News In Brief

The US

Starting what could be a media mogul news battle, ABC said it will create a 24-hour all-news network that will compete with CNN. Captial Cities/ABC is being acquired by The Walt Disney Co. CNN is owned by Time Warner and Ted Turner. ABC says it will distribute the network by cable, direct satellite, and new systems being devised by phone companies.

The Pentagon told 3,800 reservists to prepare for service in Bosnia. The group includes more than 1,000 Air and National Guard members. A yet-undecided number will go to Bosnia and Germany. Also, popular opinion is still against the mission: 57 percent of Americans said they oppose the move; 30 percent favor it; the rest are unsure, an AP poll found. One concern is terrorist attacks on troops, which the administration thinks could occur at the hands of 3,000 to 4,000 Islamic militants who have been training their Bosnian brethren. Some of the militants may have been bankrolled by Iran.

Budget talks were set to resume yesterday. Speaker Gingrich warned that failure to craft a plan this month could send the stock market crashing and interest rates soaring. Also, so-called ''Blue-Dog Democrats'' may be the key to breaking the budget logjam. House Republicans are courting 21 conservative Democrats who have unveiled their own seven-year plan. The ''Blue Dogs'' and the two-dozen other Democrats with whom they hold sway, are the GOP's best chance for forging a veto-proof plan. But Blue Dogs have with the GOP: they would lessen Medicare and Medicaid cuts and block the $245 billion tax cut.

Colorado Judge Richard Matsch was assigned the Oklahoma City bombing case. He presided over the desegregation of Denver's public schools and the trial of white supremacists accused of killing a talk-show host. He replaces Judge Wayne Alley, whose courtroom was damaged in the blast. The trial is set to start May 17 in Lawton, Okla., 90 miles from Oklahoma City.

By ''repeating prayers, words, or sounds'' patients are able to trigger bodily healing, Dr. Herbert Benson, a Harvard researcher found. ''The supposed gulf between science and spirituality in healing does not always exist,'' he said. (Story, Page 1.)

In a tobacco tug-of-war, six media firms have asked a Mississippi state judge to unseal depositions given last week by Jeffrey Wigand. He is a former Brown & Williamson tobacco company executive who has cooperated with state and federal prosecutors pursuing the company. The firms - The New York Times, Gannett, NBC, CNN, ABC, and CBS - say the public has a compelling interest for immediate access. Brown & Williamson says the move would publicize trade secrets. The judge has not said when he will rule.

Tax returns by phone? The IRS says up to 23 million Americans will be able to phone in their returns in 1996 with a 10-minute call. And for the first time, the process would be paperless: After being prompted by a recorded voice, filers will use an identification number instead of a signature. Last year, 680,000 use the process.

A group of seven doctors, including Dr. Jack Kevorkian, put out guidelines on assisted suicide. ''The process ... shall be constantly under the control of the patient, who can stop it at any time,'' they state. A written request from the patient, signed by a doctor and two adults with no financial interest in the case, should also be made. The group hopes the guidelines will lend legitimacy to the practice. Critics call it unethical and illegal.

If you're like most Americans, your commute may be getting longer, the Census Bureau says. Many people are leaving earlier for work and taking longer to get there because the search for cheaper housing has sent many far into the suburbs. Cheap gas prices have also enabled longer commutes. More people are driving alone too: From 1980 to 1990 the percent of Americans doing so jumped from 64 to 73 percent; carpooling fell from 19 to 13 percent; mass transit use dropped from 6.5 to 5.3 percent.

The S&L crisis is over. Some described the fiasco that cost taxpayers $90 billion as the second-worst financial crisis in the nation's history, behind the Great Depression. The Resolution Trust Corp. - the federal agency charged with sorting out 747 failed S&Ls - will shut its doors Dec. 31. In its six years, the RTC sold off $450 billion in assets.

The World

NATO foreign ministers gathering in Brussels endorsed the alliance's largest military operation and confirmed the choice of Spain's Foreign Minister Javier Solano as secretary-general. (Story, Page 7.) The ministers applauded France's pledge of greater military involvement in NATO after boycotting the military wing for 29 years.

An Israeli court formally charged Yigal Amir with the murder of Yitzhak Rabin, and two suspected accomplices were indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit murder. Separately, Israel played down a meeting between US Mideast envoy Dennis Ross and Syrian President Assad in Damascus. Israel said the peace-talks situation should become clearer next week, after Prime Minister Peres meets President Clinton in Washington. (Opinion, Page 19.)

South Korea's former President Roh Tae Woo and seven top business tycoons were charged with bribery in connection with a slush-fund scandal. The company chairmen remain free pending trial. Travel bans also were placed on five former military leaders. And the chairman of the ruling Democratic Liberal Party offered to resign, indicating that the probe could result in a political reshuffle.

Vice President Gore met with South Africa's President Mandela in Pretoria to discuss the possibility of stronger sanctions against Nigeria. The countries also are working on an agreement to bring the first US Peace Corps volunteers to South Africa.

In letters faxed to the media, former Mexico President Carlos Salinas accused another former President Luis Echeverria of a political offensive against him and hinted Echeverria may have stood to gain from the 1994 murder of presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio. He said he was willing to return home to tell what he knows, and also distanced himself from his brother. Raul Salinas was imprisoned on charges of masterminding the murder of the No. 2 man in the ruling PRI, and has been accused of taking bribes and stashing money in Swiss bank accounts.

Refugees at Mugona camp in Burundi (above) received a rare treat: home movies. UNHCR's latest effort to encourage repatriation included videos on a TV set. The crowd cheered, laughed, and waved back at friends waving from the screen. Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali told the Security Council UN peacekeepers should leave Rwanda soon to comply with the Rwandan government's wishes. But diplomats say a compromise plan, including a smaller force, is being considered.

Economic report cards for the US and Western Europe proved poorer than expected, while Eastern Europe's marks were better, a UN report said. The study predicted a slowdown to about 2 percent in US growth in 1996 but foresaw a 4.5 percent growth rate in Eastern Europe for this year and next.

World fish stocks will receive greater protection if a treaty signed at UN headquarters by 26 nations is ratified. The treaty would allow boarding of vessels suspected of fishing illegally in international waters and detention of such boats.

British Prime Minister Major met with Queen Elizabeth to work out a role for Diana, Princess of Wales. The princess said in a television interview last month that she wanted to be a roving ''goodwill ambassador'' for Britain. (Story, Page 6.)

In Argentina, another suspect was arrested in connection with the 1994 bombing of the Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, which killed 95 people. He is the 10th non-commissioned officer arrested in the case. Four civilians have also been arrested, but officials say the bombers have not been apprehended.


Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore have discovered the third black hole ever observed. Black holes, formed by the remains of collapsed stars, are so dense that not even light can escape their gravitational pull. The stellar body is 100 million light years from Earth.

Students from the Broad Meadows Middle School in Quincy, Mass., went to New York to receive Reebok's Youth in Action Award. The students got the prize for their efforts to build a school in Pakistan in memory of a young bonded laborer and to carry on his fight against child labor. Iqbal Masih was murdered before he could collect a similar award.

Top 10 Movies, Dec. 1 - 3

Disney's animated ''Toy Story'' was the nation's No. 1 film for the second straight week.

1. ''Toy Story,'' Disney, $20.2 million

2. ''Goldeneye,'' MGM, $8.8 million

3. ''Casino,'' Universal, $6.1 million

4. ''Money Train,'' Columbia, $6 million

5. ''Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls,'' Warner Bros., $5.7 million

6.''The American President,'' Columbia, $5.3 million

7. ''It Takes Two,'' Warner Bros., $2 million

8. ''White Man's Burden,'' Savoy, $1.73 million

9. ''Get Shorty,'' MGM, $1.72 million

10. ''Nick of Time,'' Paramount, $1.6 million

- Exhibitor Relations/AP

'' I must tell you there is nothing mysterious in it. No sophisticated economics behind it. It's simply the ability of political leaders to say no to ... expenditures.''

- Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus, who offered to send aides to the US to show how he balanced his budget for six years.

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