News In Brief

The US

The US and China edged closer to an agreement for Beijing to end nuclear cooperation with Iran, a senior White House official said. If completed in time, the accord will allow President Clinton to approve the first export of advanced US nuclear-reactor technology to China as a centerpiece of his summit with visiting President Jiang Zemin. The two leaders are to meet Wednesday in the first state visit to the US by a Chinese leader in 12 years.

In what was reportedly the largest gathering of black women in US history, hundreds of thousands thronged Philadelphia for a Million Woman March aimed at building political, economic, and social unity in black communities. The seven-hour program ended with a speech from Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the former wife of South African President Nelson Mandela.

A relentless autumn blizzard struck much of Colorado east of the Rocky Mountains, closing interstate highways, stranding hundreds of vehicles, and halting flights. Gov. Roy Romer declared a state of emergency and called out the National Guard to rescue up to 400 vehicles on I-25. He said private contractors would have to be hired to help remove the snow, which was four feet deep in some areas.

The Air Force has concluded that Capt. Craig Button made a sudden, deliberate decision to crash his A-10 fighter jet into a Colorado mountain last April, a senior officer said. The Air Force was to release a report today that reportedly rules out other possibilities for the crash, including mechanical failure, a medical emergency, and premeditated suicide. Button's plane had broken formation during a training mission over Arizona. Four unarmed bombs aboard the plane have not been found.

Clinton was formally invited to appear before the Senate committee investigating campaign-finance abuses. But White House spokesman Mike McCurry derided the hearings as "comical" and an "exercise in partisan warfare." McCurry said he "can't imagine" that any president would participate. Clinton has been under pressure to testify since the man he defeated in last year's election, former Senate majority leader Bob Dole, indicated he would appear before the committee if asked.

A congressional panel soon will call for the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to be stripped of their authority to coordinate research on the so-called Gulf war syndrome, The New York Times reported. The House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight has written a report, obtained by the Times, that recommends Congress set up or designate a "more responsive" agency to take over the task.

Unabomber defendant Theodore Kaczynski has refused to undergo a court-ordered exam by psychiatrists for the government, sources close to the case said. Kaczynski's refusal apparently is jeopardizing plans by his lawyers to use his mental state as a defense in the trial, which is due to begin Nov. 12 in Sacramento, Calif.

Amtrak and union representatives agreed to shield some 500,000 commuters from a threatened strike, federal transportation officials said. The Brotherhood of Maintenance and Way Employees is negotiating with the passenger-rail service for a wage package that would be comparable to one enjoyed by freight rail workers. If an accord is not reached, the union has threatened to strike at 12:01 a.m. EST Wednesday.

Utility officials increased security at Pacific Gas & Electric stations around San Francisco after FBI investigators said someone had intentionally cut power to the downtown area late last week. Agents reportedly were scrutinizing the personnel records of about 75 employees who had access to a locked power substation. An FBI spokesman said there was no sign of forced entry into the building.

The World

The official Xinhua news agency issued a rare commentary on China's human rights record, as President Jiang Zemin was to arrive in Hawaii for the start of his long-awaited US visit. It said China has tried hard to improve its record, but "violations of human rights in social life" still exist. The commentary followed other conciliatory words from US and Chinese leaders on the eve of the trip.

Government officials moved to protect Hong Kong's currency, after the stock market lost 18 percent of its value last week. Analysts say investor confidence is shaken by concerns of higher interest rates, a weaker currency, and declining competitiveness. Meanwhile, worries that foreign investors will continue to pull out of Asia were blamed for South Korea's main stock market index dropping to a new five-year low Saturday.

Nigeria's military government will have one more year to restore democracy or risk expulsion from the Commonwealth, leaders of the 54-nation group decided. Meeting in Scotland, they OK'd a plan to impose sanctions - among them an oil embargo - if civilians are not in charge of the government by next October.

Israeli news reports said President Clinton wouldn't have time to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu when the latter visits Washington next month. Nonetheless, Clinton is to receive a peacemaker award from Netanyahu's predecessor, Shimon Peres, and Leah Rabin, widow of assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Nov. 21. Both are political rivals of Netanyahu. The White House denied reports that Clinton would meet Netanyahu only if there was progress in negotiations with the Palestinians.

Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi was given an ultimatum: prove his commitment to the 1994 peace agreement with the country's government or bring sanctions down on his UNITA movement by Nov. 1. The ultimatum was announced by visiting US ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson after two delays in implementation. Despite the announcement, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos cancelled a meeting with Richardson in Luanda, apparently in irritation that the envoy plan-ned to see Savimbi personally.

Outgoing President Momir Bulatovic exhausted his legal appeals when Montenegro's Constitutional Court ruled a new runoff election was not necessary. Bulatovic, a protg of Yugoslav President Milosevic, had argued that voting irregularities caused his narrow defeat by Milo Djukanovic, a staunch Milosevic opponent, in their first runoff Oct. 19. International monitors said the election was generally free and fair.

Colombian authorities predicted as few as 30 percent of voters would cast ballots in local elections as leftist rebels pressed ahead with their campaign of sabotage. In the runup to the vote, the guerrillas intimidated some 1,900 candidates into quitting politics and killed or kidnapped some 240 others.

Opinions polls showed Argentine President Carlos Menem's government was likely to lose its majority in the lower house of Congress as voters went to the polls for midterm elections. Argentines were expected to support the Alliance opposition, which has accused Menem's Peronists of being insensitive on social issues.

Water from the Nile River gushed through four tunnels under the Suez Canal at the start of a $1.6 billion project to irrigate the arid Sinai. Its goal: to resettle 1.5 million people in new towns on the desert, relieving pressure on Cairo and other cities before the country's population doubles again by the middle of the 21st century.

"He will not have a totally fuzzy time."

- Secretary of State Albright, warning Chinese President Jiang Zemin to be prepared for protest rallies as well as official handshakes during his eight-day US visit.


And, speaking of big apples, what is more bone-jarring than a ride on Coney Island's famous Thunderbolt roller coaster, but with no admission fee? Answer: driving a car on some New York City streets. Using a computerized measuring device, the New York Daily News recorded higher vibrations after road-testing several streets at 30 m.p.h. than from a 15-m.p.h. faster ride on the Thunderbolt. All this because of potholes, which city crews admit they are way behind in filling - with the winter freeze-and-thaw cycle about to begin.

The Day's List

Gauging Fuel Efficiency of New-Model Cars in US

The Lamborghini Diablo is atop the US Environmental Protection Agency's gas-guzzler chart, while the Chevy Metro showed it can go a long way on a gallon of gas. The five most and least fuel-efficient models sold in the US and their estimated average miles per gallon, combining highway and city driving:

Most efficient

Chevy Metro (3 cylinder) 46

Volkswagen Jetta (diesel) 43

Suzuki Swift/Metro (4 cylinder) 41

Honda Civic HX 39

Mitsubishi Mirage 36

Least efficient

Lamborghini Diablo 11

Mercedes Benz S600 15

BMW 750IL 17

Mercedes Benz S500 17

Lotus Esprit 18ds

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