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News In Brief

The US

The Democratic Party installed special phone lines in federal buildings so Vice President Al Gore could raise money for the 1996 campaign, a former top White House aide said. Appearing on ABC's "This Week," George Stephanopoulos dismissed suggestions the practice is illegal and indicated other administrations had done the same.

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Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat met with President Clinton at the White House to discuss Israeli plans to build a housing complex for Jews in what has historically been Arab East Jerusalem. Arafat has denounced the plan. The US has also criticized it, but in milder terms.

Senate majority leader Trent Lott offered to mediate a dispute over CIA director-designate Anthony Lake's FBI files. Lott proposed that he, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and a ranking Democrat review Lake's files and recommend how to deal with them. Lake's nomination hit a roadblock last week when Republicans demanded to see his raw FBI files rather than a summary. Lott also said he's willing to make minor changes in the GOP balanced-budget amendment to gain the additional vote needed for passage.

Clinton declared parts of Arkansas a major disaster area and ordered US aid to supplement local recovery efforts in areas struck by storms and tornadoes. The president said he would travel to his home state today to view the damage.

The top US official in the war against drugs said it's hypocritical to condemn Mexico for narcotics-related corruption and crime when the US demand for drugs is aggravating the problem. Barry McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said Mexican authorities are annually "battered" by $6 billion flowing from US drug users.

Former CIA officer Harold Nicholson pleaded guilty to selling secrets to Russia for more than $180,000. He was the highest-ranking CIA employee ever charged with spying - a 16-year veteran of the agency's clandestine-operations directorate, where he had access to names of spies working for the CIA and other secrets. Nicholson could receive life in prison and a $250,000 fine. A plea agreement calls for him to forfeit any assets stemming from illegal activities.

The US Supreme Court ducked a debate over efforts to make English Arizona's official language. The justices ruled unanimously that the case never should have reached them because it became legally irrelevant when the state employee who challenged an English-only amendment to the state constitution left her job. They also left intact an Ohio law requiring private schools to administer ninth- grade proficiency tests and denying high-school diplomas to students who cannot pass them.

The Federal Communications Commission was expected to set aside a portion of the airwaves for companies to bid on licenses to provide new digital radio service. The companies are expected to provide CD-quality sound anywhere in the country - for a price. The broadcasting industry sees the new technology as a threat to local radio service. After companies win licenses, it will take at least three years for stations to go on the air. Access to the service is expected to cost $5 to $10 a month.

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Some 53 mushers began a quest for victory in Alaska's 25th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The official start came after a ceremonial 20-mile run from Anchorage to Eagle River. The mushers will cross 1,150 miles of snow-covered wilderness to reach the finish line in Nome.

Consumer spending rose at a 0.7 percent annual rate in January, outpacing a 0.3 percent gain in incomes, the Commerce Department said. Consumer spending totaled $5.3 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, up from $5.26 trillion in December and the biggest increase since a 0.9 percent rate in October. Analysts had predicted growth of 0.5 percent. January construction was also stronger than anticipated, rising 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $589.8 billion.

The World

In a massive response to weeks of antigovernment dem-onstrations, Albania's parliament declared a state of emergency and reelected President Berisha to a new term. Censorship of news coverage was ordered, a nationwide curfew was imposed, and police were authorized to shoot to kill without warning in cases of continued unrest.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu toured Arab neighborhoods to press his case for making Jerusalem "one city for Jews and Arabs alike." He promised an upgrade of the city's infrastructure when Israel builds 6,500 housing units for Jews on dispu-ted land. The housing plan has angered Palestinians, who shut down much of Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip in a general strike.

Turkish Prime Minister Erbakan shrugged off a warning from the country's top generals to curb Islamic activism. He denied that they had demanded passage of new laws to keep the country a secular republic. Meanwhile, an Ankara newspaper quoted one of the generals as saying the military "cannot be in harmony" with anyone trying to make Turkey an Islamic state.

Japan's communications ministry recommended scrapping a costly experiment with analog high-definition television, The Wall Street Journal reported. It said the move is likely to mean that Japan will convert eventually to digital high-definition TV, which enjoys wider international favor. A decade ago, the analog system was considered to have the potential to concentrate the world's next broadcast standard, and its accompanying hardware, in Japanese hands.

Border guards accused of killing one of the first East Germans who tried to escape to West Berlin went on trial for manslaughter. Erich Schreiber and Rolf Friedrich allegedly shot teenager Peter Fechter Aug. 17, 1962, then ignored his pleas for help as hundreds of people listened from the other side of the Berlin Wall. Fechter died 50 minutes later. Photos of the incident were published around the world.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga of Sri Lanka was unharmed when a terrorist bomb exploded near her vacation residence. Police said the device went off prematurely, killing the man who carried it. A boy accompanying him was arrested. Suspicion fell on Tamil separatists, fighting for an independent homeland on the island.

An estimated 4,000 supporters protested outside a police station where Indonesia's top democracy activist was being questioned. Megawati Su-karnoputri is accused of holding an illegal rally Jan. 10. She was ousted from leadership of the Indonesian Democratic Party last June in a move engineered by the government to silence her calls for political freedom. The government says that - with no party to lead - she had no right to stage a political gathering.

Angry Kenyan students forcibly evicted a government minister from the funeral of one of their leaders, Nairobi newspapers reported. The incident came amid services for Solomon Muruli, who had complained of police harassment before he was found dead in an unexplained fire in his dormitory room Feb. 23.

Railway officials in Pakistan blamed brake failure for the wreck of a crowded passenger train. It had been diverted onto a dead-end line to avoid colliding with an oncoming express but failed to stop and derailed. At least 125 people died; 157 others were hurt. It was Pakistan's second major rail accident in less than six weeks.

Labor unions in Swaziland stepped up a month-long strike for political reforms by imposing roadblocks at the main border crossings into the kingdom. Reports said border police used tear gas and stun grenades to break up one group that had prevented supply trucks from entering. King Mswati III has resisted calls for democratic government.


It's not a ploy. We're not playing games. We think ... it's our responsibility to treat [Jerusalem's] Arab and Jewish residents alike."

- Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, promising Arabs that his government would upgrade their half of the divided city.

Spam, the Hershey Bar, and Ocean Spray cranberries have their own museums, so Kraft Foods figured: why not one for Jell-O? The wobbly dessert was born 100 years ago this month in Le Roy, N.Y. Officials there hope the museum - funded by $50,000 from Kraft - will put their town on the tourist trail. Its other claim to fame - the stringless string bean also was developed there - hasn't done much for tourism.

If you were one of the millions of viewers who tuned in the last episode of "Cheers" May 20, 1993, perhaps you'd be interested to know that it finally ended last weekend. It seems the script for that show - autographed by the cast - was to be auctioned for an expected $1,000 to benefit Boston's Handel & Hyden Society. But someone stole it at the fund-raiser Feb. 15. A week later, it turned up on the steps of a suburban church. The auction now has been held, and the script fetched $10,000.

The annual Grand National Turkey Calling Championships at Columbus, Ohio, are over. And once again the winner was a Parrott. Walter Parrott of Fredericktown, Missouri, beat out 11 other finalists to defend his title.

The Day's List

Why 'Made in the USA' Label Isn't Easy to Find

If it seems US-made consumer products no longer rule the marketplace, experts say that's because the country's strength now is in high-tech or high-volume goods not likely to appear on many store shelves. Product areas in which the US is still a leader and their sales totals (in billions; 1994 figures):

Chemicals, allied products $181.0

Food, allied products $172.0

Industrial machinery $161.0

Electronics, electrical equipment $145.7

Printing/publishing $120.5

Fabricated metals $97.0

Surgical instruments $93.0

Plastics, rubber $69.6

Paper, allied products $64.0

Primary metals $61.5

Aircraft, parts $43.6

Lumber, wood products $40.6

- Associated Press

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