News In Brief

The US

House Democrats are urging the GOP majority to hold hearings on private militias in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing. One bill already introduced would prohibit formation of private armies with the intention of unlawfully opposing US authority. A majority of Americans want the government to try to prevent terrorism, even if it means some intrusion on privacy, an Associated Press poll showed. Officials have been sorting through 14,000 tips given on a bombing hot line as the search for suspects goes on. (Stories, Pages 1 and 3.)

Federal agents seized more than 74 million rounds of illegally imported assault-type ammunition from a weapons-importing firm in Santa Clara, Calif.

The Senate was set to vote on the nomination of John Deutch as new head of the CIA after his unanimous approval by the Senate Intelligence Committee. A bipartisan group of lawmakers, meanwhile, introduced a bill to double the time period in which members of Congress and other top officials are barred from lobbying after leaving their jobs. Agriculture Secretary Glickman proposed ending farm subsidies for farmers with high off-farm incomes.

Senator Kassebaum said Henry Foster, Clinton's nominee for surgeon general, deserves a vote on the Senate floor. Foster's performance at hearings led moderate Republican Jeffords to declare his support. Senator Dole has said he might not bring the vote to the floor, and Senator Gramm said he might filibuster the nomination.

Congressman Gephardt and Senator Rockefeller introduced a bill to give Clinton authority to impose trade sanctions on nations blocking entry of US goods. They said the president needs new tools to open up markets in Japan, China, and other parts of the world.

President Clinton asked Congress to hire 700 more Border Patrol agents and speed deportation of illegal aliens.

The Energy Department plans to close 24 offices across the US and reduce its work force by 27 percent over five years. The move is part of Clinton's plan to cut $14.1 billion from the department over five years.

The Senate was preparing for a final vote on scores of amendments to overhaul the US civil legal system. On Wednesday, senators approved a plan to limit punitive-damage awards in federal and state courts, but opponents say companies will be discouraged from safety efforts.

House Speaker Gingrich denied that total US aid to third-world nations will decline over the next decade. He cited Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan as models of development. In Paris, Carol Lancaster, deputy head of the US Agency for International Development, said drastic cuts by the US could set off a chain reaction by other nations that could badly hamper the world's ability to avert calamities that might kill millions. (Story, Page 1.)

The Justice Department filed a brief with the Supreme Court backing the University of Maryland's use of scholarships reserved for blacks to overcome the history of segregation. The action comes during a White House review of affirmative action.

New claims for jobless benefits shot up by 20,000 last week to the highest level in 20 months, the Labor Department said. First-time applications for unemployment insurance totaled a seasonally adjusted 371,000, up from 351,000 the week before. The four-week average also jumped to a nine-month high of 351,750.

Some 20.3 percent of Americans say they ''always'' worry that their family income is inadequate to pay their bills. A survey by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion found that 35.1 percent ''sometimes'' worry that they will not have enough money to cover expenses.

States plan to increase spending by 6.6 percent in the fiscal year beginning Sept. 30, as the strong economy boosts revenue in most areas, the National Governors' Association said.

An Arkansas banker pleaded guilty to hiding large cash withdrawals from Clinton's 1990 gubernatorial campaign. He reportedly told Whitewater investigate- ors that White House aide and Clinton confidant Bruce Lindsay told him to do so.

The World

Zagreb residents headed for shelters for the third straight day yesterday, but there were no immediate reports of new Serb rocket attacks. Rebel Serb leaders from Croatia and Bosnia met to coordinate strategy following a Croatian offensive early in the week in which six people died and 185 people were wounded. (Story, Page 1.)

Trade ministers from the US, EU, Japan, and Canada began talks yesterday in Vancouver, British Columbia, on liberalizing world trade. Japan and the US reported some progress after six hours of meetings between trade representatives Kantor and Hashimoto. Without a significant breakthrough, the administration has said it will move to impose punitive tariffs on more than $1 billion in Japanese products.

Russian troops battled separatist fighters in Grozny yesterday, saying the rebels had issued new warnings of a major offensive when world leaders attend World War II commemorations in Moscow next week. Russian military officials said five Russian soldiers were killed and 20 wounded in the last two days. They put the number of rebel deaths at about 60, but that figure could not be confirmed.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams blamed police for a near-riot that forced British Prime Minister Major to abandon his trip to Londonderry and threatened peace in Northern Ireland. Adams refused to apologize for the worst violence in the British-ruled province since guerrilla truces eight months ago.

Iran will not reduce oil prices because of a US trade embargo but will seek to shift from the US dollar as the oil-trading currency, an Iranian official said yesterday. Russian officials said they would proceed with the sale of nuclear reactors to Iran, brushing aside mounting pressure from Washington. China attacked a US ban on trade with Iran. Japan hinted that Tokyo would not support the US. (Opinion, Page 20.)

The seven nations attending the South Asia summit in New Delhi agreed to lower tariffs on 226 products as a first step toward creating a regional trading bloc. India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Maldives, and Bhutan said they would begin reducing tariffs in December on goods ranging from apricots and chocolate to chemicals, paper products, and cotton.

Japanese police are ready to charge leaders of a sect suspected in the March 20 subway gas attack with murder, news reports said. The officers are preparing to request arrest warrants for Shoko Asahara, the leader of the Aum Shinri Kyo sect, and leaders of the group's chemical research and production team, the paper said.

Turkey has pulled out most of its troops from northern Iraq, six weeks after 35,000 soldiers crossed the border to eliminate Kurdish rebel bases, officials said yesterday. Deputy Prime Minister Cetin, however, said a small number of soldiers remained but would not give a precise number or say when the soldiers would leave.

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and UNITA rebel Jonas Savimbi are expected to pledge peace today in a bid to rebuild a nation devastated by their lingering conflict. Angola agreed Wednesday to accept 7,600 UN peacekeeping troops to monitor the accord.

Three Israeli policemen and a Palestinian were hurt in a scuffle yesterday after Jewish extremists broke into the Al Aqsa Mosque compound seeking to pray inside.


Japanese officials have apologized to China for wartime atrocities before, but Prime Minister Murayama, visiting Beijing, went further. He walked across the Marco Polo Bridge, where China's war against invading Japanese forces began in 1937, and pledged not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

The Council of Europe, meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, said it was committed to preserving Yiddish and other endangered languages. Before the Holocaust, Yiddish was spoken by about 11 million European Jews. Today, 2 million people speak Yiddish.

The Association of Flight Attendants is asking Congress to require children under 2 to ride in child-restraint seats. Kids in laps fly free; using a child-restraint seat requires an extra ticket.

Top 10 TV Shows, April 24-30


1. ''ER,'' NBC, 23.3, 22.2 million homes

2. ''Friends,'' NBC, 19.2, 18.3 million homes

3. ''Seinfeld,'' NBC, 19.1, 18.2 million homes

4. ''CBS Sunday Movie: Buffalo Girls Pt. 1,'' CBS, 18.7, 17.8 million homes

5. ''Home Improvement,'' ABC, 17.4, 16.6 million homes

6. ''60 Minutes,'' CBS, 16.7, 15.9 million homes

7. ''Ellen,'' ABC, 15.9, 15.2 million homes

8. ''Murder, She Wrote,'' CBS, 15.4, 14.7 million homes

9. ''NBC Monday Night Movies: Seduced and Betrayed,'' NBC, 14.8, 14.1 million homes

10. ''20/20,'' ABC, 14.6, 13.9 million homes

(Rating equals percentage of American homes with TVs.)

A. C. Nielsen Co.

''We are not seeking new powers. We are seeking the resources and the tools to use the authority we already have.''

FBI Director Louis Freeh on the FBI's efforts to combat terrorist activities

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