News In Brief

The World

The US dollar continued its recovery in Europe. The Clinton administration pledged to do whatever is needed to protect the dollar's position as the world's principal reserve currency. German traders pushed the value of the greenback up against the mark and Japanese yen, and the US currency rebounded sharply in Tokyo. The Mexican peso continued to slide. (Column, Page 8.)

US and International Monetary Fund officials announced several loan packages for Haiti. The IMF approved the release of a $26 million line of credit for Haiti under an agreement that holds President Aristide's government to stringent economic reforms. Deputy Secretary of State Talbott said the US had organized a $65 million line of credit for the country.

Queen Elizabeth II arrived in Belfast for her first visit to Northern Ireland since Irish republican and pro-British Protestant guerrillas halted 25 years of fighting six months ago. President Clinton will meet with Sinn Fein leader Adams, who is coming to the US and raise funds. (Queen's visit, Page 1.)

The UN's refugee relief agency cut food aid to more than 100,000 needy Croatian Serbs and rebel Bosnian Muslims because their leaders are obstructing efforts to feed the hungry in northwest Bosnia. Meanwhile, a CIA report blamed the Serbs for 90 percent of the "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia and said leading Serbian politicians likely played a role, the New York Times reported. (Peacekeepers in Croatia, Page 6.)

Secretary of State Christopher backed Egypt's call for "universal" adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but said it wasn't the right time to push Israel in this direction. Christopher was meeting with Egyptian President Mubarak. Israel and the PLO set July 1 as a target date for an agreement on Israeli troop withdrawal and Palestinian elections.

US Senator Helms withdrew an amendment to a Pentagon spending bill that would mandate enforcement of current travel restrictions and trade prohibitions on Cuba. Democrats had accused him of trying to rush it into law without hearings. The UN Human Rights Commission, meanwhile, adopted a US resolution condemning human-rights violations in Cuba. (Story, Page 1.)

Voting continued yesterday in the eastern Indian state of Orissa. An opinion poll predicted that the leftist Janata Dal party would lose ground but remain in power. Orissa is one of six states holding assembly elections in what is seen as a test for the federal government.

Canadian fisheries patrol boats and a naval destroyer shadowed two-dozen Spanish and Portugese trawlers fishing in a disputed zone. Canada has threatened to seize the vessels.

Yeltsin and IMF chief Camdessus were to meet yesterday to discuss final details of a $6.25 billion loan that Russia says is all but approved. Senator McConnell said US aid to Russia may be in trouble because of Moscow's policies toward Iraq and Chechnya. (Story, Page 7.)

The UN poverty summit reached a compromise. The goal was for rich countries to spend 20 percent of their foreign aid for social welfare programs and for poor nations receiving aid to spend 20 percent of their domestic budget for the same goals. Under the compromise plan, countries can reject the spending targets on a case-by-case basis.

Indonesia's military said it had committed an error in the killing of six East Timorese in January but hadn't yet decided what action to take against the officers involved. The US

Representative Archer was set to unveil House Republicans' tax-cut proposal. The plan includes a nonrefundable $500 tax credit per child under 18 for families earning less than $200,000; reductions in capital gains for property sales; and more-generous individual retirement accounts. Democrats said the cuts, worth $200 billion over five years, would help the rich at the expense of cuts in welfare and Medicaid programs.

The number of newly laid-off Americans rose by 4,000 after two weeks of decline. The Labor Department said new jobless claims increased to 336,000. The closely watched four-week average also moved up to 340,000, its highest level since July. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said wholesale sales fell 1.1 percent in January, the biggest drop in 1-1/2 years. It said inventories rose 0.6 percent for the month, while auto sales fell 4.7 percent.

The House was expected to take up a proposal that would make it harder for consumers to win product-liability damages. The measure, which would pre-empt state laws, would limit punitive damages to $250,000 or three times economic damage, whichever is greater. The bill is the centerpiece of the GOP legal-reform plan. The House Wednesday passed a bill to restrict fraud lawsuits filed by corporate shareholders.

House GOP leaders put off a vote on term limits until the end of the month. The bill has split the Republican leadership, calling into question whether supporters can muster the two-thirds majority needed to pass a constitutional amendment.

Senator Daschle said Democrats would support a line-item veto if it allowed the president to eliminate tax-law provisions. A Senate vote on two competing proposals is reportedly imminent; President Clinton has asked Congress to move swiftly on the issue.

Several states are threatening legal action against the Coeur d'Alenes Indian tribe, which has announced plans for a national phone-in lottery. The states say federal law requires Indian gaming to take place on Indian lands. A Coeur d'Alenes spokesman said the Idaho tribe would go ahead with the plan.

A Minnesota jury found IBM is not liable for injuries a former secretary said she received from using the company's computer keyboards. It was the first case of its kind against IBM to go to trial; thousands of other cases against computer manufacturers are pending.

Defense lawyers for Qubilah Shabazz said an FBI informant could have doctored tapes of conversations with her. The daughter of Malcolm X is accused of plotting to kill Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Prosecutors admitted that informant Michael Fitzpatrick did some taping without supervision. The judge is considering a defense motion to force Fitzpatrick to testify. (Farrakhan's business expansion, Page 1.)

In the O. J. Simpson trial, defense lawyer Johnnie Cochran spent the week sparring with police detective Tom Lange over defense theories of the case. Cochran asked a series of questions exploring the possibility of a drug connection in the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Lange insisted that the evidence pointed only to Simpson as the culprit. Etcetera

A Japanese court ruled yesterday that a key ritual used in Emperor Akihito's enthronement ceremonies may have violated the nation's constitutional separation of church and state. But the high court dismissed a lawsuit in which 1,011 plaintiffs claimed that they had suffered mental anguish because 8.1 billion yen ($89 million) in public funds was used to pay for the rite, in which Akihito communed with a mythical sun goddess.

For the past four years, administrators at Miami International Airport have been paying the electric and water bills of dozens of tenants - a $12 million mistake. When Eastern Airlines went out of business in 1991, airport officials rushed to rent the buildings, but forgot to install water and electric meters. They continued to pay the bills until the mistake was noticed last year. Now they are trying to collect.

Montana musher Doug Swingley was leading as Alaska's Iditarod dog-sled race neared midpoint Wednesday. He is the only non-Alaskan among race leaders. Fact Sheet: Capital Punishment

266 people have been executed since the 1976 US Supreme Court ruling allowing states to resume capital punishment. Breakdown by state: Texas 92 Utah 4 Florida 33 Delaware 4 Virginia 25 Oklahoma 3 Louisiana 21 Arizona 3 Georgia 18 Indiana 3 Missouri 11 California 2 Alabama 10 Illinois 2 Arkansas 9 Washington 2 N. Carolina 7 Idaho 1 Nevada 5 Maryland 1 Mississippi 4 Nebraska 1 S. Carolina 4 Wyoming 1

38 people were executed in 1993, the most since 47 people were executed in 1962. 9 people have been executed so far in 1995 - 7 of them in Texas. States without capital punishment: Alaska Minnesota Hawaii North Dakota Iowa Rhode Island Maine Vermont Massachusetts West Virginia Michigan Wisconsin

- Associated Press

``We're committed to the Contract. We ran on it, we all signed it, and we'll do what we said we were going to do."- Congressman Bill Archer

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