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News Briefs

Russian Government Shuts 15 Opposition Newspapers

The Washington Post


The Russian government shut 15 opposition newspapers Thursday and ordered two others to fire their editors and change their names if they want to resume publishing.

The actions by President Boris Yeltsin's press ministry came as his government continued to press its opposition in the wake of the bloody suppression of a hard-line uprising Oct. 4.

The newspapers had been suspended under a temporary state of emergency since tanks loyal to Yeltsin ended a rebellion by Vice President Alexander Rutskoi and his supporters in parliament. The state of emergency is scheduled to end this weekend but officials said Thursday's ban on publication would not be lifted.

Most of the newspapers were shut for allegedly advocating violence and armed uprisings against the government. Most of them were rabidly nationalistic, fascist or antisemitic. The ministry also banned the anti-Yeltsin television program "600 Seconds."

But Yeltsin's press ministry, now headed by Vladimir Shumeiko, also went after two mass-circulation dailies that, while decidedly anti-Yeltsin, had been far more mainstream. Pravda, for decades the house newspaper of the Soviet Communist Party, and Sovietskaya Rossiya were ordered to change their names and fire their editors.

Both challenged the government's latest action as illegal under the press law and said they would not name new editors. Pravda editor Gennady Seleznyov rejected the action as "crude and arbitrary."

Chemist-Surfer Wins Nobel Prize Along With 3 Other Scientists


Among the four scientists named winners of 1993 Nobel Prizes for physics and chemistry Wednesday, biochemist Kary Mullis stands out as a maverick's maverick: unconventional, creative, unconcerned with the niceties.

When told of his Nobel Prize, for example, Mullis, who lives by the shore in San Diego, told a Swedish news agency, "Now I've got to go out and surf for an hour to wake up, and maybe avoid phone calls from journalists for a while."

Mullis, 48, shares half of the $825,000 Nobel Prize in chemistry with Michael Smith, 61, at the University of British Columbia. Mullis invented an extraordinarily powerful technique called PCR, which allows genetic material, DNA, to be copied in endless amounts. Smith found a way to make specific, controlled mutations in individual genes.

The physics prize, also $825,000, is shared by astronomers Joseph Taylor Jr., 52, and Russell Hulse, 42, at Princeton University. They were honored for their 1974 discovery of the first binary pulsar, which could yet lead to the detection of gravity waves. The orbiting pulsars now rank among the most precisely measured objects in the universe.

Fund-Raiser Guilty of Stealing $1 Million From Tsongas Campaign

The Washington Post


Nicholas A. Rizzo Jr., chief fund-raiser for Paul E. Tsongas, pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges that he stole more than $1 million from his longtime friend's 1992 presidential campaign and committed what prosecutors called the biggest campaign fraud in U.S. history.

Under terms of a plea bargain, U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro sentenced Rizzo, 59, to serve 52 months in prison, pay $600,000 to the government and pay $899,000 in restitution. Both sides acknowledged, however, that Rizzo essentially has no assets.

In a brief statement before sentencing, Rizzo said he took responsibility for his acts and promised to pay his creditors. "If I ever have the ability to earn money, I will pay them back," he said.

Rizzo, a business executive, was a close friend of Tsongas and provided the crucial financial boost to his House, Senate and presidential campaigns for nearly 20 years.