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News In Brief


Welfare reform is within "striking distance," President Clinton said Saturday, lending support to a GOP plan. The Senate is scheduled to vote on its bill tomorrow; Senator Dole expected it to pass. The plan would replace the federal Aid to Families with Dependent Children program with block grants to states. Also to be voted on tomorrow: An agreement reached at Democrats' insistence last week that would add $3 billion to the current $5 billion allotted for child care.

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Shuttle Endeavour was expected home today after an 11-day mission. On Saturday two astronauts were dangled 30 feet above the cargo bay as the shuttle whirred around the earth at 147,000 m.p.h. As temperatures dropped to minus 120 degrees, they tested battery-heated gloves and thermal space suits for the long, cold spacewalks required to build the international space station.


Hurricane Marilyn was moving out into open sea yesterday, after destroying about 80 percent of St. Thoma's homes and buffeting Puerto Rico with 110-m.p.h. winds on Saturday. Clinton dispatched emergency aid to the islands. Marilyn was not expected to hit the mainland.


"They're not alive and well," Colin Powell said of the Democratic Party. Because of Democrats' "intellectual death" and popular dissatisfaction with the Republicans' intellectual direction, Powell hinted at a third party White House bid in interviews released Sunday. On the BBC, he also said he isn't interested in the vice presidency.


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Clinton threatened to veto the GOP's Medicare-reform plan, saying Friday the $270 billion reduction in spending is too harsh. But Republicans got a boost when Ross Perot appeared with Speaker Gingrich. Perot said the GOP effort risks upsetting politically powerful senior citizens: "It takes a lot of courage to touch this alligator."


Who shot first? That was the issue contended at Senate hearings on the 1992 incident at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. Federal agents said Friday that Kevin Harris fired first. Harris was a friend of white separatist Randy Weaver's son, who was killed in the shootout. The agents denied Weaver's charges that they deliberately shot his son, countering that Weaver accidentally shot the boy. Hearings resume tomorrow.


Citing Senator Packwood's diary as evidence of campaign wrongdoing, the Center for Responsive Politics filed four complaints with the Federal Elections Commission Friday. Among the charges: the National Republican Senatorial Committee, then headed by Senator Gramm, illegally funnelled $100,000 in "soft money" into Packwood's 1992 campaign. "Soft money" is supposed to be used for party-building and get-out-the-vote efforts.


Former President Carter is set to host Cuba's foreign minister and Jorge Mas Canosa, a top anti-Castro activist, in separate talks this week. After a secret US-Cuban agreement to return fleeing refugees to Cuba was reached May 2, anti-Castro groups are suspicious that a detente is imminent. Meanwhile, Senator Dole reassured hard-line groups in Miami this weekend that he would be tough on Castro if elected president. And Senator Gramm said if elected he might go as far as padlocking the US diplomatic mission in Havana.


Mumia Abu-Jamal's supporters protested on Saturday a judge's refusal to overturn his conviction for the 1981 killing of a policeman. And police officers said he should be executed. Abu-Jamal will appeal Friday's ruling.


In a case with major Internet implications, a Caribbean resort owner filed suit to make America Online divulge the name of a customer who anonymously criticized the resort on the computer network. Some argue the internet's anonymity enables the free flow of ideas. Others say it allows criticism without accountability.


About 120 protesters were arrested Friday when they crossed into Pacific Lumber Co.'s California property in the Headwaters Forest, the last stand of old-growth redwoods in private hands. The company planned to remove dead trees from the 5,000 acre area.


Bosnian Serb forces were ordered by the UN yesterday to remove weapons of a smaller caliber than originally agreed to from an exclusion zone around Sarajevo. US envoy Richard Holbrooke met Serbian President MIlosevic in Belgrade Saturday to discuss the matter. The US resumed relief flights Saturday to Sarajevo that were canceled last April. Meanwhile, Bosnian government troops captured another town from separatist Serbs in northwest Bosnia. Some 70,000 fleeing Serb civilians clogged the road to Banja Luka, the largest Serb-held city in Bosnia.


Israel and the PLO held talks yesterday amid word of a compromise that would delay a decision on the West Bank town of Hebron at least until next year. The two sides are trying to reach a deal in time for a White House signing ceremony Thursday. Palestinians stoned Israeli soldiers in widespread clashes in Hebron Friday. Also, three Palestinians were arrested Saturday in the killing of a PLO activist. Jewish extremists had claimed responsibility, but police said the activist was shot during a robbery. There were no political motives. The killing raised tension between Palestinian and Jewish settlers in the Hebron area.


Hong Kong voters went to the polls Sunday in their last and most democratic election. China vowed to ignore the results when it recovers the colony in 1997. Gov. Chris Patten infuriated China after he abolished government-appointed seats and made them elected for the first time. The most watched races: those pitting candidates pledging to work closely with China against pro-democracy candidates. Exit polls indicated the pro-democracy camp swept the field.


Pope John Paul II hailed the end of apartheid as an example to the world Sunday on his first official visit to South Africa. The visit comes seven years after he angered apartheid leaders after refusing to kiss the ground when bad weather forced an emergency landing of his plane in Johannesburg.- a tradition when he visits a country for the first time.


The US and its allies plan to offer Russia a compromise that would allow it to retain more weapons in the Caucasus region than a landmark 1990 conventional arms treaty, US officials said Friday. The alliance, at odds with Russia over over Bosnia and NATO airstrikes, is anxious to diffuse growing friction caused by the dispute over the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty. Meanwhile, Georgia allowed Russia Friday to keep three military bases on its territory in exchange for economic help and support in its disputes with separatists. And Chechen rebels accused Russia Saturday of carrying out rocket attacks on Chechen villages in violation of a cease-fire agreement.


The Belarussian military Saturday defended shooting down and killing two balloonists from the US Virgin Islands last week, saying that many violations of international norms were committed. The two men were participating in a race when their balloon strayed into Belarus territory. Race organizers said the Belarus air force overreacted.


Forces led by Somali faction leader Mohamed Farah Aideed seized the southwestern Somali city of Baidoa Sunday, and at least four foreign aid workers were taken to an undisclosed location, aid officials said.


One of the strongest typhoons to hit Tokyo, Japan, since WWII buffeted Japan Sunday. And in Mexico, Thirty fishermen are reported dead and 4,000 homeless as hurricane Ismael struck Los Mochis, about 750 miles northwest of Mexico City.


There are tens and tens of thousands of people on the roads

with no clear idea where to go."

- Jessica Barry, a Red Cross spokeswoman, on the plight of fleeing Serb refugees.

Four uneaten chocolate chip cookies could put Kevin Weber behind bars for life, under California's three-strike law. "It ain't funny," Weber said after being convicted. Prosecutors say Weber tried to steal the safe at a restaurant, tripped the burglar alarm, and was arrested outside with four stolen cookies.


Miss Oklahoma, Shawntel Smith was crowned Miss America Saturday. During the 75th pageant, 42 of the 50 contestants and 79 percent of the 1 million viewers who called in their votes supported the contentious swimsuit competition.

Schools With the Most Top Graduate Programs

A research group ranked 3,600 university graduate programs according to faculty quality and educational effectiveness. The survey included opinions from 8,000 faculty members.

1. University of California, Berkeley 38

2. Stanford University 32

3. Harvard University 28

4. Princeton University 22

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology 20

6. Yale University 19

6. Cornell University 19

7. University of Chicago 18

8. University of Pennsylvania 15

9. University of California, San Diego 14

10. Columbia University 14

10. University of Wisconsin, Madison 14

10. University of Michigan 14

- National Research Council


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