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News Briefs 1

AOL, Netscape Consider Alliance

The Washington Post
WASHINGTON

America Online Inc. and Netscape Communications Corp., maker of the leading software used on the Internet's World Wide Web, are in talks about a possible alliance, according to company sources.

The aim would be to combine forces to fight off competitors, notably software giant Microsoft Corp., which last August launched an online service called the Microsoft Network and has its own version of Web software.

Under one scenario, America Online, the country's largest consumer on-line service, would license Netscape's popular software program, Netscape Navigator, and integrate it into the package of software used by America Online customers.

The talks also have raised the possibility of America Online chief executive Steve Case taking a seat on Netscape's board of directors. However, officials are concerned that Netscape customers such as AT&T Corp. which compete with America Online might object.

Sources at America Online called the talks "preliminary" and described them as just one front in a larger fight for dominance of the Internet services industry.

Yeltsin May Be in Presidential Race

Newsday
MOSCOW

President Boris N. Yeltsin Monday all but announced that he will run for re-election in June, even as a once staunch political ally renounced him and the Chechen rebel who led the latest hostage taking surfaced to ridicule Moscow's bungling of events.

The Russian leader, recently recovered from heart trouble and now facing political attacks on all fronts, said that he will make a formal announcement next month but that a tentative decision has been made.

"It seems I will agree to stand in the presidential election," he told a group of foreign investors in Moscow. "I realize that if I do agree, there will be an intense, difficult struggle."

Yeltsin's comments coincided with another round of angry criticism over handling of events in the Northern Caucasian republic of Dagestan, where Chechen fighters seized more than 2,000 hostages Jan. 9.

Rabin Assassin Denies Premeditation

Los Angeles Times
TEL AVIV, Israel

At the start of his trial on Tuesday, Yitzhak Rabin's assassin admitted he fatally shot the Israeli prime minister following a Tel Aviv peace rally last fall, but said he was not guilty of premeditated murder because he would have been just as happy to paralyze his victim.

Yigal Amir, a 25-year-old Jewish law student, pointed out to the three-judge panel in Tel Aviv District Court that he had aimed his pistol at Rabin's spinal cord, "at the seam of the suit," rather than at the prime minister's head.

"I did not mean to murder Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin the man. I meant, as a prime minister, to remove him from the road," Amir said. "The goal was to stop his political activity. My intention was to shoot him in such a way that would prevent him from serving as prime minister, either by paralysis or, for lack of another choice, by death."

When Judge Edmond Levy asked why Amir had fired three times, the defendant said, "Just to make sure that I hit him."

Amir appeared to be hoping for a manslaughter conviction, which carries a maximum 20-year sentence rather than the mandatory life sentence of a premeditated murder conviction.