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News Briefs

Rumors of Second Heaven's Gate Mass Suicide Bogus

The Washington Post

Authorities in San Diego said Monday that despite "bizarre rumors" that surviving Heaven's Gate UFO cult members are planning additional mass suicides, they are convinced that the 39 people who were found dead in a Rancho Santa Fe mansion last week - and one former member who left the cult compound several weeks earlier - comprised the entire group.

A recent posting on the World Wide Web warned that 13 people were waiting somewhere in southwest Arizona to be "picked up" by an alien spacecraft. Lipscomb said the FBI, which is assisting local investigators on computer-related lines of inquiry, did a Web search and located the originator of the posting. "It seems to be bogus at this point," Lipscomb said.

Investigators and FBI agents are examining data contained in the cult members' computers. Detectives are also trying to determine where the cult members obtained the phenobarbitol that they ingested as part of their suicide ritual.

San Diego County Medical Examiner Brian D. Blackbourne said that preliminary toxicological tests on the last two cult members to commit suicide indicated they had ingested another drug, Vicovin, a semi-synthetic opiate similar to codeine.

Dow Drops as Rate Fears Linger

The Washington Post

Investors returning from the three-day Easter weekend continued dumping stocks Monday, pushing down the Dow Jones industrial average to its biggest two-day percentage drop since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

The Dow's 157.11-point fall Monday, to 6583.48 - its lowest point since early January - stemmed from a mix of worries about rising interest rates, lower earnings at some big companies and the prospect that the long bull market has run its course.

Some market analysts said this plunge is part of a "correction" in stock prices, which surged following last November's presidential election, driving up the Dow from the 6000 range to above 7000 in February.

Many analysts said the Dow's descent makes sense because giddy investors had bid stocks to unsustainable levels. After a pause of some months, they said, the market should recover some ground.

The Fed last week raised a key short-term interest rate by a quarter-point for the first time in more than two years, and most Wall Street analysts and traders say they expect more rate increases.

With Talks Looming, Zaire Rebels Advance

The Washington Post

Zairian rebels continued their relentless march through Africa's third-largest nation Monday, seizing a strategically important rail hub even as preparations for peace talks with the government proceed.

The rebels, called the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire, claimed to have moved into Kamina, Zaire's second-largest city. About 270 miles south of Kamina, Lubumbashi is at the heart of Zaire's copper belt and is, along with the diamond center of Mbuji-Mayi to the north, key to the mineral riches that provide Zaire with most of its revenue.

As has been their routine in this 5 1/2-month-old war, Zairian military units apparently put up little resistance at Kamina. The governor of Shaba Province was quoted as saying some fighting had occurred there, but other sources said many soldiers had fled south by rail, according to the Reuter news agency.

With Kamina apparently in rebel hands, Zairian troops further south are effectively cut off from a key supply and transport route. Kamina also gives the rebels access to a large airfield that was used in the 1980s as a supply base for American arms shipments to UNITA rebels in neighboring Angola.