News In Brief

The US

House members plan to take up legislation providing $18 billion in funding to the International Monetary Fund and to rewrite national banking laws as Congress resumed this week after a spring break. Congress also is expected to take up issues such as the federal budget, disaster relief for states hit by winter storms, the highway bill, tobacco, education tax credits, and money to pay for US troops in Bosnia and the Persian gulf.

A damage report was expected to land on President Clintons desk today from Cecil Whaley, director of natural disasters for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. Nashville officials revised earlier damage estimates, saying probably more than 500 homes were hit by last weeks tornado.

Clinton planned to make a statement to try to salvage comprehensive antismoking legislation from being killed by the tobacco industry. White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said Clinton would use his statement to refocus attention on the objectives of the legislation to protect children and the public from tobacco.

The US Supreme Court agreed to decide how far cities can go in enacting antiloitering ordinances aimed at deterring crime by street gangs. The court said it will hear Chicagos argument that its ordinance thrown out by a lower court was a lawful effort to head off drug deals and shootings associated with gangs.

A crew of scientists and doctors on the space shuttle Columbia planned to continue research on the more than 2,000 mice, rats, crickets, snails, and fish accompanying them on their two-week mission. One experiment hopes to determine whether animals and humans can be born in space. The crew also planned to participated in sleep experiments. Earlier they underwent ball-catching and virtual-reality experiments.

The US military was to begin a hearing at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in Jackson ville, N.C., on four fliers whose jet severed a gondola cable at an Italian ski resort, killing 20 people. The hearing will try to determine if evidence exists to support charges of negligent homicide and involuntary manslaughter. The crewmen also are charged with dereliction of duty and damage to military and private property.

Political dissident Wang Dan thanked the US government for lobbying to free him from a Chinese jail and pleaded for the release of more prisoners of conscience. A leader of the 1989 pro-democracy Tiananmen Square protests, Wang spent 6-1/2 years in prison on charges that he was plotting the overthrow of Chinas government.

Hundreds of people rang small bells after 168 seconds of silence at the site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building to commemorate the lives of those killed in the Oklahoma City bombing April 19, 1995. Also, in Waco, Texas, a replica of the Liberty Bell was rung after the reading of names of the people who died the same date in 1993, when the Branch Davidian compound went up in flames in the midst of a raid by federal agents.

Undergraduate students are being shortchanged by US research universities, according to a report by the Washington-based Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A Blueprint for Americas Research Universities, a panel assembled by the nonprofit organization reported that students are often taught by poorly trained or untrained teaching assistants, and many students graduate without a coherent body of knowledge.

Linda McCartney, who died in Los Angeles, was a noted photographer and the wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney. The couple were described as inseparable in their 29 years of marriage.

The World

Russias lower house of parliament is to meet today to set the date for the final vote on confirming Prime Minister-designate Sergei Kiriyenko. He failed again last week to gain the necessary votes from the Communist-controlled Duma, and by law President Yeltsin can install him anyway, dismiss parliament, and rule by decree until a new election is held if it happens three times. Meanwhile, Kiriyenko assured visiting deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott that the turmoil would harm neither relations with the US nor the pace of economic reform in Russia.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams postponed a party vote for two weeks on whether to help govern Northern Ireland under terms of the new peace accord with Protestants. He took the step to allow members time to vent frustrations with the deal and to minimize the likelihood of a split in the ranks that could cause its rejection. Meanwhile, in Britain, leaders of the two main opposition parties vowed to help Prime Minister Blair campaign for approval of the deal in a May referendum.

A multimillion-dollar program of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan was in jeopardy because the Taliban Islamic movement, which controls most of the country, refused to admit the coordinator of a UN distribution team. Alfredo Witchi-Cestari is believed to have angered the Taliban because he ordered temporary suspension of UN assistance earlier this month in protest against attacks on his staff. Last week, US envoy Bill Richardson left a meeting with Taliban leaders saying theyd agreed to negotiate on interpretations of Islamic doctrine that the UN doesnt like.

Under orders from Nigerias military junta, all five officially sanctioned political parties nominated Gen. Sani Abacha as their candidate for president in the Aug. 1 election effectively removing all other hopefuls from contention. Abacha has yet to indicate hell seek the office. But analysts said there is little doubt he intends to transform his dictatorship into a civilian regime.

Residents of Malaysias capital stocked up on disposable garments, paper plates, and the like as water mains ran dry under a rotational rationing program. The worst drought in decades has the four reservoirs that serve Kuala Lumpur and its suburbs at critical levels. Only fire departments and hospitals are exempt from rationing, which is expected to last until about Nov. 1.

Iraqi and Iranian negotiators met on their border to try to bridge differences holding up the exchange of all remaining prisoners from their 1980-88 war. The two sides swapped more than 6,000 men earlier this month. But Iraq claims Iran still holds 18,000 more. Iran says Iraq is holding at least 5,000.

Neo-Nazis committed more crimes last year than at any other time since Germany was unified in 1990, a Berlin newspaper reported. Citing Federal Crime Bureau statistics, it said 11,720 such incidents were reported, the heaviest percentage in the states of eastern Germany where unemployment rates are high. It said 791 of the crimes were violent assaults on foreigners, the homeless, and other victim groups.

Under NATO guard, workmen began the process of unearthing casualties from the first of a series of mass graves around Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia, site of the worst massacres of the countrys 3-1/2-year civil war. The former Muslim enclave was overrun by Bosnian Serbs in mid-1995 despite its status as a UN-declared haven. By various estimates, at least 7,000 people from the town are still missing and presumed dead. The exhumations are expected to last several months.


"Dont be afraid of change!

Sinn Fein fund-raising director Joe Cahill, urging party members not to reject the proposed peace deal with Protestants in Northern Ireland.

It had been a long day, and German Finance Minister Theo Waigel in Washington for an international conference was hoping for a good nights rest. But a fuss outside the door to his room in the Watergate Hotel soon awoke him. It seems the security staff was chasing paparazzi from in front of the room directly across the hall, which was rented to Monica Lewinsky.

Imagine the embarrassment of two women who left their new car aboard a ferry from Seattle to Bremerton, Wash. While they went for a walk, agents sent for a tow truck to drag it away so the ferry could load up for the return trip. A $100 fee was waived because the women didnt realize they had to drive off like everyone else. But then they had to get in line to buy a ticket to go back.

If a developer has his way, visitors to Miami may want to bring along their skis as well as their swimsuits. David Plattner hopes to build a $300 million winter playground on land in Biscayne Bay. Mt. Miami would be covered with a dome and insulated with thermal mats to keep its machine-made snow from melting in the heat.

The Day's List

City of Angels Hovers at Top of Box-Office Charts

"City of Angels remained No. 1 at North American box offices for the second straight weekend, while The Object of My Affection debuted in second place. Angels is a tear-jerker, starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan. Object, a comedy, stars Jennifer Aniston. The highest-grossing movies April 17-19, with the estimated gross of each (in millions):

1. City of Angels $13.0

2. The Object of My Affection 10.0

3. Lost in Space 7.7

4. Titanic 7.3

5. Paulie 5.4

6. Species II 3.9

7. The Odd Couple II 3.7

8. Mercury Rising 3.6

9. The Players Club 3.6

10. Major League: Back to the Minors 2.1

Exhibitor Relations Inc./AP

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