News In Brief

The US

A vote on adding an amendment to the Constitution requiring a balanced budget faced certain defeat in the Senate. Eleven Democrats and 55 Republicans say they plan to vote for the proposal, but that would leave the Senate one vote shy of the necessary 67 to pass the amendment. Democrats say big changes are needed in the measure, which they claim endangers social security and would restrict the government during economic crises.

President Clinton imposed a ban on federal funds for cloning research on human beings. He also asked for a voluntary moratorium on human cloning experiments in the US - at least until the legal and ethical issues can be sorted out. And he's asked the National Bioethics Advisory Commission to review the ramifications that cloning could have on humans and report back in 90 days. Scientists recently cloned sheep in Scotland and monkeys in Oregon.

The defense team for Oklahoma City bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh said it faked a stated confession by McVeigh and accused The Dallas Morning News of stealing it. The defense said it made up the document to persuade a witness suspected of involvement in the bombing to talk to defense investigators. The statement was among hundreds of computer files stolen by the Morning News, said Stephen Jones, McVeigh's lead attorney.

Vice President Al Gore defended his fund-raising practices for the 1996 election and said he had broken no laws in pressing for contributions. Gore said he made "a few" phone calls from his White House office to potential contributors, but charged them to a Democratic National Committee credit card. He noted that the president and vice president are exempt from the Hatch Act, which prevents federal officials from conducting fund-raising activity on federal property.

Sales of new homes skyrocketed in January to nearly an 11-year high, the Commerce Department reported. Also, the Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose 0.3 percent in January, New York's Conference Board said. And Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan said there's an almost 100 percent probability the government is overpaying the 60 million Americans receiving social security and other government benefits because of a flawed inflation gauge.

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat headed to Capitol Hill and New York's UN to discuss the Israeli government's plan to build homes in East Jerusalem. He is trying to mobilize international pressure on Israel to shelve the plan, which he says violates accords between the two sides.

Residents along the Ohio River in Louisville, Ky., braced for a record-setting crest while cleanup efforts from flooding and tornados proceeded in other parts of the state. Officials say 49deaths resulted from tornados, flooding, and heavy rains in Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Texas.

United Airlines settled a dispute with its employee owners, the airline and unions said. The airline agreed to 10 percent pay raises over two years for its pilots and mechanics. Also, United agreed to restore in 2000 wages and pension benefits forfeited by the unions in 1994 when an employee stock ownership plan took effect.

Children are getting sucked into drug use - especially marijuana - at younger and younger ages, according to the New York-based Partnership for a Drug-Free America, which surveyed 12,292 children, teens, and parents. The trial use of marijuana among children ages 9 to 12 increased from 2 to 4 percent last year, the study found. And children ages 9 to 12 are less likely to believe than before that drugs are risky, more likely than before to believe they are acceptable, and even more likely to experiment with them as they more into middle and high school.

The wife of murdered Olympic wrestler David Schultz filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against chemical heir John du Pont. Nancy Schultz's lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages from du Pont, who was found mentally ill but guilty of third-degree murder.

The World

Much of southern Albania was reported in chaos, despite a nationwide state of emergency imposed by parliament. News sources said looters roamed the city of Vlora and seized weapons from government arsenals in other cities in ongoing protests against the collapse of high-risk investment schemes.

Russian President Yeltsin met with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin to put finishing touches on an expected shake-up of his government. No details were reported, but aides said vast changes were not likely. In recent days, Yeltsin has publicly attack-ed his defense minister and the country's top prosecutor in what analysts say is an effort to reassert his authority after a battle with illness. Yeltsin's long-await-ed state-of-the-nation report to parliament is expected tomorrow.

US troops will pull out of Bosnia for good by mid-1998, Defense Secretary William Cohen said. Cohen, on a European tour, said the decision would stand, with or without peace among Bosnia's Muslim, Croat, and Serb populations. As he was beginning the trip, an explosion wrecked a Roman Catholic church in Sarajevo. Pope John Paul II is scheduled to visit the city next month.

Leftist guerrillas who hold 72 hostages inside the Japanese ambassador's residence in Peru scoffed at an offer of political asylum in Cuba, CNN reported. The offer from Cuban leader Fidel Castro came during talks in Havana with Peru's President Fujimori aimed at bringing an early end to the hostage drama, which began before Christmas.

Political opponents in Britain challenged Prime Minister John Major to confirm or deny that he had sought campaign donations from a wealthy Greek businessman. Such allegations appear in a new book due on the market later this month. Published reports say Major, whose Conservative Party trails in opinion polls, asked for more than $800,000 from John Latsis, an alleged backer of the military junta that ruled Greece from 1967-75.

South Korean President Kim Young Sam's choice of a new prime minister won praise even from his political opponents. University president Koh Kuh was named to the post in the first of a series of moves aimed at repairing Kim's image. Kim apologized Feb. 25 for a scandal involving government loans to a bankrupt steel company, and several senior members of his staff resigned or were fired.

Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda of India reversed course and promised renewed technical support to the country's Agni missile program. The Agni, with a range of 1,500 miles and the ability to carry nuclear warheads, is seen as a potential deterrent to China - itself a nuclear power. In December, Deve Gowda's government announced the Agni project was being shelved.

Residents of Canada's largest city and five suburbs overwhelmingly rejected a planned merger. The Province of Ontario wants to meld Toronto, York, East and North York, Scarborough, and Etobicoke into a single municipality of 2.4 million people. The vote was nonbinding and is expected to be ignored by the Ontario government.

Use of cocaine, LSD, and marijuana is growing among young Americans, UN narcotics experts reported. In an annual survey, they also said heroin use appeared to rise "significantly" in the US between 1994 and 1995. The report said many European drug users were switching from cocaine and heroin to synthetic substances such as LSD.

The US will open an antidrug field office in Nicaragua, the second poorest country in Latin America, the State Department said. In a report, the department said the decision followed a request by the Nicaraguan government and a three-month test of cooperation between US and Nicaraguan antinarcotics units last year.


I can't make it any clearer . . . . in June of 1998 we will be on our way out."

- Defense Secretary William Cohen, announcing what he said would be the deadline for all US troops to leave Bosnia.

You may remember reading in this space last fall about a Cincinnati grandmother who was arrested for feeding coins into expired parking meters so people she didn't even know wouldn't be ticketed. Instead of plea-bargaining, Sylvia Stayton decided to throw herself on the mercy of the court. It was an expensive choice. She was convicted of a misdemeanor and fined $500. Her lawyer says she'll appeal.

Paul Reid thought he'd paid for an order of chicken tacos when he walked out of a Waterford Township, Mich., fast-food restaurant. Until he opened the bag, that is. Inside was $2,480.80 in cash - receipts that the manager had handed to him by mistake. Reid briefly wondered if he was involved in a stunt for "Candid Camera." He returned the money and was rewarded with an offer of free meals for a week.

An admissions officer at Quinnipiac College, in Hamden, Conn., was startled when a colleague finished the sentence he had been reading aloud from an applicant's admissions essay. It seems the colleague had seen the essay before: on the Internet. Educators say copying student term papers and essays off the Web is the latest twist on academic cheating.

The Day's List

Where US Colleges Are Getting Foreign Students

American high-school seniors are not the only students applying for admission to US colleges as the academic year heads into its final months. The following nations have led in sending the most students to the US for a college education since 1994, the Institute of International Education in New York said:

1. Japan

2. China

3. South Korea

4. Taiwan

5. India

6. Canada

7. Malaysia

8. Indonesia

9. Thailand

10. Hong Kong

11. Germany

12. Mexico

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