News In Brief

The US

Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan, whose economic nationalism is now in the spotlight, hopes to continue his string of surprises, as the GOP presidential candidates turn to New Hampshire for its Feb. 20 primary. Buchanan finished a strong second in the Iowa caucus, with 23 percent of the vote to Senator Dole's 26 percent. Former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander got a strong 18 percent. Millionaire publisher Steve Forbes won only 10 percent, despite high poll numbers just weeks ago. And Texas Sen. Phil Gramm got a campaign-threatening 9 percent. Others got less than 5 percent. (Story, Page 1.)

US workers' wages, salaries, and benefits rose 2.9 percent last year - the smallest annual increase since the government began tracking the number in 1982. The Labor Department said overall benefit increases were offset by miniscule gains in health care and vacations.

President Clinton was set to bar federal contractors who knowingly hire illegal immigrants from getting more federal bids. One case that spurred Clinton to action was in Atlanta, where 34 illegals were hired to help build a new federal office building.

Wall Street financier Felix Rohatyn took himself out of the running for the Federal Reserve's second-highest post. Clinton had hoped to balance conservative Fed chairman Alan Greenspan with the more liberal Rohatyn. But congressional Republicans objected, saying Rohatyn's view that the economy can grow faster without sparking a rise in inflation is not conservative enough.

Nearly 40 percent of California's twentysomething black men are in prison, on probation, or on parole. (Story, Page 4.)

California's Senator Feinstein proposed a federal law to crack down on street gangs the same way other laws fight organized crime. It would double sentences of gang members convicted of federal crimes. And it would introduce minimum jail terms for recruiting minors or wearing bulletproof vests when committing a federal crime. The federal definition of a street gang would be changed to include such crimes as drive-by shootings, rapes, carjackings, and kidnappings.

Electricians and carpenters are in high demand in the Northwest as floods recede and cleanup begins. Damage estimates hover at $620 million. But with commerce halted, especially in the port of Portland, the overall cost of the floods is higher.

A presidential panel of environmentalists and businesspeople says existing laws protecting the environment should not be weakened. But it says companies should get more flexibility in complying with environmental laws. The panel includes the oil, paper, and chemical industries, as well as environmentalists and Cabinet members. It is also calling for raising taxes on pollution and consumption in return for cutting some income taxes.

Jacor Communications Inc. will buy Citicasters Inc. for $770 million to create one of the biggest US radio broadcasters. It is another move in the wake of the telecommunications reform law that deregulates the industry.

On-line giant CompuServe reinstated access to most message-posting areas of the Internet. It cut all such areas off in December after Germany announced an investigation into on-line pornography. CompuServe says it will offer a parental-control program to enable users to restrict access to questionable Internet areas.

World Wide Web access for the sight impaired - that's the aim of New Jersey-based Productivity Works. It unveiled a new ''speaking'' Web browser. The software reads text in a computer-generated voice.

Generation X meets the tax man. The IRS is taking out ads on MTV encouraging 18 to 24 year olds to file via phone. They are the age group most likely to do so. The IRS expects about 3 million phone filers this year.

The World

Bosnian Serbs said the Dayton accord is in jeopardy after NATO delivered two of their top military officers to the UN War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. The two were arrested by the Muslim-led Bosnian government as war-crimes suspects. US envoy Richard Holbrooke is widely believed to be behind the transfer of the Bosnian Serb officers. Of the 52 indicted war crimes suspects - 45 Serbs and seven Croats - the Tribunal has only one in custody.

Israel sealed off the West Bank and the Gaza Strip amid warnings of possible suicide attacks. The restrictions prevent thousands of Palestinians from working in Israel. The decision comes a week before the 40-day mourning period for Yahya Ayyash ends. Israel is widely believed to behind the death of Ayyash - a bombmaker for the militant Muslim group Hamas - who was killed Jan. 5.

Taiwan put its Army on high alert as China deployed about 150,000 troops for a military exercise close to Taiwan's coast. Beijing has regarded Taiwan as a renegade province since 1949 when the Nationalists, defeated by the communists, fled to the island. China has vowed to attack Taiwan if it drops a pledge to reunify with the mainland.

Moscow reportedly agreed to withdraw its troops from around Novogroznensky, Chechnya, after town leaders pledged to close their community to Chechen fighters. A similar agreement was reached Sunday in the southern town of Shatoi. Although the pact is unlikely to bring about a major Russian troop withdrawals it is expected to ease tensions.

France denied reports that it is planning to dismantle some of its military bases in Africa. France has troops in Gabon, the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Chad, the Central African Republic, and Djibouti. Also, France said its South Pacific nuclear blasts fulfilled its goal of giving it the capability to simulate future tests on computers.

Armenia's GDP went up by 5 percent last year, while all other countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States registered a decline. The GDP in Azerbaijan went down by 17 percent, 12 in Tajikistan and Ukraine, 10 in Belarus, 4 in Russia, 3 in Moldova, and 1 in Uzbekistan.

Ireland is likely to drop its opposition to Northern Ireland elections as a prelude to all-party peace talks, the Financial Times reported. Irish Deputy Premier Dick Spring is expected to tell the Dublin Parliament that elections can be held, the Financial Times said. Ireland has rejected elections ahead of all-party peace talks, saying negotiations must begin soon.

Millions of Bangladeshis were stranded by a transport blockade called by opposition parties to protest Thursday's general election. The opposition says the elections will not be fair and has called for a boycott of the vote. Also, civil servants refused to carry out polling duties, saying conditions were unsafe.

As rescuers in northern Japan struggled for a fourth day to blast their way into a highway tunnel where 20 people are trapped, the government ordered a nationwide inspection of tunnels. The safety checks are to be completed by the end of March. Also, Japan and the US wrestled with security issues leading up to President Clinton's visit to Tokyo in April. (Story, Page 1.)

NAFTA's three-country environment panel asked Mexico to respond to allegations that it did not complete environmental impact studies, as required by Mexican law. The case - the first of its kind - involves a cruise-ship pier project on the Caribbean island of Cozumel, which environmentalists and diving enthusiasts say damages the coral reef.

Zaire sealed off the Kimbumba refugee camp, restricting the movement of the 189,000 Rwandan refugees. Zaire said it will persuade them to go back to Rwanda. The refugees are members of Rwanda's majority Hutu ethnic group. They fear reprisals from the Tutsi-led Rwandan government over the 1994 Hutu genocide of minority Tutsis.


The Oscar nominations were announced in Hollywood. The nominees for best picture are: ''Apollo 13,'' ''Babe,'' ''Braveheart,'' ''The Postman,'' and ''Sense and Sensibility.'' The nominees for best actor are: Nicolas Cage for ''Leaving Las Vegas,'' Richard Dreyfuss for ''Mr. Holland's Opus,'' Anthony Hopkins for ''Nixon,'' Sean Penn for ''Dead Man Walking,'' and the late Massimo Troisi for ''The Postman.'' The nominees for best actress are: Susan Sarandon for ''Dead Man Walking,'' Elisabeth Shue for ''Leaving Las Vegas,'' Sharon Stone for ''Casino,'' Meryl Streep for ''The Bridges of Madison County,'' and Emma Thompson for ''Sense and Sensibility.'' The winners will be announced March 25.

For Valentine's Day why not name a galaxy after that special someone. An Arizona observatory is offering to name galaxies for people's sweethearts. Or how about a valentine postmarked from Loveland, Ohio.

President Clinton, a Chinese dissident, Russian activists, and a Kurdish parliamentarian are rumored to be among the 103 people nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize. The official nominee list is kept secret.

Valentine Video Picks

''What's the most romantic film you've ever seen?'' That's the question we asked the Boston staff of The Christian Science Monitor. Here are their picks.

1. ''Casablanca''

1. ''Room With a View''

3. ''Gone With the Wind''

3. ''An Affair to Remember''

5. ''Doctor Zhivago''

5. ''When Harry Met Sally'

7. ''Breakfast at Tiffanys''

7. ''Roman Holiday''

7. ''Four Weddings and an Funeral''

Some also-rans: ''Like Water for Chocolate,'' ''The Third Man,'' ''A Little Romance,'' ''The Princess Bride,'' ''Love Story,'' ''The Postman,'' ''Sense and Sensibility,'' ''Sabrina,'' ''Witness,'' ''Sleepless in Seattle,'' ''The Sterile Cuckoo,'' ''Enchanted April,'' ''American in Paris,'' ''Pride and Prejudice,'' and ''Singing in the Rain.''

'' This country seeks bold, new, fresh, conservative leadership.''

- Commentator Pat Buchanan, whose surprise second-place finish in Iowa highlights the power of church-based social conservatives in the Republican primary process. One in 3 Iowan caucus-goers described himself this way.

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