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News In Brief

The US

Parents cannot sue states to force them to comply with a US child-support enforcement program, the Supreme Court ruled. But it left open the possibility parents still might have rights to sue under a program that ties US welfare funds to states' child-support enforcement efforts. The court let stand rulings that said Brown University illegally discriminated against its women athletes. The Rhode Island university argued that lower-court rulings could require schools to offer varsity opportunities for women based on a "stark numerical quota." The justices also turn-ed aside arguments that a court-ordered 20 percent goal for new female apprentices in a California program is unfair. The Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee is a labor-management group that operates a carpentry program in northern California.

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Air Force officials were hoping a helicopter could reach the apparent crash site of a warplane that broke formation and disappeared over Arizona April 2. Scraps of paper on a snow-covered peak in Colorado led a helicopter crew to the site, but high winds prevented investigators from being sent to examine the wreckage. There was reportedly no sign of the plane's pilot, Capt. Craig Button.

In Grand Forks, N.D., the Red River was expected to crest at 54 feet - some 26 feet above flood stage. Firefighters subdued a blaze that destroyed six downtown buildings, but more than 70 percent of Grand Forks was still under water. Residents had no water for taps, toilets, or hydrants. The mayor said it could be two weeks before a water-processing plant is repaired. Thousands of residents have left dwellings in North Dakota and Minnesota due to Red River flooding.

Roger Ferguson, a financial consultant, is President Clinton's second pick to round out the Federal Reserve Board, White House officials said. A formal announcement is a week or so away, pending a final screening process, they added. Late last week, officials confirmed that University of Michigan economist Edward Gramlich was Clinton's other nominee. Both would need Senate confirmation. If Ferguson is confirmed, the District of Columbia native would be the only black on the seven-member panel.

Shortly after becoming Treasury Department ethics watchdog, Valerie Lau arranged a no-bid contract for a longtime acquaintance who had written to the White House recommending her for her job, the Associated Press reported. Lau's action reportedly has prompted a rare congressional inquiry into activities of an inspector general. Documents obtained by the AP show that she wrote to a Treasury contracting office on Dec. 11, 1994, asking that it select auditor Frank Sato for a management study of her office without competitive bidding because of the "urgency" of the review.

Representatives of Goodyear and the United Steelworkers of America resumed talks in Cincinnati over wages and benefits in a new contract. The union has targeted Goodyear and its Kelly-Springfield division to set a standard for 1997 contracts in the tire and rubber industry. More than 12,500 workers at nine Goodyear plants in seven states walked off the job April 19 after their contract expired.

Administration officials pleaded for ratification of a treaty to ban chemical weapons. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Defense Secretary William Cohen made a joint appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" to argue that failure to ratify would relegate the US to the status of so-called rogue states such as Iraq and Libya. But Senate majority leader Trent Lott said treaty language that would require the sharing of antichemical weapons data and technology was a "fundamental flaw." The Senate is due to vote Thursday on the treaty, which takes effect April 29.

US, South Korean, and North Korean negotiators met again in New York, but reached no breakthrough on four-power talks to end the decades-old standoff on the Korean peninsula. North Korea continued to demand massive food aid as a prerequisite for negotiations that also would include China. The US and South Korea want the Pyongyang government to accept talks unconditionally.

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The World

Bomb threats blamed on the Irish Republican Army brought chaos to London - the second time in four days that a major security alert disrupted transportation. Gatwick and Luton airports and four rail terminals were evacuated, subway stations were closed, and street traffic was barred from Trafalgar Square and Whitehall. Commuter traffic backed up for 10 miles outside the capital. There were no explosions, and no bombs were found. Another bomb threat halted ferry service at the port of Dover. In Belfast, Northern Ireland, a bomb damaged the offices of Sinn Fein, the IRA's political ally.

Opposition politicians in Israel asked the Supreme Court to overturn a prosecutors' ruling that Prime Minister Netanyahu should not be indicted in an influence-peddling scandal. Analysts rated the prospects for a reversal as poor. Netanyahu admitted to having "made mistakes" in the affair, but said he committed no crime. Labor Party leader Shimon Peres said the prime minister had lost the public's confidence and demanded that he call new elections.

Chinese President Jiang Ze-min was due in Moscow today for an official visit that analysts said signals a Russian effort to find new strategic partners. Jiang and Russian President Yeltsin, were expected to release a statement implying criticism of NATO expansion plans in eastern Europe. Meanwhile, Russian and NATO representatives announced new discussions May 6 in Luxembourg on ways to resolve the Kremlin's security concerns about the proposed expansion.

The UN suspended its relief efforts for Hutu refugees in eastern Zaire after a trainload of food intended for them was attacked. Officials said they assumed the attackers were local people who resented the refugees' presence, because rebel forces in control of the area had permitted the train to proceed.

Former White House chief of staff Thomas McLarty ended a two-day visit to Mexico in an effort to improve strained relations before President Clinton visits the country on May 6. McLarty said he and Mexican leaders stressed "mutual trust" and "making cooperation work" despite US congressional criticism of Mexico's narcotics-enforcement record and Mexican resentment of a tough new US immigration law.

Inder Kumar Gujral was sworn in as India's third prime minister in less than a year. He faced an immediate vote of confidence in Parliament. But the influential Congress Party, which succeeded in toppling his predecessor, H.D. Deve Gowda, said it would support him.

Pakistan's new prime minister plans to cut 200,000 civil-service jobs from the government payroll, according to published reports. One newspaper said Nawaz Sharif's government would offer retraining and small-business loan programs to those being displaced in an effort to reduce overstaffing and waste in the public sector. The layoffs were predicted to begin within two months.

Iraq said it would launch a "suitable response" if the US threatened any aircraft used to ferry Muslim pilgrims home from Saudi Arabia. The Baghdad government announced plans to defy the US-enforced "no fly" zone, a legacy of the 1991 Gulf war, because of what its official news agency said was a right to use civilian aircraft. Iraq violated UN sanctions earlier this month in flying a planeload of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.

The separatist province of Abkhazia was threatened with a cutoff of electricity if its leaders do not agree to negotiations on a peace agreement with the republic of Georgia. Abkhazians fought a successful war in 1992-93 to drive Georgian troops and civilians off their soil. But they depend on Russia for their power, and Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said he would ask the Kremlin to pull the plug if peace talks were not resumed.


"We can't accept the idea that the Israeli state is being governed by a gang."

- Opposition politician Yossi Sarid, on why he joined in asking Israel's Supreme Court to order the indictment of Prime Minister Netanyahu on fraud charges.

Police in Italy arrested a Finnish tourist who went joyriding in one of the country's most famous modes of transportation. Now, you might assume that his choice would be a Lamborghini, a Ferrari, or a Maserati - the super-expensive, high-performance sports cars built in Italian factories. But no. Under cover of darkness, he helped himsef to a gondola in Venice. He gave himself away, however, by his inability to steer the thing.

As he frequently seemed to do when he served as vice president, Dan Quayle trip-ped over his tongue again in a speaking engagement at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. The Bush administration, he told his audience, deserved credit for cutting red tape to get "life-threatening drugs" onto the market.

Some teenagers in Ellwood City, Pa., no doubt wish someone had thrown cold water on their idea for a little joke before it got out of hand. They printed flyers warning that the water supply was contaminated with "dihydrogen monoxide," which could cause severe health effects. They were caught stuffing the flyers in mailboxes and have agreed to apologize and explain that the ominous-sounding compound is only water.

The Day's List

States That Invest the Most in Tobacco Stocks

Talks between the tobacco industry and anti-tobacco leaders have been taking place in Chicago. Several of the 22 states suing to recover treatment costs for tobacco-related illnesses have pension-fund invest-ments in the industry. Some of those appear on this list of the top 10 investors (no figures were available for Hawaii, Missouri, and North Dakota).

California $1.2 billion

Florida $750 million

New York $583 million

Texas $477 million

Ohio $476 million

New Jersey $420 million

Michigan $353 million

Minnesota $281 million

North Carolina $267 million

Washington $250 million

- Associated Press

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