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News In Brief

The US

Senator Dole hoped to finish the welfare debate yesterday. But several issues persisted. They included: whether the federal government should reward states for lowering out-of-wedlock births while not increasing abortions. Critics of the plan say it would be too costly - $1.6 billion a year. And Democrats demanded increased child-care funds. (List, at right.)

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''Medicare is the hardest fight,'' Speaker Gingrich said yesterday in a pep-talk to GOP senators and representatives. House Republicans were to release the outline of their Medicare-reform plan yesterday. It would squeeze $270 billion in savings over the next seven years and would likely raise monthly premiums by $7 to $10.

He hasn't declared his 1996 reelection bid, but President Clinton raised about $18 million in the past six months, according to the Associated Press. Governor Wilson, meanwhile, who is known for fundraising skills, has raised just $1 million in each of the past three months. He has a total of $3.8 million. Wilson is far behind his GOP rivals: Dole has $17 million; Senator Gramm has more than $12 million; and Lamar Alexander has $9 million.

The Philadelphia Naval Shipyard completed its last job as the carrier John F. Kennedy set sail Wednesday. The 194-year-old yard is a base-closure victim.

FBI agents swept through Fort Marcy Park Wednesday, searching for the bullet that killed White House aide Vincent Foster in 1992. Senator D'Amato has again raised questions over whether Foster's death was in fact a suicide. He said Wednesday that he plans to subpoena Chelsea Clinton's nanny to testify in Whitewater hearings. Some say the nanny knew of Foster's death several hours earlier than the White House says it knew.

Americans are ''uneasy'' about the wave of mergers in telecommunications, Justice Department anti-trust lawyer Anne Bingaman said Wednesday. Her comments came as the Justice Department requested more information from Walt Disney Co. and Capital Cities/ABC Inc. about their proposal to form the world's largest media firm.

Shuttle astronauts picked up the troublesome Wake Field satellite yesterday. It was able to create only four of the seven planned wafers of ultra-thin superconducting film that are to be used to create fast computers and miniature telephones.

Congressman Archer plans to eliminate nearly $30 billion in business tax breaks over the next seven years. The House Ways and Means Committee chairman has Speaker Gingrich's nod, the Washington Post said. Separately, National Tax Commission Chairman Jack Kemp says there is broad national support for a single tax rate replacing the current tax system.

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The FBI arrested a dozen pedophiles and pornographers by monitoring the America Online computer service, it said Wednesday. Two years after beginning an ongoing probe dubbed ''Innocent Images,'' the agency searched 120 homes. They were the first-ever raids based on investigation of misuse of such networks. More arrests were expected. Violators of child pornography laws face up to 10 years in prison.

Schools should return to teaching basic skills: algebra, spelling, phonics, a California task force said Wednesday. The state's schools have been focusing on literature and language comprehension, but its students recently scored last in a reading test of children in 37 states.

Retail sales rose 0.6 percent in August, pointing to modest economic growth, the Commerce Department said yesterday. Analysts expect the economy to continue its current upswing.

The World

US mediator Richard Holbrooke gained a pledge from Serbia's President Milosevic that Bosnian Serbs would end their siege of Sarajevo, administration officials said yesterday. And UN peacekeepers may be replaced by NATO and Russian troops in a UN peace plan aimed at agreement by Sept. 25, a senior Western diplomat also said. Holbrooke met with Croatian President Tudjman in Zagreb yesterday, then planned to meet Bosnian President Izetbegovic in Split. Also, tens of thousands of Serb refugees fled a Moslem and Croat offensive in central and west Bosnia. Stormy weather prevented NATO airstrikes Wednesday night. And US envoy Strobe Talbott arrived in Moscow yesterday to try to ease tensions with Russia over the airstrikes. (Story, Page 6.)

Albania would allow the US to fly radar-evading Stealth bombers from its airfields if asked, Albanian President Sali Berisha told the Monitor on a visit to Boston yesterday. Italy refused a US bid Tuesday to have the F-117s take off from its bases to bomb Bosnian Serb sites. Italian officials want a larger role in the peace talks. Albania is seeking closer ties with NATO and the US. (Story, Page 6.)

Greece and Macedonian foreign ministers signed an accord at UN headquarters in New York Wednesday. The agreement lifts Greece's economic blockade against its neighbor in exchange for the former Yugoslav republic's affirmation that it has no claims on northern Greece.

China summoned the top US Embassy official yesterday to protest a White House meeting between the Dalai Lama and President Clinton. Washington called the meeting a casual encounter, but Beijing called it a ''gross interference in China's internal affairs.''

An earthquake with a 7.2 reading shook Mexico City yesterday, striking nearly 10 years to the day of one that killed more than 6,000 people. And Mexico's traditionally tame Congress leveled ground-breaking corruption charges Wednesday against the administration of former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari. A report on 1993 public accounts released Tuesday by an all-party legislative commission points to possible embezzlement, influence-peddling, and negligence.

A special high-level committee of 30 delegates met behind closed doors at the UN Women's Conference yesterday to try to end a stalemate threatening agreement on a 10-year blueprint for women's rights. The thorniest issue is sexual orientation, a UN official said.

In a rare display of Palestinian optimism over slow-moving peace talks with Israel, the PLO's top negotiator said yesterday an accord on wider Palestinian self-rule could be signed next week if a dispute over the future of Hebron is settled this weekend. Meanwhile, hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops in Hebron yesterday. And for the first time in Israel's 47-year history, an Israeli Arab was named as an Israeli ambassador, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

French police arrested three high-level scientists of Algerian origin in Lyon Wednesday after a series of bombings left seven dead and more than 100 injured.

Zaire said Thursday it was reopening its border with Rwanda, but only for Juto refugees crossing back into Rwanda, a UN official said. Zaire closed the border crossing near the town of Goma Tuesday after Tutsi-dominated Rwandan troops raided a nearby Rwandan village and killed 100 people. The killings dealt a big blow to UN repatriation efforts.


The music at New York's Carnegie Hall should be a little sweeter now. A layer of concrete, apparently left over from a major renovation in 1986, was discovered under the stage last month. The concrete has been replaced with wood. That should restore the hall's acoustics to what they were when it opened in 1891.

Spanish astronomers have discovered the first brown dwarf, a space object somewhere between a star and a giant planet, Nature magazine said yesterday. Astronomers have long predicted the existence of these failed stars. This one, in the Pleiades star cluster, is 400 light years away and is estimated to be 100 million years old.

The long hot summer could mean fewer pumpkin pies this Thanksgiving and fewer jack-o'-lanterns for Halloween. Farmers say their pumpkins are maturing early or not at all. As Charlie Brown might say, ''Good grief!''

Bits of history have been tossed out with the garbage in Costa Mesa, Calif. Workers cleaning out a school storeroom trashed a collection of some 3,000 rare fossils dating back more than a million years. The Costa Mesa water district did not know the value of its collection.

Children on Welfare

Critics of GOP welfare-reform plans say that shrinking welfare rolls will hurt children. The GOP says it will encourage responsibility. The following are the percentages of kids in the 10 most populous cities whose families receive money from Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). Figures are for 1993 - the most current available.

1. Detroit 67

2. Philadelphia 57

3. Chicago 46

4. New York 39

5. Los Angeles 38

6. San Diego 30

7. Houston 22

8. San Antonio 21

9. Dallas 20

10. Phoenix 18

- Department of Health and Human Services

'' You want my personal opinion? It was a massacre - uncalled for and unnecessary. How can we do our job here if these soldiers keep killing people?''

- A UN source, on Tutsi forces continuing to kill Hutus in Rwanda.

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