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News Briefs I

Informer Allows Officials to Foil Bombing Plot in Texas

The Washington Post

Their plan, an FBI official said, was to "wipe out" half of Wise County on May 1.

First, the three men and one woman allegedly planned to blow up a gas refinery in Bridgeport, Texas, releasing what they thought would be a lethal cloud of hydrogen sulfide gas and perhaps killing police officers who would come to investigate a telephone bomb threat. During the chaos, they hoped to rob an armored car in the small town of Chico of $2 million, money they planned to use to finance other terrorist actions, the FBI said.

But the foursome was arrested quietly Tuesday after the Dallas Joint Terrorism Task Force, a coalition of federal and local police, staged a month-long investigation in largely rural Wise County, northwest of Fort Worth, using an informer who was part of the group.

"He came to us and said he had learned that these people were planning this, and he could not condone violence of this nature," said Robert Garrity, assistant special agent-in-charge of the Dallas FBI office. "He wanted to help us avoid a tragedy."

The foursome planned to use the money to finance other terrorist actions.

Russia, China, and Asian Neighbors Sign Border Pact

The Washington Post

Russia, China, and three Central Asian neighbors signed an agreement Thursday hailed as a breakthrough in reducing military forces along their shared 4,340-mile border, but the extent of the actual pullback of forces remained unclear.

In a Kremlin ceremony, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Chinese President Jiang Zemin and the leaders of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakstan and Tajikistan signed what Yeltsin called an "unprecedented" agreement climaxing seven years of negotiation. Jiang hailed the agreement as a "model of security differing from the Cold War mentality."

The treaty would set 62-mile-wide zones on each side of the border in which limits are placed on armaments and personnel, according to the Russian news agency Interfax. The limits are 3,900 tanks for Russia and the three Central Asian states, of which 3,810 would be Russian, and 3,900 for China, Interfax reported.

The agreement also allows up to 4,500 other armored vehicles, but Interfax said China would not reach the limits because it long ago stopped stationing large forces along its borders with the former Soviet Union.

Top General Insists That Marines Continue Separation of Sexes

The Baltimore Sun

While the Army sex scandal has renewed a debate about whether men and women should train together, the top Marine general said Thursday he would insist that his service continue to separate the sexes in basic training.

"Why aren't we integrating gender? We don't think it's a good idea to do that," said Gen. Charles C. Krulak, Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Krulak said it was best for women to first learn "the ethos of our precious corps" and to train with female sergeants and officers before being integrated with men.

"We want to look up to a role model that we can identify with," Krulak recalled the trainees saying. "We want to look up and see the battalion commander is a women. We'll see enough guys in the next four years or 40."

Krulak's comments came in response to questions from the audience following his address to the U.S. Naval Institute's meeting at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.

"We're not knocking how anybody else does it," Krulak said. "We're just saying for our corps it works for us and we're not going to change no matter how much pressure is put on."