News In Brief

The US

President Clinton presented Congress with a 20-page, bare-bones outline of his $1.64 trillion 1997 spending plan. Administration officials say there aren't any surprises in the rough draft. It's essentially the same offer made by Clinton in January, which Republicans rejected saying it needed more cuts, especially in Medicare and Medicaid. Republicans immediately rejected the new plan, too.

Medicare's Hospital Trust Fund lost money last year for the first time in 23 years. It lost $35.7 million and now has $129.5 billion, The New York Times reported. The Clinton administration estimated last year that the fund would grow by $4.7 billion in the 1995 fiscal year. The deficit is significant because once the fund loses money, the losses are expected to grow.

Clinton planned to meet with the nation's governors after asking them to come up with alternative welfare and Medicaid plans that include guaranteed benefits for children and the poor. The governors hope to end the budget stranglehold.

Several prominent Republicans are demanding an end to US involvement in Bosnia after Sgt. 1st Class Donald A. Dugan became the first US soldier killed there. Presidential contender Sen. Phil Gramm said his first act if elected president would be a withdrawal of US troops participating in the NATO effort. (See also World In Brief.)

The big chill is chilling out. Temperatures began inching back into the positive after 13 states had record low temperatures Sunday. But the Gulf Coast and Florida braced for a big freeze as citrus growers and farmers scrambled to pick and protect crops. In North Carolina, hundreds of thousands of residents were without power.

Jury selection was expected to begin in the murder trial of John Salvi, who is accused of killing two receptionists in two Boston-area abortion clinics. Salvi says he wants to stand trial for the shootings. His attorney plans to use an insanity defense.

After a three month delay, CBS's ''60 Minutes'' aired a controversial interview with Jeffrey Wigand, a former tobacco executive who accused Brown & Williamson Tobacco of lying about nicotine, of using disease-causing additives, and of refusing to make safer cigarettes. The firm denied all of Wigand's claims. A company lawyer said he is a liar and cannot be believed.

Senator Dole has support from 47 percent of Republican and GOP-leaning voters - a number that's held steady since November, says a new Time/CNN poll. Steve Forbes has support from 17 percent - up from 4 percent in November. And 13 percent are undecided, down from 23 percent last fall. The other GOP candidates fell below 10 percent. (Above, Elizabeth Dole campaigns for her husband in Spencer, Iowa.)

A bill to pay the legal expenses of the fired White House travel office workers is on a fast track. The workers have been cleared of any wrongdoing, and now Rep. Clinger (R) of Pennsylvania and Sen. Hatch (R) of Utah want the government to reimburse former office director Billy Dale for his legal expenses. Clinton says he will sign the bill.

A record $828 million in delinquent child-support payments were collected last year by garnishing tax refunds of deadbeat parents, according to the US government. More than 1.2 million families benefited.

The defense is investigating the possibility that an international conspiracy was behind the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City, says Stephen Jones, lawyer for Timothy McVeigh, one of two men charged with the bombing.

Some America On-Line users are irked at the computer service for giving police access to users' e-mail messages. Police sought access to investigate a murder: An on-line chat turned into a deadly confrontation in person between two gay men in East Windsor, N.J.

General Motors is upping its marketing profile by launching a super-high-tech World Wide Web page, which launches today and has ''virtual reality'' features. The address is:

The World

Serbia is willing to try suspected war criminals but will not extradite them, President Slobodan Milosevic told US Secretary of State Christopher in Belgrade. Also, a UN investigator found four partially buried bodies in the Srebrenica area where 8,000 Bosnian Muslims disappeared. Serbs claim the missing men died while fighting and were not massacred. And Sgt. 1st Class Donald Dugan, the first US soldier killed in Bosnia, died when ammunition exploded in his hands, and was not killed by a land mine, NATO said.

Some 312 aftershocks jolted China's Yunnan Province, including a tremor with a magnitude of 6. Some 260,000 people left homeless by Saturday's quake huddled in donated quilts to ward off freezing temperatures. Also, China reportedly is preparing for massive military exercises aimed at intimidating Taiwan.

Israel's main opposition Likud Party and the ultra-nationalist Tsomet Party agreed to form a coalition to challenge Prime Minister Shimon Peres in general elections. Both parties oppose Israel's peace policy with the PLO. Also, early elections will not impede peace talks with Syria, Israel said. Elections originally scheduled for Oct. 29 may be held in May, observers said. (Story, Page 1.)

Guatemalan President Alvaro Arzu survived an assassination attempt. Arzu was riding a horse in Antigua when a truck, ignoring instructions to slow down, tried to run him down. The alleged assassin was shot and killed by security guards. Also, Pope John Paul II was on his way to Guatemala as part of a week-long tour of Central America.

Warlords threatening to overthrow Tajikistan's government withdrew their troops to their barracks after President Imomali Rakhmonov met their demands and fired his first deputy prime minister, chief of staff, and a governor. Rebel troops reportedly were 20 miles from the capital of Dushanbe.

King Hussein appointed his close friend Abdul-Karim Kabariti as Jordan's premier, with instructions to revitalize the economy and overhaul government agencies. He replaces Zeid Bin Shaker, a cousin of the king. The influential Islamic Action Front, which opposes Jordan's peace deal with Israel, was excluded from the new Cabinet.

Half of all African aid is used to pay interest charges to the West, the London-based Debt Crisis Network said. In 1993, African governments paid $300 million more to the International Monetary Fund than they received. The West must give loans to receive interest charges, and African nations must borrow to repay their debts, the report said.

Svyatoslav Fyodorov, a respected politician, entered Russia's presidential race. Despite his personal popularity, his Workers' Self-Government Party did poorly in December parliament elections. And the Communist Party is amenable to Russia's free-market reforms, Gennady Zyuganov announced.

South Korea's ruling New Korea Party has been plunged into another corruption scandal involving former President Chun Doo Hwan. He allegedly handed out $125 million to politicians and other influential figures to prepare for his political comeback in 1990. The allegations could weaken President Kim Young Sam, whose anticorruption campaign snared Chun.

A cargo plane crashed into a row of houses in Asuncion, Paraguay's capital, killing 23 people, including seven children.

Asia will be the biggest aviation market of the 21st century, said many aircraft manufacturers gathered in Singapore for the Asian Aerospace air show.


George Gerwin and David Thompson, two of the game's most prolific scorers, were elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. But the controversial Jerry Tarkanian, who has the best winning percentage of any college coach, fell short.

Old Faithful is slowing down. Forty years ago, the geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo., erupted every 62 minutes exactly. Now this icon of dependability spews about every 77 minutes. Barely noticed seismic activity seems to be the culprit. But tourist trash may also be plugging the geyser.

Actress Audrey Meadows, who died in Los Angeles Saturday, will always be remembered for her role as Jackie Gleason's wife, Alice, in the 1950s TV comedy series ''The Honeymooners.''

Thailand held an ''elephant feeding fair'' to raise money and publicize the plight of the nation's pachyderms. Some 1,250 people paid $15 to see 21 elephants munch 1,100 pounds of sugar cane, pineapples, bamboo leaves, and bananas.

Big City Squeeze

These major US cities have the highest population density.

people per square mile

1. New York 23,701

2. Patterson, N.J. 16,693

3. San Francisco 15,502

4. Jersey City, N.J. 15,337

5. Chicago 12,251

6. Inglewood, Calif. 11,952

7. Boston 11,860

8. Philadelphia 11,734

9. Newark 11,554

10. El Monte, Calif. 11,175

- ''The Top 10 of Everything, 1996,'' published by Dorling Kindersley

'' How can I live in the world of the Internet when I don't have electricity?''

- Haitian economist Kesner Pharel, whose neighborhood in Petionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, has only intermittent electricity service.

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