News In Brief


GOP nominee Bob Dole extended his California tour an extra day and floated plans for a last-minute blitz of the state next week. He planned to attend a rally in San Diego to express support for Proposition 209, the state referendum to end sex- and race-based preferences in public hiring, contracting, and education. A Los Angeles Times poll last week found only 54 percent of Californians in favor of the proposition.

President Clinton planned to return to the White House tonight after stumping in Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Missouri. While addressing a crowd in St. Louis, he was expected to take credit for the ever-shrinking federal budget deficit. The deficit fell to $109 billion in 1996 - the lowest in a decade - according to government figures. Also on his agenda for addressing voters: eduction, safe communities, and welfare.

Talks between GM and the United Auto Workers were to resume after negotiations ended without a contract deal and without an extension of the old contract. The union ruled out a walkout for now, and GM workers disregarded a midnight strike deadline and reported for work.

Prosecutors in the Oklahoma City bombing case met with survivors and relatives of victims to dispel "wacky theories" about the case. Central to the discussion: the possibility of an "overseas connection" mentioned by defense lawyers. A defense lawyer for Timothy McVeigh called the session an attempt to prejudice the trial by publicly labeling defense theories as "wacky."

The US told Bosnia it will continue to withhold a cargo shipment of $100 million in military equipment until Defense Minister Hasan Cengic is fired. The US suspects Cengic, an Islamic cleric and close associate of Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, has close ties to Iran. He spent part of the Bosnian war in Tehran arranging arms deliveries to Bosnia at a time when it was subject to a UN arms embargo.

US and European negotiators plan to meet tomorrow and Thursday in Washington to discuss ending restrictions curbing transatlantic air travel. They hope to draft a controversial "open skies" agreement that would allow US carriers to fly to any of the 15 EU countries and give EU airlines unlimited access to US cities.

Aviation giant McDonnell Douglas announced it's dropping plans to build the MD-XX - its biggest and longest-range jetliner, The Wall Street Journal said. It would have cost about $2 billion to develop and $3 billion for the company to upgrade its facilities to produce the MD-XX.

A record 67,000 illegal aliens were expelled from the US in fiscal year 1996, according to the Los Angeles Times, which cited an Immigration and Naturalization Service report. That's an increase of 34 percent over the previous year.

Ross Perot and Republicans blasted the Clinton administration for allowing a convicted felon - and Democratic Party donor - to attend a White House function last year. The Secret Service said a criminal record does not preclude entrance to the White House. And Jorge Cabrera had nothing on his criminal record last December to show involvement with drugs or related to assault. His $20,000 donation was returned after the Democratic Party learned about his later drug conviction. Perot said some of his previous arrests would have been in Secret Service computers.

Jury selection began in the trial of a woman who drove a 13-year-old girl to New York for an abortion to avoid Pennsylvania's abortion laws. The defense says the case is a historic challenge to reproductive freedom: It's the first time an individual has been prosecuted for assisting a woman to exercise her constitutional rights. Prosecutors say the trial has more to do with parental rights than abortion.


Failing to achieve a breakthrough after three weeks of mediating Israeli-Palestinian talks on redeploying troops from Hebron, special US envoy Dennis Ross said he would return to Washington for consultations. Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat also left Jerusalem - for a three-day tour of Europe. Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordecai hinted in parliament that his government might yet consider returning some of the Golan Heights to Syria in return for peace.

The EU, bidding for a larger role in the peace process, named its own special envoy to the Middle East. The union's foreign ministers, meeting in Luxembourg, appointed Spain's ambassador to Israel, Miguel Angel Moratinos, to the post. Israel and the US both oppose deeper EU involvement. Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Minister, Yvgeny Primakov, arrived in Syria for the start of a new mission to revive regional peace negotiations.

Right-wing demonstrators reached the steps of Pakistan's parliament in a second day of confrontations with police, who met them with tear gas. Police arrested the two senior leaders of the religious opposition party, Jamaat-i-Islami, which has staged the protests. Party followers demand the resignation of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who is accused of tolerating runaway corruption. A government spokesman said Bhutto had transferred her finance ministry duties to another member of her Cabinet.

Conflicting reports from Afghanistan indicated that the Taliban religious army survived the first attempts to dislodge it from Kabul, the capital, and was counterattacking. A spokesman for former government military chief Ahmad Shah Masood said his forces had failed to penetrate Taliban defenses north of the city, and bombs dropped on the Kabul airport exploded well short of Taliban warplanes. UN efforts to broker agreement among Afghanistan's various fighting forces, meanwhile, were deadlocked.

Rwandan border guards accused armed Hutu militiamen of preventing the return home of refugees from their own tribe as ethnic fighting continued in neighboring Zaire. Hundreds of thousands of Hutus fled the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Hutu militia leaders are believed to want a base of operations in Zairean refugee camps from which to attack Rwanda's Tutsi-led government. Meanwhile, Tutsi fighters in Zaire exchanged fire with government troops guarding the city of Bukavu. The UN said its food warehouses in Bukavu were looted by Zairean soldiers and civilians.

One of the two remaining reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant will close Nov. 30, the government of Ukraine announced. Ukraine has been under international pressure to shut down the plant since the world's worst nuclear accident took place there in 1986, spreading radiation across much of Europe. The plant also had a fire in 1991. Ukraine has promised to close the plant completely by the year 2000 in return for $3 billion in aid from Western nations.

Burma's military government freed Nobel Peace prizewinner Aung San Suu Kyi's top deputy, and said it had removed barricades placed on the Rangoon street where she lives. Kyi Maung, deputy chairman of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, was questioned for five days about his role in last week's student protests against the government.

Officials in northwestern Bosnia reopened a bridge that had kept the rail line from Serbia to Croatia closed since war broke out in 1992. NATO, whose financial backing helped to rebuild the span, will use the railroad for peacekeeping purposes, but it also is a key commercial link.


''We are not thinking much about whether the agreement will be reached

before the elections or after them. We want an agreement now."

-- Palestinian negotiator Nabil Amr, on Israeli accusations that his side stalled to get a better peace deal after the US elections.

Lots of towns have their own Web sites, but not Halifax, Mass. So, when a nearby community set one up, fourth-grader Patrick Cable thought it was time Halifax did, too. He proposed the idea to town officials and was assigned as its designer. His home page is to debut next month with photos, maps, town offices - and maybe video clips and sound later.

Donna Bronson and Marie Ekenberg carry no guns or handcuffs, but they are real bounty hunters nonetheless. The Oregonians prowl a school district south of Portland looking for truants. For each one they return to class, they're paid $300. If the student graduates, they split a $500 bonus. Partly due to their efforts, the district's dropout rate is half the statewide average.

Libertarian Party candidate Michael Rubin is running for public office in Texas, so that he can abolish it if elected. Rubin seeks to become Lubbock County weigher, a post that pays no salary and has no modern duties. (The office-holder used to tally the weights of cattle being driven to market.) Rubin's only opponent is a retiree. The incumbent no longer wants the job.

In Cairo, construction workers digging foundations for a garage uncovered an ancient Pharaonic tomb. The 2,000-year-old structure contained clay utensils and four empty sarcophagi inscribed with hieiroglyphics.


Where Americans Give

The top 10 recipients from a list of the 400 biggest philanthropies to which Americans gave $23.5 billion last year.

1. Salvation Army

2. American Red Cross

3. Catholic Charities USA

4. American Cancer Society

5. Second Harvest (national network of food banks)

6. United Jewish Appeal

7. Harvard University

8. Boys and Girls Clubs of America

9. YWCA of the USA

10. American Heart Association

- Associated Press

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