QUAKE SHAKES UP JAPANESE STOCKS Tokyo share prices plunged to a one-year low yesterday, buffeted by worsening predictions of damage costs from last week's massive Kobe earthquake. The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average shed 1,054.73 points, or 5.60 percent, closing at 17,785.49 points (see photo below). Yesterday marked seven consecutive trading days of a decline totaling 1,756.98 points since Jan. 12. The day's close was the lowest since Jan. 5, 1994. More than 52,000 buildings were destroyed in the Jan. 17 earthquake. Estimates of damage costs range from $30 billion to $80 billion. Clinton signs bill
President Clinton yesterday signed into law the Congressional Accountability Act, a bill requiring federal lawmakers to live by the laws they impose on other employers. It is the first piece of legislation approved by the GOP-controlled Congress. The president, in a show of bipartisan cooperation, invited both Republican and Democratic leaders to the Oval Office ceremony.
A handful of states could be sued by the Justice Department to make them comply with a federal law easing voter registration, administration officials say. Attorney General Janet Reno was preparing court action yesterday against up to five states - California, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.
Court eyes gambling
The US Supreme Court yesterday agreed to referee a battle in Florida over regulation of gambling on Indian reservations. The justices said they will decide whether federal courts have the authority to oversee negotiations between tribes and state officials about starting such gambling operations. Chechen standoff
Tank and artillery fire shook the center of the Chechen capital yesterday, but four weeks into the battle for the city neither Russia nor Chechen rebels were able to claim control. Meanwhile, German Defense Minister Volker Ruhe told his Russian counterpart Pavel Grachev that he is not welcome in Germany following his outspoken attacks on advocates of peace in Chechnya.
Israel seals off territories
Israel sealed off the borders of the Gaza Strip and West Bank yesterday, following Sunday's bomb attack claimed by the Islamic Jihad which killed 19 Israelis and wounded about 62 others. Israel also postponed negotiating with the Palestine Liberation Organization for the release of about 6,000 Palestinian prisoners.
PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat condemned the attack, and the PLO pledged to take action against militant groups in the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip.
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, whose life spanned more than a century of American politics, died Sunday at the family home in Hyannis Port, Mass. Mrs. Kennedy, the wife of an ambassador, was the mother of a president and two senators, and the grandmother of two members of Congress.