News In Brief

The US

White House officials and congressional leaders were to resume budget talks. The White House disputed a gloomy picture of balanced-budget negotiations painted by Senate majority leader Trent Lott, who said little had been accomplished during the recent congressional break.

Most Americans think campaign financing needs reform, but doubt that President Clinton or Congress will accomplish it, a national survey indicated. In a New York Times-CBS News telephone poll last week, only 30 percent of respondents said they believe Clinton is truly committed to reform. Only 23 percent thought Congress was serious about it. Clinton received a 56 percent approval rating, down seven points from his inaugural high, but Vice President Gore's rating was down to 25 percent, about half what it was three months ago. A Harris Poll indicated the Clinton approval rating had dropped to 51 percent from 57 percent in February.

A man reportedly threw a bomb at the bench during a trial in Urbana, Ill. The device exploded, sending smoke pouring from the Champaign County Courthouse, witnesses said. There was no immediate word on the number of injuries, but the judge was reportedly hospitalized. One witness said she saw a man walk into the courtroom and "the next thing I knew there were jurors running out," saying he had a bomb.

Two-time presidential candidate Ross Perot was rebuffed by the major TV networks in an effort to purchase 30 minutes of prime time to discuss campaign finance, his political organization said. Perot offered to pay the full market price to air the program, but ABC, CBS and NBC rejected his offer, the Reform Party said in a statement.

Canada's Prime Minister Jean Chrtien visited Clinton at the White House for discussions that were expected to include differences over trade with Cuba, possible US financial support for a Canadian-led UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, and environmental issues. Prior to their meeting, officials of the two countries agreed to meet specific targets for reducing chemical pollution of the Great Lakes.

A surge in sales kept wholesalers' inventories flat in February and left them with their lowest levels in more than 12 years, the Commerce Department said. Wholesale sales jumped 2.1 percent in February, the biggest gain since August 1994, to a seasonally adjusted $209.67 billion. This followed a 0.8 percent gain in January.

A Senate vote was scheduled on whether to override a filibuster by Nevada senators trying to block action on a nuclear waste-storage bill. The measure would designate a site near Yucca Mountain in Nevada as a temporary storage facility for nuclear wastes. Spent fuel from the nation's power plants are currently stored on-site, but that space is running out.

Republicans were drafting legislation to grant up to $2 billion to states with large numbers of legal immigrants who will lose benefits under new welfare laws, The New York Times reported. Clinton, who wants to fully restore disability benefits for many legal immigrants at a cost of $15 billion over six years, favors uniform national standards.

Two major beer marketers said they were cooperating with a Federal Trade Commission inquiry into whether their advertising is aimed at under-age drink-ers. Both Miller and Anheus- er-Busch mounted ad campaigns last year on MTV, which has a huge youth audience.

As rivers continued to rise across the northern plains, Clinton signed a disaster declaration for North Dakota and South Da-kota, freeing up federal aid for the recovery effort.

Weather forecasts threatened to delay until today the return of the space shuttle Columbia. Its seven astronauts reportedly had two chances to land in Florida and two in California Tuesday, but strong winds were forecast for both sites. The mission was cut short by a faulty generator that reduced the shuttle's power.

The World

Another day of violence in the West Bank resulted in the deaths of three Palestinians and the wounding of at least 60 others by Israelis. It followed a meeting in Washington between Prime Minister Netanyuhu and US President Clinton that apparently made no headway in resolving the impasse in Middle East peace efforts.

International efforts to help famine-stricken North Korea gathered steam. The Pyongyang government and US grain dealer Cargill agreed to a barter trade of zinc for wheat. Religious and civic groups in South Korea said they had raised $1.5 million of a goal of $20 million for corn shipments to the North. In Hanoi, North Korea and Vietnam began talks on food aid. Meanwhile, US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Shalikashvili (r., with South Korean honor guard) arrived in Seoul for meetings on how the food crisis might affect defense strategy on the peninsula.

Zairean government and rebel negotiators ended four days of talks in South Africa and agreed that more discussions were needed to try to end the country's seven-month military and political crisis. As they met, rebel forces were expected to capture Zaire's No. 2 city, Lubumbashi, within hours.

The US dollar reached a 50-month high against the yen in Tokyo, closing at 125.88 after trading earlier above 126. It was the fifth straight session in which the dollar posted gains. Economists said US support for the strong dollar would likely cool if the trend continued much longer. Japan's central bank has not act-ed to prop up the yen, and trade officials said the situation was not an immediate problem. But analysts predicted both countries would regard a value of 130 against the yen as a "watershed."

China announced it will sign an international treaty on economic, social, and cultural rights. The move was seen by analysts as an attempt to further divide Western nations that have been debating whether to censure China for its human rights rec-ord. Denmark has vowed to introduce such a resolution at the UN Human Right Commission meeting in Geneva, with US backing. France and other influential countries have said they will not support censure.

Russian President Yeltsin confronted his prime minister on national TV over the government's failure to collect taxes and make back-wage and pension payments. Yeltsin ordered Viktor Chernomyrdin to prepare a report by April 20 on guidelines for Russia's 1998 budget and to speed up work on streamlining the tax code. It was Chernomyrdin's second such dressing-down in six weeks.

Movies that feature strong sexual content will not be ban-ned on video cassette or pay television in Australia, the government decided - in a reversal of previously announced intentions. Analysts said the decision was a reaction to heavy public protests of Parliament's vote last month to strike down a popular voluntary euthanasia law.

King Sihanouk of Cambodia vowed to abdicate immediately if violence erupts over the return from exile of his half-brother, Prince Norodom Sirivudh. Siri-vudh, the former foreign minister, was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison for an alleged plot to kill co-Premier Hun Sen. He denies guilt and is said to want to return from France for Cambodia's New Year on Sunday. Hun Sen has refused to ask for Sirivudh to be pardoned. The other co-premier, Norodom Ranariddh, has urged a pardon.

Former Haitian President Aristide's Lavalas Family party claimed victory in the country's elections, despite a voter turnout estimated by poll-watchers at well under 10 percent. In Washington, the Clinton administration called the balloting free and fair and an important step in consolidating democracy. However, international observers said they had witnessed elections officials tampering with some of the result sheets in the capital, Port-au-Prince.


"It means it'll be more easy for other musicians who write in jazz."

- Jazz composer and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, on the significance of his 1997 Pulitzer Prize for music.

Final returns are in from the mayor 's race in Latham, Kan. - population 170. Brett Calvin won, with 17 votes - all write-ins. No names were on the ballot because nobody filed candidate papers. The job is unsalaried, and if the town's only paid employee is away the mayor has to set aside his political duties to read water meters.

The Day's List

The 1997 Pulitzer Prizes

National reporting: staff of The Wall Street Journal

International reporting: John Burns, The New York Times

Investigative reporting: Eric Nalder, Deborah Nelson and Alex Tizon, Seattle Times

Spot news reporting: staff of Newsday, Long Island, N.Y.

Beat reporting: Byron Acohido, Seattle Times

Feature writing: Lisa Pollak, The (Baltimore) Sun

Commentary: Eileen McNamara, The Boston Globe

Criticism: Tim Page, The Washington Post

Editorial writing: Michael Gartner, The Daily Tribune, Ames, Iowa

Editorial cartooning: Walt Handelsman, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans

Spot news photography: Annie Wells, The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Feature photography: Alexander Zemlianichenko, Associated Press

Explanatory journalism: Michael Vitez, Ron Cortes, April Saul, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Public service: The Times Picayune, New Orleans

Fiction: "Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer," Steven Millhauser

History: "Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution," Jack N. Rakove

Biography: "Angela's Ashes: A Memoir," Frank McCourt

Poetry: "Alive Together: New and Selected Poems," Lisel Mueller

General nonfiction: "Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris," Richard Kluger

Music: "Blood on the Fields," Wynton Marsalis

- Associated Press

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