News In Brief

The US

Heeding the Iowa Republican Party's request, several presidential candidates boycotted Louisiana's caucus yesterday. Iowa complained that Louisiana was leapfrogging its Feb. 12 caucus. Senate majority leader Dole and millionaire Steve Forbes did not attend, leaving Sen. Phil Gramm and commentator Pat Buchanan to gain the support of Louisiana's 21 delegates.

After a day of wrangling in Washington, the nation's governors presented a bipartisan formula for overhauling welfare and cutting Medicaid. Their plan was in response to Clinton's request that they help him reach agreement with Republicans on a balanced budget. At the meeting, Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan proposed smaller cost-of-living adjustments in taxes and federal retirement programs, which could save $150 billion a year. (Story, Page 3.)

The UN will cut some 1,000 jobs - about 10 percent of its work force - because of a severe budget crunch. At the end 1994, members owed the UN $2.3 billion. The US has repeatedly said that the UN is overstaffed, and pressured the organization to reduce its spending. The US pays a quarter of the UN's budget.

President Clinton is eager to testify on behalf of James and Susan McDougal, White House aides said in response to a subpoena for Clinton's testimony issued Monday. The McDougals have been accused by Little Rock, Ark., businessman David Hale of illegally obtaining a $300,000 loan that Hale claims Clinton pressured him to make. The president will probably give sworn testimony via videotape or satellite. Also, the Senate Whitewater Committee expects testimony this week on Hillary Rodham Clinton's billing records from the Clinton's lawyer and two federal regulators.

Extra, extra, read all about it - on the Internet's World Wide Web. The number of North American newspapers available through on-line computer services is expected to double this year and tripled last year to about 175, says the Newspaper Association of America. About 600 papers published outside the US are also available on-line.

TV characters that perpetrate violent acts go unpunished 73 percent of the time, finds a year-long study on television violence funded by the cable industry. The $1.5 million study, which is the largest ever conducted, concluded that ''psychologically harmful'' violence occurs on 57 percent of broadcast and cable TV shows. Researchers at four universities surveyed 2,500 hours of shows for the study.

Juan Garcia Abrego, the accused leader of a Mexican drug cartel, was expected in US federal court where prosecutors planned to request he be locked up without bail on conspiracy and bribery charges. Abrego may also be asked to enter a plea on 20 charges accusing his cartel of smuggling billions of dollars of cocaine into the US. His attorney said he will plead not guilty.

The US Air Force doesn't need more B-2 bombers, a top Pentagon official said in response to Clinton's interest in ordering more. The money can be better spent modernizing laser-guided bombs and improving aircraft on hand, said Paul Kaminski, the Pentagon's acquisition chief. Some analysts say Clinton may be trying to win support in California - where the plane is assembled - for the fall election.

Food stamps and welfare benefits in New York and the six New England states will be distributed electronically with a plastic credit card in a new $200 million plan. The states hope to eliminate fraud and cut administrative costs with the new system, which allows recipients to obtain benefits through automatic teller machines at banks.

The US shipped nearly a ton of plutonium to 39 countries during the cold war, including Israel, South Africa, Iran, and Iraq, say Energy Department documents just declassified and released. The amounts were usually small and used for research in the Atoms for Peace program.

The US subsidiary of South Korean electronics giant Samsung will pay a $150,000 fine after pleading guilty to making illegal contributions to the 1992 campaign of Jay Kim, a Korean-American member of Congress. Samsung is the third South Korean firm to admit to such charges.

The World

Bosnian authorities detained a general and seven other Bosnian Serbs in the Sarajevo area as war crimes suspects or witnesses to atrocities. The general and a colonel were captured after they lost their way en route to a meeting with officials of the NATO peacekeeping force. Rebel Serbs called the arrest a violation of the Dayton accord. A Bosnian government source said a local court could try the rebel Serbs for war crimes. (Story, Page 1; Opinion, Page 18.)

PLO leaders failed to set a date for a vote on removing references to Israel's destruction from the PLO charter. But a senior Palestinian leader said the PLO intends to keep its pledge to amend the charter by spring. Israel has threatened to halt troop withdrawals from the West Bank if the PLO reneges. Separately, some 300 Beirut guerrillas will join the Palestinian police force, Palestinian President Arafat said.

The US cautioned China that any military action to determine Taiwan's future was unacceptable to Washington, sources said. Also, evidence exists that China intended to conduct large-scale military exercises aimed at intimidating Taiwan, a senior US official said. Stock prices in Taiwan lost 1.45 percent of their value due to concerns over Chinese threats. (Editorial, Page 20.) Separately, China appealed for aid to help survivors of an earthquake in Yunnan Province.

Rene Preval is set to succeed Jean-Bertrand Aristide as Haiti's president today. Thousands of Haitians gathered outside an Army headquarters to catch a glimpse of Aristide. Schoolgirls lined the streets wearing T-shirts that read, ''We will never forget you.'' (Story, Page 7; Opinion, Page 18.)

The UN and Iraq were scheduled to begin talks on limited oil sales by Baghdad to meet humanitarian needs. Crippling sanctions forced Iraq to reconsider its earlier rejection of a UN offer to sell oil worth $2 billion to buy food and medicines. If an agreement is reached, world oil prices may dip as much as $1 a barrel, oil experts said.

Thousands of people rallied for a third day yesterday in the Chechen capital of Grozny to demand that Russian troops leave the breakaway republic. The demonstrations have been peaceful, but tensions have been rising. Russian commanders said they reinforced forces in the area to prevent trouble. Also, President Yeltsin is reportedly working on a peace plan with the rebels.

Violent protests marked New Zealand's national day when some 400 Maoris and whites, protesting alleged discrimination toward the Maori, threw rocks at police in Waitangi. An 1840 treaty signed in Waitangi ceded Maori sovereignty in return for full possession of their lands.

The UN demanded that Japan pay compensation and apologize individually to women forced to become sex slaves to Japanese troops during World War II. Japan showed ''extraordinary inhumanity'' in running the system, the UN report said. Japan rejected the report, reiterating its claim that it bore no legal responsibility for the abuses.

Spain and Morocco signed agreements pledging industrial and cultural cooperation. The two countries also will try to convince the EU to financially support the construction of a rail tunnel linking Europe and North Africa under the Strait of Gibraltar. Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez is visiting Morocco.

Crown Prince David Mohato Letsie Bereng Seeiso is expected to be installed today as Lesotho's king. Also known as Letsie III, he ruled for five years before a constitutional crisis last year forced him to abdicate in favor of his father, King Moshoeshoe II. His father, a respected leader, died last month.


British naval architects have unveiled a proposed replacement for the soon-to-be-retired royal yacht Britannia. It's a 370-foot square-rigged sailing ship. Besides serving royalty, the vessel would be used as a training ship. The design harks back to the end of the 19th century when clipper ships such as Cutty Sark broke speed records bringing goods from China to London.

The Beatles are back - again. This time it's with a new recording of ''Real Love'' that will hit the airwaves on Valentine's Day. It's the second single to be released since last year's Beatles anthology aired on television. The first single was ''Free as a Bird,'' a remake of a song taped by John Lennon in 1977.

MCA Inc. says it will build a Universal Studios theme park in Osaka, Japan, that will feature rides based on hit movies such as ''Back to the Future'' and ''Jurassic Park.'' The new park, located in Japan's second-largest city, comes on the heels of the enormously successful Tokyo Disneyland.

Fewer than 100 Yangtze River dolphins remain, and they face extinction unless provided greater protection, Chinese experts say. As the Yangtze River region has grown economically in recent years, pollution and river traffic have made dolphin reproduction nearly impossible.

Biggest Oil Producers

Before the Gulf War, Iraq produced about 3,000,000 barrels of oil per day. The UN has prohibited Iraq from selling oil since 1990 but will now allow limited sales. (See also World in Brief.)

barrels per day

1. Saudi Arabia 8,529,000

2. Former USSR 6,581,000

3. US 6,540,000

4. Iran 3,629,000

5. China 2,991,000

6. Venezuela 2,714,000

7. Mexico 2,689,000

8. United Kingdom 2,425,000

9. United Arab Emirates 2,280,000

10. Kuwait 2,060,000

- Energy Information Administration (Washington)

'' It frontloads the joy and backloads the pain.''

- Former US Sen. and Concord Coalition member Paul Tsongas, on President Clinton's new budget, which Tsongas says is driven by reelection concerns.

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