The next round of base closings, which Defense Secretary Les Aspin plans to deliver March 12 to the independent Base Closure and Realignment Commission, is already making political waves. As many as a third of the 30 bases said to be targeted for closing are in California, prompting that state's leadership to launch a preemptive attack against the plan. Gov. Pete Wilson (R) said the base closings would cost California 80,000 jobs and at least $3 billion. Mr. Aspin pledges to make "the mother of all base closing lists" fair to all regions of the country. FBI hunts terrorists

Investigators began a slow descent into the shaky crater beneath the World Trade Center as a worldwide search into the terrorist bombing continued. The FBI searched an apartment in Jersey City, N.J., on March 7 and took one man into custody, although no charges were filed. "We could have additional search warrants, and possibly arrest warrants, this week," the FBI's James Fox said yesterday. Texas standoff continues

David Koresh and his followers remained barricaded in their Waco, Texas, compound for a ninth day yesterday, with little sign that the Branch Davidian sect would surrender soon. "We are going through a very frustrating and disappointing period in the negotiation process," FBI agent Bob Ricks said. Oscar for Eastwood?

Clint Eastwood is an odds-on favorite to win at least one Academy Award this year for "Unforgiven" after winning the prestigious Directors Guild of America award March 6. In the 45-year history of the director's award, only three winners haven't gone on to win the best director Oscar. Somali warlords clash

As United States troops have begun withdrawing from Somalia, a series of fierce clashes have broken out in the southern port city of Kismayu. At least 24 people have been killed and hundreds wounded during the past several weeks. The violence delayed until March 5 the US pullout from Kismayu. But now only three of Somalia's nine districts remain under US control, and, for the first time, the 13,985 US troops in the country are outnumbered by other members of the United Nations contingent. German rightists gain

The extreme-right Republican party made strong gains in an election held March 7 in the prosperous state of Hesse, winning 9.3 percent of the vote in Frankfurt. The gains will allow the Republicans, with their anti-immigrant appeals, to more effectively challenge Germany's major political parties. Meanwhile, two rightist skinheads were indicted yesterday in a November firebombing that killed three Turks and led to a government crackdown on neo-Nazi youths. Solzhenitsyn speaks

Exiled Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn has endorsed President Boris Yeltsin's call for a stronger presidency, but says market reforms have brought misery to his homeland. Mr. Solzhenitsyn, expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974 for his outspoken condemnation of communism, also repeated his desire to return to Russia.

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