News In Brief

The US

Former White House lawyer William Kennedy was to testify at Senate Whitewater hearings about his notes on a 1993 meeting on Whitewater. Meanwhile, White House aide Carolyn Huber was to appear before a federal grand jury in Arkansas. Huber discovered Mrs. Clinton's law-firm billing records, which were subpoenaed two years ago. Mrs. Clinton, on her book tour (above), said she is willing to appear before the committee to clarify events but is concerned she won't be treated fairly.

Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar commuted Guinevere Garcia's death sentence, sparing her from execution today even though she rejected all attempts to save her life. She was convicted for killing her husband. She will serve a life prison sentence instead.

The Supreme Court let stand a ruling on a reverse-bias suit in which a California contractor said he didn't receive a state contract because his firm didn't have enough women or minorities. The Court also upheld a lower ruling that rejected Lotus 1-2-3's copyright infringement argument against competitor Borland Inc.

The budget stalemate was the last straw for Senator Cohen of Maine, who said unexpectedly that he won't seek reelection to a fourth term. The moderate Republican is known as a maverick. He is the 13th senator to not seek reelection - the most ever.

Iowa's Christian Coalition endorsed Senator Dole for president, despite what critics call his waffling on the abortion issue. Dole has the best chance of beating Clinton, the Coalition said of the move. Meanwhile, presidential hopeful Pat Buchanan stumped from a dog sled in Alaska. Buchanan, Sen. Phil Gramm, Alan Keyes, and Steve Forbes added the nation's largest and emptiest state to their itinerary just before Jan. 27-29 statewide straw polls.

Endeavour's crew hauled aboard its second satellite in four days when it grabbed a US science probe. Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata used the robot arm to make the retrieval. Earlier, he caught a Japanese satellite. A second space walk is set for today.

Microsoft Corp. plans to buy Vermeer Technologies Inc. and incorporate Vermeer's World Wide Web software into its Office Suite programs. The move could establish Vermeer's FrontPage program as the leading way to write information for the Web portion of the Internet and other electronic networks.

A Republican commission on tax reform reportedly won't endorse a flat tax, or any other new tax system. By not making a recommendation, the Kemp Commission, led by former Housing Secretary Jack Kemp, is expected to feed the growing debate on the flat tax.

Housing starts made their biggest gain in a year - a 5.7 percent jump in November. Construction rose in the Midwest and South but fell in the Northeast and West.

Women continue to earn less on the dollar than men in similar jobs, though in some cases their salaries are catching or surpassing men's pay. Women make 80 to 95 cents for every dollar a man does. Working Woman magazine attributed the difference to women's lack of on-the-job experience, but also cited discrimination. (See list, at right.)

''I do not believe we are a racist society. Our president has said there are two Americas. But there is only one,'' said Dole responding to Clinton's comments on Martin Luther King Day. Clinton said King would find his dream unfulfilled today and Americans need to heal racial divisions still tearing at our nation.

A new company, Revelation Corp of America, will pool the purchasing power of black consumers to give them greater access to a wide variety of goods and services. Unveiled by five black religious groups, the Memphis, Tenn., company aims to help black consumers acquire home mortgage loans, insurance, and durable goods. Rebates will go to church communities and minority housing funds.

The World

Fierce fighting was reported between Russian troops and Chechen rebels after the Russians attempted to free about 100 hostages in a small Russian village. Separately, rebels seized 30 hostages in Grozny, Chechnya, and took them to an unknown destination, Russia said. And First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, the last prominent reformer in the Russian government, resigned. (Story, Page 1; Editorial, Page 20.)

A second prisoner release in Bosnia fell through, casting doubt that the Dayton accord's first significant deadline may not be fully met. The swap has been thwarted by a Bosnian government demand that rebel Serbs account for some 25,000 missing Muslims. Friday is the deadline for releasing all war prisoners as well as for the complete withdrawal of all Bosnian factions from front-line positions. (Story, Page. 6; Opinion, Page 19.)

Juan Garcia Abrego, a drug lord and fugitive on the FBI's 10 most-wanted list, was arrested by Mexican police and extradited to the US. He allegedly controlled about one-third of the illegal drugs smuggled into the US, acting as a conduit for Colombia's Cali drug cartel. Separately, CIA Chief John Deutch was in Cali, Colombia, to review joint operations against the drug cartel. (Story, Page 7.)

Ailing Andreas Papandreou resigned as Greece's premier, paving the way for his PASOK socialist party to elect a new leader from among 168 parliamentarians. The hugely popular Papandreou dominated Greek politics for 15 years. A new leader is expected to be elected by Saturday to fill the two-month-old vacuum. Four leading socialists intend to run for the post.

The prospects of an Israel-Syria peace deal is very likely by the end of the year, Vice President Gore said in Jerusalem. And Jewish settlers are planning to obstruct the Jan. 20 Palestinian general elections, Israeli police said. But settler leaders denied they were planning anything illegal. Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza plan to vote Saturday.

Sierra Leone's military ruler Valentine Strasser has been ousted in a coup, the state-run radio said. Brig. Julius Maada Bio reportedly replaced Strasser, who came to power in 1992 in another military coup.

Indonesia said it will not negotiate with separatists holding 14 people hostages, including six Europeans, in Irian Jaya. The rebels, claiming to represent various ethnic groups, are seeking independence from Indonesia.

Monica Seles, who has never lost a match in the Australian Open, blasted American qualifier Janet Lee 6-3, 6-0 in a first round game. No. 1 Pete Sampras of the US started his campaign with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 win over Richard Fromberg of Australia. And Amy Frazier of the US lost 4-6, 7-5, 9-7 to Barbara Schett of Austria.

Talks on controlling the deployment of land mines have resumed in Geneva. But despite campaigns by UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali and humanitarian organizations, diplomats said there is little chance of either an outright ban or effective clearing of the millions of mines scattered around the world.

The mother of a US Marine accused of raping an Okinawan girl has taken her campaign for a change of venue to the Japanese Supreme Court. The appeal is a last-ditch effort to have the trial moved off the island.

China is planning to cut its 2.5 million-member Army by 500,000. It would instead focus more funding on economic development. No timetable has been set, nor has it been decided where the cuts will be made.


That bass on your neighbor's family room wall could be a fake. New acrylic reproductions make it hard to tell when a fish is real. It's taxidermy's way of keeping up business amid catch-and-release rules aimed at protecting fish.

In an ancient tomb deep inside Lion Mountain in eastern China, archaeologists have found the body of a king wearing garments made of 4,000 pieces of extremely thin jade plaques linked with gold thread.

Archaeologists say they have discovered signs of human civilization dating back 50,000 years in a cave in southwestern France. That would make it the earliest evidence of cave-dwelling humans.

The European Union is planning a multimillion-dollar campaign to persuade Europeans to warm up to the euro. That's the currency set to replace national currencies by 2002. Barely half of EU nationals support the switch.

Glass Ceiling Breakers

Top-paid US women and their 1995 compensation. (See item at left.)

1. Linda Wachner, president, CEO, & chairwoman of Warnaco/Authentic Fitness Corp.: $9.49 million

2. Carol Bartz, president, CEO, & chairwoman, Autodesk: $7.61 million

3. Jill Barad, president & COO, Mattel: $4.67 million

4. Ngaire Cuneo, executive VP, Conseco: $2.97 million

5. Nancy Pedot, president & CEO, Gymboree: $2.72 million

6. Marion Sandler, co-CEO & co-chairwoman, Golden West Financial: $2.15 million

7. Charlotte Beers, chairwoman & CEO, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide: $1.59 million

8. Ellen Gordon, president & COO, Tootsie Roll Industries: $1.56 million

9. June Rokoff, senior VP, Lotus Development: $1.23 million

10. Sally Frame Kasaks, chairwoman & CEO, Ann Taylor: $1.22 million

- Working Woman magazine/AP

''The astronomical equivalent of the Dead Sea Scrolls.''

- How some astronomers are describing the hundreds of never-before-seen galaxies captured on film by the Hubble Space Telescope.

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