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President Clinton is considering raising income taxes on United States companies as part of his drive to spread the burden of reducing the bulging US budget deficit, administration officials said. The move would be linked with a planned increase in income taxes on wealthy Americans to 36 percent from 31 percent and would be designed to keep tax rates on the rich and US companies roughly in line. Smaller, less profitable companies would probably be subject to a slightly lower rate than bigger companies, j ust as they are now. Companies would benefit, however, from an investment tax credit that Clinton is expected to propose. The president is also cutting his White House staff by 25 percent, as promised in his campaign. Mitterrand in Hanoi

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French President Francois Mitterrand arrived in Hanoi Feb. 9 on the first visit to Vietnam by a Western head of state since the Southeast Asian nation was unified in 1975. Mr. Mitterrand's motorcade traveled though streets decorated with French flags and crowded with well-wishers to the presidential palace, where the French leader was greeted by President Le Duc Anh. Privatizing autobahns

Germany's cash-strapped coalition government Feb. 9 announced its intention to privatize the country's vast highway network in the future. As an interim step, Chancellor Helmut Kohl's center-right coalition has agreed to "consider positively" introducing user fees for the highway system. The government believes autobahn levies would ease highway congestion by encouraging people to switch to public transport. Navy court martial

The US Navy court martial of an American airman charged with murdering a homosexual sailor began Feb. 9 in Yokosuka, Japan. The case has become part of the controversy over gays in the US military. Airman Apprentice Terry Helvey is accused of the Oct. 27 beating death of Allen Schindler. Some gay-rights activists say Airman Schindler was attacked because he was gay. Asians smuggled to US

Asian gangs are taking in as much as $3 billion smuggling an estimated 100,000 people a year into the US, the Washington Post reported Feb. 9. It quoted field agents of the Immigration and Naturalization Service as saying that its Washington headquarters is not doing enough to stem the flow of immigrants from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. NBC replies to GM

NBC News has acknowledged using incendiary devices in a test crash designed to show that some General Motors pickup trucks are prone to catch fire. But it claimed a spark from a broken headlight actually caused the blaze. The network was sued by GM Feb. 8 over a "Dateline NBC" report on the alleged dangers created by the "sidesaddle" gas tanks on GM pickups made in the 1970s and '80s. US Bosnia envoy

President Clinton is considering appointing a special envoy to work with international mediators and rival factions to try to end the war in Bosnia, US officials say. Still skeptical that the plan formulated by mediators Cyrus Vance and Lord Owen and now before the UN would work, senior presidential advisers were unable to devise a more promising process to end the fighting that has claimed more than 18,000 lives in the past 11 months in the former Yugoslav republic. AIDS ban may be lifted

The Clinton administration is moving to rescind the six-year-old policy that bars people infected with the AIDS virus from entering the US. He has ordered the Health and Human Services Department to lift the ban, and department officials said Feb. 8 they would act soon. The action would immediately affect 274 Haitian refugees, most of them AIDS infected, who are being held at the US naval base at Guantianamo Bay, Cuba.

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