News In Brief

The US

A grand jury in Washington was to hear a second day of testimony from Monica Lewinsky's mother, Marcia Lewis. The two women shared an apartment at the time of Lewinsky's rumored affair with President Clinton, about which Lewinsky herself has been subpoenaed to testify as early as today. Lewinsky's attorney, William Ginsburg, said she would obey the summons. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported the assertion of a retired Secret Service officer that he personally admitted Lewinsky to Clinton's office on a fall Saturday afternoon in 1995 for a private visit of at least 40 minutes.

Attorney General Reno faced a deadline for issuing a decision on whether to appoint an independent counsel to probe possible influence-peddling by Cabinet colleague Bruce Babbitt. Reno's aides recommended that she name an outside investigator because of the interior secretary's rejection of a tribal application for a Wisconsin gambling casino, following which rival Indian tribes made a $380,000 donation to the Democratic Party. Congressional Republicans were urging Reno not to limit the scope of such an investigation.

A Massachusetts Indian tribe, the Mashantucket Pequots, also received special favors in exchange for at least $365,000 in contributions to the Democratic Party, a US Senate draft report on 1996 fund-raising abuses alleged. The report, portions of which were obtained by the Associated Press, says former Democratic National Committee chairman Donald Fowler argued the tribe's case against a proposed tax on Indian-run casinos.

Wall Street-watchers waited for signs that the Dow Jones Industrial Average could sustain its comeback from the deepest one-day point loss in history. The Dow rose 115.09 in trading Tuesday to close at 8295.61 - topping its previous high of 8259.31 before the steep slide began last Aug. 7. Standard & Poor's 500, the widely followed index for mutual funds, also closed at a record high Tuesday for the sixth time in the past nine trading sessions.

US Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson was to visit China and Japan to try to recruit their support for an armed attack on Iraq. But analysts said his mission would be more difficult than earlier efforts to enlist the backing of nonpermanent members of the Security Council, such as Portugal, Sweden, Brazil, and some African governments. China, a permanent council member, has consistently opposed the use of force to compel Iraqi cooperation with UN weapons inspections.

Maine's year-old law banning discrimination against homosexuals was overturned by voters in a special referendum. With 92 percent of the state's precincts reporting, opponents of the law held a 52 to 48 percent lead. The law attempted to protect against the denial of housing, employment, credit, and "public accommodation" based on sexual preference.

A $9 billion takeover bid - with hints that it could be raised still higher - was made for Computer Sciences Corp. of El Segundo, Calif., by rival Computer Associates International (CA). The nation's third-largest independent marketer of software, CA said it planned no layoffs and that the combined company would have sales of about $11 billion a year. The two companies earlier failed to complete a friendly merger.

The US government's key witness in the Oklahoma City bombing case apologized for his failure to stop the 1995 attack. In a statement given to the Dallas Morning News, Michael Fortier said his lack of action was "an unconscionable mistake." An Army friend of convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh, Fortier himself faces sentencing on four charges related to the case.

In a game played in Los Angeles, the US team pulled off a stunning 1-0 upset of world champion Brazil in soccer's Gold Cup tournament. Several Brazilian players sat out the contest, but no US team had even managed to score a goal in games between the two countries since 1930.

The World

The commander of US forces in the Middle East said he would be ready to strike Iraq within a week. "We're ready now but there are a few more pieces to put in," Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni said. Zinni is traveling with Defense Secretary William Cohen, who visited with Gulf leaders in six countries before flying to Moscow. The US has assembled the biggest military force in the Gulf since the 1991 war. It is threatening military action unless Baghdad complies with UN demands for access to sites suspected of housing weapons of mass destruction.

Iraq's official newspaper, Al-Thawra, said the US was determined to use force. It accused US officials of trying "to mislead the world community" into believing that diplomacy was useless. In Cairo, Iraq's foreign minister said Baghdad was prepared to open eight presidential sites to weapons inspectors. The US has already rejected a similar proposal. Meanwhile, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami blamed the US for the tensions in the Gulf.

Turkey is taking steps to provide aid to about 100,000 refugees inside Iraq in the event of a US attack, government officials in Ankara said. They denied that Turkish forces have moved into Iraqi territory, but witnesses said such planes and troops were in the midst of a raid on Kurdish rebel position in northern Iraq. At least 20 guerrillas were reportedly killed. Kurdish rebels use bases in northern Iraq in their fight to establish a homeland in southeast Turkey.

Junta forces exchanged artillery fire with a west African intervention force on the outskirts of Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, witnesses said. The Nigerian-led force has been advancing on the capital since last Thursday in an effort to restore the country's ousted president, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, to power. Kabbah, who was ousted in a coup last May and now lives in exile in Guinea, told the BBC he expected to return to his country "very soon."

Indonesian police detained about 140 protesters in the capital, Jakarta, during a rally against rising prices and corruption. Police said the arrests were made because the demonstrators "were disturbing the traffic." It was one of the biggest rallies in the capital since the nation's currency, the rupiah, began dropping in value last year. President Suharto accused unnamed groups of engineering a dramatic slide in the rupiah to destroy the Indonesian economy.

Economic chief Zhu Rongji is slated to deliver the keynote address to China's parliament next month, informed sources said. Analysts say the move is a clear signal that Zhu will become the country's next premier. Parliament must endorse a successor to outgoing Premier Li Peng after opening its annual session March 5. Zhu is spearheading China's drive to sell off money-losing state industry and overhaul a creaking financial system.

Two new murders in Northern Ireland ended a two week lull in guerrilla violence and threatened to undermine already shaky peace efforts. No group claimed responsibility for the deaths of a suspected drug dealer and a Protestant man, but republican gunmen were suspected to be involved.

The first helicopter carrying humanitarian aid arrived in Rostaq, a week after an earthquake struck Afghanistan. It flew in from neighboring Tajikistan, carrying two tons of bread, clothes, and medicines, relief workers said. The magnitude 6.1 quake and subsequent aftershocks and landslides killed more than 4,000 people and left thousands more homeless. Bad weather and civil war have hampered rescue efforts.


"People really don't seem to care about Clinton and are staying calm about everything else."

- Stockbroker James Glynn, on the factors that may have led to Tuesday's all-time best close in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

What could be more innocent than some federal biologists drawing water samples from a river they monitor twice a month? Almost anything, as far as police in northern New Jersey were concerned. The scientists were clad in Day-Glo orange, identical to the uniforms worn by prisoners in the Bergen County jail. Someone reported seeing three inmates escaping in a boat, and soon the biologists were being pursued by all available units, including tracking dogs and a helicopter. After docking to see what the fuss was about, they were allowed to proceed - but with a request to wear another color.

There was an honest-to-goodness jail break at the lockup in Jackson County, Ore. But the participants only made it as far as the commissary. An unknown number of inmates pulled off a raid after somebody apparently rigged the door to keep it from latching. The haul: box after box of candy and granola bars. Some prisoners were found with stashes of candy in their cells, but proving they came from the commissary shelves wasn't possible.

The Day's List

Nominees for the Worst of Hollywood's '97 Films

What was Hollywood's absolute worst film of 1997? If the list of nominations from the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation mean anything, it was the George Clooney-Chris O'Donnell production of "Batman and Robin." "Razzies," meant as a tongue-in-cheek answer to the Academy Awards and presented one day before - March 22 - are chosen by ballot from the foundation's 487 members. Among the categories: worst picture, worst actor and actress, worst screenplay, and most reckless disregard for human life or public property. Films nominated, with the number of "Razzies" each could win:

"Batman and Robin" 11

"Speed 2: Cruise Control" 8

"Anaconda" 6

"The Postman" 5

"Fire Down Below" 4

"Double Team" 3

"The Lost World: Jurassic Park" 3

- Associated Press

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