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News Briefs

D.C. High Schools Evacuated After Bomb Threat


Police emptied all 17 District public high schools today after a caller warned that a bomb was planted in one of them. No explosive devices were found, but thousands of students spent the day corralled into safe areas near the schools while emergency personnel searched their buildings.

The threat came in a 9:58 a.m. phone call to the Metropolitan Police Department’s communications center. The caller said that a bomb was in one of the city’s high schools and hung up, officials said.

“It appeared to be a teenager trying to disguise his voice,” police spokesman Kervin Johnson said. A handful of schools were able to resume classes by afternoon, said schools spokeswoman Denise Tann. But bomb squad personnel didn’t complete their sweep of all the schools until about 2:30 p.m. After-school activities continued as usual and classes will resume at normal hours Tuesday.

Chernobyl Virus Proves Mostly Harmless


The Chernobyl virus, which can literally destroy a computer, infected a small number of computers Monday, allaying fears that it would sweep the world like another virus did several weeks ago. By midday Monday, the 13th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Russia, only 70 computers had been infected in the United States, according to the Computer Emergency Response Team at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Among them were 30 to 40 computers used by Boston College students, said college spokesman Jack Dunn. The virus affected only students who did not install antivirus software distributed by the university last fall, he said.

Overseas, Chernobyl seemed more widespread with reports coming in from Russia, Malta and Finland. In Singapore, there were at least 150 cases, including some at the national university, state television news said.

The most common version of the Chernobyl virus, also known as “CIH,’’ affects computers using Windows 95 and Windows 98. Another version, less common, strikes computers on the 26th day of any month.

Clinton Proposes Gun-Control Measures


President Clinton will call today for criminal background checks on persons seeking to buy dynamite and blasting caps, part of what appears to be a relatively modest new package of weapons control the administration is proposing in the wake of last week's high school massacre in Colorado.

Although advocates had hoped the shootings might spur an ambitious new effort to restrict gun ownership, the initial reaction from both Democrats and Republicans has been far more tepid.

Clinton's crime package primarily recycles gun control measures proposed before last week's tragedy, while in Congress, the Senate's Democratic leader questioned whether new gun laws are needed at all. GOP congressional leaders, meanwhile, discussed plans for a “national dialogue on youth and culture,” which would focus on responses other than new gun restrictions.

Clinton's overall package has “little new,” said Bruce Reed, White House director of domestic policy.