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News In Brief


Voters went to the polls to choose the last president of the 20th century. President Clinton was to campaign in South Dakota before returning to Arkansas to cast his ballot. Bob Dole made a symbolic stop in Harry Truman's hometown - Independence, Mo. - before returning to Kansas.

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The nation's earliest returns came from two New Hampshire hamlets where residents gathered to vote at midnight, as they traditionally do. Dixville Notch gave Dole 18 votes, Clinton 8, and Ross Perot 1. In Hart's Location, 50 miles away, the tally was tighter: Dole 13, Clinton 12, Perot 4.

The US will expand a review of its role in the seizure and disposition of Nazis assets after World War II, Clinton said. In a letter to the World Jewish Congress, he also promised to declassify additional documents concerning victims of the Holocaust.

The US introduced a resolution at the UN calling for a ban on antipersonnel land mines. Clinton decided in May to continue American use of land mines, even though the US has been calling for a worldwide ban.

The US rejected an Iranian bid for joint mediation of the four-year civil war in Afghanistan. The offer came from Iran's UN ambassador in an opinion piece in The Washington Post.

China must tighten export controls on nuclear technology if it wants US help in building its nuclear industry, Undersecretary of State Lynn Davis said. She also called on Beijing to stop selling nuclear-missile technology and other sophisticated weapons to Iran. Davis was in China to prepare for Secretary of State Warren Christopher's visit to Beijing in two weeks.

Racial bias was the motivating factor in 3 of every 5 hate crimes in 1995, and blacks were victims in 3 of every 5 of racial attacks, the FBI said. Religious intolerance was cited as the second-most-frequent cause of hate crimes. Jews were targeted in 82.9 percent of religiously influence hate crimes. Sexual bias was the third-most significant hate-crime factor.

An Indonesian businessman linked to allegations of unethical political contributions to the Democratic Party, visited the White House 41 times over the past 13 months, an administration spokesman said. In September during one of the meetings, James Riady met with Clinton and Deputy Counsel Bruce Lindsey. The Riady family controls a multibillion-dollar banking, real estate, and insurance empire in Indonesia.

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A former KGB official was arrested in New York. Vladimir Galkin allegedly conspired to get information about the US "star wars" missile-defense system from an Indian-born employee of Data General Corp. The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service protested Galkin's detention.

Ted Turner said television is playing a significant role in the breakdown of American institutions. Turner, whose TV empire made him rich and famous, called for higher programming standards and for Americans to watch less TV. He was delivering the William Paley memorial lecture at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York.

Dredging of the ocean floor began for whatever remains of TWA Flight 800. Divers have finished recovery efforts.

The Pentagon is investigating two recent US attacks on Iraqi anti-radar missiles, Defense Secretary William Perry said. He speculated that Iraq might have changed its radar tactics to trigger the attacks.


Boris Yeltsin's physicians say the Russian president could reclaim the full powers of office by week's end. Yeltsin was accepting well-wishes from world leaders after heart surgery that was pronounced successful. Before the operation, he transferred all responsibility for Russian affairs to Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. Kremlin officials denied that the surgery was timed to coincide with US presidential elections to divert international attention.

Zaire boycotted a summit of African leaders aimed at defusing its conflict with ethnic Tutsi rebels. Zaire claims the Tutsis have the backing of neighboring Rwanda. Meanwhile, a Rwandan Hutu lobby group accused the international community of failing the estimated 1 million refugees displaced by the fighting.

Pakistan's president fired Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, dissolved parliament, and called new elections for Feb. 3. President Farooq Leghari accused Bhutto of corruption. Retired Speaker of the National Assembly Miraj Khalid was sworn in as her interim successor. Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif called the moves "deliverance for the people." Bhutto regained her post three years ago after being fired previously in 1990.

Chinese dissident Wang Dan appealed his 11-year prison sentence for plotting the overthrow of the Beijing government. Legal experts said it was unlikely an appeals court would overturn or lighten the sentence. Wang's mother said she hoped Secretary of State Warren Christopher would raise the case with China's leaders later this month.

Police in Nigeria warned they would "deal ruthlessly" with public rallies marking the first anniversary of the executions of political activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight followers. His group, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni Peoples, said it would observe the day quietly. Nigeria drew worldwide condemnation for hanging the men Nov. 10 after a military trial.

South Korean troops said they killed two of the three North Korean commandos still at large from an abortive spying mission. In a shootout with the agents, three South Koreans also died and eight others were wounded. Meanwhile, the South's foreign minister, Gong Ro-myung, resigned after allegations surfaced that he once served in the North Korean Army.

The government of Quebec set aside a secret fund worth billions of dollars to be used if the Oct. 3, 1995, referendum on sovereignty had passed, former Premier Jacques Parizeau said. He said the money was intended to offset an economic crisis provoked by the vote on separating the mostly French-speaking province from the rest of Canada. The referendum was defeated, and Parizeau resigned.

The Vatican withheld comment on the ordination of the first woman priest in Rome. Priesthood in the Episcopal Church was conferred on missionary Cecelia Monge Teran de Erazo of Ecuador, who plans to celebrate her first mass on Sunday. Rome is the capital of Roman Catholicism, and the Vatican has previously indicated that it regards the ordination of women priests as an obstacle to Christian unity.

Emergency officials in Iceland say they can only watch as a giant lake floods the surrounding countryside. It is a delayed reaction to a volcanic eruption that melted a vast area of ice cap last month. The flooding poses no danger to towns or farms, but could threaten communication lines, bridges, and the nation's only coastal highway.


"We must work together to end the terror caused by antipersonnel land mines. And we must do so as rapidly and as vigorously as we can." -- US Ambassador Madeleine Albright, as she introduced a UN resolution to ban such weapons.

Two men in Louisville, Ky., were busted for possession of a dairy product. The men, of Palestinian descent, told police the white chunks they were carrying in plastic bags were dried yogurt. But the evidence aroused the attention of a drug-sniffing dog, and they were arrested. Tests confirmed that it was indeed yogurt. The two were freed.

Colombian Jose Ordoez wanted to leave 'em laughing. The comedian told 12,000 jokes during a 50-hour radio marathon to raise money for people made homeless by the country's guerrilla war.

Finland's Leningrad Cowboys are out to be - well - the worst they can be, and it's paying dividends. The self-proclaimed world's worst rock band has combined bad hair with irony and slapstick for two gold albums.

Political correctness has come to high school yearbooks. So as not to offend anyone, editors in Cromwell, Conn., rejected the customary list of superlatives for their 1997 edition. So, no more "class clown" or even "best dressed." A yearbook publisher says students often use such lists to make fun of classmates.


Notorious Traffic Tie-ups

Ten of the nation's worst bottlenecks, based on the number of motorists affected and the length of delays:

Boston: Interstate 93 north and south, a.k.a. the Central Artery

Chicago: Interstate 88/ Eisenhower Expressway

Dallas: Interstate 35/Interstate 30, a.k.a. "The Mixmaster."

Houston: One-lane exit connecting US 59 to the 610 Loop.

Los Angeles: East LA interchange.

Milwaukee: Interstate 94

Minneapolis: Northbound Interstate 35-W

New Orleans: Interstate 10 and Interstate 610 in both directions

New York: Gowanus Expressway, Brooklyn.

Washington: Woodrow Wilson Bridge

- American Automobile Association/Associated Press

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