News In Brief

elizabeth dole was expected to resign as head of the American Red Cross. GOP sources said she was making the move to give herself more time to consider a possible presidential campaign. Mrs. Dole is the wife of defeated GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole. Having served in the Reagan and Bush Cabinets, she is the only woman to have held two Cabinet offices.

Sen. John Ashcroft (R) of Missouri was scheduled to announce today whether he will seek the presidency. The conservative former governor spent much of the past year setting the groundwork for a presidential bid, but some supporters said over the weekend they believe he won't run for president.

Former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura was to be sworn in as governor of Minnesota, two months after the Reform Party candidate won a surprise victory at the ballot box. Ventura, whose political experience includes a term as mayor of Brooklyn Park from 1991 to 1995, succeeds GOP Gov. Arne Carlson as the state's 37th governor. Meanwhile, in California, an inauguration for Gov.-elect Gray Davis (D) was also scheduled.

The winter storm that buried the Midwest in snow spread to the Atlantic seaboard, glazing highways with ice, filling airports with frustrated travelers, and plunging thousands into darkness. From Maine to South Carolina, highway officials counted dozens of accidents as drivers tried to maneuver on frozen roads. Lingering hazards in the upper Midwest prompted hundreds of school districts to cancel classes in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois. (Photo, page 1.) More than 450,000 electricity customers across the eastern half of the country lost power at some point during the storm, with the worst of the outages in the Carolinas.

President Clinton was to propose a $1,000 tax credit for families caring for elderly and disabled relatives. Officials said the four-part initiative would cost $6.2 billion over five years and is intended to help people providing long-term care - chiefly by easing the financial burden and by offering counseling and other services. The White House estimated the credit would help some 2 million Americans - including 1.2 million elderly people, more than 500,000 nonelderly adults, and 250,000 disabled children. The proposed tax credit would phase out for individuals earning more than $75,000 and for couples earning over $110,000.

The Mars Polar Lander was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla. aboard a Boeing rocket. The probe's sister ship, the Mars Climate Orbiter, was launched three weeks ago to observe the planet from an orbit 262 miles high. The lander is to touch down near the Martian south pole Dec. 3. The three previous Mars landers explored the planet's equatorial desert.

A Vietnam-war veterans' group said it hoped the US would start funding research this year into the effects of wartime use of chemical defoliants on the Vietnamese people. Tom Corey, national vice president of Vietnam Veterans of America and part of a group of veterans visiting Vietnam, said a bill would be introduced in Congress this month to provide $1.5 million for research into Agent Orange.

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