News In Brief

President Clinton was to fly to Geneva on the first leg of a week-long series of meetings and summits in Europe. Today in Geneva, the president is to address the International Labor Organization (ILO) in support of a convention to eradicate abusive child labor. Before attending two summit conferences in Germany, the president was to meet with French leaders in Paris. High on the agenda at most of the week's meetings: the costly rebuilding of Kosovo and neighboring countries.

A dramatic overhaul of the nation's nuclear laboratories was called for by the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board in a report that slammed the Energy Department. It said efforts to tighten security are being resisted by mid-level bureaucrats and by a "culture of arrogance" that has made US atomic secrets vulnerable to theft for decades. The panel, headed by former Sen. Warren Rudman (R) of New Hampshire, was responding to a request from Clinton for a 90-day review of nuclear security.

A team of US experts flew to Beijing to help repair damaged relations with the Chinese and explain how a mistake in targeting led NATO to bomb their embassy in Yugoslavia. The group - including Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering and specialists from the Pentagon, CIA, and other security and espionage agencies - was to meet with Foreign Minister Tang Jia-xuan today.

The Senate won't contest a decision to extend normal trade status to China, its majority leader said. Sen. Trent Lott (R) of Mississippi said the Senate is unlikely to take up the issue, even if the House votes against an extension. Clinton has informed Congress he's extending normal trade status - formerly called most-favored-nation status - to China for another year. That stands unless both houses pass motions of disapproval within 60 days after the current status was to expire, July 3.

As the House prepared to debate gun control, Congress was urged to raise the legal age for handgun possession from 18 to 21. Addressing a US Conference of Mayors gathering in New Orleans, Vice President Al Gore released a report by the Justice and Treasury departments showing that people 18 to 20 years old - 4 percent of the population - commit 24 percent of the murders involving guns. The study says 18-year-olds commit 35 percent more of these murders than 21-year-olds.

The near-extinct American crocodile may be rebounding, a University of Florida study said. The report cites recent crocodile sightings in Biscayne Bay in Miami and near the Florida Keys. When declared endangered in 1975, the species was primarily in Everglades National Park and north Key Largo.

The Seattle Art Museum has agreed to return a Matisse oil painting to heirs of a French art dealer whose collection disappeared into Nazi vaults during World War II, museum officials said. Paul Rosenberg was forced to leave paintings behind when he fled from Paris to New York during the war. After learning it was in the Seattle collection, his heirs filed a lawsuit last year, seeking the return of "Odalisque". Museum officials said an inquiry confirmed their claim. The painting came to the museum in a bequest in 1991.

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