News In Brief

The US

President Clinton appointed former Vice President Walter Mondale and former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum (R) of Kansas to lead a White House effort to pressure Congress into reforming campaign finance laws, according to administration sources. Also, the White House placed a temporary freeze on sleep-overs in the Lincoln bedroom, on coffees, and on fund-raising receptions and dinners in its quarters. And a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee said it will take several months to raise and return $1.5 million in foreign or otherwise improper contributions identified several weeks ago by a DNC audit.

Attorney General Janet Reno said the FBI told her in May about possible Chinese efforts to funnel money to 1996 congressional candidates, and that she thought the information had been given to the White House. She said she has ordered an internal review of the "misunderstanding" between the FBI and White House National Security Council that resulted in the information not being given to the president.

The White House offered to pay Crown Butte Mines Inc. $65 million to stop it from developing a proposed copper, silver, and gold mining complex outside Yellowstone National Park. The money would come from coal, oil, and natural gas royalty revenue from existing federal leases in Montana, it said. The offer was made to protect the Yellowstone and Clark Fork Rivers from mining pollution. The company has 30 days to agree to the plan.

The US trade deficit increased to $165.1 billion last year - the second worst performance in history. The Commerce Department also reported that US retail sales rose 0.8 percent in February. That's just half of January's gain, which suggests moderate economic growth. And a Federal Reserve survey found regional economies expanding at a moderate pace with few signs of inflation.

Dow Jones & Co. announced the first changes in six years for its widely followed industrial average of 30 companies. It removed four companies because they lagged behind competitors or shifted from the focus that once put them on the list of America's top performers. For example, Westinghouse plans to split into two companies.

The tax break for ethanol has cost the federal Highway Trust Fund $7.1 billion since 1979, a Government Accounting Office study found. But the corn-based alcohol fuel has done little to reduce air pollution or enhance national national security, according to the study, which was released by House Ways and Means chairman Bill Archer (R) of Texas. Archer Daniels Midlands of Decatur, Ill., owns 50 percent of the ethanol production capacity.

The Senate confirmed Federico Pena as energy secretary. White House opposition to a Senate bill that would require the government to build a temporary nuclear-waste storage facility in Nevada delayed the confirmation for several weeks.

Los Angeles police arrested a suspect in the shooting death of Ennis Cosby, the son of comedian Bill Cosby. They said they believe the younger Cosby was the victim of a "Russian" robbery gang, the Los Angeles Times reported. He was shot in January while changing a tire.

Former White House press secretary James Brady visited Capitol Hill to push for required child-safety locks on all guns. Some 86 percent of Americans back laws requiring childproofing of new handguns, according to a survey by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and the National Opinion Research Center of the University of Chicago. Some 68 percent want new handguns "personal-ized" so that only an authorized user can operate the gun.

Investigators dismissed a claim by Pierre Salinger, a former ABC newsman and press secretary to President Kennedy, that he has proof that a US Navy missile shot down TWA Flight 800 off Long Island, N.Y. He presented a set of radar images to bolster his case at a Paris news conference and in a detailed article in Paris Match. Salinger said air-traffic control video shows two blips - one of them a missile heading for the plane. But federal officials who reviewed the airport tape said it shows only one blip.

The World

A Jordanian border guard was overpowered by fellow soldiers after shooting into a group of Israeli schoolgirls on a field trip. Seven girls died and six others were wounded. King Hussein cut short a diplomatic visit to Spain and the US and returned home, expressing outrage at the incident. But he defended himself against accusations that his angry letter earlier this week to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu might have prompted the shooting. The letter warned of violence if Israel proceeded with plans to build new housing for Jews in East Jerusalem.

The antigovernment insurgency in Albania spread to the country's largest northern city. Reports said four people were killed and 22 others injured in looting and burning in Shkoder, 55 miles from the capital, Tirana. Amid the violence, foreign governments ordered their diplomats out of the country and warned their other nationals to leave. Tirana's airport was closed and placed under police guard. Meanwhile, Serbia closed its border crossings with Albania, and other neighboring countries braced for an influx of refugees.

Police in Lima, Peru, found a tunnel that they said leftist prisoners planned to use in an escape from jail while fellow Tpac Amaru guerrillas held 72 hostages inside the Japanese ambassador's residence. The announcement followed another round of talks between rebel and government representatives aimed at ending the standoff. The rebels called off an earlier round of negotiations last week amid speculation that a similar tunnel was being built to free the hostages.

Stockpiles of weapons-grade plutonium and uranium are not adequately monitored and easily could fall into the hands of terrorists and rogue states, a new report said. The document, released in London, said less than 1 percent of all weapons-grade plutonium and enriched uranium is currently under any form of international verification.

A British soldier was wounded when suspected Irish Republican Army guerrillas ambushed his vehicle in a Belfast neighborhood. The incident followed the final round of peace talks on Northern Ireland before Britain's national elections, which must be held by May 22.

In London, speculation mounted that Prime Minister John Major would announce the date for the British election after meeting with his Cabinet. Most political observers believe he will select April 17 or May 1. His ruling Conservatives are 24 points behind the opposition Labour Party in opinion polls.

Out of sight of news cameras, families in Dunblane, Scotland, lit candles in memory of 16 children and their teacher who were shot to death in a school classroom there a year ago March 13. The gunman then took his own life. The incident spurred an antigun movement in Britain, which resulted in the recent ban on all firearms larger than 22-caliber.

Mother Teresa's successor as head of the Missionaries of Charity religious order will be an ethnic Nepali nun who left Hinduism to become a Roman Cath-olic, church officials announced in Calcutta. The Nobel Peace Prize-winner is scheduled to turn over her administrative duties - but not the rank of "mother" - today to Sister Nirmala, who had supervised the order's branches in Europe and the US.

Angry demonstrators stopped commuter trains and caused a massive traffic jam in Gdansk, Poland, in protest against the closing of the city's famous shipyard. The yard was the birthplace of the Solidarity labor movement. But it is bankrupt, and the government says no loans could be obtained to finance new shipbuilding projects. The move will mean a loss of 3,600 jobs.


"Perhaps the conclusion is that the king must hold his tongue

so that a soldier doesn't take his words to mean more than he intended."

- Israeli Education Minister Zevulun Hammer, on King Hussein of Jordan's comments about possible violence from Israeli actions.

Richard Kleedorfer's shovel went "clunk" as he was digging up a tree stump at his home in a suburb of Easton, Pa. Imagine his surprise when - instead of finding the expected rock under the soil - he unearthed a 22-pound gold bar. That is, it's being tested to determine whether it's really gold (and worth more than $100,000), or some less-precious metal. No word yet on whether Kleedorfer plans to dig up the rest of the yard.

And on the subject of finding things in yards, a Kelso, Wash., resident called police to report a two-foot-long sturgeon flopping around on his front lawn. Rain had formed a puddle there. And the police theorized that some angler apparently was feeling guilty after illegally catching the fish - but not guilty enough to release it back into the Cowlitz River, where it belonged. Happily, the sturgeon was rescued in time.

Some advertising strategies turn out to be brilliant; others land with a thud. Case in point: Britain's Vauxhall Motors, which tried a direct-mail promotion for its new special edition blue Tigra model. Problem was, the mailing arrived in a plain brown wrapper marked: "Warning: Blue Material Enclosed for Fun-Loving Adults Only." Many complaints later - not to mention a request by a watchdog group that the campaign not be repeated - Vauxhall acknowledged that the idea was in poor taste.

Reshaping the Dow Jones

The Dow Jones industrial average of 30 blue-chip stocks undergoes its first makeover in nearly six years Monday. The changes:

Incoming Companies

Travelers Group


Johnson & Johnson

Wal-Mart Stores

Outgoing Companies

Westinghouse Electric


Bethlehem Steel


- Associated Press

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