News In Brief

The US

Congress was set to pass the more than $160-billion budget deal struck by White House and congressional budgeteers. President Clinton said he will sign it immediately. Specifics include restoring $2 billion for education, $1 billion for job training, and $800 million for the Environmental Protection Agency. Overall spending for 1996 will be cut $23 billion from 1995 levels.

Fauziya Kasinga, a woman who fled to the US from Togo fearing genital mutilation, was released from a New York holding prison. She arrived in the US in 1994, but was not immediately granted asylum. Hers is a test case for the Clinton administration, which advocates giving asylum to some women facing severe forms of the ritual practice.

Mitsubishi of America's CEO, Tsuneo Ohinouye, said he wants to settle the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's sexual harassment suit against his firm. He added that 10 male employees have already been fired for sexual harassment at the Normal, Ill., plant. The EEOC says it is encouraged by the response.

Would you pay $2.23 for a gallon of gas? One station in Santa Barbara, Calif., is charging that unprecedented price and stations nationwide have hiked their rates. Causes include: the harsh winter, which prompted producers to process more heating oil and less gas; and the breakdown of the current round of UN-Iraq oil-for-food talks, which won't resume until next month. Prices are expected to level off soon but not fall.

Personal income growth outpaced inflation last year in all states except the Dakotas, the Commerce Department said. Average US income rose from $21,699 in 1994 to $22,788 in 1995.

Sales of existing homes shot up 6.9 percent in February to the briskest rate in two years as buyers took advantage of lower interest rates, the National Association of Realtors said.

On Wall Street, technology stocks have soared in recent days amid strong earnings by firms such as Microsoft, Compaq, and Digital Equipment. But the broader market has showed weakness on concerns that rising interest rates and possible inflation will impede earnings.

Ford is set to recall 8.7 million vehicles with faulty ignition switches that have been blamed for hundreds of fires. The models are some Ford and Lincoln-Mercury cars and trucks built between 1988 and 1993. Affected owners will be notified by mail.

Former Vice President Dan Quayle says retired Gen. Colin Powell could be persuaded to take the No. 2 spot on Senator Dole's ticket. But Powell has said he won't run in 1996. "The decision's been made," he said.

Students are scoring higher on science and math tests, a National Science Foundation report says. Also, most high schoolers are now required to take two years of math to graduate. And college students - especially women - are earning more engineering and science degrees.

The Naval Academy's midshipmen are getting more discipline, and that's just the way they want it. After a string of scandals - with charges ranging from drug use to sexual harassment - the cadets reported they crave "discipline and esprit de corps." Weekend leaves will no longer include Friday nights, and cadets will have to wear uniforms when they leave academy grounds.

Help may have arrived in Montana: James "Bo" Gritz, who helped end the 1992 siege at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Randy Weaver, whose wife and son were killed in the siege, hope to convince Montana's "freemen" to take their struggle to court rather than fight the 100 FBI agents surrounding their compound. But the FBI didn't comment on whether it would let Gritz and Weaver talk to the freemen.

Russia was Kurt Lessenthien's intended client, US officials say. The Navy machinist's mate allegedly offered to sell top secret nuclear data for what the Navy estimated as "tens of thousands of dollars."

Shania Twain won best album and best new female singer at the Academy of Country Music Awards celebration in Universal City, Calif.

The World

Israel's Labor Party's central committee voted to drop its opposition to Palestinian statehood. The move came after the Palestinian National Council's historic vote revoking all sections of PLO's charter that called for Israel's destruction. Also, a suspected suicide bomber was killed when a bomb he was making exploded in Jerusalem.

Chances for a cease-fire between Israel and Hizbullah guerrillas looked murky as the conflict entered its third week. Israeli Prime Minister Peres said all sides agreed a deal must include a ban on attacking civilians but that an agreement would take more time. Also, a UN draft resolution under discussion condemns Israel's attacks on civilians and calls for an immediate cease-fire.

Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan were to sign a cooperation treaty with China and Russia today in Shanghai. The treaty establishes friendly ties and says the countries won't attack or conduct exercises aimed at one another. China and Russia also signed treaties establishing a hotline between governments and promising to strictly observe earlier boundary agreements.

Sinn Fein and the Catholic SDLP party said they will participate in Northern Ireland's elections, which they had opposed. The May 30 poll will allow the voters to determine which parties will represent them in peace talks starting June 10. Separately, no one was injured when a a suspected IRA bomb exploded near London's Hammersmith bridge.

Two South African judges considering separate challenges to the Truth Commission on apartheid-era abuses asked the parties to settle out of court. Families of three slain anti-apartheid activists sought to stop the commission from granting amnesties, while two former security policemen tried to stop a mother of a slain activist from implicating them in his murder.

Indians begin voting tomorrow in parliamentary polls. The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party is favored to take first place, two new polls say. The Congress Party, which has ruled India for 44 of its 48 years of independence, is expected to come in second. No party will win a majority in the 545-seat lower house, polls predict. The president would then ask the largest party to form a coalition.

A decision to launch a corruption probe against former Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller threatens Turkey's young coalition. If the panel finds the charges merit action, it would end Ciller's chances of regaining the prime ministership next year, as agreed under a power-sharing deal with Prime Minister Yilmaz.

Angola is suspending participation in a commission with UNITA rebels that implements a peace plan in the country, Portugal's news agency reported. Angola will not participate until UNITA complies with terms of a 1994 Lusaka peace deal.

There is no evidence linking Spain's Prime Minister Felipe Gonzlez to 1980s death squads targeting Basque separatists that killed 27 people, Spain's Supreme Court investigator found.

Britain offered to slaughter up to 40,000 cows in a bid to persuade the EU to ease its ban on British beef exports. The plan will be discussed by EU farm ministers in Brussels Monday.

A Croatian court sentenced retired Serb police officer Mirko Graorac to 20 years in prison for war crimes in the Manjaca detention camp. Also, Iranian-trained commando units are hunting down enemies of the Bosnian Muslim government, The New York Times reported.

Austria unearthed the first of some 70 US Cold War weapons cache hidden 40 years ago near Salzburg. A second cache was due to be uncovered today.


This is the last opportunity people have to be a part of her life.

You take Jackie's name out of this, and it's like any antique auction."

-- Larry Richmond, a dealer at Sotheby's auction of some of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's belongings.

President Clinton will go on the block May 4 at a fund-raising auction for his daughter Chelsea's school, the exclusive Sidwell Friends. At stake is a chance for three people to join Clinton in a round of golf at the Army Navy Country Club.

A Vietnamese farmer, who discovered a giant sweet potato, sold the root for $550 to a hotel owner in Hanoi. It weighs 187 lbs. The potato was on show at a local hall where visitors paid 9 cents for a glimpse.

The oldest surviving film of comedian Oliver Hardy, a 1915 10-minute short titled "Something in Her Eye," was saved from a bonfire. A film projectionist had decided to burn the film when it started decomposing. He was stopped by Laurel and Hardy fan David Oyston.

A water pump that finds fresh water in dry lands and can run on a variety of power sources won first prize at the International Inventions Fair in Geneva.


Chart-Topping Female Executives

Here are the top 10 women business owners according to Working Woman magazine: Names are followed by title, name of company, and 1995 revenues.

1. Martha Ingram, chairwoman, Ingram Industries, $11 billion

2. Loida N. Lewis, chairwoman, CEO, TLC Beatrice, $2.1 billion

3. Joyce Raley Teel, co-chairwoman, Raley's, $1.84 billion

4. Lynda Resnick, co-owner, Roll International, $1.46 billion

5. Marian Ilitch, co-founder, Little Caesar Enterprises, $1.16 billion

6. Antonia A. Johnson, chairwoman, Axel Johnson Group, $940 million

7. Linda Wachner, chairwoman, CEO, president, Warnaco Group, $916 million

8. Liz Minyard and Gretchen Minyard Williams, chairwomen, Minyard Food Stores, $875 million

9. Sally McClain, chairwoman, Mark III Industries, $605 million.

10. Gay Love, chairwoman, Printpack, $570 million

- Working Woman/AP

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