UKRAINE'S PRIME MINISTER RESIGNS Ukraine's prime minister, Leonid Kuchma, resigned yesterday after Ukraine's president asked lawmakers for much greater control of the government. Parliament members were expected to vote later on President Leonid Kravchuk's request to be sole head of government and have powers to reform the economy by executive fiat. "All executive power should be concentrated in the hands of one person," Kuchma told parliament, according to the Interfax news agency. Kravchuk said he wanted the authority to issue decrees on

economic issues that the prime minister has had up to this point. In an address to lawmakers, Kravchuk said the president should have "direct leadership of the Cabinet." Packwood off one hook

The US Senate Rules Committee declined Thursday to open an investigation into whether Sen. Bob Packwood should be denied his Oregon Senate seat because he covered up sexual harassment charges against him until after an election. The panel voted 11 to 0 to take no further action on a petition by a group of Oregon voters calling for the investigation. A separate investigation of the sexual harassment charges is being conducted by the Senate Ethics Committee. Kozyrev in Washington

The US pursuit of a formula to stop the fighting in Bosnia resumed yesterday with Russian Foreign Minister Andrei V. Kozyrev discussing his recent trip to Yugoslavia with Secretary of State Warren Christopher. Kozyrev said he and Christopher had reached agreement on "basic political principles" for a joint plan of action. Kozyrev earlier stopped in Rome to talk to other Western foreign ministers on prospects for finding a plan that might induce the Bosnian Serbs to stop their assault on Muslims, althoug h fierce fighting between Muslims and Croats has complicated the peace-seeking effort. That fighting quieted yesterday for the first time in 10 days, reports from Bosnia said.

China's huge economy

The International Monetary Fund has concluded that China's economy is four times as large as previously estimated, making it third in the world, behind the United States and Japan. The IMF, calculating national output by measuring the goods and services a country's currency will buy, found that China produced some $1.7 trillion in goods and services, as compared to previous estimates of $400 billion. Previous studies measured output by valuing a country's goods and services in dollars. The new study, to be released next week, also greatly increased estimates of the economies of India, Indonesia, Mexico, and Brazil, the New York Times reported. Closing British mines

British Coal sought court permission yesterday to close the first 10 of 31 mines it wants to shut down to curb losses. The closure plans, announced last October by state-run British Coal, were widely criticized by the public and politicians, including members of the ruling Conservative Party. The High Court ruled in December that the first 10 mines could not be closed because British Coal had not properly consulted with its workers ahead of time. Infant nutrition

The US Agriculture Department credits a federal nutrition program for poor pregnant women with lower infant mortality rates. The five-state study, released Wednesday, tracked Medicaid recipients who participated in the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC. The $2.9 billion program aids 5.7 million people, including 40 percent of all babies born in the United States. The Clinton administration wants to increase funding for the program. Plot to Kill Bush

A group of Iraqis jailed in Kuwait have told US investigators they were, in fact, sent by Iraq to kill President Bush during his visit to Kuwait last month, a US official says. The White House said earlier this month that it would consider action against Iraq if it finds proof of its complicity in an assassination attempt. Members of Congress have said the same thing. Iraq has denied any role in the alleged plot and claims that Kuwait and the US are fabricating the whole story.

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