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News In Brief

The US

Democrats claimed momentum, Republicans claimed more intensely motivated voters, and polls suggested neither had a clear national advantage as Americans prepared to vote. Surveys by the Pew Research Center and CNN-USA Today-Gallup showed voter preference for congressional candidates split almost evenly between the parties - suggesting last-minute voter decisions would be crucial in many races.

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President Clinton scheduled a series of broadcast interviews targeting black audiences, urging them to vote and predicting they would help Democrats reverse a trend of losing midterm elections. Rep. John Kasich (R) of Ohio, the House Budget Committee chairman, predicted on NBC that many Democratic voters, angered by the Monica Lewinsky affair, would decide not to vote.

There seemed little chance of immediate military reaction to Iraqi defiance of UN arms inspections. Top US security officials were meeting for the third day in a row, but the Clinton administration was reportedly disposed to allow the Security Council to take the lead in confronting Iraq over its refusal to permit further monitoring of the nation's weapons industry until the UN lifts its tough economic sanctions against Iraq.

Income growth slowed to a crawl in September, but Americans kept on spending, the Commerce Department said. The US savings rate - savings as a percent of after-tax income - was minus 0.2 percent in September, the lowest rate since the US began monthly tracking in 1959. So far this year, the savings rate is a positive 0.6 percent, down from 2.1 percent in 1997. Negative saving occurs when consumers finance spending through credit, by selling investments, or by using past savings.

Federal authorities were searching for the person or persons who sent letters threatening to contaminate eight Midwestern abortion clinics with anthrax, even though the threats were apparently a hoax. Initial tests on a brownish, powdery substance found in four of the envelopes revealed no trace of the deadly bacteria, which can be used in biological weapons. Reports are expected early this week on tests of the contents of the other envelopes.

Sen. John Glenn (D) of Ohio held a press conference from space after astronauts on the shuttle Discovery accomplished one of their main objectives: setting loose a sun-gazing satellite. In his first discussion with reporters since rocketing into orbit last week, the world's oldest space traveler said so far he had been feeling surprisingly comfortable and energetic.

The Supreme Court may soon clarify the monetary liability of employers found to have deliberately and intentionally discriminated against employees or job applicants based on race, sex, religion, or national origin. The court said it will review a lower-court ruling that barred Carole Kolstad from collecting punitive damages from the American Dental Association after it illegally discriminated against her by not promoting her to a high-ranking job in its Washington office because of her sex.

Rain-swollen rivers in southern Kansas and north-central Oklahoma flooded nearby communities. The storm hit hardest in Kansas, dumping nearly a foot of rain on parts of Butler, Sedgwick, and Harvey counties. Some 900 people were evacuated statewide in Kansas, including at least 350 people in Wichita nursing homes. The town of Sedgwick was completely cut off by flood waters, and downtown Augusta was under five feet of water.

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A museum to celebrate the Ford Mustang will be located in Atlanta or Orlando, Fla., a group of Mustang owners announced in Las Vegas. Their statement came as Ford Motor Co. said it was donating $1.5 million to Mustang Museum Inc., the nonprofit group formed in 1955 to found the museum.

The World

Nicaragua's President Arnoldo Aleman declared three days of national mourning in what he called the country's worst natural disaster since an earthquake killed 5,000 people in 1972. Soldiers found few survivors at the Casita volcano in northern Nicaragua, where a crater lake collapse and mudslides buried four towns. As hurricane Mitch headed into the Pacific, it left behind a death toll in Central America of at least 1,005. Officals say the toll could reach 7,000.

The Israeli Cabinet is expected to begin debate today on ratification of the interim peace agreement. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority agreed to Israel's request to postpone the land-for-security pact until later this week. Also, some 80 Palestinian police blocked senior Palestinian Authority official Faisal Husseini and his supporters, and beat his bodyguards, when they tried to stop work at a new housing site for Jews in east Jerusalem.

NATO may have to shelve its plans to use Macedonia as a military base for aerial surveillance of Kosovo after the opposition Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity won parliamentary elections by capturing 59 of 120 seats. The Social Democrats followed with 29 seats. During the campaign, the coalition of Ljupco Georgievski said it opposed stationing foreign military forces in Macedonia, but later said it would maintain "continuity" in international agreements reached by the current government.

US envoy Christopher Hill was to head for Kosovo's capital, Pristina, today after meeting with Serbian President Milan Milutinovic in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Hill is trying to jump-start efforts to get Serbs and ethnic Albanians to agree on a political settlement. Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic pledged to reach agreement by yesterday with the ethnic Albanians on an interim settlement leading to self-rule. About 70 US international monitors prepared to head for Pristina to help verify the status of other Milosevic promises.

Warring factions in the Guinea-Bissau civil war signed a peace accord in Abuja, Nigeria. The pact ends a five-month-long conflict, calls for reaffirmation of a cease-fire signed in August, withdrawal of all foreign forces, and the introduction of West African peacekeepers. A government of national unity is to be formed within 10 days, and presidential elections are to be held by March.

Isabel Allende, a Chilean congresswoman and daughter of the late Salvador Allende, arrived in London with a delegation of lawmakers and human-rights activists to support efforts to prosecute Gen. Augusto Pinochet. British prosecutors are appealing a court decision that gives the general immunity from prosecution because he is a former head of state.

Reinforcements were expected to reach Mitu, Colombia, today to help a besieged police garrison of 120 officers under missile attack by 800 guerrillas. The government has

promised to withdraw all troops from a large section of southern Columbia by Nov. 7 to help facilitate peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia. FARC has accused the government of planning to sabotage the talks - and before the attack was holding at least 248 soldiers and police officers captive. Columbian President Pastrana has refused to trade them for 452 jailed rebels.

Riot police blocked some 200 supporters from a courtroom In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's trial began. He faces five counts of corruption and five counts of illegal sex acts. Anwar claims the charges were concocted by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, whose 17-year leadership was threatened by Anwar's growing stature.


"England cannot become a safe haven for dictators or violators of human rights." - Juan Pablo Letelier, Chilean congressman and son of slain Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier, commenting on a British-court ruling that former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet is immune from prosecution as a former head of state.

One of a pair of burglars in the Tel Aviv suburb of Herzlia liked the look of a bed in the apartment they'd broken into so much that he just couldn't resist testing its firmness while his partner-in-crime liberated the occupants' TV set and air conditioner. Big mistake. By the time the bed connoisseur had completed a spontaneous in-home trial, his more-industrious accomplice was long gone and he was blinking at the police. His next trial is expected to take place in a courtroom.

A woman in suburban Washington, D.C., recently bought a musical gadget and planned to bake it into her husband's birthday cake as a surprise. But the next morning, the little toy kept singing its only tune, and she didn't know how to turn it off before departing for work. So she stashed it in the mailbox and left. Sure enough, the device had quieted down by the time her husband checked the mail. But spotting a strange gadget, he took it to the Burtonsville, Md., Volunteer Fire Station. The result: A group of local bomb technicians - not the woman's husband - were taken by surprise when the innocuous machine regaled them by singing "Happy Birthday."

The Day's List

What Advertising Costs On Network TV Shows

There have been political ads galore on American television during the run-up to today's elections. Everyone knows they're expensive, but the following list indicates just how dear the major networks can be. Programs with the most- and least-expensive 30-second ads on each of the major networks:

Most Expensive

"ER" (NBC) $551,000

"Monday Night Football" (ABC) $380,000

"Touched by an Angel" (CBS) $277,000

Least Expensive

"Wind on Water" (NBC) $80,000

"Buddy Faro" (CBS) $65,000

"The Practice" (ABC) $62,000

- Broadcasting & Cable magazine

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