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News In Brief

The US

Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov was to meet with President Clinton at the White House today, although Clinton's recent surgery for a knee injury could delay the talks. The foreign minister is in Washington to help lay the groundwork before Clinton heads to Helsinki for a summit with Russian President Boris Yeltsin on NATO expansion, arms control, and economic reform. Earlier, Primakov met with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

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Hillary Rodham Clinton and daughter Chelsea were to head for Africa on a six-nation trip. First stop is Senegal, where the first lady was to visit a grass-roots democracy training session after stopping at Goree Island, once a hub of the African slave trade. Other countries on their agenda: Tanzania, South Africa, Eritrea, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

A federal jury in Houston ruled that the US government can seize $7.9 million from the bank account of Mario Ruiz Massieu, Mexico's former top drug prosecutor. The jury also accused Massieu of taking bribes from drug traffickers. The verdict means the jury agreed the money came from drug proceeds or was used in the promotion of drug trafficking. But Massieu was not charged with a crime. He was asked in the trial to prove that the money was earned legally.

A vote on Clinton's decision to certify Mexico now heads to the Senate after the House voted 251-to-175 to overrule the president's move. The bill would delay decertification for 90 days to give Mexico an opportunity to prove itself as a drug-war ally. Clinton has promised a veto.

The White House held at least 58 Democratic Party fund-raising receptions, meals, and other events over the past four years, The Washington Post reported. The events were in addition to 103 coffees previously disclosed by the White House.

A former Soviet spy divulged that Julius Rosenberg was a contact, and Ethel Rosenberg almost certainly knew of her husband's spying activities. But Rosenberg played only a minor role in Soviet atomic espionage, Alexander Feklisov told The Washington Post. Left-wing Americans have questioned for decades whether the Rosenbergs, who were executed in 1953, were innocent of the spying.

Less punch for air bags: That's what a new National Traffic Safety Administration regulation will allow. It will permit automakers to install air bags that deploy with 20 to 30 percent less force than current models, which deploy at up to 200 m.p.h. The auto industry, which lobbied hard for the change, says some of the first cars with the "depowered" air bags may be on the market by late summer.

Federal regulators approved a plan to allow telephone and Internet service transmissions via wireless technology. The satellite plan negotiated among regulators, cellular magnate Craig Mc Caw, and former AT&T president Alex Mandl has been criticized by potential rivals as a giveaway of valuable public airwaves.

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Concerned about rising interest rates, investors caused the Dow Jones industrials to fall 160.48 Thursday to 6879 - the largest drop since July 15. But it recovered somewhat Friday, ending the week down 65 points. The Federal Reserve plans to meet next week to discuss a rate change. Also, retail sales rose 0.8 percent in February. And January's increase was revised from an estimated 0.6 percent to 1.5 percent.

Mother (and father) love may be more powerful than you think. Two psychologists at the University of Arizona in Tuscon say that when children feel loved, they become healthier adults. They based their conclusions on a study done with 87 Harvard undergraduates in the 1950s, who were interviewed 35 years later. Students who gave their parents high ratings on the love scale showed levels of disease far lower than those who gave their parents low ratings.

The Navy ended a search for four crew members on a helicopter that crashed into the Atlantic during a training flight. Rough weather hindered the search for survivors on the Seahawk helicopter, which was operating out of Mayport, Fla.

The World

Israel vowed to break ground on a controversial housing project in East Jerusalem as soon as today, despite warnings that do-ing so would incite rioting by Palestinians. Tensions also rose after a Justice Ministry announcement that Palestinian Authority President Arafat "could" be sent into exile if violence erupted over the housing project. The two moves came as King Hussein of Jordan visited the families of Israeli schoolgirls kill-ed last week by one of his border guards.

Thousands of Albanians knelt in silence in Tirana's main square at a rally calling for an end to the anarchy that has grip-ped the country for weeks. As they did, EU foreign ministers voted to send in only a fact-finding mission, despite an Albanian government request for troops to quell the spreading insurgency. Meanwhile, President Berisha said on national TV he would not accept insurgent demands that he resign.

As a condition for accepting NATO expansion, Russian President Boris Yeltsin said he would insist on a legally binding treaty barring deployment of the alliance's forces from eastern Europe. Yeltsin said Russia "cannot be satisfied" with Western pled-ges not to station any new troops permanently in Europe in the foreseeable future. Yeltsin is due to meet President Clinton in Helsinki for a two-day summit beginning Thursday.

As many as 100,000 trade unionists and politicians from all over Europe were expected in Brussels for a protest against high unemployment and the erosion of government social supports. Unemployment has reach-ed 10.8 percent as the 15 EU countries have been slashing budgets and raising taxes in preparation for imposition of a single currency in 1999.

President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire again postponed his return from medical treatment in France following word that rebels had captured the country's third-largest city. Kisangani fell over the weekend to the forces of Laurent Kabila, whose aides said their next target would be Lubumbashi, capital of the Shaba copper- and cobalt-mining province.

British Prime Minister John Major agreed to a series of televised debates with his Labour Party challenger, Tony Blair. A Major spokesman said all third-party leaders should be excluded from the sessions. But the Liberal Democrats and Scottish and Welsh nationalists vowed to appeal to the courts to be included. Major is expected to announce as soon as today that the election will be held May 1.

US diplomats refused to comment on a published report that an estimated 100 American intelligence agents operate under cover in Germany. The report, in Der Spiegel, also named Peyton Humphries as the US diplomat who was ordered out of Germany for attempting to recruit an Economics Ministry official as a spy. Germany also declined to comment on the report.

Amid tight security, voters in El Salvador went to the polls for national and local elections that both leftists and rightists said they would win. At stake were 64 of the 84 seats in the National Assembly and 262 mayoral races. The right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance currently holds power, but the most recent opinion polls showed the leftist Faribundo Marti National Front in the lead. Local elections also were held over the weekend in Mexico, Nigeria, and Taiwan.

The government of the United Arab Emirates resigned after more than six years in power, but officials said the move did not signal a political crisis. It was unclear when a new Cabinet would be named. Oil revenues make the emirates - formed in 1971 after Britain withdrew military protection - one of the world's wealthiest countries.


Peace! Peace! Peace!"

- Chants from the main square of Albania's capital, at a rally for an end to weeks of anarchy.

What TV show wouldn't want an overnight increase in its audience of 100 million viewers? That's what is projected for "Sesame Street" early next year when it makes its debut in Shanghai, China. The series has been entertaining children of all ages since 1968.

Shelly Costa paid attention when her driving instructor advised watching for traffic hazards on all four sides of the car. But as she pulled into a Steamboat Springs, Colo., parking lot, she collided with a hot-air balloon. There were no injuries, and damage to the car was minor. The balloon pilot claimed she should have seen him coming. Not so, said police. After all, who expects to be hit by things falling from the sky?

Sympathy and admiration can be opposite sides of the same coin. Case in point: Fatmir Caci. Almost no one was stopping by his Albanian Tours booth at the world's largest travel-industry fair in Berlin. But he didn't complain. Although his country is convulsed by unrest and has a poorly developed infrastructure, Caci says he believes the future is on his side. Reason: Albania's sunny Mediterranean climate, 180 miles of scenic coastline, and rich cultural heritage.

The Day's List

Countries Where Water Is a Precious Commodity

A recently released study by Washington's International Food Policy Research Institute says dwindling water supplies worldwide are threatening food stocks, causing health problems, and raising the potential for armed conflict. These were the most water-scarce countries at the start of this decade (with fresh water available per person in cubic yards). Iceland had the most: 873,333 cubic yards.

Djibouti 30

Kuwait 98

Malta 111

Qatar 153

Bahrain 234

Barbados 255

Singapore 290

Saudi Arabia 401

United Arab Emirates 403

Jordan 428

Yemen 583

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