News In Brief


Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole continued to slam President Clinton for a series of recent controversies over campaign fund-raising practices. He predicted his last-minute, round-the-clock campaign blitz would swing the electorate to the GOP. Clinton decried an "escalating arms race" of political fund-raising between the parties, but insisted Democrats had "played by the rules."

Democratic National Committee officials acknowledged fund-raising mistakes and promised new safeguards to prevent recurrences. The DNC filed a final pre-election financial report with the Federal Elections Committee. It was a week overdue.

Suspended DNC fund-raiser John Huang arranged special treatment for the daughter of DNC chairman Donald Fowler during a trip she took to Indonesia in May, The Washington Post said. The Lippo Group, a company tied to more than $500,000 in contributions to the DNC, paid Cynthia Fowler's hotel and airline expenses, the Post reported.

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler wrote out an $850 check to the government after an Associated Press review of Kessler travel vouchers. The probe revealed numerous discrepancies, including requests for reimbursement of apparently excessive cab fares for which he submitted no receipts. Kessler, who has served in both the Bush and Clinton administrations, insisted the errors were unintentional.

British Telecommunications agreed to buy MCI Communications for as much as $21 billion in what would be the biggest foreign purchase ever of a US company. The merger is expected to create a powerful long-distance competitor to AT&T.

Unemployment held steady at 5.2 percent in October and factory orders surged 2.7 percent in September, government agencies reported. The factory-order advance was the largest in two years. Also, the Index of Leading Economic Indicators gained only 0.1 percent in September, the smallest of eight consecutive advances and an indication the economy may be slowing down.

General Motors and United Auto Workers negotiators agreed on a new national contract. The pact is to be submitted to rank-and-file unionists after UAW leaders review it Wednesday. Details were not released. GM and striking Indianapolis auto workers reportedly reached tentative agreement on a separate local contract.

To warn parents that passenger-side air bags are dangerous for children, GM, Ford, and Chrysler are sending letters to 22 million car owners. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has repeatedly said children should ride in back seats, but parents' groups say the public is not getting the word.

The Federal Aviation Administration ordered emergency tests of all Boeing 737s within 10 days. The order came after a 737 rudder-control system jammed during a safety experiment. Officials said they still believe the 737 has a "high level of safety."

The FBI acknowledged it is removing agents from Saudi Arabia, but said the desicion was not prompted by a lack of Saudi cooperation with agents investigating the June 25 bombing of a US housing complex in Dhahran. US law-enforcement officials reportedly said earlier that Saudi limitations of the investigation were behind a decision not to replace agents now returning to the US.

The cost of the TWA Flight 800 investigation has ballooned to $23.9 million, four times the amount Congress set aside for the non-criminal side of the probe, the Associated Press said. The new price tag does not include salaries or costs incurred by law-enforcement agencies.

The Pentagon raised the price of cigarettes sold at military-run department stores by about 35 percent to discourage soldiers from smoking.


Leaders of eight African countries were invited to a special meeting tomorrow aimed at ending the fighting in Zaire. Rwanda's president said he would attend, but denied accusations that his army had crossed the border to assist Tutsi rebels who are battling Zairean government troops. After seizing other towns, the rebels were mopping up resistance in Goma, the former center of refugee-relief missions in the region. UN officials said not one aid worker remained to help feed hundreds of thousands of Hutus displaced from refugee camps by the fighting.

Police in Burma prevented Aung San Suu Kyi from making a pro-democracy speech for the sixth consecutive weekend. Barricades were back in place on the street in Rangoon where the Nobel Peace Prize-winner lives, and telephone service to her home was cut off. Riot police arrived to break up a rally of about 200 of her supporters and made at least 20 arrests.

An estimated 3,000 demonstrators marched on China's Xinhua News Agency in Hong Kong to protest last week's sentencing of political dissident Wang Dan. As police watched, some marchers taped their mouths shut and bound themselves with chains to show displeasure with Wang's treatment at the hands of authorities in Beijing. Xinhua is China's unofficial embassy in Hong Kong.

Britain denied knowledge of reported negotiations to arrange a new IRA cease-fire in time for Christmas. A Dublin newspaper said it had learned of talks between officials of Prime Minister Major's government and Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Fein, the IRA's political ally. Sinn Fein is shut out of the multi-party talks on the future of Northern Ireland until the IRA agrees to a new truce. Meanwhile, the death of a Conservative Party member of the House of Commons reduced Major's working majority in Parliament to one.

The US said one of its warplanes fired a guided missile at an Iraqi radar installation. But the Baghdad government denied the claim, accusing the White House of spreading "false news" to enhance President Clinton's reelection prospects. An administration spokesman said a US F-16 pilot believed he was being tracked by the radar in the no-fly zone over southern Iraq and triggered the missile in response.

The Speaker of Iran's parliament told marchers in Tehran, "there can never be a friendly relationship" with the US. Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri spoke outside the former US embassy, seized 17 years ago by militant Islamic students. A crowd said to number 10,000 demonstrators chanted "Death to America" and burned the US flag. Last week Iran rejected suggestions that the two governments hold talks on mending their relationship.

Up to 4,000 Khmer Rouge rebels will merge with the Cambodian Army on Wednesday, spokesmen for both sides said. The rebels defected from mainline Khmer Rouge ranks, complaining of inadequate food and medicine. Merger talks began in August after the Cambodian government granted amnesties for the deaths of more than a million civilians during Khmer Rouge rule from 1975 to 1979.

Romanian President Ion Iliescu clung to a small lead in opinion surveys as voters went to the polls in parliamentary elections. He has led the country since Stalinist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was deposed in 1989. Iliescu, who wants his country to join NATO and the EU, predicted a runoff would be necessary later this month. Also holding national elections yesterday: Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Madagascar.


''We have left behind us hundreds of thousands of refugees who have absolutely nobody to feed them."

-- UN World Food Program's Michelle Quintagle, after foreign relief workers fled fighting in eastern Zaire.

Bai Yun and Shi Shi debuted at the San Diego Zoo Friday. The two pandas are on loan from China for 12 years.

Australian Aborigines invented a religion 6,000 years ago, archaeologists reported in New Scientist magazine. This early form of worship was based on the ribboned pipefish, a cousin of the seahorse. It was celebrated as the Rainbow Serpent - still a symbol of creation to Aborigines.

John Blaha won't be able to cast his ballot in tomorrow's elections. The astronaut will be out of town: He's living on Mir, Russia's space station. Blaha had hoped to cast an absentee ballot from space, but NASA officials were unable to e-mail a ballot application to him in time to meet the deadline.

Britain's Daniel Wilson has put poetry to good use. He sent the following poem to Kiribati in the South Pacific: "I'd like to live in Kiribati;/I feel it's the country for me./Writing poems for all the people/Underneath a coconut tree." The government wrote back, offering him the post of poet laureate, complete with his own hut. Wilson says he'll take the job.


Special Interests Trying To Influence the Vote

Selected special-interest groups waging get-out-the-vote campaigns for tomorrow's election:


Americans for Tax Reform

Christian Coalition

Citizens for the Republic Fund

Interfaith Alliance

National Education Association

National Federation of Independent Business

National Rifle Association

National Restaurant Association

National Association of Realtors

- Associated Press

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