against the men accused of stopping their bus on a rural highway for a 90-minute rape and robbery ordeal. They were on a field trip sponsored by St. Mary's College in Maryland when the incident took place Jan. 16.

A meeting with his Chilean counterpart and an address to Congress were scheduled for President Clinton before this weekend's Summit of the Americas in Santiago. The two-day session is to focus on making the hemisphere a free-trade zone and on raising education-al standards.

Etceteras

In a commentary on the state of societal ethics, a company that trusts people to pay on the honor system for the snack foods they take from its open containers is scaling back. Silverado Inc. of Tulsa, Okla., placed 70,000 trays last year in beauty salons, gas stations, law offices, and other businesses too small for vending machines. Now, it places 35,000, because theft rates - at 30 percent - eat too deeply into profits. The worst offenders: younger employees and especially "temps," who often feel little loyalty to their workplaces.

For Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, his city's continued cooperation with a government bureau depends on the weather - whether it starts making more accurate forecasts. Russia's meteorological service predict-ed rain and 52-degree F. temperatures last Sunday. Instead, six inches of snow blanketed the city. "These deceptions," his press aide grumped, "happened many times over this past winter." Luzhkov threatened to start his own weather service - which could be more than a bluff since the popular mayor is a presumed candidate for president in 2000.

The Day's List

Sports Arenas That Have Had Structural Problems

Earlier this week, a 500-pound support beam collapsed in New York's Yankee Stadium, forcing postponement of at least two games. Other structural problems at major sports arenas in this decade:

Toronto SkyDome, June 22, 1995: wood tiles from upper deck fall onto spectators during a Blue Jays game, injuring at least seven people.

Seattle Kingdome, July 19, 1994: acoustic tiles fall from roof onto empty seats.

Carrier Dome, Syracuse University, March 13, 1993: roof deflated after storm leaves 43 inches of snow.

Montreal Olympic Stadium, Sept. 13, 1991: 55-ton concrete beam falls onto a walkway.

Montreal Olympic Stadium, June 27, 1991: retractable roof damaged by high winds; eventually replaced by a fixed roof.

- Associated Press

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