News In Brief

UN, US Pursue Effort to Have Monitor Writer Released

The United Nations and the United States continued their efforts Monday to obtain the release of Christian Science Monitor writer David Rohde from a Bosnian Serb prison. Mr. Rohde was detained Oct. 29 after he entered Bosnian Serb territory. An attempt to release Rohde failed Sunday when UN and US officials visited him in Bijeljina in northeast Bosnia.

The US

Pressure is building on Serb President Slobodan Milosevic at the Dayton peace talks. US mediators are reportedly pushing him to do three things: sack Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic; formally recognize Bosnia and Croatia; and ensure human rights for ethnic minorities in Serbia. Officials say Milosevic is balking, saying he did not come to Dayton to discuss these topics. Most observers expect the talks to last another two weeks, with face-to-face meetings beginning next week.

Defending his pledge to send up to 25,000 US peacekeeping troops to Bosnia, Clinton writes in Newsweek's upcoming issue: ''Bosnia lies amid some of America's NATO allies and many of Europe's fragile democracies. If war reignites ... it could spark a much wider conflagration.'' Last week the House passed a non-binding measure decrying the Clinton plan. Soon it is expected to take up a binding measure to block the move.

In a record $10.3 billion bank merger, Los Angeles-based First Interstate Bank agreed to be bought by First Bank System of Minneapolis yesterday. First Interstate had been fighting a hostile takeover by San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, which had offered it $10.1 billion. The merger would create the US's ninth-largest bank and is expected to save the two firms $500 million in expenses through consolidation.

Just hours before the Cleveland Browns were set to announce moving their football team to Baltimore, Md., yesterday, a Cuyahoga County judge issued an order blocking the move. The order came at the request of the City of Cleveland. Mayor Michael White asked fans to flood next Sunday's Browns game in support of keeping the team in Cleveland.

Just $200 separates President Clinton and Congress on the tax-cut issue, Senator Dole said Sunday. The GOP budget calls for a $500-per-child cut; Clinton has agreed to $300-per-child. But several prickly issues remain: welfare reform, Medicare, education, and the environment. (Editorial, Page 20.)

New Hampshire Gov. Steve Merrill met with Senator Dole several times in recent days and is reportedly ready to endorse the GOP frontrunner. Separately, a poll by the Boston Sunday Herald shows that New Hampshire Republicans might reconsider their strong support for Dole - which has been at about 35 percent - if Colin Powell were to run: Powell and Dole each got support from 27 percent of those polled. (Story, Page 4.)

Ross Perot's fledgling political party is mobilizing in Ohio. It is expected to get the 33,500 signatures it needs by Nov. 20. This despite an attempt by dissidents in the United We Stand America of Ohio organization to block Perot's use of the group's facilities. Also, a Washington Post poll out yesterday finds 63 percent of those polled support formation of a third party. But 56 percent oppose Perot's party.

Chicago resident Cecil McCool says police left his friend Richard Will in a poor, black area after he pleaded with them for a ride. Will was then killed by a gang. The two officers, both black, say Will, who was white, never asked for a ride and was killed while trying to buy drugs. The case has riled many city residents. Police are investigating.

After saying ''how good life would be without blacks,'' and later shooting three blacks from their car, two skinheads and a young Hispanic man went on trial for federal hate crimes in Lubbock, Texas, yesterday.

Women relying on midwives are half as likely to have Cesarean deliveries as those who use obstetricians, the Washington-based Public Citizen's Health Research Group said yesterday.

The World

Leaders from around the world paid homage to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin yesterday at an unprecedented turnout for his funeral. A Tel Aviv magistrate ordered the brother of Rabin's confessed killer arrested after it was revealed he drilled a hole in the bullet used to to kill the prime minister to make it more lethal. And Syrian President Hafez al-Assad condemned the assassination and called it tragic, a US official said. (Stories, Page 1; Opinion, Page 19.)

Eastern Slavonia remained the sticking point for Serb rebels in Belgrade peace talks Sunday. They rejected terms of an agreement offered by US and UN mediators to hand over control to the Croatian government of the last bit of Croatian land they hold. Croatian leaders warned time is running out for a peaceful solution. Meanwhile, seven French soldiers were wounded in the southern Bosnian city Mostar when three men attacked a rapid-reaction force compound just before midnight Sunday. And Serb leader Radovan Karadzic said he had no idea his troops massacred thousands of Muslims when they overran the safe haven of Srebrenica.

Polish President Lech Walesa and a former Communist leader, Aleksander Kwasniewski, each won about a third of the vote in Poland's second democratic elections, preliminary results showed yesterday. The two will now compete in a runoff presidential election Nov. 19. (Story, Page 7.)

Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze claimed victory in Georgia's presidential elections, with early returns showing yesterday he had received at least 75 percent of the vote.

Daiwa Bank's first business day in Japan since its ejection from the US saw no rush of withdrawals. Its stock actually rose. A chastened Finance Ministry acknowledged that it needed to review its procedures for overseeing the foreign operations of Japanese banks. Meanwhile, a proposed merger of Daiwa Bank and Sumitomo Bank would create the world's biggest bank with deposits of $620 billion.

The Haitian Senate approved Claudette Werleigh (above) as that nation's first woman prime minister Sunday. The Chamber of Deputies was to debate her appointment yesterday: A majority is needed for ratification.

Former US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara is due in Vietnam today. An architect of a war he now calls ''terribly wrong,'' his visit is part of an effort to heal wounds caused by the Vietnam war, which ended two decades ago. Also, Hanoi freed two Vietnamese-Americans yesterday jailed for two years for promoting democracy.

Monsoon rains could delay the Sri Lankan Army's resumption of its advance on the Tamil rebel stronghold of Jaffna. Thousands of soldiers, who are within three miles of the city, have been clearing mines and booby traps and consolidating their position for several days, according to military sources.

Colombian police arrested Sunday a prime suspect in Thursday's killing of three-time presidential candidate Alvero Gomez Hurtado. Hurtado also served five terms in the Senate and was ambassador to Washington and Paris. He said repeatedly President Samper should resign because of charges that his 1994 election campaign was partly financed by the Cali drug cartel. Dignity for Colombia, a terrorist group claiming responsibility for the killing, threatened to launch a new campaign of violence unless Samper resigns.


After seven arduous hours of word play in London on Sunday, Canadian college student David Boys used just three letters (the word ''lud,'' a form of the word ''lord'') to defeat Joel Sherman from New York City and become World Scrabble Champion. He beat out 64 contestants from 31 countries to win a gold-plated Scrabble set and $11,000, which were presented by rock musician and Scrabble enthusiast Robert Palmer.

Two years ago archaeologists began digging under the ruins of war-shattered Beirut. Now an open-air museum has begun displaying the heart of the ancient city they have laid bare. Beirutis are flocking to the site to see streets of Berytus, the city renowned as the home of the Roman empire's greatest law school until its destruction by an earthquake in AD 555.

A once top-secret bunker built in 1958 to house Congress in the event of a nuclear war sits 64 feet beneath a posh resort in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. The $14 million, two-story bunker is mostly a maze of narrow halls connecting small, stark rooms and offices. Each floor is about the size of a football field. They sit under a west wing of The Greenbrier, although guests looking west out the lobby windows see only a grassy hillside. The government decided to close the bunker in 1992. It was only this weekend that cameras were allowed in.

Most Honest US Cities

If you have to lose your wallet, at least do it in Seattle, where there's a pretty good chance you'll get it back. The editors of Reader's Digest recently left a trail of 120 ''lost'' wallets in 12 US cities. Each one had $50 inside. In Seattle, 9 of 10 were returned with all the cash. The cities' return rates follow.

90%: Seattle

80%: Cheyenne, Wyo; Concord, N.H.; Meadville, Pa.

70%: Boston; St. Louis; Greensboro, N.C.

60%: Las Vegas, Los Angeles

50%: Atlanta; Houston; Dayton, Ohio

- Reader's Digest/AP

'' Instead of killing, one should sit down and talk. What do we have a mouth for?

- Talmon Galadoub, an Israeli schoolboy, on Yitzhak Rabin's assassin, Yigal Amir.

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