President Clinton and Democratic congressional leaders have agreed to delay Mr. Clinton's proposed "economic stimulus" spending increases until lawmakers can vote on his more painful deficit-reduction package. The decision on Feb. 23 came after growing numbers of rank-and-file Democrats expressed concern that by voting on the spending boosts first, they would appear to be shirking or perhaps even abandoning the tougher votes on Clinton's proposed tax increases and spending cuts. As it looks now, there wi ll be two nearly simultaneous House votes sometime between mid-March and early April first on tax increases and spending cuts, then on Clinton's short-term spending increases. The agreement effectively speeds up decisions on spending cuts, the White House said. Greenspan positive

Orders to US factories for durable goods fell 1.7 percent in January, the biggest drop in six months, produced in large part by a decline in aircraft orders. Many analysts pointed to other signs suggesting a strengthening manufacturing sector, including continued expansion of industrial production.

Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan yesterday told the House Budget Committee the outlook for the economy was "reasonably good." This was his third appearance before Congress in less than a week. Starting Feb. 19, Greenspan told Congress he gives a strong endorsement to the economic program outlined by Clinton and has indicated that the Fed stands ready to offset the effects of the program.

Mulroney quits

Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney announed his resignation yesterday in a letter to the Progressive Conservative Party, which he has led for 10 years. He is required to stay on until his party holds a leadership convention, probably in June. Unemployment, record bankruptcies, massive debt, and no clear policy for recovering from a staggering three-year recession have hurt Mr. Mulroney. California drought over

California officials Feb. 23 pronounced an official end to California's worst dry spell on record a six-year drought. A storm Feb. 20-21 in the Sierra Nevada had raised snowfall totals to their highest level at any time in the past decade and promised to bring most reservoirs above normal. It has been the wettest rainy season in the state in years. Turmoil in India

The Indian government yesterday closed central New Delhi to prevent hundreds of thousands of Hindu nationalists from converging and holding a banned rally. Policemen and paramilitary troops, carrying machine guns and wooden clubs, caused huge traffic jams by closing roads headed toward Parliament.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, the Hindu nationalist group that plans to hold the rally near Parliament today, announced that its top officials would lead groups trying to break through police cordons from five different directions.

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