News In Brief

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President Clinton was to fly to Nicaragua today on the first leg of a four-day tour of Central American countries hit hardest last year by hurricane Mitch. The late-October storm killed 9,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

Sen. Connie Mack (R) of Florida will reportedly announce in Washington today that he will not seek reelection in 2000. An aide said Mack believes it's time to move on to a new challenge. The two-term senator is a longtime advocate of term limits.

Cuban and US baseball officials reached an agreement for the Baltimore Orioles to play Cuba's national team in a pair of exhibition games this spring, The Sun (Baltimore) reported. The State Department had notified interested members of Congress earlier that a deal was near on both a March 28 game in Havana and a subsequent matchup in Baltimore.

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Former Cabinet member Elizabeth Dole will announce this week that she's setting up a committee to explore a possible presidential campaign, an aide said. The announcement is expected to be made in Iowa. Meanwhile, sources close to former Vice President Dan Quayle said he will formally launch his campaign for the presidency on April 14 in Huntington, Ind.

The Coast Guard called off a search for as many as 43 Haitians presumed dead after two boats sank off the south Florida coast. Rescuers found only three survivors. The boats were apparently part of a plan to smuggle Haitians into the US.

Four black men imprisoned for murder for two decades won an unprecedented $36 million settlement from Cook County, Ill. The men claimed sheriff's officers investigating the 1978 case were racists who hid evidence that would have helped the defense. Two of the wrongly convicted men went to death row; the others were given life sentences. All were freed in 1996 and pardoned after a Northwestern University journalism professor and three students proved a witness had lied. Three other men were later convicted of the crime. Attorneys said it was the biggest settlement ever of a civil-rights lawsuit stemming from police misconduct.

The government said it is upgrading warning labels on popular sport-utility vehicles (SUVs). A new yellow, black, and white label - with a graphic of a vehicle leaning to one side on two of its four wheels - is replacing a 20-year-old text-only version. Sales of SUVs reportedly reached 2.8 million last year, or 18 percent of all light vehicles.

The Mormon Church said it would post at least some of its family-history archive - the world's largest - on the World Wide Web. A notice on the official Web site of the church, www.lds.org, said the material was being provided as a public service to those trying to trace family histories.

Cyber crooks caused well over $100 million in losses last year, the San Francisco-based Computer Security Institute reported. A survey of security professionals found almost one-third saying outsiders had penetrated their computer systems in the past year - most frequently through an Internet connection.

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