News In Brief

As Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji began a six-day US tour in Los Angeles, President Clinton urged active engagement with China during a foreign-policy address in Washington. Meanwhile, negotiators were said to be working furiously to strike a trade deal that could be announced during Zhu's visit to Washington today and tomorrow. Zhu was to dine with Clinton this evening - and meet tomorrow with World Bank and International Monetary Fund officials.

A list of European goods subject to 100 percent tariffs retroactive to March 3 will be published in the next few days, US trade officials said. They claimed victory after the World Trade Organization (WTO) said the US could impose tariffs on $191.4 million worth of European Union exports annually. The WTO did not give the US - which had claimed $520 million in lost trade due to EU banana-import policies - everything it asked for, but US officials said the decision set precedents that could help to resolve an agriculture trade dispute with the EU and a trade disagreement with Canada over magazines.

Up to 20,000 Kosovo refugees will be housed at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the White House announced. Spokesman Joe Lockhart said it would be several days before any refugees would travel to the base - and none would be sent there against his or her will.

An adviser to a California firm was charged with illegally giving the Democratic Party in 1996 a check drawn from an account funded by a South Korean contractor. The Justice Department said Robert Lee, a consultant to K&L International Partners, was charged in federal court in Los Angeles with a misdemeanor violation of election laws prohibiting foreign donations in US elections. Lee is accused of knowingly turning over to the Democratic National Committee $150,000 drawn from a K&L account funded entirely by Il Sung Construction Co.

Missouri residents decided to maintain a ban on the carrying of concealed weapons, despite a $3.7 million campaign by the National Rifle Association. With 99 percent of the votes counted, Proposition B - which would have lifted the ban - had been rejected 52 percent to 48 percent. The measure was supported in 91 mostly rural counties, but was rejected by wide margins in St. Louis and Kansas City.

A judge in San Francisco cut in half a tobacco-lawsuit award, reducing from $51.5 million to $26.5 million the amount awarded to Patricia Henley, a former smoker. Judge John Munter called the original punitive award excessive, but denied a request by the defendant, Philip Morris, for a new trial.

Former Lincoln Savings & Loan chief Charles Keating Jr. plead-ed guilty to four counts of fraud in a deal with prosecutors in Los Angeles that allows him to go free - and closes a case that epitomized the savings-and-loan scandal of the 1980s. The case involved investors' loss of $200 million and the collapse of Phoenix-based Lincoln Savings, which cost taxpayers $3.4 billion. Keating's previous convictions were thrown out on appeal, but prosecutors decided to retry him.

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