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News In Brief

The US

President Clinton met at the White House with two top leaders of the European Union. His discussion with European Commission President Jacques Santer and Irish Prime Minister John Bruton was expected to focus on trade issues. Bruton currently holds the European Union's rotating presidency.

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The White House seemed to increase its criticism of Israeli settlements on the West Bank, calling them troubling and a complicating factor in Mideast peacemaking. But it avoided sharp public disagreement with Israel. Meanwhile, a group of former secretaries of state and national security advisers circulated a letter, urging Clinton to press Israel to halt expansion of West Bank settlements. The letter - reportedly circulating among former secretaries James Baker, Cyrus Vance, and Lawrence Eagleburger, as well as former national security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft - says Israel should be prodded to reverse plans for a new infusion of financial support to West Bank Jews. Palestinians say this could undermine prospects for peace.

The US pledged to step up aid to Lebanon. Secretary of State Warren Christopher made the announcement as he opened a one-day conference at the State Department of potential donors to Lebanon. The country was devastated by a 16-year civil war that ended in 1991.

A rebound in auto production sent industrial output soaring in November, the Federal Reserve said. Total output increased 0.9 percent last month, the highest rate in nine months. That followed a 0.5 percent drop in output in October, when many US auto plants were closed because of parts shortages that resulted from strikes against General Motors plants in Canada.

The Supreme Court let stand a lower-court ruling that a Bible club at a public school be allowed to require its officers to be Christians. The rejected appeal concerned a club at Roslyn High School in Long Island, N.Y. Also, the court ruled that people whose parental rights have been terminated must be allowed to appeal even if they cannot afford to pay court fees.

The 538 members of the Electoral College were scheduled to cast ballots at state capitals across the country to officially determine the 1996 presidential election. The results are to be announced during a joint session of Congress Jan. 9. Clinton is expected to garner 379 electoral votes to Bob Dole's 159.

People who keep up with the news via computers don't stop using newspapers, TV, and radio for the same purpose, a new survey suggests. A poll of 1,003 adult on-line-news consumers found 55 percent had read a newspaper, 61 percent had watched TV news, and 52 percent had listened to the news on radio the previous day. The survey was conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press in Washington.

Patients are often not fully informed that they are taking part in medical experiments, a newspaper reported. The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer analyzed files from studies authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration and found that in 4,154 inspections of research testing of new drugs, more than 53 percent were cited by the FDA for failing to fully disclose the experimental nature of the medication.

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A refusal-to-resign speech that former President Nixon never delivered came to light among 40 million pages of Nixon documents at the National Archives. The speech was prepared by speechwriter Raymond Price as an option to a resignation speech Nixon delivered on Aug. 8, 1974. The speech he did not deliver would have had him declare he had done nothing "that justifies removing a duly elected president from office."

Thousands of Southern Californians were recovering from winds over the weekend that caused numerous power outages and two deaths. Some areas experienced winds of 100 miles per hour. Almost 400,000 people lost power for varying periods of time.

The World

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will try again to reach a deal on redeploying troops from the West Bank city of Hebron. The announcement came after the US arranged a meeting between the two sides to ease tensions that had escalated over Israel's plan to build or expand settlements in Arab-held areas. The plan provoked anger from Palestinian leaders, the killing of two Jewish settlers by Palestinian gunmen, and other violence. But in Nablus, some Palestinians joined a call by opposition leader George Habash for a new uprising against Israel.

Another election victory by opponents of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic was ordered restored, opposition spokesmen said. The Zajedno (Together) movement said it had been granted control of the city government in Smederovska Palanka, one day after its win in the city of Nis also was upheld by a local court. Critics said the decisions were aimed at easing pressure on Milosevic, who has been the target of daily street demonstrations in Belgrade for ordering new elections. Demonstrators again were out in force Monday, seeking additional concessions

Tanzanian security officials stepped up efforts to herd Hutu refugees back to Rwanda, hovering over their heads in helicopters and firing into the air. Red Cross officials said more than 50,000 Rwandans had crossed the border by midday Monday, some of them complaining that the Tanzanians had also used tear gas and sticks to keep them moving. Tanzania has ordered all Rwandan refugees to leave by Dec. 31.

A 10-percent limit on the fluctuation of share prices took effect in China. The government also imposed a one-month suspension of the publishing rights of two financial newspapers to help cool the country's overheated stock market. More than 8 million new investors have bought stocks in recent weeks - many of them on the basis of no experience in financial trading - and market analysts have warned of a crash if the trend continues.

Harsh sentences against two former presidents, several Army generals, and five business tycoons convicted in South Korea's "trial of the century" were reduced or overturned by an appeals court. It commuted ex-President Chun Doo Hwan's sentence from death to life imprisonment for the 1989 massacre of democracy activists. Critics said the easing of sentences blunts the impact of the country's anticorruption drive.

Farmers in Greece were joined by teachers and seamen in a series of strikes against the government's new austerity budget. Later in the week, laborers, bank employees, and civil servants are expected to take part in the protest. The budget abolishes most tax exemptions and imposes new levies and other measures aimed at helping Greece to comply with terms of membership in the European Union.

The leader of Corsica's outlawed separatist movement surrendered to police, France-Info radio reported. Francois Santoni's Corsican National Liberation Front is blamed for dozens of bomb attacks on the island. France has pledged a relentless search for the bombers.

Journalists in Sudan now have the right not to reveal their sources, under a new law ratified by parliament. The measure also grants publishers a hearing before being punished for violating a ban on coverage of internal security issues. But it adds restrictions on reporting about the activities of police, firefighters, and the Army.

Scientists in Honduras confirmed that a meteorite fell on a sparsely populated western section of the country last month, leaving a 165-foot-wide crater. Physicists from the National University placed the age of particles recovered from the meteorite at 4 billion years. The flaming impact also damaged a main highway and acres of coffee plants.


"My army and I will only make peace when the independence of our state is officially recognized."

- Rebel commander Salman Raduyev, whose forces were holding 21 Russian soldiers hostage in Chechnya.

Critics who groaned when President Clinton rambled on for 25 minutes in Little Rock, Ark., after his victory on election night are warned: He has already announced that he does not plan to be brief in his second inaugural address Jan. 20. Clinton says he wants to use the time to review his record and set out guideposts for the future. This, despite admitting in an interview on C-Span that "[I] probably ought to give a short speech."

Reasoning that a movie about a pig ("Babe") was successful at the box office, the film industry now plans one about a cow. First Look Pictures has bought the rights to the story of Emily, a black-and-white Massachusetts heifer that escaped the slaughterhouse by hurdling a five-foot gate. On-location filming is expected to begin soon, and it's hoped that the film will reach theaters by Christmas 1997. Emily is already receiving star treatment: a new $10,000 barn equipped with a television set and VCR.

The Day's List

The Richest Corporate Mergers in US History

The $13.3 billion purchase of McDonnell Douglas by Boeing Co. - forming what business experts say will be the world's biggest aerospace company - is the tenth largest corporate merger in US history. The nine larger mergers, dates they were announced or completed, and their dollar values:

1. RJR Nabisco/Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, 1989 $25 billion

2. Bell Atlantic/Nynex, 1996 $22.7 billion

3. Walt Disney Co./Capital Cities-ABC, 1996 $19 billion

4. SBC Communications/Pacific Telesis Group, 1996 $16.7 billion

5. WorldCom Inc./ MFS Communications, 1996 $14.4 billion

6. Wells Fargo & Co./First Interstate Bancorp, 1996 $14.2 billion

7. Warner Communications/ Time Inc., 1990 $14.11 billion

8. Kraft Inc./Philip Morris, 1988 $13.44 billion

9. Gulf Corp./Standard Oil of California, 1984 $13.4 billion

- Associated Press

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