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News briefs

Harkin a Shoo-In for Iowa

The Baltimore Sun

DES MOINES, Iowa

Iowa Democrats kicked off their party's competition for 1992 national convention delegates Monday night in precinct caucuses across the state, with the only question the size of the victory for native son Sen. Tom Harkin.

Harkin's presidential candidacy effectively drove away other candidates and made state pride the principal drawing card for the caucuses, held in homes, churches, schools, and public buildings in more than 2,300 precincts.

Joe Shannahan, Iowa Democratic Party spokesman, predicted a turnout of as low as 30,000 voters, only about one-fourth as many as showed up for the highly competitive caucuses four years ago. That year the winner was Rep. Richard Gephardt of neighboring Missouri, now the House majority leader and one of several ranking figures in the party who have declined to run this year.

Harkin campaigned right up to convening of the caucuses Monday night in an effort to boost the turnout and draw some measure of national recognition from his uncontested victory here.

Nazi Had Argentina's Blessing

Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES

Argentina's secret government files on Nazi war criminals, released for the first time to the Simon Wiesenthal Center here, show that the German and Argentine governments knew as early as 1956 that notorious Nazi physician Josef Mengele had fled to Argentina but did nothing to apprehend him.

The documents provide the first official confirmation of what many Jewish groups and Nazi-hunters have suspected for years: that Mengele, nicknamed "Angel of Death" for the ghastly experiments he performed on prisoners at the Auschwitz concentration camp in southern Poland, lived for years in Argentina without fear of retribution.

The files show that Mengele, who fled to Argentina under an assumed name in 1949, applied for an Argentine identification card under his real name in 1956 and requested a copy of his birth certificate from the German Embassy the same year, Wiesenthal scholars said Monday. He is believed to have died in a swimming accident in Brazil in 1979, although there is some dispute about the identity of the remains.

Witness Says Military Protected Alleged Noriega Drug Dealers

Los Angeles Times

MIAMI

Panamanian military officials protected close associates of Gen. Manuel A. Noriega while reporting information to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on lesser-known narcotics suspects, a defense witness acknowledged Monday at Noriega's drug-trafficking trial.

The testimony of former DEA agent James Bramble, who earlier had told jurors of assistance by the former dictator in the war against drugs, was a major boost for prosecutors who are trying to convince the jury that Noriega's cooperation was minimal.

In his third day on the witness stand, Bramble -- who has been the chief defense witness so far -- was asked by associate prosecutor Guy A. Lewis if Noriega's airport intelligence units ever had reported the comings and goings of Ricardo Bilonick and Cesar Rodriguez, two of the general's alleged co-conspirators in the lucrative drug business.

Blair Bags Gold Again

The Washington Post

ALBERTVILLE, France

As a horde of admirers from home roared their approval Monday night, Bonnie Blair became the first American woman to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in speedskating.

Blair's easy triumph in the 500-meter sprints garnered the first U.S. medal of the two-day-old XVI Winter Olympics and mirrored her gold-medal run at the same distance in Calgary four years ago, when she also won a bronze at 1,000 meters.

Blair's coach said the win by 0.18 seconds on one of her rare off-days showed just how much better she is than anyone else in the sport today.Blair will be the favorite then, as she was last night, after having won every one of her outings at 500 and 1,000 meters on the World Cup circuit this year.

Blair's time of 40.33 seconds was over a second off the 39.10 world record she skated at Calgary, which still stands. But the ice here was nowhere near as slick as the perfect indoor surface there, and racing was even delayed an hour to let the ice harden as the sun sank.

Weather

Coldier and Windier

National Weather Service

Today: Increasing clouds, breezy and milder. A 40 percent chance of rain or snow showers in the afternoon. High of 45F (7 C), with southwest winds of 15-25 mph (24-40 kph).

Tonight: Chance of flurries in the evening, then clearing. Low of 15-20F (-10 to -7 C).

Tomorrow: Sunny and cold, with highs between 20-25F (-7 to -4C).