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News Briefs, part 1

PLO Envoys to Discuss Resuming Talks With Israel

The Washington Post
TUNIS, Tunisia

The Palestine Liberation Organization prepared Monday to send two envoys to Washington to "discuss what is needed for resuming" peace talks with Israel as its executive committee met under PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat to decide whether to suspend the negotiations.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, the PLO's chief negotiator, said in a telephone interview that steps taken Sunday by Israel's cabinet in response to the attack on a Hebron mosque Friday by a Jewish settler that killed 39 people "did not meet the minimum requirements" for salvaging the faltering negotiations.

In Washington, meanwhile, U.S. officials began searching for a compromise formula that would rescue the talks.

Israel began arresting a small hard core of radical Jewish settlers Monday and clashes continued in the territories between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers. Two Palestinians were reported killed, bringing the Arab toll to 64 dead, including those shot by Baruch Goldstein, the militant Jewish settler who opened fire Friday on hundreds of Arab worshipers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron in the West Bank.

Administration Adds Restrictions For Buying Rapid-Fire Shotguns

Los Angeles Times

On the same day that the Brady Bill took effect across the nation, the administration placed new restrictions on the purchase of three types of rapid-fire shotguns that Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen called "destructive devices, pure and simple."

Bentsen announced the reclassification of the "street sweeper," "striker," and USAS-12 during a press conference held at a District of Columbia police department. Buyers and current owners of the weapons will have to undergo extensive screenings and certification, and new taxes will be levied on manufacturers, dealers and purchasers.

"Effective tomorrow morning, these weapons will be classified just what they are: machine guns," Bentsen said.

President Clinton, speaking in Chicago, blamed the shotguns for an increase in deaths from multiple bullet wounds. Clinton said the guns, one of which can fire twelve rounds in less than three seconds, were developed in South Africa years ago for crowd control and are still being manufactured in the the United States.

MCI to Invest $1 Billion In Wireless Technology

The Washington Post

MCI Communications Corp. said Monday it will invest $1.3 billion to help construct a nationwide wireless communications system.

MCI said it has tentatively agreed to purchase 17 percent of the stock of Nextel Communications Inc., a Rutherford, N.J., company that is assembling a wireless system that by the end of 1996 is intended to serve regions that include roughly 95 percent of the country's population.

The move represents MCI's attempt to become a major player in wireless communications, the fastest-growing sector of the telecommunications industry. It plans to offer wireless services in the Washington area in a year.

MCI and Nextel will face formidable competitors, most notably AT&T, the nation's largest long distance carrier, and McCaw Cellular Communications Inc., the's largest cellular phone service provider. AT&T hopes to complete its $12.6 billion acquisition of McCaw in the early summer.

Both long-distance companies are hoping to move quickly before the Federal Communications Commission auctions of new space on the airwaves, which are expected to unleash a whole new field of wireless competitors.