News In Brief

The US

The US Supreme Court heard arguments in a case claiming that the Endangered Species Act does not protect the habitats of endangered species. An appeals court ruled that the law protects activities such as hunting and trapping, but not indirect threats such as habitat destruction.The high court left intact a $420,000 award won against the Duquesne Light Co. in Pittsburgh by a white man who says he was denied promotion because of his race. It refused to reinstate an affirmative-action plan for promoting black fire fighters in Birmingham, Ala. The court agreed to clarify a federal law that adds five years to the prison sentence of anyone who ''uses or carries'' a gun while engaged in drug trafficking. It also allowed a Secret Service Agent to be sued for damages for inviting a CBS TV crew on a raid so it could videotape a search of a private home.

Henry Foster's nomination for surgeon general is not ''viable'' and may not even get out of committee, Senator Dole said. Hearings before the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee are scheduled to begin May 2. Dole, meanwhile, has flown 187 times since 1993 aboard private jets, most owned by corporations with interest in congressional business, Newsweek magazine reported.

The federal government is to begin scouring state motor-vehicle records for drivers with phony Social Security numbers. Illegal aliens, fugitives from justice, and deadbeat parents often give false social security numbers to get a drivers license and a new identity. Critics of the program say the data could be used to compromise privacy.

Most states are not moving enough unemployed welfare parents into jobs or training to comply with federal laws, the Department of Health and Human Services said. With only 10 states in compliance, experts worry the move to put welfare in the hands of the states is not a good idea.

Women are not as politically active as men because they have less money and are less likely to possess needed communication and organizational skills, says a study by the University of Michigan, Boston College, and Harvard University. More than 2,500 people took part in the study.

House Speaker Gingrich would like to make Washington D.C., a Maryland congressional district and give city residents full representation in Congress, the Washington Times reported. The GOP has opposed proposals to make the capital a state.

Michael Huffington, who lost a $28 million bid for the Senate, has set his sights on the 1998 California governor's race, the Los Angeles Times reported. Huffington said he would not use his own money for the state race.

The US has become the most economically stratified of all the industrial nations, according to new and mostly unpublished statistical research, the New York Times reported. In 1989, the wealthiest 1 percent of US households, worth $2.3 million each, owned nearly 40 percent of the nation's wealth. The richest 1 percent in Britain own about 18 percent of the wealth.

Indian tribes and state lawmakers are heading for a gambling showdown in Connecticut. In return for exclusive rights to operate casinos, the tribes pay the state a share of slot-machine takes. Now the state assembly is considering allowing non-Indian casinos, and the Pequots, who operate the successful Foxwoods casino, might stop payments to the state.

Five people were sentenced in Seattle for smuggling at least 1,000 illegal aliens into the US from India and Pakistan. Four of those sentenced are not citizens and face deportation hearings after serving their time.

The World

The militant Islamic group Hamas is likely to carry out retaliatory attacks after an Israeli ambush killed three of its activists Sunday, the army commander of the West Bank said. Security has been heightened since the ambush, and the Palestinian Authority has condemned the killings. Israeli forces said the Palestinians who were slain were on their way to attack Israelis. A military tribunal yesterday sentenced an Islamic militant to seven years in prison for smuggling explosives to attack Israelis.

Turkish troops pressed their attack on Kurdish rebels holed up in a mountain stronghold in eastern Turkey yesterday, military officials said. About 25,000 Turkish troops moved in on Alibogazi ravine Sunday in an operation similar to Turkey's cross-border offensive in northern Iraq. (Story, Page 3.)

Sarajevo's airport reopened for UN administrative flights, but humanitarian airlifts into the city remained suspended yesterday, the UN said. It said it is considering Serb demands that Bosnian citizens not be allowed on UN flights as a precondition for promising not to attack the airport. Rebel Serbs in Croatia hijacked four UN peacekeeping vehicles, jailing overnight three soldiers and four doctors. Senator Dole reiterated his support for lifting the arms embargo on Bosnia's Muslim-led government.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Roberto Romulo resigned yesterday, the latest and most prominent casualty in a major row over the execution of a Filipina maid for double murder in Singapore. President Ramos last week fired the former ambassador to Singapore and suspended the current envoy and seven other labor and foreign affairs officials for negligence and incompetence.

US Treasury Secretary Rubin arrived in India yesterday. US officials said Rubin would use his four-day visit to press India to push ahead with economic reforms that show signs of flagging amid political opposition.

The US will try to persuade China to break off talks with Iran over selling nuclear-power technology to that country, the Washington Post reported. The paper quoted unidentified sources as saying Secretary of State Christopher was expected to raise objections to a pending China-Iran deal when he met with Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen yesterday. Both are attending the UN conference on extending the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Russia said it could not stick to all the terms of a crucial conventional arms-reduction treaty until the war in rebel Chechnya was over, Interfax news agency reported. Defense Minister Grachev told Interfax that Moscow wanted a review of the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, which limits the number of troops and armor Russia can station in the volatile southern Caucasus region.

The US will return about $700 million worth of military hardware to Pakistan, Foreign Minister Sardar Assef Ali said. Prime Minister Bhutto secured Washington's promise to return the equipment , which was to have been repaired in the US.

Winnie Mandela announced she was resigning from her estranged husband's Cabinet yesterday, one day before her dismissal was to take effect. Mandela said she will pursue ''more pressing'' interests.

Libyan protesters pounded drums outside the UN office in Tripoli, the media attacked the US, and Libyan leader Gadhafi continued to exhort Libyans to be steadfast before UN sanctions. Gadhafi plans to defy a UN travel ban by flying pilgrims to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, this week.


The magnolia tree that withstood the crash of a plane aimed at the White House last September is taking root again in Tennessee. Former Sen. Howard Baker arranged for horticulturalists to take the clippings from the famous tree planted by President Jackson. Baker replanted the seedlings at the Museum of Appalachia.

Americans posted two upset victories in the finals of the Japan Open tennis tournament. Jim Courier beat top-ranked Andre Agassi, and Amy Frazier efeated three-time defending champion Kimiko Date.

Presidential hopeful Dole says he doesn't like some movies. He suggests political leaders should engage the entertainment industry in debate about the content of TV shows. And if elected, he'll encourage people ''to turn off their TV sets and not patronize these movies.''

Michael Jackson and wife Lisa Marie Presley-Jackson will spend the next three days hosting children from 17 countries for a conference on cultural diversity.

Best-Selling Hardcover Nonfiction

1. ''Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,'' John Gray (HarperCollins)

2. ''The Hot Zone,'' Richard Preston (Random House)

3. ''Mars & Venus in the Bedroom,'' John Gray (HarperCollins)

4. ''Breaking the Surface,'' Greg Louganis (Random House)

5. ''The Death of Common Sense,'' Philip K. Howard (Random House)

6. ''Sisters,'' Carol Saline (Running Press)

7. ''The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success,'' Deepak Chopra (New World Library)

8. ''First Things First,'' Stephen R. Covey (Simon & Schuster)

9. ''The Beardstown Ladies' Common-Sense Investment Guide,'' Leslie Whitaker (Hyperion)

10. ''The Diary of a Young Girl,'' Anne Frank (Doubleday)

Publishers Weekly

``I agree 100 percent with [Israeli] Prime Minister Rabin that this is an irreversible peace process. And our bottom line is to make it work.''

Nabil Sha'ath, aide to PLO leader Arafat

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