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News briefs

Poll Shows Perot Neck and Neck With Bush in California

Los Angeles Times


If the general election were held today, Ross Perot and President Bush would run neck and neck in California, with Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton trailing narrowly, according to a new Los Angeles Times poll.

Attracting support from across the ideological spectrum, Perot, the Texas billionaire considering an independent bid for the White House, was favored by 32 percent of the respondents, compared to 33 percent for Bush and 26 percent for Clinton, the survey found.

Perot's showing underscores widespread dissatisfaction with both Bush and Clinton in the battleground state: A majority of Californians disapprove of the president's job performance, and a plurality say the Democratic front-runner lacks the honesty and integrity to serve as president.

Looking toward the state's June 2 presidential primaries, the poll found former California Gov. Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown Jr. holding a 51-37 lead over Clinton among Democrats.

On the Republican side, the poll found President Bush with a commanding 72-18 advantage over challenger Patrick J. Buchanan, who has accumulated high negatives in the state, even among GOP partisans.

The Times Poll, supervised by John Brennan, surveyed 1,395 registered California voters from Thursday through Sunday, including 619 registered Democrats and 526 registered Republicans; it has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points for all registered voters. For the individual samples of registered Democrats and Republicans, the margin of error is 5 percentage points.

Rebel Groups Struggle for Kabul

The Washington Post

KABUL, Afghanistan

Violent street battles and artillery duels rattled the Afghan capital for a second day Monday as guerrillas loyal to Ahmed Shah Masood appeared to advance in their effort to oust the forces of radical Muslim leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

Casualties were again heavy, and the shuttered streets of Kabul were the scene of chaotic skirmishes and thunderous artillery exchanges that spilled into heavily populated neighborhoods.

On the western side of downtown Kabul, Masood's forces drove Hekmatyar's guerrillas from a number of installations they seized after entering the capital Saturday, chased them through the streets and in one instance captured and imprisoned at least 75 of Hekmatyar's men.

But on the eastern side, Hekmatyar's guerrillas regrouped in a compound of apartment blocks and offered heavy resistance, and throughout the day their allies above a nearby ridge pounded Bala Hissar, a 5th-century fort that is a Masood stronghold just outside the capital.

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Pakistan, where the Afghan guerrillas were based during their 14-year struggle against the Soviet-backed Kabul government, said Monday that a cease-fire had been agreed upon by all sides. But hours after that announcement, heavy bombardments continued at the airport, across the Kabul River and above Bala Hissar, and there was no confirmation from the rival guerrilla leaders of an agreement to stop fighting.

British Parliament Elects First Woman Speaker

Los Angeles Times


Amid cheers and applause, the British Parliament Monday elected the first woman Speaker in its history.

Betty Boothroyd, 62, a Labor Party member of the House of Commons for 20 years and deputy Speaker for the past five, won by a comfortable 134-vote margin over Conservative Party candidate Peter Brooke, the former secretary for Northern Ireland.

It was the first contested election for the speakership since 1951. In the vote, party discipline was not imposed, freeing lawmakers on the other side of the aisle who favored the Labor candidate. Boothroyd, in fact, was nominated by a senior Tory, John Biffen, who was leader of the House early in Margaret Thatcher's tenure as prime minister.

An ebullient and popular legislator with a ready smile who comes from the right wing of Labor, Boothroyd is the 155th Speaker of the Commons, which has a history spanning six centuries.


More Dreary Cool Days

Yeh-Kai Tung

Staff Meteorologist

The low pressure center currently located in the Ohio Valley will pass to the south of us, sparing us rain, but bringing associated cloudiness with it. Temperatures will be slightly below normal.

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy. Light easterly wind 5-10 mph (8-16 kph). High 51o F (10o C).

Tuesday night: Mostly cloudy. Light and variable winds.

Low 39o F (4o C).

Wednesday: Partly cloudy with breaks in the clouds. High 55o F (13o C). Low 41o F (5o C).

Thursday: Partly sunny with lingering clouds. High 55o F (13o C).