News In Brief

The US

The White House said progress was being made in the investigation into the car bombing at a federal building in Oklahoma City. President Clinton earlier ordered an exhaustive federal manhunt for those responsible for the attack. He declared an emergency in Oklahoma City to speed federal relief and rushed disaster aid and law-enforcement teams to the city. At press time, the death toll from the bombing remained at 36 with more than 300 people unaccounted for. The FBI confirmed the recovery of a Chevrolet Cavalier named as a suspect vehicle in the attack. Turkey condemned the bombing, calling it an attack against humanity. Philippine President Ramos called for closer international cooperation to combat terrorism. And France offered to send a rescue team to Oklahoma City to help search for survivors. (Stories, Page 1.)

Phoned-in bomb threats forced temporary evacuations of federal office buildings in several cities after the attack on a federal building in Oklahoma City. Employees evacuated buildings in Boston; Miami; Santa Ana, Calif.; Birmingham, Ala.; Wilmington, Del.; Portland, Ore.; Boise, Idaho; and Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas. A bomb scare also forced the evacuation of Boston's City Hall.

The jury in the World Trade Center bombing conspiracy trial was told to ignore speculation about links to the bombing in Oklahoma City. The judge also ordered the defendants removed from other inmates in jail for their own protection. Government officials said the trade-center bombing was part of a broader conspiracy of terror by the 11 Islamic defendants.

The number of new claims for jobless benefits fell by 5,000 last week but continued to show signs of what analysts said was softness in the nation's labor market. The Labor Department said first-time applications for unemployment insurance totaled 342,000, down from 347,000.

Federal regulators approved a compromise plan aimed at expanding loans to needy communities and minorities while easing the paperwork burden on banks. The administration and other supporters of the new rules conceded that no one will be completely happy but urged Congress to give the new approach a chance to work. Republicans said they would hold hearings on the issue next month.

In an eight-page statement to the Senate, the administration amplified its concern about legislation that would free telecommunications companies to provide various futuristic services and devices to customers. The White House expressed particular concern about a provision that would let phone companies buy out cable systems in their local service areas without restriction. The administration said it would allow buyouts if they were severely restricted.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the quick updating of aircraft flight data recorders requested by the National Transportation Safety Board could lead to the grounding of some US airliners. The FAA said it agreed with a NTSB recommendation that 4,500 planes be retrofitted but said the action should be taken in conjunction with other pending FAA safety moves.

Chrysler Corporation's national dealer councils urged the carmaker to reject Kirk Kerkorian's takeover bid, saying a change in the company's ownership would hurt its future business. The United Auto Workers union also criticized the proposed deal. Bear Stearns & Co., the investment bank expected to lead Kerkorian's takeover effort, told Chrysler Chairman Robert Eaton that it won't be involved in the deal, the Detroit News said.

Ford Motor Co. said its first-quarter earnings jumped 71.5 percent from a year earlier to $1.55 billion, but higher engineering costs and currency fluctuations ate into its profit margin. General Motors Corp. reported record profits in the first quarter. It said it earned $2.2 billion, a $1.3 billion improvement over the first quarter last year.

The World

The Bosnian government refused to renew a four-month truce that expires at the end of the month and accused the international community of indifference toward Bosnia's suffering. UN special envoy Akashi arrived in Sarajevo to seek the extension of the cease-fire and more security for peacekeepers. France has threatened to pull out its troops unless the cease-fire is extended. Sarajevo residents prepared shelters in expectation of another round of fighting, and Serbian troops closed the airport after Akashi's arrival. French Foreign Minister Juppe said Russia is encouraging Belgrade to ask for too much, while the US has not done enough to encourage the Bosnian government to end the war.

Unknowns continued to surround the gas attack in Yokohama, Japan, that sickened 300 people Wednesday. At press time, police said they did not know what the gas was or who carried out the attack. News reports out of Tokyo spoke of a city under siege as precautions were taken in subways and train stations. Drivers faced random checks on major roads, and riot police in full gear stood guard at major intersections.

Philippine warplanes bombed an island near the southern city of Zamboanga where remnants of fleeing bands of Islamic guerrillas were believed to be hiding. An army spokesman said there were no immediate reports of casualties. He also said the guerrillas were believed to be part of the Abu Sayyaf fundamentalist group that raided the town of Ipil on April 4, when 53 civilians were killed.

France's presidential election begins Sunday, the first stage of a two-round battle to choose a successor to Socialist President Mitterrand. The last public-opinion poll showed conservative Paris Mayor Chirac leading with about 26 percent of the vote. A runoff will be held May 7.

US Vice President Gore, pressing for permanent curbs on nuclear-weapons technology, told attendees at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference that the US ultimately wants to eliminate its own arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Just-released UN figures show member nations owe the UN $3.1 billion in back dues, including $2 billion for peacekeeping. The US reportedly owes $1.2 billion.

Cuba and the US ended two days of talks, saying they made progress on immigration issues. It was the third round of talks since an agreement in September halted an exodus of 35,000 boat people to the US.

Spain's conservative opposition leader Aznar left a hospital yesterday after surviving an assassination attempt by Basque separatists. As head of the Popular Party, Aznar is expected by many to be Spain's next prime minister. His heavily armored car, destroyed by a bomb, saved him.

The G-7's environmental ministers are expected to meet April 30 in Hamilton, Ontario, to prepare for the June G-7 summit, to be chaired by Canada. The US is working on a joint G-7 position to oppose Iran's alleged efforts to acquire nuclear technology.

About 250,000 Rwandan refugees, some in trucks and others on foot, clogged roads in southwest Rwanda, forced by government troops to abandon the camps that sheltered them during last year's war. The international Red Cross in Geneva has warned of a possible humanitarian disaster because of what it calls the deteriorating situation in the camps.


Singapore Airlines retained its title as the world's top-ranked airline in the influential Zagat Survey. Midwest Express was ranked as the best US regional carrier. Singapore was lauded by flyers for ''pristine'' cabins and even a practice of greeting passengers by name, the survey said. Milwaukee-based Midwest was called the ''Rolls Royce'' of airlines. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines were the highest ranked among nationwide airlines.

Beijing audiences packed theaters yesterday for the opening of the US blockbuster film ''True Lies,'' delayed for a month by trade talks between China and the US in late February. The film is expected to break box-office records and gross well over 34 million yuan ($4.2 million.) It is the fourth imported blockbuster.

The newspaper industry took a step away from more than a century of presses and bicycle deliveries with the creation of a joint-venture online service including eight major newspaper groups. The service is called New Century Network.

Organizations Accepting Donations for Victims of Oklahoma City Bombing

* The B'nai B'rith

Disaster Relief Fund,

1640 Rhode Island Ave., NW.,

Washington, D. C., 20036

* The American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund,

P. O. Box 37243,

Washington, D. C., 20013

Credit card donations can be made by calling 1-800-HELPNOW or 1-800-842-2200 (English) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish)

* Salvation Army,

311 S. W. 5th St.,

Oklahoma City 73125.

Phone: 405-270-7800

* Feed the Children,

Phone: 405-942-0228 or 1-800-741-1441

To check on relatives:

* Red Cross: 405-232-7121

* St. Anthony Hospital: 405-231-3003 or 231-3006

The Associated Press

''The united Staes will not tolerte it. And I will not allow the people of this country to be intimidated by evil cowards.'' - President Clinton on the car bombing of afederal building in Oklahoma City.

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