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News Briefs

China Sends Troops to Monitor North Korean Border


Chinese armed forces have moved into new positions along the country’s border with North Korea, to defend an 870-mile-long frontier that is often violated by hungry refugees from that isolated country.

Chinese Foreign Ministry officials confirmed in a statement on Monday that troops from the People’s Liberation Army had replaced the police along the border, though they did not confirm Hong Kong press reports that as many as 150,000 soldiers were involved.

The move marks a subtle but significant change in relations between the two communist nations, which fought together against the United States and other nations in the Korean War and still have a mutual defense treaty.

While Chinese officials described the new border arrangements as a routine adjustment, they come at a time when China has exerted new pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. China is the main sponsor of multilateral negotiations involving North Korea, the United States and three other countries aimed at reaching a negotiated settlement to a standoff with North Korea over nuclear arms.

Texas Democrats Return, But a Bit Too Late


The boycotting Texas Democrats returned to the state Senate on Monday for the first time since fleeing to New Mexico on July 28, but not before the chamber quickly adjourned, ushering in a raucous floor rally by the 10 lawmakers and their cheering supporters.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, a Republican who is presiding officer of the Senate, said he had never encountered anything quite like it.

Away from the hubbub, the Senate Republicans issued a new proposed map of congressional districts for next year based on the 2000 Census. Dewhurst presented it as a moderate plan that, he said, could give Republicans two or three seats over the 15 that Texas Republicans have in the House of Representatives in Washington. The Democrats have 17.

On the other side of the capital, the Texas House of Representatives, also under Republican control, advanced its plan that it had passed in a special session. The Democrats have objected to any redrafting that they say would dilute the voting strength of their constituents, and efforts by Republicans to do so sent Democrats of both houses over state lines this summer to avoid a vote. A final plan is most likely weeks from a vote.

Chrysler Reaches Tentative Agreement With Union


The Chrysler Group of DaimlerChrysler and the United Auto Workers union said on Monday morning that they had reached tentative agreement on a four-year labor contract.

Terms of the deal were not released, but people close to the negotiations said it would probably preserve health care benefits but scale back some of the wage and pension increases that characterized the last four-year deal, which was negotiated in more prosperous times.

Talks continued with General Motors and the Ford Motor Co. on Monday, but the union fell short in its attempt to reach unprecedented simultaneous agreements with all of the Big Three before their contracts expired Sunday night.