News In Brief


Antiterrorism efforts will get $1 billion under the bill President Clinton was set to sign. He has called it a belated response to the bombings in Oklahoma City and at New York City's World Trade Center. Also included in the law: a requirement for tiny plastic tracers to be put in fertilizers that can be used as explosives; and limits on the number of federal appeals of death sentences - a measure long sought by the GOP.

A final budget deal that would end months of wrangling was close to being sealed as the budget for dozens of agencies expired at midnight last night. Congress was to pass a stopgap spending bill and vote on the $160-billion measure today. Clinton said he would veto the bill if it contains measures harmful to the environment.

The US trade deficit fell 17.1 percent to $1.7 billion from $8.2 billion in February. Strong increases in foreign tourism pushed US exports of services to an all-time high.

Netscape Corp., the much-watched maker of the leading Internet surfing software, earned $4.7 million in the first quarter, exceeding most Wall Street forecasts. Its initial public offering was one of the biggest of 1995.

Clinton is pushing for public disclosure of the "bottom line" of the CIA's budget. Although agency leaks to the media have pegged the annual budget at about $30 billion, the move is part of the effort to make the CIA more accountable.

Bernhard Goetz was ordered to pay $43 million in damages to Darrell Cabey, who was paralyzed when Goetz shot four black youths on a New York City subway train in 1984. Goetz, who said he was defending himself and called the shooting a public service, was acquitted of criminal charges in 1987. The 1987 case polarized racial attitudes. Goetz says he has very little money.

Kurt Lessenthien, a navy machinist mate is in the brig on spy charges. The Navy and FBI say Lessenthien, an instructor at the Navy's nuclear power school in Orlando, Fla., tried to sell nuclear data to an undercover man he thought was a foreign agent. The FBI says he never actually sold secrets abroad.

The term limits bill failed in a 42 to 58 Senate vote. Republicans could not muster the 60 votes needed to stop the Democrats' filibuster. The idea has 70 percent public approval. Republican freshman Sen. Fred Thompson said he would reintroduce the measure next year.

The immigration service is proposing to allow some women who face genital mutilation to qualify for asylum. It asked its oversight board to rule on the plan. A spokesman said the practice "shocks the conscience." It is carried out by very traditional Muslims, some traditional Christians, and some African tribes.

A House-Senate compromise is the next step for the health-insurance reform bill. The Senate version passed by unanimous vote. It would protect workers from losing health insurance when they change jobs. Congress has to reconcile gaps in its two bills, including whether to allow tax exempt medical savings accounts.

Andre Alexander was sentenced to death in Los Angeles for killing Julie Cross in 1980, the first female Secret Service agent to die in the line of duty.

Some 30 percent of the children whose parents work are sent to day care, a number that's jumped 7 percent in two years, says a Census Bureau survey. Also, an additional 22 of preschoolers are cared for by a non-relative.

In another tobacco-war salvo, The American Medical Association urged investors to divest their tobacco company stocks and sell shares in mutual funds that invest in tobacco firms.

Hearings on hidden ATM fees started in a House subcommittee. A growing number of banks are charging customers for using ATMs outside their system.


Israel moved 50 tanks and 100 personnel carriers into position for a possible ground assault in Lebanon, as violence between Israel and Hizbullah flared for a 15th day. Calling it "a test for the conscience of our era," Lebanese President Hrawi urged the UN General Assembly to halt the attacks on Lebanon. Also, US Secretary of State Christopher returned to Damascus for talks with Syrian President Assad after Assad was "unavailable" for an earlier meeting. And Hizbullah's leader vowed to continue the attacks even if a cease-fire was reached.

Palestinian President Arafat appointed 98 new members to the Palestine National Council. The appointments provided the necessary quorum for a vote on removing clauses in Palestine's charter that call for Israel's destruction. But critics accused Arafat of stacking the deck with his supporters.

Iraq and the UN agreed to end the current round of oil-for-food talks, which began April 8. Faced with pressure from Britain and the US to close loopholes, the talks closed without reaching any agreement. New talks will be held next month.

Russian President Yeltsin arrived in China for a three-day state trip in which the two countries are likely to sign as many as 14 agreements. Russia is expected to deliver $5 billion worth of equipment to China over the next five years, Itar-Tass reported. And for the sixth year, China avoided a Western attempt to subject it to scrutiny from the UN Human Rights Commission.

Chechen rebel leader Dzhokhar Dudayev was killed in a Russian air strike, top Chechen officials and a Russian military official confirmed. His vice-president, Zelimkhan Yanderbiev, will now lead the rebels.

Paraguayan Gen. Lino Oviedo, who openly defied a presidential order to resign, stepped down as army chief. This ends a standoff many Paraguayans feared would threaten the country's young democracy. But in an about-face, President Wasmosy, who had stripped Oviedo of rank and barred him from public office for 10 years, said he would promote the general to defense minister instead.

Japan's Aum Shinri Kyo group leader Shoko Asahara refused to enter a plea on the first day of his trial for last year's subway nerve gas attack that killed 11 people and harmed 5,500.

Mexico's Supreme Court found that a former governor of the state of Gueverro tried to cover up last year's killing of 17 Mexican farmers by police.

Britain will destroy nearly half of its stockpile of land mines, the foreign ministry said. But opposition leaders criticized a move to replace the other half with upgraded mines that self-destruct. They said the decision calls into question London's campaign for a worldwide ban. Also, Britain launched a one-month amnesty for the more than 2 million guns illegally held in the country. The move comes after last month's killing of 16 children in Dunblane, Scotland.

Egyptian police clashed with gunmen suspected of being the Islamists who killed 18 Greek tourists in Cairo last week. Two of the four suspected assailants and four policemen were killed.

The Sierra Leone government and rebels agreed to halt their five-year-old civil war and seek a peace accord. The agreement came after Ivory Coast talks between Sierra Leone's new president and the rebel leader.

Fires around the Chernobyl plant were caused by residents on annual visits to their villages, a Ukrainian official said. Despite fears, there was no indication the fire spread radiation outside the 18-mile exclusion zone.

The world must be laughing at us because we are behaving

like clowns conducting an orchestra."

- Luis Maria Argana, a Paraguayan, after army chief Lino Oviedo was named defense minister a day after being fired.


A portable e-mail computer that can send and receive messages over public telephone networks will be launched in Japan next month. The computers will come in two types: a keyboard variety and a pocket-sized model with pen input.

Amy Grant won the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Voice of Music Award.

President Clinton named Mary Beth Blegen of Worthington, Minn., National Teacher of the Year at a White House ceremony.

Cashing in on Camelot

Here are the top items sold in first-round bidding at Sotheby's auction of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's estate. Presale estimates are in parentheses.

1. Walnut humidor with 1961 inscription from comedian Milton Berle: $574,500 ( $2,500)

2. Kennedy oak rocking chair: $442,500 ($3,000 to $5,000).

3. Robert Rauschenberg portrait/collage of first couple $244,500 ($80,000 to $100,000).

4. John Singer Sargent watercolor, "Head of an Arab": $222,500 ($100,000-$125,000).

5. Black baby grand piano: $167,500 ($3,000 to $5,000).

6. Aaron Shikler's White House oil portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy: $156,5000 ($10,000 to $15,000).

7. John Singer Sargent watercolor, "Venetian Girl": $156,500 ($80,000 to $100,000)

8. President Kennedy's copy of "Inaugural Addresses of the United States":$134,500 ($8,000 to $12,000).

9. Norman Rockwell portrait of President Kennedy: $134,500 ($8,000 to $12,000).

10. Elaine de Kooning portrait of President Kennedy: $101,500 ($3,000 to $4,000).

- Associated Press

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