News In Brief

Two-thousand US marines would be among the first to go into Kosovo as part of an international security force to protect returning ethnic-Albanian refugees, the Pentagon said. The biggest initial challenges facing this NATO-led force would be removing land mines, setting up an infrastructure for its own troops, and helping refugees by rebuilding roads and bridges, spokesman Kenneth Bacon said.

The space shuttle Discovery made a rare night landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., ending a 10-day mission to outfit the International Space Station. A crew of five Americans, a Canadian, and a Russian spent six days storing water, oxygen, computers, and some household necessities on the station. The provisions were for the crews scheduled to take up residence on the orbiting outpost next spring.

A federal commission on gambling finished a report that urges a go-slow approach to new casinos and lotteries and an increase to 21 in the minimum age for betting. Congress created the National Gambling Impact Study Commission in 1996.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first lady, unveiled plans to set up a political exploratory committee - the first formal step toward a likely run for the Senate from New York. The panel, to be established next month, will allow funds to be raised for a campaign to succeed Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D), who is retiring. New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, one of several possible GOP candidates for the Senate seat, set up an exploratory panel months ago.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) can use closed hearings to strip immigrants of naturalized US citizenship obtained by fraud, a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled. A spokesman for the INS said the ruling could expedite some 4,500 cases nationwide. Lawyers for the plaintiffs vowed to appeal the 2-to-1 decision.

An accord over sharing, conserving, and rebuilding of West Coast wild-salmon runs was reached by US and Canadian negotiators after years of bitter feuding. The agreement gives Canada more Fraser River sockeye salmon, but reduces Canada's catch of chinook salmon, Gov. Gary Locke (D) of Washington said. In addition, Alaska reportedly agreed to reduce its chinook- and coho-salmon catch. The accord will be in force for a decade in most areas - 12 years for some species in the Fraser River.

Five law-enforcement officials were acquitted in a Wheaton, Ill., court of charges they conspired to frame Rolando Cruz, who spent a decade on death row after the murder of a 10-year-old girl in 1983. Two other defendants, both former prosecutors, were dropped from the conspiracy case during the 28-day trial.

Silken-voiced pop and jazz singer Mel Torme, who died Saturday in Los Angeles, was also a song arranger, drummer, actor, author, and song writer during a show-business career that spanned more than five decades. Torme helped to write "The Christmas Song," which began as a major hit for Nat "King" Cole and became an American classic. In 1982 and 1983, Torme won Grammy Awards for Best Male Jazz Vocalist for a pair of albums with George Shearing.

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