NORTHROP GETS GRUMMAN IN AUCTION Northrop Corporation submitted the high offer for Grumman Corporation, besting Martin Marietta Corporation in an auction for the defense contractor, Grumman said yesterday. Northrop bid $2.11 billion, or $62 per share, while Martin Marietta left its bid at $55 per share. With the higher bid, Northrop succeeded in grabbing Grumman away from what had been a friendly merger agreement with Martin Marietta. The fight for Grumman reflects a shrinkage in the defense industry. Companies are scrambling to buy each other in order to establish a dominant position. Mideast talks

The PLO's chief delegate said Sunday that barring a major catastrophe, the pact outlining Israeli withdrawal and Palestinian autonomy in the Gaza Strip and Jericho was now ``irreversible.'' Nabil Shaath made the comment as PLO and Israel negotiators began talks on moving several hundred Palestinian police into Gaza and the West Bank town even before Israeli soldiers pull out. (See photo below.) Angola fighting

Luanda, Angola, was without electricity and low on drinking water yesterday after UNITA rebels knocked out power lines to the capital of the war-torn southern African nation. The attack on the lines came as peace talks in Lusaka, Zambia, appeared stalled, and the UN prepared to mull further sanctions against UNITA. Journalist imprisoned

Hong Kong journalists said yesterday they would be more wary about doing their jobs after Xi Yang, a reporter for the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao, was sentenced last week by China to 12 years in prison and stripped of his political rights for two years. He was the second Hong Kong-based journalist detained on such charges in a year. These cases have shaken the lively Hong Kong media, which fear censorship after China obtains sovereignty over the colony in 1997. Newspaper closed

Sudan's military government shut the country's only independent daily newspaper yesterday after less than three months' publication under a new press liberalization law. The short but tempestuous life of Al-Sudani International brought spice to an otherwise tame group of newspapers. The Islamic government accused the newspaper of belittling the government's advocacy of jihad, or holy war, and its defense of Islam and the unity of the nation. Frank Wells

Frank Wells, the behind-the-scenes executive who helped propel the Walt Disney Company to new success with recent films, died Sunday in a helicopter crash. Wells, Disney's president and chief operating officer, was often overshadowed by the high-profile CEO Michael Eisner. But he played a critical role in Disney's turnaround, which began when he and Mr. Eisner were recruited as a team to run the Disney empire.

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