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News In Brief

The US

The FBI said its probe into Monday's Amtrak derailment in Arizona is extending nationwide, thanks to tips from a public appeal for information. Investigators found a large tool Tuesday on the rail tracks in Phoenix that Amtrak said could have caused the derailment. Police found the device after a trucker alerted them to two men he said were acting suspicious. The FBI is not ruling it out as a second act of sabotage. The wreck killed one person and injured 78.

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The American Medical Association gave its support Tuesday for the House Republican Medicare plan after House Speaker Gingrich agreed the measure would not mean cuts in doctors' fees. The AMA said the provision would save doctors $300 million in 1996 alone. The legislation is headed for the House next week.

The Justice Department may seek indictments as early as next month charging Agriculture Department workers with illegally collecting campaign funds for President Clinton's 1992 campaign, according to memos from the House Agriculture Committee staff. The matter involves allegations that high-level Agriculture Department officials solicited and accepted campaign contributions in a government workplace, against federal law. The officials also allegedly suggested that contributors would benefit professionally after a Democratic administration took office.

Senior citizens are gearing up at the grass-roots level to fight a move in Congress to hold down cost-of-living increases for millions of retired and disabled Americans who receive Social Security benefits. Lawmakers hope to shave the annual cost-of-living increases by one-third. At a news conference, AARP said a 1 percentage point reduction would restrict benefits to the average recipient $5,000 over 10 years.

The US and Mexico agreed on a one-year pilot program under which the US would pay transportation costs for up to 10,000 Mexicans in the US who voluntarily return to Mexico, the Wall Street Journal said yesterday. The program was announced during Mexican President Zedillo's two-day visit to the White House.

Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates Tuesday bought the Bettmann Archive, the world's largest repository of historic photographs. For the past few years, Gates has been acquiring the electronic rights to thousands of images - mainly works of art - through a small company he owns, Corbis Corp. Bettmann owns more than 16 million images, which it licenses to large publishing companies and ad agencies. The purchase of Bettmann is by far the biggest step toward building a huge library of digitally stored images that can someday be sampled and sold on computer disks to professionals and the public.

The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Americans Martin Perl of Stanford University and Frederick Reines of the University of California for discovering two subatomic particles.

Police in Washington said they are braced for huge crowds and traffic jams next Monday because of the planned ''Million Man March'' organized by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Retired Gen. Colin Powell, citing a scheduling conflict, turned down an invitation to participate.

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Four boys admitted building the illegal campfire blamed for sparking a wildfire that destroyed 40 homes and burned 12,354 acres in a California national seashore north of San Francisco.

Lotus Development Corp. CEO Jim Manzi said yesterday he was resigning. The announcement came just three months after IBM bought the firm.

The World

The Bosnian government backed away from a cease-fire that was to go into effect yesterday just after midnight until Sarajevo was more securely connected to the country's battered electrical grid. It said it is aiming for early today for a cease-fire. Meanwhile, fighting continued on four fronts. The Bosnian Army claims to have captured two strategic towns from the Serbs. The Serbs say the government is putting off the truce to capture more territory. (Story, Page 1; Editorial, Page 20.)

Chechen rebels said yesterday they are suspending peace talks and a military agreement with Moscow because of attacks on civilians. Tensions have risen since a bomb critically wounded a top Russian general last Friday. Russia has threatened to impose harsher measures on the breakaway republic.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union, said he is likely to run in next year's campaign to succeed Boris Yeltsin as president of Russia.

The militant Muslim group Hamas yesterday rejected calls by Israel and the PLO to abandon armed struggle against the Jewish state. Hamas agreed only to resume a dialogue with the PLO, its main rival. An Israeli military official, meanwhile, said Israeli troops plan to pull out of Bethlehem before Christmas. And Israel said it had freed nearly 900 Palestinians in the first prisoner release since the peace accord. (Opinion, Page 20.)

East Timorese rampaged through the streets of Dili in a second day of rioting yesterday. Riots have swept several cities since January, with Timorese attacking Indonesian immigrants, most of them Muslim. Some residents said the unrest likely was instigated by the military.

Civilians in Sri Lanka's war-torn north, where the Army is poised for a major offensive against Tamil rebels, face a severe food shortage and continue to flee their homes in fear of more advances by troops, residents and officials said yesterday.

Hong Kong's last colonial legislature was sworn into office yesterday, just 629 days before Beijing resumes sovereignty over the territory. The Democratic Party, the largest of the 60-seat chamber, has been denounced as subversive by Beijing.

Two British banks, Lloyds and TSB, said yesterday they have agreed to a $21.3 billion merger that would create Britain's largest bank.

NATO Secretary-General Willy Claes will appear tomorrow before a Belgian parliament commission that is reviewing a request to lift his immunity and allow him to be charged with corruption, fraud, and forgery.

Government security forces killed 100 armed Islamic rebels during a 12-day sweep, but violent attacks by rebels continue, an Algerian daily reported yesterday. Citizens' self-defense groups have formed throughout Algeria as a response to the violence that has gripped the country since the outbreak of an armed Islamic insurgency in 1992.

Burma's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was reappointed general secretary of the National League for Democracy, the party she helped found seven years ago. Suu Kyi was released from six years of house arrest in July. On Tuesday, she sent a videotaped message to a meeting of world trade unionists in Manila, urging foreign companies not to invest in Burma. (Story, Page 7.)

Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are occurring with greater frequency and wreaking more havoc largely because of environmental change wrought by man, a UN report said. Over the last 30 years, the number of disasters has risen an average of 6 percent a year. With better care of the environment and better safeguards, many could have been prevented.

Hurricane Roxanne ravaged the Mexican resort of Cozumel, cutting off all communication. It then plowed into the tropical lowlands of the Yucatan Peninsula, gradually losing strength. There were no immediate reports of injury or damage.


After less than 13 minutes, the final game of the world chess championship was over. Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand played to a draw Tuesday. It was Kasparov's fifth successful defense of his title.

A cargo ship loaded with vital supplies docked Tuesday with Russia's Mir space station. The Progress M-29 carried 3,544 pounds of food, water, fuel, and equipment. Russian officials had been concerned that a launch-pad accident at the Baikonur Cosmodrome involving a huge rail car might delay the resupply flight.

Seeking to recover art stolen during World War II, Italy on Tuesday unveiled a catalog of 1,500 looted works it hopes will produce leads for investigators. Germany's retreating Army made off with most of the missing art, but victorious Allied troops also reportedly joined in the looting.

Many Asian countries may face water shortages by 2025 and will need to find new ways to grow rice, the International Rice Research Institute said yesterday in Manila. The rising cost of irrigation and the pollution of many water sources threaten chances for improving harvests, the Institute said.

The phones are out in the remote Pacific island nation of Kiribati, because the main satellite dish, which supplies communications links, is down, and it may take several weeks to repair. The islanders can still communicate with the rest of the world by radio.

The 10 Most Affordable Areas for Housing in US

1. Binghamton, N.Y

2. Elmira, N.Y.

3. Elkhart, Ind.

4. Kansas City, Mo.-Kan.

5. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.

6. Kokomo, Ind.

7. Vineland, N.J.

8. Utica, N.Y.

9. Nashua, N.H.

10. Melbourne, Fla.

10. Champaign, Ill.

- National Association of Home Builders

'' Fidel Castro shouldn't be coming to America for any purpose except to go to jail.''

- Senator Gramm, on the likelihood the administration will approve a visa for the Cuban president to visit the UN.

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