News In Brief

The US

President Clinton promised to push for workers' rights and environmental protection worldwide in an effort to sway Congress into granting him new trade-pact negotiating powers. His announcement persuaded Senate minority leader Tom Daschle (D) of South Dakota to support the "fast track" legislation, which has been coolly received by Democrats. The House and Senate plan to vote this week on the bill, which would allow Clinton to cut deals that couldn't be changed later by Congress.

Chief of staff Erskine Bowles, White House spokesman Mike McCurry, and political strategist Rahm Emanuel are among several senior Clinton aides who plan to leave their posts soon, the administration announced. Others likely to leave include John Hilley, Clinton's chief congressional lobbyist, and Doug Sosnik, the White House political director, administration sources said.

Clinton planned to consult with key congressional leaders on his Bosnia policy before a major decision is made on the future of the NATO-led peacekeeping mission. The Clinton administration has indicated it's considering continuing the presence of US ground troops in Bosnia after the NATO-led stabilization force's mandate expires next June.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 232 points to 7674 Monday, nearly erasing last week's historic plunge. The buying binge followed a rally in overseas stocks.

Judge Hiller Zobel said no immediate ruling would be announced. The hearing took place amid reports that Zobel hadn't allowed the jury to see a videotape of infant Matthew Eappen's mother trying to coax her other son into saying Woodward was responsible for the death. Three-year-old Brendan Eappen replied instead that Woodward had loved them both, a police source told the New York Post.

Legal analysts said federal prosecutors confronted a major challenge in the second Oklahoma City bombing trial: how to sound fresh while presenting the same evidence and many of the same witnesses whose testimony helped to convict Timothy McVeigh earlier. On Day 1 of co-defendant Terry Nichols's trial, the prosecution accused him of working at McVeigh's side, although it agrees he was not present when the bomb exploded, killing 168 people. Nichols was "building his life, not a bomb," his lawyer said in opening arguments.

The defense began closing arguments in the trial of alleged plotter Ramzi Yousef and co-defendant Eyad Ismoil, who are charged with the World Trade Center bombing. Earlier, assistant US attorney David Kelley offered closing arguments from the prosecution in the New York courtroom, citing what he called "indisputable scientific evidence" against the men. Six people died and more than 1,000 were injured in the 1993 explosion that caused more than $500 million in damage.

The US Supreme Court reversed its 1968 decision and ruled that wholesalers don't necessarily violate federal antitrust law by limiting the prices retailers can charge consumers for a product. The decision is a victory for State Oil Company, which is being sued by an Illinois gas station operator who wanted to charge more per gallon than the company would allow. The ruling sends the case back to a lower court for more study.

More Palestinian negotiators were due in Washington to balance those sent by Israel for the latest round of Middle East peace talks. The talks failed to open on schedule Monday because only three Palestinian experts were present - versus more than a dozen Israelis - for discussions on such issues as safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But both sides left a meeting with US mediator Dennis Ross saying they found reason to be positive about the negotiations.

The World

Arms inspections and surveillance flights in Iraq will continue despite that country's threat to shoot down US spy planes, the UN said. Iraqi officials again turned away inspection teams that included American experts. All remaining US inspectors are due to be expelled by this afternoon, although UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged that the deadline be postponed until after a special team of negotiators arrived in Baghdad to try to defuse tensions.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin returned home, telling reporters he was "very happy" with his state visit to the US. He was treated to a red-carpet welcome, with a Foreign Ministry spokesman saying the most important achievement of the trip was reaching a "common understanding" on pros- pects for bilateral relations. Public protests at Jiang's every stop in the US were dismissed as "noise pollution."

Balkan leaders pledged cooperation in bringing peace and prosperity to their region, as they wrapped up a summit on the island of Crete. In a joint declaration, they called for the respect of territorial integrity and the rights of minorities and promised to settle disputes through peaceful means. The region has been the scene of centuries of border and ethnic conflicts. The summit brought together leaders and officials from Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Bosnia, and Albania.

Rescue workers searched for survivors along Vietnam's southern coast in the wake of typhoon Linda. At least 132 people were killed and up to 4,000 others, most of them fishermen, were missing after the storm swept across the region Monday. Linda destroyed buildings, roads, bridges, and dikes before weakening.

Members of New Zealand's governing National Party needed only one hour to endorse Transportation Minister Jenny Shipley as their new leader and prime minister-in-waiting. She won a unanimous vote after Jim Bolger said he'd quit both posts at the end of this month. Bolger is blamed for squandering the National Party's popularity. Shipley, who became active in politics only 10 years ago, will be the nation's first female head of government.

Jordanians voted in parliamentary elections despite a boycott by nine opposition parties, among them the influential Islamic Action Front. The boycotters said the vote had been rigged. They also protested government policies, including Jordan's 1994 peace treaty with Israel. As a result of the boycott, analysts expected tribal leaders loyal to King Hussein to dominate the elections.

An Ontario judge rejected the provincial government's bid to force 126,000 striking teachers back to work. Justice James MacPherson said the request was "significantly premature," adding that the government had failed to prove the week-old walkout had caused severe harm to 2.1 million affected students. The teachers are protesting legislation that would give the government new powers to overhaul Ontario's school system.

Iranian protesters chanted anti-American slogans and burned US flags to mark the 18th anniversary of the US embassy seizure by Muslim revolutionaries. Addressing secondary-school students in Tehran, President Muhammad Khatami condemned what he called "expansionist" US policies. After seizing the embassy in 1979, students loyal to the father of Iran's Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days before releasing them.

"We're not negotiating. We will deliver the message and listen, which is not

a definition of negotiations."

- Emilio Cardenas, one of three special envoys sent to tell Iraq it must abide by UN orders on weapons inspections.


Summoning all his political skill, Milwaukee's mayor has deflected a suggestion to make the city even more famous than it already is: building a 30-story statue of a polka player adjacent to the city's Summerfest grounds. It would house a restaurant, shops, the Polka Hall of Fame, and an observation deck, topped off by lasers visible all the way across Lake Michigan. Said the mayor's spokesman: "This looks to be a discussion that would have to take place between Summerfest and the polka people."

A Ted Turner wannabe has caused a lot of red faces at the United Nations. "His Royal Highness Prince Hadji Mohd al Alsagof van Eldik of Borneo" got a standing ovation when he appeared in robes and ceremonial sash at a conference in Melbourne to announce he'd match Turner's $1 billion gift to the organization. The money would be used on programs for the poor. Problem is: The "prince" turned out to be an Australian who's $7,000 in debt - to his own family.

The Day's List

No. 1 Business City: It's New York, Magazine Says

Fortune magazine's ninth annual listing of the cities that provide the best business climates puts New York on top in North America, on the basis of its labor, housing, and office-rental costs, falling crime rate - and even the number of Starbucks coffee shops. New York finished out of the running last year. The magazine's top finishers, by region, from its Nov. 24 issue:

North America

1. New York

2. Denver

3. Boston

Latin America

1. Santiago, Chile

2. Buenos Aires

3. Mexico City


1. Dublin

2. Amsterdam

3. Barcelona, Spain


1. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2. Sydney

3. Singapore

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