News In Brief

The US

Larry Pratt, a co-chairman of Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign, stepped aside after a report scrutinized his ties to white supremacists and right-wing militia leaders. Pratt gave speeches at the groups' gatherings, the report by the nonpartisan, Washington-based Center for Public Integrity said. But it does not accuse him of racism. Pratt is director of the Virginia-based Gun Owners of America. (New Hampshire, Pages 1 and 4; Editorial, Page 20.)

As president of the University of Tennessee, presidential hopeful Lamar Alexander steered $100,000 worth of business to a hotel partly owned by his wife, a 1992 state audit found. Alexander says the report concludes he broke no laws, but he accedes that if he had it to do over, he would ''do it differently.''

A PG or R-rated TV show? The four major television networks are moving to adopt a system for rating violence and sex in their shows. They are working quickly for two reasons: to preempt federal action to impose a system (a possibility under the new telecom law), and to avoid any one network developing a system of its own and selling itself as family-friendly. Network executives hope to adopt a system before meeting with President Clinton late this month.

Sabotage was suspected as a freight train careened into a building in St. Paul, Minn., injuring one man. Officials wouldn't elaborate, except to say they had called in the FBI.

Clinton offered $62.5 million in federal aid to clean up the mud, silt, and flood damage in the Northwest. He also said individual states could not help as much as the federal government in such crises.

Washington's lobbyists scrambled to meet their first deadline under a new disclosure law. They had until yesterday to disclose their clients, the issues on which they lobby, and how much they are paid. Some 6,000 lobbyists are registered under the old law. The new figure will likely be several times that number.

''You can quote me: God will destroy America by the hands of Muslims,'' said Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, according to Iran's news agency. The US State Department is irked by Farrakhan's trip on which he has met with the leaders of Libya, Iran, and Iraq. The State Department said it is ''extraordinary'' he would meet with heads of state the US considers enemies.

Factory orders were up 1.3 percent in December, the first advance in three months for what's been a sluggish sector of the economy. Total 1995 orders were up 6.6 percent from 1994.

For the second year in a row, Intuit Inc. is warning customers of errors in its tax-preparation software that could lead to errors on returns. It said less than 1 percent of users of TurboTax and MacInTax should be affected, and it will pay for any tax shortfalls based on flawed returns.

McDonnell Douglas Corp. repaid the Air Force $182,000 after a government audit found the defense contractor increased spare-parts prices for the huge C-17 cargo plane (above). For instance, the firm charged the Air Force $8,842 for a door hook the report said was worth $389. McDonnell Douglas said the increases were due to high start-up costs for the items.

The lawyer for John Salvi, who is accused of killing two abortion-clinic workers in Brookline, Mass., admitted his client pulled the trigger but asked jurors to find him innocent by reason of insanity.

''Make sure her story is OK,'' then-White House communications director Mark Gearan jotted in a 1994 note about former Arkansas regulator Beverly Bassett Schaffer. Gearan was to testify to the Senate Whitewater Committee about the note and if it represents White House attempts to influence Schaffer. Separately, the FDIC interviewed Hillary Rodham Clinton at the White House about the sudden appearance of billing records.

The welfare-reform plan by the nation's governors doesn't address a crucial problem - out-of-wedlock births, several conservative groups said. They were signaling mounting conservative opposition to the plan.

The World

Boris Yeltsin announced he will seek a second term as Russia's president. Yeltsin launched his campaign in his hometown of Yekaterinburg with an hour-long speech, which observers said was defensive and at times incoherent. Also, Gennady Zyuganov was nominated as the Communist Party's candidate. Opinion polls have put Zyuganov well ahead in popularity over Yeltsin for the June 16 elections. (Story, Page 1.)

Three Balkan presidents plan to meet with officials of countries enforcing Bosnia's peace in Rome tomorrow. The officials are seeking public commitments to the Dayton accord from presidents Alija Izetbegovic of Bosnia, Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia, and Franjo Tudjman of Croatia, Western diplomats said. Also, a sniper's bullets wounded two people in Sarajevo. (Story, Page 7; Opinion, Page 19.)

Alfonso Valdivieso, Colombia's popular public prosecutor, presented Congress with charges that could lead to President Ernesto Samper's impeachment. Samper has been accused of taking donations from the Cali drug cartel in his 1994 campaign. Valdivieso's charged him with illicit enrichment, electoral fraud, falsifying documents, and complicity. A congressional committee, dominated by Samper's Liberal Party, must now decide whether to open an investigation.

South Korea conducted a military exercise near a disputed islet claimed by both Seoul and Tokyo. Tension between the two neighbors rose sharply in the past week after South Korea announced plans to improve a wharf on the remote islet. Japan then renewed its claim to the island. (Story, Page 6.)

The Sri Lankan Army detained some soldiers on suspicion of being involved in the massacre of 24 Tamil civilians in the village of Kumarapuram. Amnesty International said troops ransacked the village after Tamil rebels killed two soldiers.

A Chinese rocket carrying an Intelsat satellite exploded moments after lift-off from the Xichang Launch Center in Sichuan Province. It was China's second commercial satellite launching accident in just over a year. Beijing plans to launch some 30 commercial satellites by 2000.

Zaire plans to seal off a second refugee camp today as part of a joint effort with the UN to persuade Hutus to return home to Rwanda. Also, Zairian soldiers detained five Hutu refugee leaders for opposing the effort. Above, a Hutu woman was one of 48 refugees who volunteered to return home yesterday. There are 189,000 refugees at the camp.

An opposition boycott and threats of violence kept many voters away from Bangladesh's parliamentary elections. At least 13 people were killed and hundreds injured. Premier Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party was the only major party participating in the poll.

The IRA demanded Britain hold all-party talks on the future of Northern Ireland. And British police deactivated a bomb in central London, which they suspect was planted by the IRA. (Story, Page 6; Editorial, Page 20.)

Rescue workers in northern Japan found the first body from among 20 people missing in a massive highway-tunnel cave-in. Authorities say a bus and car were crushed when a boulder the size of a 20-story building smashed through the tunnel roof.

Floods and mudslides in Brazil's Rio and Sao Paulo states killed at least 47 people and left thousands homeless. Many were killed as heavy rains buried hillside shantytowns with tons of mud and rubble. More rain was predicted during this weekend's carnival.


For the second game in a row, an IBM supercomputer has held world chess champion Garry Kasparov to a draw. That leaves the first regulation match in Philadelphia between a human and a machine tied at 2 to 2. Two more games remain.

Jeanne Calment, said to be the world's oldest woman, has cut a rap CD to be released on Feb. 22, her 121st birthday. Calment, who lives in a nursing home in Arles, France, does not sing on the album. The CD producers recorded her speaking and mixed her voice with rap and techno rhythms. Proceeds will pay for a minibus for the nursing home.

Scientists say they've found the oldest known traces of sharks - scales from an ancestor that may not have evolved jaws yet. The scales, found in Colorado, are 450 million years old, 25 million years older than the previous record for shark remains, scientists reported in the journal Nature.

1996 Sports Superstars

Winners of the this year's ESPY awards, given out by EPSN, the sports channel, include:

Breakthrough Athlete of the Year: Hideo Nomo, Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball.

Coach-Manager of the Year: Gary Barnett, Northwestern University, college football.

Comeback Player of the Year: Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls, basketball.

Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year: Rebecca Lobo, University of Connecticut, basketball.

Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year: Cal Ripken Jr., Baltimore Orioles, baseball.

Outstanding Performance Under Pressure: Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, hockey.

Outstanding Team of the Year: University of Connecticut women's basketball.

- Associated Press

''We must do everything possible so that we Russians and our country

do not perish under the red wheel of the past.''

- President Boris Yeltsin, announcing his entry into the presidential race, which Communists are favored to win.

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