News In Brief


Democratic fund-raisers expected President Clinton to raise $50 million by attending events both inside and outside the White House, according to the files of Harold Ickes, his former deputy chief of staff. The documents said special emphasis was placed on raising money in the American Asian and Jewish communities.

Two White House aides tried to find work for former Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell after he resigned from the Justice Department in 1994, the Clinton administration announced. Hubbell later served 16 months in prison for fraud and tax evasion. The efforts by Erskine Bowles, now chief of staff, and Mack McLarty, chief of staff at the time, were made after they met with the Clintons to discuss how to respond to Whitewater allegations. Hubbell was a former law partner and close friend of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The stock market dropped 55 points by 11:00 yesterday morning after stabilizing Tuesday from its worst slide in nearly a decade. It closed with a 27-point gain at 6,611 Tuesday after losing 300 points over two days. In related news, orders to factories rose a moderate 0.8 percent in February to a record high of $325.9 billion, the Commerce Department announced. It said a 7.1 percent gain in orders for communications and other electronic equipment more than offset a 4.1 percent drop in transportation equipment.

Jordan's King Hussein planned to meet with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright after earlier discussions with President Clinton at the White House. Clinton praised Hussein, saying a comprehensive peace in the Middle East was not possible without his efforts.

Clinton planned to announce that California has signed on to his blueprint for national education standards. The nation's largest public-school system joined 200 leaders of high-tech industries in endorsing the idea. Maryland, Michigan, and North Carolina already have committed themselves to the program, which envisions a national set of performance standards for fourth-graders in reading and for eight-graders in math.

A court-appointed fact-finder recommended that the US Supreme Court divide Ellis Island - the port of entry to the US for millions of immigrants - between New York and New Jersey. New York would get the main building, which is now a museum, and New Jersey the rest. The states disagree on New Jersey's claim that the island is located within its borders.

US broadcasters gave more than $9.5 million in political contributions in the last decade, Common Cause said. The research and advocacy group said the industry has consequently benefited from major deregulation and the prospect of obtaining valuable digital TV channels for free. An industry spokesman called the charges groundless. The digital channels are worth as much as $70 billion, and the Federal Communications Commission may adopt a plan to give them out as soon as today.

The International Monetary Fund promised to resume lending to Russia. It suspended the loans last year because Moscow failed to lived up to economic conditions outlined in their $10-billion, three-year credit agreement. The IMF emphasized Russia's need to restart economic growth, improve tax collection, and fight corruption.

Continental became the latest airline to head to the bargaining table with its pilots. Both sides agree the pilots deserve a raise but differ on how much. The pilots make an average of $113,000 a year - 65 percent of what their counterparts at other carriers make, the union says. The company says it's closer to 85 percent.

The FBI investigated the finances of several elected California officials, among them Gov. Pete Wilson and US Sen. Diane Feinstein, The Los Angeles Times said. Many of same people linked to improper contributions to the Democratic National Committee also gave to California politicians, the report said. But none of the California contributions were found to be improper.


Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was invited to a meeting next Monday at the White House to discuss stepped-up Middle East peace negotiations. The move came as violence flared again over Israel's controversial new-housing project in East Jeru-salem. A truck carrying Israeli troops was firebombed as it pass-ed a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank. Thirteen soldiers were hurt in the incident.

The largest step so far toward reintegration of the old Soviet Union was formalized in a treaty signed in Moscow by Russian President Yeltsin and his Belarus counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko. It does not merge the two republics but calls for close coordination on economic, foreign, and military policy. Outside, police kept opponents of the treaty at bay during the signing ceremony.

The nomination of President Mobutu's arch-rival to be Zaire's new prime minister will not affect rebel strategy, a spokesman for the insurgents said. He said the opposition's choice for the post, Etienne Tshisekedi, would not stop the rebels from attempting to strip Mobutu of power. Tshisekedi has twice been removed from the prime minister's job after disagreements with Mo- butu. The rebels said no one serving in government as long as Mobutu is president could be part of a transitional administration that they would lead.

Interim Prime Minister Bash-kim Fino of Albania held sensitive talks with European leaders on restoring order to his troubled country. Food supplies in parts of Albania are said to be within a week of running out, and a multinational security force reportedly was at least 10 days from being ready to take up its duties.

In a rare public appearance, Vietnam's president sternly opposed a trend toward individualism in the communist-dominated country. Le Duc Anh told the National Assembly, "We cannot allow selfish individual interests to interfere with the interests of the community." An outspoken critic of market-oriented reforms that have attracted Western investors, Anh said they threatened to spawn greed and corruption.

World Bank officials defend-ed a debt-relief plan for the poorest countries, saying it was designed to ensure that they did not roll back their economic-reform efforts. The plan came under attack as being too rigid at a three-day conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. "We are not police," a bank official said. "[But] we would like benefitting countries to show a record of economic reforms and ... that they will continue on the right track."

The grenade attack on an opposition political rally in Cambodia should be investigated independently, co-Premier Norodom Ranariddh said. He said the interior ministry could not be trusted to carry out a "politically neutral" probe. Official reports say the attack killed 19 people and injured 119 others. Khmer Nation Party leader Sam Rainsy, the apparent target, has blamed Cambodia's other co-Premier, Hun Sen, for the incident.

Mainland Chinese citizens will be denied permission to visit Hong Kong for two weeks on either side of its July 1 handover by Britain, news reports said. They said security officials were concerned about disruption of public order by people in search of some of the colony's affluence. The order also applies to Chinese making or returning from trips abroad.

The Dominican Republic must relax its extradition rules or risk becoming a haven for lawbreakers, a public hearing in Santo Domingo was told. The hearing took testimony from both sides on a proposal that would allow hundreds of Dominican suspects to be sent to the US, where they are wanted on drug-trafficking charges. The two countries have an extradition treaty, but it is contradicted by a 1965 law that blocks Dominicans from being transferred at the request of other governments.


"This $70 billion giveaway to broadcasters has avoided virtually all detection on the radar screens of TV's watchful reporters."

- From a statement by Common Cause, criticizing federal plans to award digital television channels without charge.

If you saw enough cheeseheads before, during, and after Super Bowl XXI to last a lifetime, here comes some bad news: A Milwaukee inventor has developed an inflatable, four-ounce "cheese hat" that sells for half the price of the original. Meanwhile, the maker of the original is trying to stop yet another competitor from marketing a "cheese top." And the Green Bay Packers don't even open defense of their title until Sept. 1....

From Gdynia, Poland, comes word that even criminals can be Good Samaritans. We pick up the story with three armed thieves breaking into an apartment, only to find its pregnant occupant going into labor. They loaded her into their car, drove her to a hospital, then returned and ransacked the place - holding her husband at gunpoint. Police arrested them late last week.

There's new proof of just how protective Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is of his public image. A lawsuit is already on file against a French magazine for calling him names that he claims are defamatory. Now he is also officially protesting a commercial on Turkish TV that spoofs him. It shows a Saddam look-alike leaving his generals in the lurch to plan war maneuvers while he takes a break to gobble a certain brand of chocolate bar.


Basketball Dream Team From NCAA Final Four

Three of the final four schools in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament are represented on the All-Tournament Team. Only perennial tournament entry North Carolina failed to place a player on the all-star squad. The players selected, their positions, and schools:

MIKE BIBBY, guard Arizona (also voted the tournament's most valuable player)

MILES SIMON, guard Arizona

BOBBY JACKSON, guard Minnesota

RON MERCER, forward Kentucky

SCOTT PADGETT, forward Kentucky

- Associated Press

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