News In Brief

The World

Japanese officials raced to complete an economic package designed to curb the strong yen and lessen its damage to an already-sluggish economy. Government sources hinted that the discount rate -- already at an historic low of 1.75 percent -- could be cut further but conceded it would be up to the Bank of Japan. The Clinton administration said it was drawing up a list of Japanese imports, worth billions of dollars, that could be hit with tariffs if Japan won't open its auto market further.

Russian President Yeltsin said he favored providing immediate military aid to Tajikistan, a decision that could drag Moscow deeper into the conflict in the former Soviet republic.

An FBI team looking into the terrorist murder in the Gaza Strip of a US woman, Alisa Flatlow, along with seven Israelis, will be briefed by the PLO but won't conduct its own investigation, Palestinian officials said. Some 200,000 people attended Flatlow's funeral in New Jersey Wednesday. Police in Gaza, meanwhile, have given leaders of the militant Hamas and Islamic Jihad there permits to carry guns for self-protection. Israel proposed a three-way spy swap with the US and Russia that would free Jonathan Pollard, a former US Navy analyst convicted of spying for Russia. (Story, Page 1.)

A mortar attack by Bosnian Serbs wounded seven civilians at a market in Sarajevo. UN peacekeepers said they were outraged by a Bosnian Serb claim that peacekeepers had moved the body of a young woman to hide evidence that she was raped by government forces. The UN says she was killed by Serbs shelling Sarajevo. Documents smuggled out of Serbia by a former senior member of the Serbian secret police, meanwhile, could incriminate President Milosevic, the New York Times reported. Milosevic again refused the West's request to recognize Bosnia's independence and to support a cease-fire extension.

Some 20,000 Japanese police set up roadblocks to search for leaders of the sect suspected in the gas attack on the Tokyo subway. They arrested senior cult leader Kiyohide Nakada on extortion charges, bringing the arrest total to 107.

US District Judge Woodlock ordered a Guatemalan general running for president in his country to pay $47.5 million to an American nun and eight Guatemalans who were victims of atrocities by his soldiers in the 1980s. General Gramajo said he is innocent and will not pay. The Nation magazine reported he was on the CIA payroll at the time of the killings.

India's Foreign Minister Mukherjee rejected the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, up for review at a major New York conference next week. Mukherjee called the treaty discriminatory. Pakistani Prime Minister Bhutto, meanwhile, said sanctions against her country are unfair, but she is heartened by US President Clinton's pledge to try and ease them. In Karachi, gunmen killed a police inspector, bringing to 50 the number of police slain since Nov. 30.

After being reinstated as Deputy Arts Minister in the South African government, Winnie Mandela may be fired again by her estranged husband. The first firing was illegal on a technicality.

The UN Security Council appeared close to approving a deal for Iraq to sell $2 billion in oil over six months to purchase badly needed food and medical supplies. The wives of two Americans imprisoned in Iraq will visit Baghdad to seek their release.

The head of the Chernobyl nuclear plant said Ukranian officials want a gas-fired station to replace the nuclear one. The officials are asking 18 nations to chip in $200 million each for the new station.

The US

A draft Senate welfare-reform plan, being considered by Republican governors and senators, retains aspects of a House welfare-reform plan but scraps many of its controversial provisions, the Washington Post reported. Like the House bill, the Senate draft would replace the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program with block grants to the states. But the Senate version would eliminate House provisions denying welfare payments to unmarried mothers under 18 and barring additional payments to welfare mothers who give birth to more children.

President Clinton, invoking the memory of President Franklin Roosevelt, said any tax-cut bill passed by Congress must help Americans overcome their ''educational deficit.'' He also said he will not support a tax cut that explodes the federal budget deficit. Leading ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of Roosevelt's death Wednesday, Clinton defended the activist government the former president devised.

Retail sales rebounded from their biggest decline in more than a year, rising a moderate 0.2 percent, the Commerce Department reported. Analysts had predicted the uptick, but they said sales are likely to remain slower this year. The number of new claims for jobless benefits fell by 4,000 last week but remained locked in a range that analysts said reflects a slower but sustainable rate of economic growth.

Congressman Dornan kicked off his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination yesterday at Washington's National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Dornan, regarded as far back in the growing field of GOP presidential contenders, joins the field as a pro-military, anti-abortion crusader against America's ''moral decay.'' Senator Dole traveled to voter-rich Florida, where he was promised endorsements from a group of top Republicans.

Nearly 60 percent of voting-age Americans favor the creation of a third political party, according to a poll released by the Times Mirror Center for The People and The Press. The poll said 37 percent of those surveyed said they were independents, 30 percent Republican, and 29 percent Democrat. (Story, Page 1.)

A day after getting a takeover offer from shareholder Kirk Kerkorian and former chairman Lee Iococca, Chrysler Corporation announced yesterday that its first-quarter earnings declined 37 percent from a year ago. While claiming that it is not for sale, Chrysler said its directors would nevertheless review the $23 billion offer. (Story, Page 8.)

A Connecticut Superior Court judge ruled that the state of Connecticut is not responsible for remedying racial imbalance in its public schools if there is no proof that it created the segregation. Court proceedings in the landmark Sheff v. O'Neill school desegregation case have been in progress for six years, pitting the state against Hartford school children, most of whom are black or Hispanic.

Federal officials are investigating whether followers of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan submitted false tax information in seeking contracts to provide security for Baltimore housing projects. The Department of Housing and Urban Development began the investigation in response to complaints by Jewish groups, who were concerned that members use the security patrols to spread Farrakhan's views. Farrakhan is an outspoken critic of Judaism.

Cuba condemned the US for expelling two Cuban UN diplomats for allegedly assaulting a New York City policeman last August. Cuba said the expulsion was ''ridiculous.''

An alleged mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing and another man were to be indicted yesterday in New York for participating in a terrorist plot to blow up American commercial airplanes in Asia, federal authorities said.


NFL owners decided, 23-6, to allow the L.A. Rams football team to move to St. Louis after all. The Rams will be the first NFL team to leave the West Coast.

Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker, Men's Journal, and I. D. Magazine were awarded National Magazine Awards for excellence. The awards were presented Wednesday by the American Society of Magazine Editors. GQ, Atlantic Monthly, SmartMoney, Rolling Stone, Martha Stewart Living, and Story also received awards.

Millions of people across Southeast Asia began celebrating the Buddhist new year yesterday. The two-year-old son of a herdsman, meanwhile, ascended the throne of the Tibetan Buddhist Ta'er temple in western China as the 14th reincarnation of its living buddha.

Two men say they have come up with a better way to take ice off planes. Instead of using antifreeze, they propose toasting it off. John Chew and Timothy Seel have demonstrated a prototype.

Hubbard, Ohio, lost 25 million gallons of water somewhere between the location of its purchase and town water meters. Has anyone seen a huge puddle?

Top 10 TV Shows, April 3-9

1. ''E.R.,'' NBC, 24.4, 23.3 million homes

2. ''Seinfeld,'' NBC, 21.3, 20.3 million homes

3. ''Friends,'' NBC, 20.5, 19.6 million homes

4. ''CBS NCAA Basketball Championship,'' 19.3, 18.4 million homes

5. ''Home Improvement,'' ABC, 18.2, 17.4 million homes

6. ''Ellen Special,'' ABC, 17.0, 16.2 million homes

6. ''Grace Under Fire,'' ABC, 17.0, 16.2 million homes

6. ''NYPD Blue,'' ABC, 17.0, 16.2 million homes

9. ''60 Minutes,'' CBS, 15.6, 14.9 million homes

10. ''Coach,'' ABC, 15.3,14.6 million homes

(Rating equals percentage of American homes with TVs)

A.C. Nielsen Co.

``Let's not forget that we ... have an educational deficit. Education is the fault line in America today. Those who have it are doing well.... Those who don't are not doing well.''

President Clinton

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