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U.S. AND CHINA AGREE TO TALKS In a bid to prevent a trade war, negotiations are to resume Jan. 15 over illicit Chinese textile shipments to the US, the two sides reported Jan. 11. The state-run New China News Agency issued a brief statement that the US-China talks would last three days. A senior US Treasury official confirmed the talks were expected and said he was ``optimistic that an agreement will be reached at some stage and I'm hopeful it will be soon.'' The US official was in Beijing to do advance work for Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen's visit to China the week of Jan. 17. Mr. Bentsen, who will be the highest ranking US official to visit in more than two years, is to meet President Jiang Zemin and Premier Li Peng to discuss trade, other economic issues, and human rights. The Clinton administration decided Jan. 3 to cut Chinese textile import quotas by 25 to 35 percent effective Jan. 17 in retaliation for what it claimed was an estimated $2 billion a year in Chinese textiles and clothing shipped illegally to the US through third countries. China accused the US of trade protectionism and threatened retaliation for the quota cuts, although it did not say what steps were being contemplated by its leadership. Peace talks reach agreement

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agreed Jan. 11 on how to monitor border crossings once autonomy is implemented in the occupied territories, Israel radio reported. The Palestinians also reportedly showed some flexibility about a second sticking point: how far Israeli troops should pull back from the West Bank town of Jericho, the radio said. Still, other reports gave a gloomier picture of the talks under way since Jan. 10 in this Red Sea resort, saying negotiators were still haggling over whether understandings reached two weeks ago in Cairo were binding or not. German police step up arrest efforts

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In Halle, Germany, scores of police searched Jan. 11 for three right-wing skinheads wanted in a knife attack on a handicapped 17-year-old girl. The dragnet-style search for the attackers contrasted sharply with the typical police reaction to the thousands of attacks on foreigners in Germany over the past three years. While police vigilance has increased, seldom had such a large-scale reaction been reported. Responding to public outrage in the east German city, police raided 200 right-wing hangouts and went through neighborhoods with loudspeakers seeking witnesses. Police state that the attackers yelled Nazi slogans, then one took out a knife and wounded the girl as she was leaving a hospital, cutting a swastika into her cheek. Police were hopeful there would be no permanent mark.

Classroom computers

Prodded by a key telecommunications legislation sponsor, Rep. Edward Markey (D) of Massachusetts, Bell Atlantic Corporation and Telecommunications Inc. said Jan. 10 they will help one-fourth of the nation's schools plug in free of charge to computer and video information networks. Bell Atlantic and TCI, which agreed last October to merge, said they are starting the largest corporate program ever linking classrooms to the ``information superhighway'' now under construction. Company officials said they hope eventually to provide free access to computer and cable networks for 26,000 elementary and secondary schools in areas served by the two companies. Halperin withdrawl reasoning

President Clinton's choice for a top Pentagon post withdrew not only because of opposition from Senate conservatives but because his future boss, Bobby Inman, questioned the need for the newly created job, according to congressional and Pentagon sources. Mr. Clinton on Jan. 10 ended a simmering political fight by accepting Morton Halperin's request that his nomination to head Pentagon peacekeeping activities be withdrawn. Mr. Halperin, former director of the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union, faced opposition from conservatives because of his liberal background, including his opposition to the Vietnam War.

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