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The US

The Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to begin hearings on President Clinton's $1.5 billion antiterrorism proposal. Senator Hatch will try to engineer a deal including support for the Clinton plan, a curb on prisoners' death-row appeals, and a GOP pledge not to introduce amendments to repeal an assault-weapons ban.(Story, Page 1.)

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Oklahoma City bombing suspect Timothy McVeigh and others originally plotted simultaneous bomb attacks in three cities, The Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram reported. It said investigators found the information in a diary kept by the alleged conspirators. The FBI refused to confirm or deny the report. The Union-Sun & Journal of Lockport, N.Y., released the text of two of McVeigh's letters it published in 1992. One he said questioned whether it would take a civil war to solve America's problems. Meanwhile, searchers found more victims of the bombing, bringing the fatality total to 110.

New unemployment claims jumped by 8,000 last week to 349,000, the Labor Department said. The advance was the second-largest this year and surprised analysts. The less-volatile four-week moving average rose by 2,750 to 344,000, signaling a lukewarm labor market.

Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev met with Clinton to plan next month's Moscow summit. Afterwards, Clinton spoke by phone with Russian President Yeltsin for a half-hour. The two sides have made little headway in resolving disagreements over NATO expansion eastward in Europe, Russia's deal to build a nuclear reactor in Iran, and the ongoing fighting in Chechnya.

House Republicans are reportedly looking to Medicare for $305 billion in budget savings. Sources told the Associated Press the savings might include incentives to enroll in managed-care plans and higher fees for upper-income recipients. The plan is part of preliminary GOP discussions on balancing the budget by 2002. Committees in both houses hold hearings next week to highlight Medicare's funding difficulties.

The Senate Budget Committee has put off its meeting to write a balanced-budget bill until May 8. An appropriations committee report said Congress will have to trim $1 trillion in projected spending levels to eliminate deficits by 2002. Most of the reduction would have to come from dramatic cuts in projected spending on nondefense domestic programs, Medicare, and Medicaid, the report said.

Baseball is back, but the fans aren't. Opening-day attendance was down over last year at five of six openers on Wednesday. Some fans booed and carried protest signs. ''We've got a lot of work ahead of us,'' acting commissioner Bud Selig said.

Continuing debate on a product-liability bill, the Senate approved provisions requiring lawyers to disclose fee arrangements to clients and imposing sanctions on lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits. But it turned down an attempt to cap fees at $50 an hour. The bill would establish a uniform nationwide standard for product-liability law.

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A national survey claims only one-third of high school students are proficient readers. The National Assessment Governing Board says that's down from two years ago. It said children are watching too much TV.

In the O. J. Simpson trial, criminalist Andrea Mazzola was scheduled to return to the stand. Earlier, she described her collection of forensic evidence at the crime scene and denied she was lying to cover up a police attempt to frame the defendant. In an effort to speed up the trial, Judge Ito issued new rules limiting the time lawyers can argue legal points and warned both sides he would admonish them in front of the jury if they continued to ask improper questions.

The World

PLO leader Arafat warned that an Israeli government plan to confiscate two parcels of land in East Jerusalem -- some of it Arab-owned -- violates the Israel-PLO peace deal. Both sides claim East Jerusalem as a religious center. Some of the land will be used to build more Israeli housing. Prime Minister Rabin said the army will move three training bases out of the West Bank, a possible signal Israel is planning to withdraw from the area. Meanwhile, the PLO and donors agreed on funding Palestinian Authority operations this year.

Israel came to a standstill for two minutes Thursday to remember the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis in World War II. In Germany, Jewish leaders held a commemoration at the Bergen-Belsen camp, just north of Hanover, where 100,000 Jews perished.

Bosnian Serbs tightened their control on Sarajevo's airport, stopping the UN from bringing in badly needed fuel. Since March 2, the Serbs have prevented the UN from bringing in fuel by land. An attempt by the major powers today to extend a shaky truce was given little hope of success.

A ruptured gas pipeline near Ukhta, Russia, sent a fireball thousands of feet into the air. In Chechnya, Russia warned rebels of heavy retaliation if they violated a unilateral cease-fire President Yeltsin has signed. Meanwhile, Moscow expelled a US journalist who wrote about the Chechen war. Russian Prime Minister Chernomyrdin said he is forming his own political party to run in parliamentary elections in December. Izvestia called it a move toward a two-party system.

French presidential candidate Chirac leads his opponent, Socialist Jospin, by 55 to 45 percent, a newspaper poll showed. But 24 percent of voters could switch before the May 7 runoff election, the survey said. Both candidates are trying to pick up the 15 percent far-right vote that went to Le Pen.

Rwandan President Bizimungu was to try to convince a group of Hutus holed up in the Kibeho camp to return to their villages. About 2,000 Hutus were slaughtered by government forces in the camp last weekend. Diplomats said the visit comes too late to alter world condemnation.

The IMF and World Bank, meeting in Washington, turned to the needs of poorer countries after addressing the weak-dollar question. An IMF committee approved rescue actions for Mexico. Responding to poor nations complaints that they have little access to markets at a time when development funds are shrinking quickly, the IMF is considering selling gold to provide low-cost loans for the hardest-pressed nations.

The dollar rose against the yen somewhat Wednesday and Thursday, but it weakened when Iran proposed doing Japanese oil deals in yen. Such a move would undermine the greenback.

Malaysian Premier Mahathir Mohamad said his foreign policy will remain unchanged following his strong election victory this week. He is known for his anti-Western views.

The wives of two Americans detained in Iraq since March 13 on charges of entering the country illegally expect to visit their husbands this weekend, the State Department said.

The Basque separatist group ETA offered to stop its killing in return for a Spanish referendum on independence and amnesty for its people. A week ago a Basque car bomb almost killed opposition leader Jose Aznar.

Japanese police are reportedly seeking cult leader Shoko Asahara, head of Aum Shinri Kyo. The cult is suspected in the March 20 gas attack on Tokyo's subway that killed 12 people and injured thousands. He has been in hiding since the attack. Some 300 seized photos of cult members are helping police identify suspects in the case.


Dennis Conner is again in the America's Cup finals. His yacht Star & Stripes came from behind off San Diego Wednesday to beat Mighty Mary, the mostly women-crewed boat, and eliminate Young America. Conner faces New Zealand (which defeated Australia) in the cup finals May 6.

Among those receiving awards at the Overseas Press Club Wednesday were Raymond Bonner of the New York Times for his Rwanda coverage, the AP for its reporting of the Baltic Sea ferry disaster, and Keith Richburg of the Washington Post for his Africa dispatches. Laurie Garrett of Newsday was cited for her account of AIDS in India. Robert MacNeil of the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour received a lifetime achievement award.

The new national Teacher of the Year holds her classes in remote villages on Kodiak Island off the Alaska coast. Elaine Griffin is a former librarian from Flagstaff, Ariz.

The National Weather Service's new Automated Surface Observing System is state of the art, but full of glitches. And it still can't match the time-tested system of sending someone outside to take a look.

Top 10 TV Shows, April 17-23


1. ''Seinfeld,'' NBC, 19.3, 18.4 million homes

2. ''ER,'' NBC, 17.4, 16.6 million homes

2. ''Hope & Gloria,'' NBC, 17.4, 16.6 million homes

4. ''60 Minutes,'' CBS, 16.5, 15.7 million homes

5. ''Primetime Live,'' ABC, 16.2, 15.5 million homes

6. ''Friends,'' NBC, 16.1, 15.4 million homes

7. ''20-20,'' ABC, 15.9, 15.2 million homes

8. ''Home Improvement,'' ABC, 15.8, 15.1 million homes

9. ''Hope & Gloria,'' NBC, 15.2, 14.5 million homes

10. ''Frasier,'' NBC, 14.7, 14.0 million homes

(Rating equals percentage of American homes with TVs.)

A.C. Nielsen Co.

''So long as Americans see one another as plaintiffs, they cannot see each other as neighbors. We must restore trust among our citizens.''

-- Sen. Spencer Abraham (R), on product-liability legislation

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