News In Brief

The US

Monica Lewinsky's attorneys were reportedly trying to make a deal for immunity as Whitewater prosecutors subpoenaed witnesses and gathered evidence in the probe of whether President Clinton tried to cover up an alleged affair with the former White House intern. Officials said Clinton was unlikely to give a detailed response to various allegations before tomorrow's State of the Union address.

The US was reportedly moving toward military action against Iraq. The New York Times quoted a National Security Council official as saying that unless President Saddam Hussein ended interference with UN weapons inspectors "there'll be one final round of diplomacy, and then an ultimatum, and then we act." The Times said Hussein's intransigence had led to a consensus among US officials that smart bombs and cruise missiles would be needed to put a stop to his ability to build weapons of mass destruction.

Astronauts on the Russian space station Mir were to spend most of Sunday restocking it with supplies and equipment from the US shuttle Endeavour. Aboard the shuttle when it linked up with Mir Saturday was astronaut Andrew Thomas, who is joining the Mir crew for four months. Astronaut David Wolf, who has lived aboard the Russian outpost since September, is to return to Earth this week on the shuttle.

Theodore Kaczynski pleaded guilty to being the Unabomber in return for a sentence of life in prison without parole. The former mathematics professor entered his last-minute plea on the day a jury was to be sworn in for his trial. The plea agreement resolves all federal charges arising from an 18-year bombing campaign that killed three people and injured 29 others. Kaczynski will be formally sentenced May 15.

A Pakistani who ambushed CIA workers five years ago was sentenced to death. In his first public statement since his arrest, Mir Aimal Kasi indicated in a Fairfax, Va., courtroom that the attack was a protest against US foreign policy. Two men were killed and three other people wounded Jan. 25, 1993, when Kasi used an assault rifle on cars waiting in morning traffic outside the espionage agency in Langley, Va.

Mary Bono announced she intended to run as a Republican in the April 7 special election to fill her late husband's California House seat. She said she would make a formal announcement Feb. 2. US Rep. Sonny Bono died in a skiing accident Jan. 5 in Nevada.

Alaska and Canada agreed to settle a lawsuit against Canadian fishermen who blockaded an Alaskan ferry for three days last summer. Gov. Tony Knowles (D) said Alaska would drop its $2.1 million (Canadian; US $3 million) lawsuit in exchange for a C$1.3 million Canadian-funded campaign to promote tourism to Alaska and neighboring parts of Canada. The fishermen were to drop a counterclaim against Alaska and abide by a permanent injunction prohibiting blockades, Knowles said. Canadians blocked an Alaskan ferry in Prince Rupert, B.C., in July to protest what they said was excessive interception of Canada-bound salmon by Alaskan fishermen.

The number of Americans living in areas of substandard air quality dropped about 43 percent in 1996, the Environmental Protection Agency reported. The agency's annual air-quality review indicated 46 million Americans resided in areas that did not meet standards for at least one of six major pollutants in 1996, down from 80 million in 1995.

Weather-weary Maine was hammered by its second major ice storm of the month, cutting electricity to thousands of homes, including some that had just had power restored after an initial storm three weeks ago. Most of the new storm-related problems were in southern Maine, including the city of Portland.

The World

Iraq prepared to begin training a force of volunteers in the use of weapons next week as Britain sent a convoy of warships to join the US armada already positioned in the Gulf. The British move heightened speculation that the western allies might launch an attack to force Iraqi compliance with the UN's weapons-inspection program. Analysts said they believed the opposition to such a strike by other Arab countries had peaked.

Senior Israeli officials denied published reports that the US would soon propose a three-stage, 12 percent troop redeployment on the West Bank in exchange for Palestinian fulfillment of agreed-to security measures. The daily Haaretz said Secretary of State Albright was expected to offer the proposal in meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Arafat early next month.

Amid reports of fresh violence in Algeria, the European Union's foreign ministers are scheduled to hear a report today from the delegation that visited the north African country last week. Analysts questioned the value of the report since the delegation stopped only in the capital, Algiers, and spoke mostly with government officials. Meanwhile, 91 more people were reported killed over the weekend in attacks blamed on Islamic extremists.

Negotiations on the future of Northern Ireland were to shift from Belfast to London today, with the British government confronting a key decision. Sinn Fein, the political ally of the Irish Republican Army, and the largest Protestant party in the talks, the Ulster Unionists, say Britain must decide whether a loyalist group linked to recent violence in the province should remain a negotiating partner. Allies of the Ulster Democratic Party are implicated in three recent deaths of Catholics in or near Belfast.

Hundreds of leftists en route to Dresden, Germany, stopped the train in which they were traveling to brawl with carloads of neo-Nazis. Eight people were hurt and the train was damaged. Police said the neo-Nazis had been pursuing the train and pelting it with stones. Both groups apparently were headed for rival demonstrations in Dresden, the latest stop for a traveling exhibition on World War II Nazi atrocities. Heavy security kept the two rallies apart, but at least four neo-Nazis were arrested for carrying weapons.

Saying, "it would be a gesture which honors the authority promoting it," Pope John Paul II called for the release from Cuban jails of all political prisoners. His appeals Saturday on behalf of freedom and human rights drew repeated applause from the crowd attending an outdoor mass in Santiago. He ended his visit to the Communist-ruled island Sunday with a mass in Havana, attended by President Castro.

India's Congress Party, in a tight election battle with Hindu nationalists, apologized for failing to stop the 1992 demolition of a mosque in the city of Ayodhya. The move was seen as a bid to curry favor with Muslim voters, who blame Hindus for the destruction of the mosque in sectarian rioting that left 2,000 people dead. At the time, a right-wing Hindu party ruled the state where the incident took place and the Congress Party held power nationally.

A truck bomb blamed on Tamil rebels exploded outside the holiest Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka, killing at least 13 people and injuring 23 others. Three of the dead were in the truck, police said. The blast, in the onetime capital, Kandy, came eight days before the arrival of Britain's Prince Charles and other dignitaries for ceremonies marking Sri Lanka's 50 years of independence. Buddhists burned a Hindu cultural center in retaliation for the blast, reports said.


"The whole world is watching whether the US - with a president whose morality and dignity are doubted - can continue to play the role as the world's leader."

- Editorial in Sunday's edition of Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean daily published in Seoul.

Voters in east Tennessee will have to mark their ballots carefully in an August election to succeed retiring circuit court Judge Lee Asbury. That's because the only candidates are Sextons - and not the church kind. Sonny Sexton and Shayne Sexton are both running as independents. They're also both assistant district attorneys. They are not, however, related.

Folks in Mishenki, Belarus, near the border with Poland, must have wonder-ed what was going on when Army troops pulled up to a neighbor's house and ordered everybody out. As well they might. It seems the fellow had been using a World War II artillery shell as an anvil without realizing it still had a working fuse. It was taken outside town and rendered harmless.

It was more a case of boo-lero than "Bolero" as the world-renowned Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra wound up a concert in Madrid last week with its interpretation of composer Maurice Ravel's opus - off-key. The audience jeered loudly and demanded that the musicians leave the stage.

The Day's List

Companies Honored for Employee Voluntarism

Six companies are to receive awards from the nonpartisan, nonprofit, Washington-based Points of Light Foundation for efforts in helping to solve social problems through employee volunteer programs. Former President Bush, the foundation's honorary chairman, is scheduled to assist with the awards in ceremonies at Anaheim, Calif., Feb. 5. The recipients:

AT&T Wireless Services, Kirkland, Wash.

AXA (international insurance and asset-management firm based in France)

Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A., New York

Gap, Inc., San Francisco (retail apparel chain)

UGI Corp., Valley Forge, Pa. (provides gas, electricity, and propane in 36 states)

Unitrode Corp., Merrimack, N.H. (makes analog integrated circuits)

- PRNewswire

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