News In Brief


Unless you're planning to visit a national monument or apply for Social Security or a passport, the federal government's expected shutdown at midnight tonight won't much affect you. But 800,000 "non-essential" government workers - including some White House employees - will be sent home tomorrow morning if President Clinton vetoes Congress's spending bills. His objections include: that the bills would add $7 dollars per year to monthly Medicare premiums for each of the next seven years; that they would limit habeus corpus appeals by death-row inmates; and that they would make environmental regulations more difficult to promulgate.

Bosnian peace talks in Dayton, Ohio, got a boost as reports surfaced yesterday that Serbian President Milosevic had convinced top rebel Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic to step down. They will do so in return for not being handed over to the UN's war-crimes tribunal, which has charged them with crimes against humanity. On Friday, after 20 months of US-led negotiations, Bosnian Muslims and Croats agreed to give new life to a long-moribund multi-ethnic federation. In the deal, the self-styled Croat mini-state within Bosnia will be disbanded and Bosnian President Izetbegovic will give the federation power over most civilian functions in the area he controls.

In its second launch attempt, Shuttle Atlantis rocketed into space yesterday on its way to a rendezvous with the Russian space station, Mir. When it arrives on Wednesday, the shuttle will deploy a 15-foot docking tunnel out of its cargo bay and add it onto Mir. The bay will make future dockings easier and safer. The event will mark the first time a shuttle has been used in space-station assembly.

Some cried. Others threw red, white, and blue candy to the crowd. All were part of the 33,000 veterans who marched down New York's flag-lined Fifth Avenue on Saturday to celebrate Veterans Day. In Washington, Clinton laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier, saying the US owes its peace and prosperity to the veterans. And in Berkeley, Calif. - the one-time bastion of anti-Vietnam protests - the city honored the 22 local men lost in the conflict. The parade was led by Country Joe McDonald, a stalwart protester and author of the anti-Vietnam ditty, "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die."

Ray Lampley and two alleged accomplices were set to appear in federal court today. They were arrested in Oklahoma on charges of conspiring to build a fertilizer bomb. An FBI agent said Lampley considers himself "some sort of prophet" and aimed to attack a white separatist community in eastern Oklahoma. The attempt was not linked to April's Oklahoma City bombing.

With Colin Powell out of the White House race, Senator Dole is picking up points, a Time/CNN poll shows. Even so, if the vote were held today, Clinton would narrowly beat Dole. But a new Newsweek poll shows Dole edging out Clinton, 49 to 45 percent.

Energy Secretary O'Leary escaped with a wrist slap from the White House on Friday after The Wall Street Journal disclosed that the department spent more than $40,000 to track individual journalists' coverage of its activities. O'Leary accepted responsibility for the action but said it was merely aimed at assessing how Energy's public relations efforts were being received. She said no reporters were given preferential treatment based on the ratings.

Heavy snow forced searchers to halt efforts to find two climbers yesterday in Oregon's Three Sisters Wilderness. The University of Oregon students were reported missing Nov. 5.

Conservative Mississippian Mike Parker on Friday became the fourth Democratic Representative to switch to the GOP since the 1994 elections.


Rebel Serb leaders signed a pact to return the last of their holdings in Croatia to the Croatian government yesterday. The agreement averted war in the former Yugoslavian republic and allowed peace talks in Dayton, Ohio, to go forward. (See also US In Brief.) Meanwhile, senior NATO officials arrived in Bosnia Saturday to arrange for replacement of UN peacekeepers with an army of as many as 60,000 international troops. And Bosnian Serbs have agreed to free about 1,400 Muslims detained around Banja Luka.

Britain announced a total ban on arms sales to Nigeria yesterday in response to Nigeria's execution Friday of nine dissidents, including human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. But Prime Minister Major, speaking at a Commonwealth summit in New Zealand, ruled out trade sanctions or a Nigerian oil boycott, saying it would hurt ordinary Nigerians. The Commonwealth suspended Nigeria Saturday, saying it faced expulsion within two years unless it reformed and opened up to democracy. The US and EU recalled their ambassadors. And some 20,000 Nigerian troops were sent into the Niger Delta region in the southeast to quell rising tension.

Jewish extremists held in the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin also planned to kill Arabs with car bombs to thwart the peace process, Israeli police said Sunday. Also, Israel's security service was told of a plot to kill Rabin and received details about the would-be assassin weeks beforehand, Israel radio said. A member of the extremist organization suspected of planning the assassination gave police an accurate description of the assassin weeks before the killing. Meanwhile, Israeli security yesterday arrested a sergeant in an elite army unit on suspicion of supplying the assassin with weapons. And the assassin stalked the prime minister for months, Israel TV reported Saturday.

German Chancellor Helmut Kohl arrived in Beijing yesterday. Kohl is undergoing heavy criticism from opposition leaders for being the first Western leader to accept an invitation to a military base since Chinese troops crushed a pro-democracy movement in 1989. Meanwhile, China's President Jiang Zemin was to arrive for a ground-breaking visit to South Korea today.

Sri Lankan troops attacking the northern Tamil rebel stronghold of Jaffna captured an underground base, incurring heavy rebel casualties. And police conducted a sweep of Colombo after suicide bombings there, security sources said yesterday.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, a leading political ally of the Irish Republican Army, warned yesterday that the IRA cease-fire in Northern Ireland is in peril. The British are to blame, and peace efforts have collapsed, he said, because of Britain's determination to disarm the IRA.

EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek became a possible compromise candidate for the post of NATO secretary-general replacing fellow Dutchman Ruud Lubbers, who withdrew because of US opposition. US officials reportedly said Lubbers was "not up to speed" on NATO policy, especially on Bosnia. Van den Broek has been closely involved in Yugoslav peace efforts.

A meeting of Asian-Pacific leaders in Japan yesterday was on the brink of becoming a summit of discord. The hunt for a compromise on agricultural imports continued to impede a free-trade agreement.

Rescuers dug out 18 bodies of Japanese and Nepalese trekkers buried in an avalance in the Mount Everest region in Nepal yesterday, while search teams found 11 bodies of tourists swept away by landslides. Search teams rescued 85 other trekkers.


"Calvin and Hobbes" creator Bill Watterson will retire his comic strip Dec. 31, becoming the third top cartoonist this year to hang up his pen. Watterson drew the terrible tyke and his sometimes-stuffed tiger for a decade. He follows Gary Larson, whose last "Far Side" appeared Jan. 1, and Berkeley Breathed, who retired his weekly "Outland" strip last March. All three retirees cite artistic burnout as a reason for quitting .

The Denver Zoo's celebrity polar bears have headed south to Sea World in Orlando, Fla. Klondike and Snow were hand-raised since being abandoned by their mother last year. They were sent away because they were no longer cuddly.

Heads you remain mayor, tails someone else gets the job. That's what happened in Harrison, Idaho, where incumbent Dean Christensen and opponent, Dave LePard, tied and agreed to a toss-off. Le Pard won.

Top Computer Makers

A recent national poll weighed reliability, vendor reputation, connectivity, and technical fit as the critical factors in judging computer performance. Firms with scores above the industry average of 100 follow.

Top Notebook Computers

1. Hewlett-Packard (117)

2. Dell (112)

3. Apple (110)

4. Toshiba (107)

5. Compaq (100)

Top Desktop Computers

1. Apple (106)

1. Hewlett-Packard (106)

3. Dell (104)

- J.D. Power & Associates (Agoura Hills, Calif.)

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