News In Brief

The US

Affirmative-action regulations for radio and TV broadcasters were struck down by a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The judges said Federal Communications Commission rules that require the hiring of racial minorities violate the equal-protection clause of the Constitution's Fifth Amendment. FCC officials said they were considering an appeal.

A Paraguayan man who stabbed a woman to death was executed in Virginia despite requests by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the World Court that the sentence be blocked. Virginia Gov. James Gilmore (R) refused to intervene. Rulings by the World Court are not binding. The court wanted the execution delayed while it decided whether Breard deserved a new trial.

Seven astronauts who will rocket into orbit today aboard the space shuttle Columbia got an early bon voyage from President Clinton. He spoke to the crew at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida by video hookup from the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The mission, which could take 17 days, will study the human nervous system.

The Pentagon denied it was trying to weaken a proposed international criminal court. Human Rights Watch, a private advocacy group, made the accusation in a letter sent to Defense Secretary William Cohen. A Pentagon spokesman said the US is concerned that the court not have "broad authority to pursue a vague definition of aggression that could be confused with legitimate, defensive action." The new court may be established following a diplomatic conference in Rome in July.

The son of ill US Rep. Henry Gonzalez won a runoff in a Democratic primary in Texas and will seek his father's seat in Congress in November. Former state Judge Charlie Gonzalez defeated former San Antonio City Councilwoman Maria Berriozabal by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent of the vote. He will run against Republican James Walker in the fall. The elder Gonzalez is not seeking reelection after 36 years in the House.

California Democratic leaders disavowed threats by a party aide to reveal sexual secrets of congressional Republicans who attack Clinton - but they refused to dismiss him as some Republicans demanded. The aide, Bob Mulholland, "was acting on his own," said state party chairman Art Torres. Mulholland apparently will keep his job as a paid adviser and his seat on the Democratic National Committee. He had criticized Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee for attacking Clinton's character.

Violent right-wing plots have increased dramatically in the US in the last three years, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported. It said such conspiracies, though mostly thwarted by police, had proliferated since the April 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building.

Republic of Texas leader Richard McLaren was found guilty by a jury in Dallas on 26 separate federal fraud and conspiracy counts, each with a maximum penalty of at least five years in prison. Last year McLaren's separatist group held off police in a week-long siege in west Texas after issuing more than $1.8 billion in bogus warrants that looked like bank checks. He is already serving a 99-year sentence for ordering followers to kidnap a married couple in April 1997. New sentencing is scheduled to take place in four to six weeks.

A Rand Corp. report found that sexual activity of high-school students did not increase when they were given free condoms. The Santa Monica, Calif., "think tank" released results of a survey at an unnamed high school in Los Angeles County. More than 1,000 students in grades 9 to 11 were surveyed before and after condoms were made available. The report said the results agree with those of a similar recent study conducted in New York.

The World

Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov contradicted his own party's House Speaker and said Russian Prime Minister-designate Sergei Kiriyenko won't be confirmed by parliament tomorrow. Zyuganov spoke after Speaker Gennady Seleznyov called on Communists to vote for Kiriyenko and avoid having parliament dissolved, which would force a national election. Communists control 135 seats in the lower house, with 226 votes needed to reject President Boris Yeltsin's nominee.

Imprisoned Tehran Mayor Gholamhossein Karbaschi was released on bail, reports from the Iranian capital said. He still is expected to go to trial in two weeks on graft charges that supporters say are politically motivated. Parliament held a closed-door session to discuss the issue after riot police clashed with thousands of people demonstrating in support of the popular mayor. Karbashi (above) is an ally of moderate President Mohamad Khatami, whose election last year and subsequent political reforms anger hardline conservatives.

Saying, "he wouldn't make the trip if he didn't think there was a good chance of progress," Prime Minister Netanyahu's office announced US special envoy Dennis Ross will return to Israel Monday for another try at reviving Middle East peace negotiations. Ross failed on a similar mission last month, during which he attempted to persuade Israel to withdraw from 13.1 percent more of the West Bank.

The first direct negotiations in four years between North and South Korea appeared to collapse in Beijing, with each side blaming the other. They agreed to remain in the Chinese capital until Saturday, but attempts to rekindle discussion on aid for the North's devastating food shortages reportedly were not making progress. The South has linked such help to reunions for families divided by the 1950-53 Korean war. North Korea said it would discuss reunions after receiving the aid.

Serbs in the volatile province of Kosovo are abandoning their homes in 18 towns near the Albanian border, reports said. A Serb news agency attributed the move to intimidation by armed and uniformed members of the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army.

One day after it appeared he might be spared a trial on contempt charges, former South African President P. W. Botha went before a court after all. A spokesman for the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission said Botha had "blown it" by repudiating attempts to arrange for private testimony rather than appearing in open court. If convicted for defying subpoenas to tell about his role in apartheid-era abuses, he could be sentenced to two years in prison or fined.

Another round of expulsions loomed in Mexico as police and immigration officials arrested three Norwegians for unauthorized political activities in the troubled state of Chiapas. A fourth eluded capture. Last weekend, Mexico deported 12 foreigners for giving aid to Zapatista rebels. More than 200 foreign nationals have been expelled from Chiapas since the beginning of last year.

In Vancouver, British Columbia, US and Canadian negotiators were to resume the search for a solution to the long-running dispute between their two countries over salmon fishing. Canadians contend that Alaskan boats harvest more salmon bound for British Columbia's rivers than allowed under a 1985 treaty.

Members of parliament in the Czech Republic gave themselves a standing ovation after voting 154 to 38 to approve membership in NATO. Only Communists and ultrarightists opposed the move. Ratification by the upper house is expected, although no date for its vote was set. Approval by current members of the alliance also is needed, although four already have agreed. The US Senate expects to vote later this month.


"Alliances should be joined when there's no threat. Under a threat, it's already too late."

- Milos Zeman, House Speaker of the Czech Republic parliament, as it voted to accept an invitation to join NATO.

In Brattleboro, Vt., the figure of the infant Jesus, stolen from a nativity scene outside the First Baptist Church at Christmas, reappeared on Easter. Police aren't sure whether to treat the incident as a practical joke or a change of heart by the perpetrator. But, said one cop: "What better time to return it?"

The Day's List

The 1998 Pulitzer Prizes

National reporting: Russell Carollo/Jeff Nesmith, Dayton (Ohio) Daily News

International reporting: The New York Times

Investigative reporting: Gary Cohn/Will Englund, The (Baltimore) Sun

Spot news reporting: Los Angeles Times

Beat reporting: Linda Greenhouse, The New York Times

Feature writing: Thomas French, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times

Commentary: Mike McAlary, New York Daily News

Criticism: Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Editorial writing: Bernard Stein, The Riverdale (N.Y.) Press

Editorial cartooning: Stephen Breen, Asbury Park (N.J.) Press

Spot news photography: Martha Rial, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Feature photography: Clarence Williams, Los Angeles Times

Explanatory journalism: Paul Salopek, Chicago Tribune

Public service: Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald

Fiction: "American Pastoral," Philip Roth

History: "Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion," Edward Larson

Biography: "Personal History," Katharine Graham

Poetry: "Black Zodiac," Charles Wright

General nonfiction: "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies," Jared Diamond

Music: "String Quartet No. 2, Musica Instrumentalis," Aaron Jay Kernis

Drama: "How I Learned To Drive," Paula Vogel

Special citation: George Gershwin

- Associated Press

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