News In Brief

The US

As President Clinton left for the Paris peace signing, the Senate was set to give grudging support to his Bosnia troop deployment plan. One or both of two proposals were expected to pass: The first would oppose Clinton's decision but support the troops; the second would support Clinton but impose conditions, including a requirement to arm Bosnian Muslim troops in order to achieve a peaceful balance of power in the region.

Clinton didn't snip fervently enough when shaping his federal budget proposal, the GOP said, citing Congressional Budget Office analysts. In a preliminary analysis, the office says his plan falls short of erasing the deficit by about $300 billion and leaves a $100 billion gap in 2002. Republicans are pressuring Clinton to submit a new plan using CBO figures. But the administration says the GOP should reconfigure its budget first, now that the CBO has revealed an extra $135 billion for budget-cutters to work with. (Story, Page 1.)

The third suspect in a plot to blow up 11 US airliners in a single day over the Far East was arraigned at a Manhattan federal court. Wali Khan Amin Shah, an Afghan, was turned over to federal agents in Malaysia. He was charged in a plot to terrorize the US into changing its Mideast policy, especially toward Israel.

The Senate fell three votes short of the majority needed to pass a constitutional amendment banning burning and desecrating the US flag. The amendment's backers vowed to carry the fight into next year's elections.

The White House invoked executive privilege for the first time in the Whitewater investigation. The notes of a 1993 meeting are protected by Clinton's right to confidentiality because disclosure would impair performance of his duties, a 21-page White House statement said.

In US elections, Willie Brown easily defeated Frank Jordan to become San Francisco's first black mayor. In Chicago, Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr., son of the civil rights leader, celebrated a landslide victory over Republican Thomas Somer. And in San Jose, Republican Tom Campbell beat Democrat Jerry Estruth in a special election seen by some as a preview of 1996 congressional races. (Story, Page 3.)

Lee Brown, President Clinton's drug-policy director, is moving on to a teaching and research position at Rice University. His departure follows dramatic budget cuts at the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The University of Pennsylvania has agreed to the largest settlement on Medicare fraud claims, according to the Justice Department. The university's Medical Center and Health System will pay $30 million to settle federal claims of overbilling.

A 1994 meeting between media magnate Rupert Murdoch and then-Speaker-designate Gingrich was proper, the House ethics committee said. There is no evidence that a book deal pending between the two was mentioned. The panel is proposing that book royalties be included in the list of non-congressional earnings that are capped at $20,040 a year.

NBC has spent nearly $4 billion in four months on deals to broadcast five Olympics and major league baseball. The latest coup: NBC will pay $2.3 billion for US broadcast and cable TV rights to the 2004 and 2008 Summer Games and the 2006 Winter Games.

Republicans in Congress regard it as no Mickey Mouse matter. They want to know why the Clinton administration spent federal tax dollars to send more than 200 park rangers to Disney World in Florida for a training seminar. The trip occurred one week after the government reopened from its shutdown.

Bank of Boston said it will buy BayBanks for $1.95 billion in stocks. With assets of $55 billion, the new bank will be the 15th largest in the US. The move will eliminate some 2,000 jobs.

The World

Serbs in Sarajevo voted overwhelmingly to reject the Dayton accord and keep their city divided. The peace plan to be signed today in Paris turns Serb-held neighborhoods of the Bosnian capital over to a Muslim-led government. And the US has said the accord will not be altered, but reports persisted that international mediators would reach a compromise. (Story, Page 1.)

Wei Jingsheng, an advocate of democracy, was convicted of trying to overthrow the Chinese government and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Wei, on his release from prison in 1983 after serving a 16-year sentence, resumed calls for democratic freedoms. He published articles critical of the socialist system and Communist Party leadership, Chinese TV announced. Analysts called the trial a warning against dissent. Wei will appeal the verdict, his relatives said.

The European Parliament approved a customs union between Turkey and the EU. The union, which takes effect Jan. 1, gives Turkey a close link with the EU by breaking down trade barriers for most goods. The resolution made specific mention of Turkey's poor civil liberties record and threatened sanctions if reforms are not forthcoming.

Secretary of State Warren Christopher will meet Syrian President Hafez al-Assad tomorrow to try to revive Israeli-Syrian peace talks. And the Israeli government said it will not release a bystander's videotape of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination until after the investigation.

GATT is history: The revered and reviled global trade watchdog, which for five decades pushed the world toward open markets, was replaced by the World Trade Organization. The WTO, with a membership of 112 countries, carries more power than GATT in enforcing trade liberalizing deals and clamping down on trade cheats.

In a new concession to striking public-sector workers, French Premier Alain Juppe said there would be no change in civil servants' retirement age or in how their pensions are calculated. But most unions vowed to stay off the job until the government backs down from a broader welfare-system overhaul plan.

After weeks of rising tension in eastern Zaire, as many as 100 people were killed in fighting among local tribesmen, Rwandan refugees, and Zairian soldiers, sources say. And the UN Security Council unanimously voted to reduce its Rwandan peacekeeping mission by one-third and end the two-year-old mission in spring 1996.

Who's got the hostages? India rebuffed the Kashmiri separatist group al-Faran's statement that Indian forces had captured three of four Westerners the group was holding hostage during a raid. The government denies holding the men and called al-Faran's statement a pressure tactic. It urged the militants to free them before Christmas.

The UN called for an immediate end to nuclear tests. The 95-to-12 vote with 45 absentation was aimed at France, which conducted four tests since September, and China, which staged two this year. Separately, the UN said there are more rapes in the US - 118 per 100,000 - than in any European country. Sweden was second with 43 per 100,000.

Russia's Communists may stage an electoral comeback in Sunday's vote, but Prime Minister Chernomyrdin says ''There will be no U-turns'' in market reforms. Communists are expected to beat the many pro-reform parties in the vote to fill the lower house of parliament. Above, nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky (second from left) parties with rock fans during a Moscow concert that was part of his pre-election campaign. (Story, Page 7.)

Former South Korean President Roh Tae Woo may have hidden millions of dollars in Swiss bank accounts, according to papers given by a US court to South Korea. Roh is now in jail facing bribery charges.


Nearly one in six adult Americans responding to a Gallup poll is concerned about the possibility of becoming homeless. Some 68 percent said they felt sympathy for the homeless. And nearly a third of those said they are more sympathetic now than five years ago.

For the better part of a century, some of the world's finest African art had been locked away in the Royal Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium. But recently, new managers took 250 of the best artifacts and formed what has proved to be a blockbuster exhibit. So popular has it been that the exhibit has been extended through mid-January and will then go on a 2-1/2-year tour.

Global warming may mean less snow to ski on. So says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists from 120 countries. Later this week, the group will outline national policies to fight global warming.

Japan is thinking of moving its capital. An advisory panel says the new capital should be within 180 miles of Tokyo and be ready by 2010. Parliament set the process in motion in 1990.

Fir Tree Fun Facts

Number of Christmas trees likely to be sold in the US 1995: About 33.5 million

Percent of US households likely to have a tree: 75

Percent of households that choose live trees: 46

Percent that choose artificial trees: 54

Average price for a six-foot tree: $18 to $35

Top US Christmas tree producers: Oregon, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, California, and North Carolina

Most popular tree In the US: Scotch Pine In the Northeast: Balsam Fir In the Rockies: Douglas Fir In Appalachia: Fraser Fir In the Southeast: Virginia Pine

Average growing time for trees to reach proper height: seven to 10 years

Number of US growers: 10,000, down from 15,000 in 1990

- Associated Press

'' The guys in the powdered wigs had it about right in 1792.''

- White House press secretary Mike McCurry, on the defeat of a bill for a constitutional amendment to ban the desecration of the US flag.

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