News In Brief

The US The GOP unveiled more details of its Medicare-reform plan yesterday. Speaker Gingrich called it a ''conceptual outline'' of the plan that would curtail costs by $270 billion over seven years. Under the plan, premiums would rise faster than under current law for all seniors - and would triple for those whose incomes exceed $100,000. It also included alternatives to the current coverage: HMOs and other managed-care programs and so-called medical-savings accounts. President Clinton criticized the GOP's attempts at reform Wednesday, saying their plan would put an undue burden on middle-class families. (Story, Page 1.) Whether to approve Time Warner's $8 billion buyout of Turner Broadcasting was to be the topic of meetings of the two companies' boards last night. Key Turner stockholder John Malone, who is head of Tele-Communications Inc., was said to have okayed the deal. And Time Warner is reportedly charging ahead despite threats to block the deal by US West, one of its major shareholders. Sources close to the deal cautioned that unresolved details may postpone the deal. More childrens' programming will likely hit the airwaves if Westinghouse takes over CBS. Two advocacy groups agreed to retract their attempt to block the $5.4 billion deal after Westinghouse agreed Wednesday to air three hours of educational programs per week next season should the deal go through. The combined firm would reach one-third of US homes with TVs. Larry Potts, the former deputy FBI director, was set to testify yesterday about his role in the 1992 shootout at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. Potts has denied that he gave ''shoot on sight'' orders for the raid. On Wednesday, the FBI agent who reviewed the raid confirmed Potts's assertion. But the on-site commander at Ruby Ridge said this week that Potts had given the order on the second day of the raid. Speed limits may be going up. The after the House joined the Senate Wednesday in approving a measure in the National Highway System bill to let states set their own speed limits. Critics said it is unsafe. The GOP has a plan to keep the government running after the Oct. 1 budget deadline. Unveiled Wednesday, it would keep national parks and other services running until Nov. 13, but at reduced levels. The White House said the plan was good enough to begin negotiations. Some threatened animal species cannot be saved, a GOP plan to revamp the Endangered Species Act reasons. It would end the 22-year-old requirement that the government try to save all species from extinction. And it would no longer consider habitat destruction to be harmful to endangered species. An assistant secretary of the Interior Department said Wednesday he would ask Clinton to veto the plan. The GOP's ''Freedom to Farm'' plan was defeated in committee Wednesday night. It would cut $13.4 billion in agriculture subsidies over seven years. Four farm-state Republicans broke party ranks to block the bill that the committee chair had sponsored and that was backed by Speaker Gingrich. Is the FBI unfair to women? With female agents threatening a class-action lawsuit, the bureau is conducting a statistical review to determine if it discriminates. Negotiations between a group of veteran agents and the FBI may have stalled, and their lawyer threatened to take the matter to court this week. The Small Business Administration will include a Hasidic Jew in a program for ''socially disadvantaged'' minorities. An out-of-court settlement after four years of lawsuits made New Yorker Harold Ten eligible. The move could make other whites eligible if they can prove a disadvantaged status based on beliefs, appearance, or social standing. The US military has decided to shelve a laser-gun project intended to ''specifically'' blind enemy soldiers. The project had brought a growing international outcry. However, the Army will go ahead with plans to produce a laser gun designed to disable optics such as gun sights but is also capable of blinding people, Gary Grimes, a spokesman for US Special Operations Command, said Wednesday. The World Croatian government forces were pulling out of northern Bosnia yesterday after meeting stiff resistance on the ground and sustaining heavy casualties from Bosnian Serb air raids, the UN said. NATO suspended its airstrikes Wednesday against the Serbs to reward them for removing heavy guns from around Sarajevo. (Story, Page 1.) US Vietnam War veterans handed over to their former foes battlefield souvenirs and a briefcase filled with maps and documents yesterday. The items could help account for as many as 500 North Vietnamese soldiers still missing from the war. In return, Maj. Gen. Nguyen Trong Vinh said that Vietnamese veterans were stepping up efforts to locate remains of US servicemen. And former US defense secretary Robert McNamara, who recently said he was wrong to support the Vietnam War, plans to visit Vietnam next month for the first time since the war. The US agreed yesterday to a review of a 1960 military agreement with Japan that gives US military personnel in Japan special legal status during criminal investigations. The US was responding to growing public anger over a suspected rape of a schoolgirl on Okinawa by three US servicemen. Japanese Defense Agency figures show that in the past two years, US servicemen on Okinawa committed 87 crimes. Also, Prime Minister Murayama's Socialist Party voted yesterday to end its 50-year history and regroup under a new name. Party delegates unanimously approved a plan aimed at creating a larger ''liberal'' party to win over the majority of Japanese fed up with the slow pace of reform. (Story, Page 6.) A UN weapons expert recently in Baghdad said Wednesday his team has new evidence Iraq built its own Scud missile engines and flight-tested chemical warheads on the rockets. The disclosures are likely to prove a big setback for Baghdad, which has asked that trade sanctions be lifted. An all-night session of Israeli-PLO peace talks failed to produce results yesterday on the main sticking points of Hebron and Israeli troop withdrawal from the West Bank. Israel warned that if no agreement is reached this week, negotiations will have to wait until after the Jewish holidays, which begin this Sunday. The UN's rejection Wednesday of Taiwan's membership bid reflected broad acceptance of a one-China policy, Beijing said yesterday. The effort to seat Taiwan was sponsored by 20 countries, mainly from the Caribbean, Central American, and Africa. Beijing's People's Daily accused President Clinton yesterday of creating a ''serious political incident'' by meeting with the Dalai Lama, saying it signaled support for Tibetan independence. Pakistan ordered 13 Afghan diplomats, including the charge d'affairs, to leave the country within 48 hours yesterday. Islamabad withdrew all staff from its embassy in Kabul after demonstrators accused Pakistan of interfering in Afghan affairs and ransacked the mission Sept. 6. Ties between the countries began deteriorating when Afghanistan's president accused Pakistan of helping the opposition Taleban Islamic movement, which has recently scored spectacular successes against the government. Somali faction leader Mohamed Farah Aideed yesterday released seven women of 21 foreign aid workers held by his forces since Sunday. The remaining captives are men. Etcetera An auto mechanic hunting for dinosaur bones in Argentina may have discovered the biggest meat-eater known. Giganotosaurus carolini is about 42 feet long and weighs 6 to 8 tons - 3 tons more than T. Rex. An Israeli scientist's thesis that classical music and colorful plastic toys boost hens' egg outlay was tested at the University of Southern California at Riverside. The report released Wednesday cited a 25 percent increase. The baguette - a hallowed symbol of French culture - is being displaced by a new revolution: changing lifestyles. A 1990 per-person daily baguette intake of 2 lb. has dropped to 5 oz. France has launched a campaign to revive sales. Most-Costly Office Space Prime office space in Moscow is now three times as expensive as midtown New York's $27.99 per square. foot.

Cost per sq. ft 1. Hong Kong $136.36 2. Bombay 123.82 3. Tokyo 101.90 4. Shanghai 97.23 5. Beijing 90.89 6. Moscow 89.45 7. London 88.25 8. Singapore 81.66 9. Osaka, Japan 73.38 10. New Delhi 73.20 Best Bargains 1. Perth, Australia 8.81 2. Winnipeg 8.25 3. Houston 12.43 - Global Real Estate Review '' C-SPAN. See Span run. Run Span run.'' - A T-shirt at a race for congressional and press staffers in Washington, D.C., Wednesday.

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