News In Brief

The US

House Speaker Newt Gingrich and two other Republicans denounced the antiballistic-missile agreement signed by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin last week. In a joint statement, Gingrich, House Appropriations Committee chairman Bob Livingston of Louisiana, and Rep. Chris Cox of California said the accord would halt the development of space-based, theater missile-defense interceptors.

Many economists were expecting higher interest rates to be set today during a meeting of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee. At his most recent congressional appearance last week, Fed chairman Alan Greenspan said inflation was under control, but early action was needed to combat it.

The US Supreme Court took action to keep children from seeing sex-oriented cable-TV networks. The court rejected an effort by Playboy Television and others to bar enforcement of a new law while they challenge it in court. Cable operators block or scramble channels for customers who don't subscribe. The new law is a response to nonsubscribers who say the scrambling is imperfect and their children still can see or hear the channels. Also, the court was scheduled to hear arguments on whether police with court warrants can enter homes in search of drugs without knocking or announcing their presence.

Tentative plans are set for Jordan's King Hussein to meet with Clinton April 1, the White House said. Hussein had been scheduled to travel to Washington March 18, but the visit was postponed after a Jordanian soldier killed seven Israeli girls near the Israel-Jordan border.

American Airlines and its two pilots' unions are considering a compromise agreement that could set a pattern for the industry, The New York Times reported. Under the proposal, any layoffs reportedly would affect pilots of American Eagle, the airline's commuter subsidiary, before they would affect American Airlines pilots. In return, American Eagle pilots would be offered one of every two openings at American Airlines, where pilots enjoy significantly higher pay. A final settlement is not expected for at least a week.

President Nixon ordered immigration and tax investigations of the Los Angeles Times and its officials because he was furious over a published article, newly released White House tapes showed. It was unclear whether investigations actually took place. Several Nixon conversations are contained on tapes that the National Archives has opened for public inspection. They took place at least eight months before the unfolding of the Watergate scandal that ended in Nixon's resignation. The American Journalism Review cites the tapes in its April issue.

About 400 people marched on police headquarters in Wilmington, Del., to demand reform after a week of racial tension that forced the city's first black police chief to step down. Claims of excessive force by a local church coalition and the state NAACP have triggered a federal investigation into possible civil-rights violations and renewed calls for a police civilian-review board. Although about half of Wilmington's 73,000 residents are black, only 36 percent of the police force comes from minority groups.

Private investment to poor countries increased by $60 billion last year - to a record $244 billion, a World Bank report said. The bank found, however, that government aid to developing countries had returned to 1990 levels, decreasing by $1 billion to about $44 billion. And it said much of the private investment went to just a few countries.

Target Stores recalled more than 100,000 sweat shirts that don't meet federal standards for fire resistance. The fleece sweat shirts for men and boys were sold nationwide under the brand name "UTILITY" from June 1996 through last month.

The World

The Palestinian Authority rejected Israeli demands that it crack down on militants after street clashes and the latest suicide bombing. It said joint security activities with Israel had been suspended because of the construction of Jewish housing in East Jerusalem. But in Heb-ron, Palestinian police kept stone-throwing youths away from Israeli troops. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers enforced a blanket closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and dispersed militants in Bethlehem with tear gas and rubber bullets.

The Zairean government disputed reports by its own radio service that President Mobutu had accepted parliament's ouster of Prime Minister Leon Kengo wa Dondo. Lawmakers voted to dismiss Kengo last week as he left for regional peace talks in Kenya. They favor asking Mobutu opponent Etienne Tshisekedi to lead the government and negotiate peace with the country's rebel forces.

Opponents of Russian President Boris Yeltsin won eight local elections in what political observers said was a further indication of deep discontent with the way he is running the Kremlin. Yeltsin also faces a planned nationwide strike Thursday called by trade unions to protest his handling of the economy.

The US Embassy in Belarus protested the expulsion of first secretary Serge Alexandrov, who was arrested at a violent antigovernment rally in the capital, Minsk. Alexandrov was accused of spying and of using his diplomatic post to help organize the demonstration. An embassy statement said he was "in the process of performing his routine duties."

Pro-British Protestant leaders in Northern Ireland deman-ded an immediate clampdown on convicted IRA guerrillas after an apparent escape tunnel was discovered under the maximum-security Maze prison in Belfast. The tunnel led to a cell block that houses 95 republican convicts. Officials said it had not yet been used. In 1983, 38 IRA prisoners escaped from the same prison.

Police in Switzerland and France searched for members of a controversial religious group, warning that more of them might attempt suicide by fire. Five people - two Swiss, two French citizens, and a French Canadian - died in a burning house near Quebec City over the weekend. All were believed to be members of the Order of the Solar Temple, which teaches that the world will end in fire. Fifty-three Solar Temple followers perished in blazes in Switzerland and Quebec in 1994.

Pressure mounted on Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister to resign after nine members of his Cabinet either quit or said they were preparing to leave. Meanwhile, Julius Chan is expected to face a parliamentary resolution today that would force him from office over the hiring of mercena-ries to put down a rebellion on the island of Bougainville. The country's governor-general and the Army also want Chan to step down.

Vice President Al Gore arriv-ed in Beijing for meetings with Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Premier Li Peng, saying he wanted to build greater trust between the two countries. He said he would raise China's record on human rights but had no "specific" plans to meet with rights activists. His arrival was preced-ed by a denial in the official People's Daily newspaper that China had made political donations to the Democratic Party in the US.

China plans new military exercises in provinces opposite Taiwan, a Taipei newspaper reported. The United Daily News quoted intelligence sources as saying the maneuvers were scheduled to be held next month to protest Taiwan's hospitality toward the Dalai Lama. China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and held missile tests and war games near the island last year. Chinese officials cast doubt on the report.


Manifestly, the majority of Arabs and Jews want to see peace in that region."

- White House spokesman Mike McCurry, on being asked if the Mideast peace process was coming unravelled.

Electrician Roy Sanders struck up a conversation with a young co-worker at a construction site in Anderson, S.C. - and discovered he was talking with the son he had never met. Jeff Roberts was born and put up for adoption while Sanders served overseas in the armed forces. Later, sealed court records kept them from finding clues to each other's whereabouts. Ironically, both had worked for the same company once before without realizing it.

If you wanted to track down Los Angeles transportation worker Arthur Winston, on the other hand, he'd be easy to find. The city honored him for missing only one day of work in 66 years with the transit authority. So, from now on, he'll report for duty to the newly renamed Arthur Winston bus yard.

When Broward County, Fla., needed a new jailer for its lockup in Fort Lauderdale, the sheriff's department studied the list of applicants and decided that Emin Gadzhiyev was the candidate best suited for the job. And what was it about Gadzhiyev's background that qualified him? He is believed to be the first former Soviet KGB secret policeman to work full time in law enforcement in the US.

The Days List

World's Busiest Airports

On average, the world's airports reported a 6 percent increase in passenger traffic during 1996 - with the flourishing Asia-Pacific economies leading the surge. Nonetheless, four of the world's five largest passenger and cargo hubs are in the US, according to the Geneva-based Airports Council International. The top five in each category (with passengers and tonnage in millions):


Chicago O'Hare 69.0

Atlanta 63.0

Los Angeles 57.9

London Heathrow 56.0

Dallas-Forth Worth 55.0


Memphis 1.9

Los Angeles 1.72

Miami 1.7

New York/JFK 1.63

Tokyo/Narita 1.62

- Associated Press

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