News In Brief

The US

The grand jury looking into President Clinton's ties to Monica Lewinsky may hear testimony today from retired Secret Service officer Lewis Fox. On Friday, Attorney General Janet Reno decided to allow limited questioning of Fox, if protective techniques and procedures of the Secret Service, which has responsibility for guarding the president, are not disclosed. Fox appeared Thursday at the Washington courthouse where the grand jury meets, but did not testify.

US Sen. John McCain said it's time for the president to set a deadline for Saddam Hussein to back down or face US military action. Other lawmakers said Clinton should not act without a vote of support from Congress, which is on vacation this week. McCain, an Arizona Republican and senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, made his suggestion on the Fox TV network.

Iraq has smuggled deadly weapons programs to sympathetic Arab states for safekeeping, along with up to 400 Scud missiles that could deliver germ or chemical agents, said Yossef Bodansky, director of the House Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. Iraqi Scud missiles were shipped to Sudan and Yemen after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Bodansky reported. He also said Iraq retains production capabilities for weapons of mass destruction through joint programs in Sudan and Libya.

An arrest warrant was issued for a North Carolina man in connection with the bombing of an Alabama clinic where abortions are performed. US Attorney Doug Jones said Eric Robert Rudolph is charged with using an explosive device. His truck was reportedly spotted near the scene of the incident. An off-duty police officer was killed and a nurse critically injured in the Jan. 29 blast at the New Woman All Women Health Care center in Birmingham, Ala. Authorities also announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to the bomber's arrest and conviction.

Two more churches were damaged by fires in Charlotte, N.C., where officials are looking into a series of blazes at other area churches, a fire department spokesman said. As firefighters extinguished a blaze that gutted a newly renovated fellowship hall at Moore's Chapel United Methodist Church late Saturday, a separate fire was reported about a mile away at the New Apostolic Church, officials said. Two other churches - Garden Memorial Presbyterian and Sunset Forest Baptist - were damaged by fire last week.

Clinton signed legislation to help Holocaust survivors recover assets seized by the Nazis in World War II. The Holocaust Victims Redress Act, passed by the House of Representatives last month and by the Senate in November, allows organizations that help Holocaust survivors to share up to $25 million. It also provides an additional $5 million for archival research to help with recovery of assets extorted or looted from Holocaust victims.

Hundreds of US soldiers may have died in a secret network of Chinese prison camps during the Korean War, formerly secret Army intelligence reports revealed. They indicate that the US knew of the prisoners and closely tracked their movements. On a visit to Beijing in January, Defense Secretary William Cohen asked top Chinese officials to open their archives and other files that might contain data on more than 8,000 US servicemen still unaccounted for from the Korean War.

Labor Secretary Alexis Herman said the US will spend $25 million to help California workers whose jobs have been lost or disrupted by recent floods. It would allow such people to be hired to clean up public and private-nonprofit property damaged by flooding, The state enjoyed a brief respite from the elements Sunday, but residents in southern counties were told to prepare for more rain.

The World

Indications were growing that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan would undertake an 11th-hour mission to Iraq aimed at averting a US-led military strike. Annan was to meet in New York with permanent Security Council members for a discussion of "bottom line conditions" for inspections of suspected Iraqi weapons sites, which British diplomats said the Baghdad government must accept in writing. Pending such a move, Annan would likely meet Iraq's foreign minister in Paris tomorrow and then fly on to Baghdad, diplomatic sources said.

Sinn Fein leaders said they would challenge moves to expel the party from negotiations on the political future of Northern Ireland. The British government formally issued an indictment of the party's guerrilla ally, the Irish Republican Army, for the murders of two pro-British Protestants in Belfast last week. Rules of the talks require the ouster of any participant whose militant elements break the cease-fire currently in effect in the province. Last month, the pro-British Ulster Democratic Party quit the negotiations before it could be expelled after admitting that gunmen it represents had killed three Catholics.

Israeli Prime Minister Netan-yahu was cleared of responsibility for the botched assassination attempt against an Islamic militant leader in Jordan last year. But a government-appointed committee sharply criticized the chief of the Mossad spy agency, Danny Yatom, saying he had not taken into account the possibility that the mission could fail. The Sept. 25 attack against Hamas political leader Khalid Mashaal caused a deep crisis in relations between Israel and Jordan.

Elections officials in India called the first day of voting "largely a peaceful exercise" despite the deaths of 14 people, most of them in the eastern state of Bihar, the country's poorest. Fifty others were reported hurt in land-mine explosions. Voting also was marred by rioting in the state of Assam. At least 50 people died in the southern city of Coimbatore over the weekend in attacks blamed on Muslim militants attempting to disrupt last-minute campaigning by Hindu fundamentalists.

Emphasis shifted to finding food and providing humanitarian aid to residents of Sierra Leone's battered capital, Freetown, as troops of the military junta surrendered to a force of West African peacekeepers. The peacekeepers occupy the city on behalf of exiled President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, who is expected to return within a few weeks. Junta leader Johnny Koroma fled the country over the weekend and was believed heading for neighboring Liberia.

Whether Quebec has the right to secede unilaterally and declare independence from the rest of Canada was at stake as the country's Supreme Court opened hearings in Ottawa. The government of the French-speaking province planned to boycott the hearings, but was to be represented by a court-appointed lawyer. A ruling is expected in six months.

Amid rain and fog, a China Airlines jet crashed on approach to Taiwan's main airport. The plane, carrying 197 passengers and crew, went down in a residential neighborhood at the end of a flight that originated on the Indonesian island of Bali. There were no reports of survivors.

The worst drought in 100 years in Papua New Guinea has been replaced by drenching rains that are equally damaging, villagers evacuating the country's highlands said. Newspapers in the capital, Port Moresby, cited reports that monsoons have caused at least two rivers to overflow, triggering landslides and washing away rebuilt vegetable fields, livestock, and vital roads.


"If he goes to Paris, it's 99 percent certain he'll go on to Baghdad."

- An unnamed UN source, on growing prospects that Secretary-General Kofi Annan will make an 11th-hour diplomatic attempt to end the Iraq crisis.

Elders of the Church of England just couldn't resist the temptation to tinker with the Lord's Prayer. Despite a warning from Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey not to pursue modernity for its own sake, they voted last week to delete the words "lead us not into temptation" from services beginning in 2000. Assuming a review committee and the church's general synod approve, that portion of the prayer will say instead: "save us from the time of trial." Local parishes will be - well - forgiven for continuing to recite the prayer in its traditional form.

The rail system in Germany's Schleswig-Holstein state is about to kiss half its receipts goodbye, at least for the next few weeks. As a new promotion, it's offering a "lovers' discount" beginning Friday that paying passengers may have on request. To qualify, couples must wear special stickers obtained at the ticket window and be willing to engage in a lip-lock when required by the conductors once the trip is under way.

The Day's List

San Francisco Is Now the Priciest Housing Market

With a median single-family home resale value of $304,600, the city by the Golden Gate has pushed Honolulu out of first place as the most expensive of 134 metropolitan areas surveyed by the National Association of Realtors. Honolulu had held that distinction since 1989. The least expensive: Waterloo, Iowa., at $64,200. The priciest region is the West, where the median is $163,100. Nationally, it is $124,800, the realtors group says. The 10 most expensive markets and their respective median prices:

1. San Francisco $304,600

2. Honolulu 300,000

3. Orange County, Calif. 237,400

4. Bergen, N.J. 202,100

5. Boston 195,900

6. Newark, N.J. 192,300

7. San Diego, Calif. 189,000

8. Los Angeles 177,800

9. New York 177,700

10. Middlesex, N.J. 177,400

- Associated Press

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