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News In Brief


Some 280,000 federal employees were set to return to work today - and get back pay for the time they missed - after President Clinton submitted a budget that will eliminate the deficit by 2002. Clinton's budget cuts $102 billion from Medicare over seven years; the GOP plan cuts $201 billion. And while the GOP plans a $241 billion tax cut, Clinton's tax cut is between $87 billion and $147 billion, depending on the economy's performance. Clinton, Speaker Gingrich, and Senator Dole were set to meet yesterday to start reconciling the plans, though an impending snowstorm threatened to disrupt the talks.

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One of the biggest winter storms to hit the East Coast barreled into the Washington, D.C., area. Blizzard warnings were in effect from Virginia to New York. The storm led some major airlines to reduce or cancel flights into Washington, New York City, and Philadelphia.

Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula is retiring. As the NFL's winningest coach, he had 347 victories and six Super Bowl appearances. A Miami hero, he is known for his family values, religious devotion, and a stern-but-compassionate coaching style. He will continue as the team's part-owner and vice chairman.

The last of the refugee camps at Guantanamo Bay's US Naval Base will close by the end of January, and the 2,000 remaining Cubans be flown to the US. When 30,000 Cubans set out for Miami on rafts in 1994, Clinton gave orders to intercept them. At the time, he said they would never come to the US but later reversed the policy. Some 28,000 have been flown to Miami over the past year.

Sixty-six Special Operations soldiers left Haiti to return home as the US began withdrawing, 15 months after ousting a military regime and restoring President Aristide to power. The remaining 2,200 US troops, who are part of a 5,800-member UN force, will return by Feb. 29.

Billing records that could point to conflict-of-interest dealings by Hillary Rodham Clinton were turned over by the White House to the Senate Whitewater panel. They indicate that Mrs. Clinton did 60 hours of legal work for Madison Guaranty S&L, including representing it to investigators appointed by her husband, who was then governor of Arkansas. When the records were requested by Whitewater investigators in 1994, the White House said it couldn't find them. They were recently discovered in an East Wing office.

College freshmen support for legal abortion has fallen for the third straight year, according to the University of California's annual nationwide survey. But support for legalizing marijuana has risen to nearly 34 percent, double what it was in 1989. Also, support for casual sex is down. And freshmen supporting a ban on homosexual relations hit an all-time low of 30 percent.

The gambling lobby has become a leading source of political contributions, despite a growing citizen backlash, according U.S. News and World Report. With contributions of more than $3 million since 1993, the gambling lobby is just slightly behind the National Rifle Association on the list of political givers.

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DVDs are the hottest innovation at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. These next-generation compact discs can hold an entire movie or all of Beethoven's symphonies. They're expected to be in stores this fall, along with their $500 players.

Embattled Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary has lost key congressional support. "My thought is after the budget is dealt with, she is going to be dealt with," a Democratic Senate aide said. Even Democrats say she used bad judgment, including leaving $80,000 unaccounted for from just one of her many trade-promotion trips.

The other presidential candidates lambasted Senator Dole for not appearing at a debate in Charleston, S.C. Dole said he couldn't come because of budget talks and regretted that "I can't be there to get beat up on." Steve Forbes also canceled, saying he wouldn't appear without Dole. But Dole did participate in a weekend event with nine governors. An impressive 20 of the nation's 31 GOP governors work for his campaign.


A French plane was fired on as it tried to land in Sarajevo, the fifth attack against NATO troops in Bosnia in four days. And in Mostar, the fatal shootings of a Muslim youth and a Croat policeman have sent tensions soaring. Also, for the first time in seven years, in the mostly-Muslim town of Tulza, Serbs celebrated Orthodox Christmas.

Ryutaro Hashimoto is expected to be installed as Japan's prime minister later this week. Earlier, Tomiichi Murayama resigned saying it was time to form a new government. In the past, Hashimoto - an outspoken trade hard-liner - favored continuation of the US-Japan security alliance, but led resistance to market reforms as demanded by the US. The US said Hashimoto, is a "very skilled and tough negotiator

Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev resigned. Kozyrev's pro-Western stance did much to improve Russia's image abroad. But Russian conservatives, as well as President Yeltsin, were critical of his work, especially for the loss of Russia's once-strong influence in former Yugoslavia. Kozyrev, who won a parliament seat last month, had to choose between the two jobs. Meanwhile, Russian analysts said the essence of Russian foreign policy is likely to remain the same.

Israel closed off the West Bank and Gaza Strip, barring Palestinians from entering the Jewish state, after the Muslim militant group Hamas vowed to avenge the killing of Yehiya Ayyash. Nicknamed the "Engineer," Ayyash is widely believed to have plotted seven suicide bombings that killed 55 Israelis. He was killed when a booby-trapped cellular telephone exploded. Israel neither confirmed nor denied its involvement in the killing. Meanwhile the PLO called the killing a violation of the Israel-PLO peace accord.

Burma will not extradite opium warlord Khun Sa to the US to face narcotics charges but will definitely put him on trial in Rangoon, a Burmese official said. Khun Sa's surrender to Burmese officials will have little if any impact on the flow of heroin from the "Golden Triangle," UN drug experts said. The arrest however shows that Burma is sincere when it says it wants to stamp out opium growing, they said.

In Riyadh, US Defense Secretary William Perry said Saudi Arabia is a vital country and reiterated the US determination to protect it. Saudi Arabia remains a large customer of US military equipment. And Britain defended its decision to deport Saudi dissident Mohammed Masari, whose presence endangered lucrative Saudi defense deals, sources say.

Tensions between Hindus and Muslims in India's troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir soared after suspected Muslim militants killed 15 Hindu villagers. No rebel group has claimed responsibility. Kashmir's separatist Hurriyet Conference group condemned the killings. And elections to the Indian Parliament will be held in April.

South Korea plans to demand a pledge from North Korea to abandon biological and chemical weapons as a condition for international food aid. Seoul reportedly will also demand that North Korea remove many of its troops from along the border with South Korea as a condition to food aid.

China was silent in its response to a US transit visa issued to Li Yuan-zu, Taiwan's vice president. The visa permits Li's plane to stop in L.A., on his way to and from Guatemala. Analysts said, whatever its response, Beijing would feel that Washington ignores its grievances. Earlier, Taiwan accused China of overreacting to the visa request.

Foreign Minister Alvaro Arzu was slightly favored in Guatemala's presidential election against Alfonso Portillo. Rebels declared a rare cease-fire to enable a peaceful vote. Portillo represents the right-wing party of retired Gen. Efrain Rios Montt who is barred by the courts from running again because of his role in a 1982 coup. Arzu had easily beaten 18 other candidates in a first round Nov. 12.


The success we had in the early 1970s, for the first time,

united this whole, complex community, despite its diversity."

- Bob Griese, a former Miami Dolphins quarterback, on the team coached by Don Shula, who is retiring.

A boar named Spa'am will remain in the movie, "Muppet Treasure Island," because a federal court gets the joke even if Hormel, the maker of Spam, doesn't. This "is simply another in a long line of Muppet lampoons," the court ruled.

A washing machine that had run continuously in a St. Cloud, Minn., appliance store since April 10, 1992, has finally quit. The store estimates the machine, a Maytag, ran the equivalent of 183 years of family use.

Waymazin Words

These words are among the many that have just started to be used. See Tuesday's paper in this space for words that may be used too often.

Anxious class: Middle-class people worried about economic security

Overclass: Highly educated, upper-income class

Big box: Chain store specializing in one kind of merchandise

Brownfield: Vacant city lot

Drive-through delivery: Shortened hospital stay after childbirth

Waymazin: Really amazing

They: Singular gender-neutral pronoun

Testilying: Lying under oath

Going postal: To go berserk at work

Joe six chip: Ordinary Joe with computer

Mouse potato: Someone hooked on computers

Spamming: Sending junk e-mail

Webliography: Bibliography of material on the Internet

24-7: Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week

- American Dialect Society (Jacksonville, Ill.)

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