ROSTENKOWSKI FACES NO-WIN DECISION A powerful United States lawmaker has a take-it-or-leave-it offer from US prosecutors that would have him plead guilty to a felony, serve a short prison sentence, and end his 36-year congressional career. Legal sources, speaking only on condition of anonymity, said the decision is now up to Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, who could choose instead to fight criminal charges in what would probably be a lengthy and costly trial. Prosecutors have given Mr. Rostenkowski a Tuesday deadline. Negotiations between his lawyer and prosecutors have been stalled over language that would describe any offenses by the Illinois Democrat. The US attorney's office has been investigating Rostenkowski's use of office and campaign accounts, including the possibility that he received money improperly from the House Post Office, hired ghost employees, received sweetheart deals on government-purchased cars, and made improper purchases of furniture. Viet-US diplomatic ties
Vietnam and the United States have agreed to establish diplomatic missions, ``an important step toward the normalization of relations,'' the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry announced yesterday. The agreement comes more than 20 years after the two countries fought each other. The ministry did not say when the offices would open, but other officials have said the offices would open within two to three months. Rwanda rebels near Kigali
Rebels bombarded the Rwandan capital yesterday and captured a city suburb, clearly gunning for military advantage even as the United Nations lobbied for a cease-fire. Heavy rebel guns opened up 15 minutes after UN envoy Iqbal Riza left Kigali for rebel territory for talks on a cease-fire to end weeks of bloodshed. Mural removed at SF State
A mural with anti-Semitic symbols that stirred controversy at San Francisco State University was removed for good early yesterday. About 60 campus officers in riot gear were on hand when university workers applied a solution that removed the paint, then painted over the concrete wall. President Robert Corrigan ordered workers Tuesday to paint over the 10-foot-square mural honoring Malcolm X. He called it ``utterly abhorrent,'' with its Stars of David near dollar signs, a skull and crossbones, and the words ``African blood.'' On Wednesday, a multiracial group of students defied Corrigan by scraping off hours-old paint covering the work outside the student union. Arizona governor settles
Gov. Fife Symington (R) says he will pay nothing and admit nothing in settling a $200 million lawsuit that accused him of improperly using his influence as a director of a failed savings and loan. Mr. Symington's lawyers said other defendants would pay more than $12 million to settle lawsuits involving the thrift. New Smithsonian chief
A nonscientist is at the helm of the Smithsonian Institution for the first time in its 148 years. Regents of the Smithsonian named Ira Michael Heyman, a former chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, to be secretary of the institution - the chief executive officer - on Wednesday. Mr. Heyman, a lawyer, has been counselor to the secretary of the interior.