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News In Brief


Most East Coast roads and the New York and Boston airports reopened. But many schools stayed closed again today. Above, a skier plies the slopes at the Washington Monument. Now, some blizzard stats. The number of tons of snow that fell on New York City: 100 million. The number of Statues of Liberty that's equal to: 444,444. The number of tons that fell in Philadelphia: 20 million. The number of Liberty Bells that's equivalent to: 19,230,769. The average number of tons shoveled in a 20-by-20 foot Northeastern driveway: 4.

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President Clinton told Republicans to come to the negotiating table with their final offers and an explanation for voters if budget talks fail. Some reported compromises: The GOP lowering its planned tax cut to $210 billion from $245 billion - still $63 billion above Clinton's latest offer; and the GOP lowering its savings for Medicare by $33 billion to $168 billion - still $66 billion deeper than Clinton's most recent plan.

A federal appeals court allowed a sexual harassment case against Clinton to proceed. It was filed by former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones. Clinton's lawyer failed to convince the court that Clinton can't be questioned on the issue while he is serving as president.

The White House and Hillary Rodham Clinton's lawyer, David Kendall, defended the embattled first lady. After New York Times columnist William Safire dubbed Mrs. Clinton a "congenital liar," White House spokesman McCurry called it an "outrageous personal attack." Kendall challenged Senate Whitewater committee chairman D'Amato to prove his allegations that Mrs. Clinton deceitfully denied a significant role in dealings of the now-defunct Madison Guaranty savings and loan.

The government can continue to block indecent radio or TV programs between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., the Supreme Court ruled. It refused to hear a free-speech challenge to current FCC regulations. The justices also upheld the Interior Department's ability to protect endangered species by affirming its labeling of a 4,000-acre Oregon land tract as "critical habitat" for the northern spotted owl.

University of Florida football coach Steve Spurrier rejected a lucrative offer from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to be their head coach. The beleaguered Bucs offered him a job after he led Florida to within a victory of the national championship.

A party for the people on Pier 45 was how San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown began his first day on the job. He strolled along a block-long red carpet followed by the 49ers football team and streetcars of supporters. Fireworks lit the bay, and 10,000 meals were served to the homeless. Brown pledged to keep the city's pro sports teams and build a new baseball stadium at no taxpayer expense.

Boeing is likely to get a 60-plane order worth $3 billion from General Electric's jetliner-leasing unit. And the Malaysian Airline System says it will buy 25 Boeing jets over the next five years, shutting out European rival Airbus Industrie from a $4 billion deal. But Airbus is expected to sell 40 smaller jets worth about $1.7 billion to G.E.

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Over 130 US investigators will begin searching sites in Vietnam where US troops may have died during the war. The unusually large contingent will begin its search of former US base camps, landing areas, and plane-crash sites tomorrow. Over 1,600 US service personnel remain missing in Vietnam.

Minneapolis has a higher per capita homicide rate than New York City. The midwestern city, which averaged 60 murders per year in the early 1990s, had 97 last year. Drug-related gang violence, on the decline nationally, seems only now to be taking its toll in Minneapolis, police say. But St. Paul, just across the river, had a similar decline as the US murder rate, which dropped 12 percent in the first half of 1995.

Former Rep. Mike Synar, a Democrat from Oklahoma, died yesterday. He fought for tobacco regulation and gun control.


Yevgeny Primakov, head of Russia's spy service, was named foreign minister. And Chechen rebels took about 1,000 people hostage in Kizlyar in the republic of Dagestan. The rebels demanded that Russia must withdraw its troops from separatist Chechnya, something Moscow summarily rejects. Heavy fighting broke out between rebels and Russian troops in the region.

President Clinton will visit US troops in Bosnia this weekend. And US troops were assigned to Mostar on a shuttle mission to prevent clashes between Muslims and Croats. Some diplomats say Mostar is the first litmus test for the success of the NATO peace mission. The Muslims and Croats failed to meet a Dec. 19 deadline to agree on the city's boundaries. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council rebuked Croatia for its human rights abuses against Serb civilians.

Nigeria arrested Paul Adams, a journalist for the Financial Times of London. Adams, who also writes for this newspaper, was on a reporting assignment in Ogoniland, home to Ogoni rights leader Ken Saro-Wiwa, whose November hanging brought Nigeria international condemnation. British officials seeking Adams's release said he was arrested for visiting Ogoniland allegedly without proper permission.

China said it no longer plans to sell Iran two nuclear reactors, which the US has been pressuring China to scrub out of concern that Iran would use them to produce nuclear weapons. But China said the two countries are exploring future cooperation on nuclear energy. Also, China gave the foreign media a tour of a Shanghai orphanage that was cited for abuse in a recent report.

Israel will release 1,200 Palestinian prisoners over the next five days, a senior PLO official said. And in France, donor countries discussed economic aid to rebuild the Gaza Strip and West Bank and are expected to approve a $500 million short-term package. In 1993, they pledged $2.4 billion to the Palestinians over five years. And Jordan's King Hussein was set to make his first public visit to Tel Aviv today.

Ryutaro Hashimoto identified the US-Japan relationship as his top priority as prime minister. It's a conciliatory tone, observers say of Hashimoto, who is set to be formally installed as Japanese premier this week. Hashimoto made headlines last year for his tough stance in a bitter car-trade row with the US.

Alvaro Arzu won Guatemala's presidential elections with 51.22 percent of the vote. Alfonso Portillo, largely seen as a front-man for former dictator Gen. Efrain Montt, got 48.78 percent. Arzu, who favors free-market policies, said he will clamp down on corruption and discrimination.

An earthquake measuring 6.1 left several thousand people homeless on Sakhalin Island. Separately, Austria also experienced its biggest earthquake in five years.

French police arrested 15 people in connection with the bombings that rocked France last year. No details were released. Algerian militants demanding Islamic rule in Algeria claimed responsibility for some bombings.

Three Pakistani politicians, belonging to the ruling party, were abducted and killed in Karachi. No group claimed responsibility for the killings. Karachi has been the scene of a long-running conflict between ethnic Mohajirs and the police.

The task of replacing ailing Greek Premier Papandreou is dividing his party. Some want to begin the replacement process Jan. 20. But others say a deadline is premature, given the premier's slightly improving health.

In Turkey, a leftist guerrilla group claimed responsibility for killing two leading Turkish industrialists.


There's no snow and no Republicans."

- San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, during his swearing-in ceremony, speaking on the phone to President Clinton and telling him he should be there.

Leaders from the rebel Taliban faction in southern Afghanistan say that unless men grow beards in line with strict Islamic practices, they won't be allowed to work except as street sweepers. Where they have assumed control in Afghanistan, Taliban leaders have forced residents to live by a strict Islamic code of conduct. Women must give up their jobs, education for girls is limited, and men are expected to practice Muslim prayer and dress rituals.

Peru's President Fujimori has ordered helicopter landings halted at the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. Archaeologists warned the landings, mostly by tourists, could loosen the foundations of the pre-Columbian citadel.

Could Be Time to Move

If inexpensive city life is what you seek, don't move to these cities - they're the most expensive in the world. New York is the baseline measure at 100.

1. Tokyo (202)

2. Osaka, Japan (190)

3. Moscow (142)

4. Zurich, Switzerland (141)

5. Geneva (140)

6. Oslo, Norway (135)

7. Copenhagen, Denmark (132)

8. Beijing (130)

9. Libreville, Gabon (129) Seoul, South Korea

11. Helsinki, Finland (128) Hong Kong, Vienna, Austria

14. Brazzaville, Congo (127) Shanghai, China

56. Bangkok, Thailand (100), Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, New York, Rome

- Corporate Resources Group (Geneva)

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