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News In Brief

The US

Federal workers - from Embassy staff in Egypt to District of Columbia garbage collectors to White House butlers - were sent home yesterday. Despite a last-ditch morning meeting, White House and GOP congressional leaders were unable to strike a compromise. President Clinton apparently did not accept the GOP's Monday-night offer to drop a Medicare increase in return for agreement on a plan to balance the budget in seven years. Also, Clinton cut short his planned trip to Japan this weekend in order to deal with the budget. House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt said Monday the shutdown could last several days; but Speaker Gingrich said there was a ''fair chance'' for an agreement yesterday. (Story, Page 1; Editorial, Page 20.)

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In a sign of progress in Dayton, Ohio, Secretary of State Christopher was to drop by Bosnian peace talks there yesterday on his way to Japan. But ''we still have a long way to go to reach an agreement,'' a State Department spokesman said. The main stumbling block: whether Sarajevo will be partly controlled by Bosnian Serbs or will be a unified city. Separately, Speaker Gingrich and Senator Dole sent a letter to Clinton Monday warning that congressional support for sending US peace-enforcing troops to Bosnia is ''virtually nil.'' They said Clinton still needs to show the move is critical to US interests, well-defined, achievable, and the best available option. (See also World In Brief.)

Shuttle Atlantis and space station Mir were set for a 245-mile-high linkup today. Atlantis was to attach a 9,000-pound docking bay to Mir that will make future linkups easier and safer. Today's maneuver is thought to be good practice for the tougher moves still to come as NASA starts building the international space station Freedom.

The search continued for Joe Waldholtz, campaign treasurer for his wife, Rep. Enid Waldholtz. Utah state GOP leaders had apparently been warning Mrs. Waldholtz that the $1.8 million she spent on her 1994 campaign was suspect. The FBI is investigating. Mr. Waldholtz disappeared Saturday in Washington.

Sony Corp. will start selling its own line of personal computers with Intel circuitry next fall, the firm said Monday. Also, IBM chairman Louis Gerstner said at the Comdex computer show in Las Vegas that his firm is jumping into ''network-centered computing'' - a system in which relatively simple, low-cost personal computers rely on high-speed networks and high-power central computers to store most software and perform most computing tasks. Also, Intuit Inc. said it will soon offer on-line banking through America Online, the popular subscriber network.

Hate crimes reported to police declined in 1994, the FBI said Monday. Some 5,852 incidents were reported in 1994 compared to 7,684 in 1993. As before, about 60 percent of hate crimes were motivated by racial bias. Religious and homosexual bias are also common motivators for the crimes.

A tax cut could be in voters' pockets just weeks before next year's election, according to a tentative plan by congressional Republicans. A deal struck by House-Senate negotiators, due to be ratified by the two chambers this week, would make a $500-per-child credit retroactive to Oct. 1, 1995. The refunds would be mailed out Oct. 1, 1996.

More than 500 cases of US service personnel missing in Vietnam will never be fully resolved ''regardless of any future effort,'' the Pentagon said Monday in its first formal acknowledgement that some cases have so little information as to make them impractical to pursue. But after an individual review of all Vietnam-War-era MIA cases, the US will continue to follow leads for almost 1,500 missing servicemen and women.

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A plot to blow up civil rights groups, welfare offices, abortion clinics, and gay bars came to light as self-described prophet Willie Ray Lampley, his wife Cecelia, and John Baird were charged Monday in Muskogee, Okla. One other person is sought in connection to the antigovernment plot.

The World

FBI agents headed to Saudi Arabia today to help investigate the bombing of a US training facility that killed five Americans and one Filipino. A little-known group,Islamic Change Movement, and the previously unknown Tigers of the Gulf claimed responsibility. Meanwhile, the Clinton administration said the incident won't weaken its resolve to keep US forces in Saudi Arabia, but security at US military sites will be improved. Middle East analysts suggested Monday the attack was in response to Saudi Arabia's heavy-handed policy toward political opponents.

Two Bosnian Serbs indicted for war crimes will keep their posts despite US pressure to remove them, the Bosnian Serb news agency reported yesterday. But sources close to the Bosnian Serb leadership confirmed that Serbian President Milosevic is pressing Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic and General Mladic to leave their posts once a peace deal is sealed. (See also US In Brief.) The Yugoslav war crimes court rejected most pretrial defense motions from Bosnian Serb Dusan Tadic - the only suspect in custody of 52 so far indicted. His is to be the first international war crimes trial since the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals.

Brazil and Venezuela Tuesday were the latest to withdraw envoys from Nigeria to protest the execution of nine minority rights activists, including author Ken Saro-Wiwa. The US threatened further sanctions Monday; South Africa barred Nigeria from an African soccer tournament; and Germany froze development aid. In a tit-for-tat retaliation, Nigeria withdrew its envoys from ab road. (Editorial, Page 20.)

Acting Israeli Prime Minister Peres promised yesterday Israel would not delay handing over West Bank lands to Palestinian self-rule. Peres's handover of the West Bank town of Jenin Monday was a week ahead of schedule. And Peres and his right-wing rival Benjamin Netanyahu agreed Monday to restore ''restraint and civility'' to the bitter land debate. (Opinion, Page 19.)

The main political headquarters of the Tamil Tigers was captured by Sri Lankan forces outside Jaffna, civilians arriving in the northern town of Vavuniya said yesterday. At least 1,800 people have been killed in the month-long offensive.

South Korea's probe into ex-president Roh Tae Woo's slush funds yesterday delved into funding for the 1992 presidential election won by Kim Young Sam. Also, in an effort to mend relations, Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama apologized to South Korea for Japan's early-1900s colonial rule of the country. (Related story, Page 6.)

Talks among nations of the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum about putting free-trade principles into action moved closer to agreement yesterday, two days before APEC's annual summit in Osaka, Japan.

Rescuers continued to search yesterday for hundreds of foreign trekkers stranded in the Himalayas by heavy snowfall. By midday, helicopters had plucked 477 people, including 178 foreigners, from the area. And an avalanche death toll increased to 49 when rescuers found seven more bodies.

A group of senior Pakistani military officers has been plotting an Islamic revolution to overthrow the government, Defense Minister Aftab Shaban Mirani said yesterday. The allegations came more than a month after the arrest of as many as 36 Army officers on suspicion of trying to stage a coup.


Humans are wiping out the world's plants and animals at ''an alarming rate,'' according to a UN-sponsored report released yesterday. The Global Biodiversity Assessment said over 30,000 species are now endangered.

Wendy's dad wants all children to have fathers and mothers. Dave Thomas, who named his hamburger chain after his daughter, is himself adopted. Now, with help from first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Thomas has announced a foundation to help find homes for children without parents.

Scientists at the University of California have revived a 1,288-year-old seed from China. It's a relic from a lotus crop cultivated by Buddhists long ago. Researchers hope to discover the secrets of its longevity.

Credit Card Satisfaction

A recent survey of credit-card holders found that quality of the billing and payment process, card acceptance, and speed of approval are more important to consumers than low interest rates and annual fees. Of 21 major credit card issuers rated, the following scored highest.

1. AT&T

2. Discover

2. Household Bank

3. Bank of New York

4. Bank One

4. Citibank

5. First Union National

- J.D. Powers and Associates (Agoura Hills, Calif.)

'' They're entitled to be happy, and we are entitled to be content because they are happy. Their happiness is not our problem. It is our promise.

- Prime Minister Shimon Peres, on Israel's handing over of the West Bank town of Jenin to Palestinians.

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