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MEXICO'S PRESIDENT GIVES IN: The most extraordinary thing about the tentative settlement that emerged last week in the peasant rebellion in Mexico's southern state of Chiapas may have been its date.

The accords were initialed on Wednesday, just two months after a small army of Mayan Indian peasants rose up against poverty and oppression they traced to the Spanish conquest.

Showing some of the political touch that once transformed his image from that of a bland technocrat who came fraudulently to power to that of a bold economic reformer, President Carlos Salinas de Gortari gave in to many of the insurgents' demands while shielding the economic program the rebels had criticized.

After 10 days of negotiations, Salinas' special envoy for the conflict, Manuel Camacho Solis, pledged new schools, hospitals and housing, and other benefits.

While insisting that the rebel Zapatista National Liberation Army's call for democratic reforms to the country's political system be dealt with by political parties in the capital, the government offered to restructure the political system of Chiapas state, giving new representation to Indian communities.

The Zapatistas, who remember the betrayal of their namesake, the peasant revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, promised only to take the accords back to their supporters. Yet the mere expectation that they might agree seemed to mark another revolution in Mexico's revolt.

BALANCED-BUDGET MEASURE LOSES IN SENATE: Maybe it was declining deficits, maybe it was inattention from radio talk show hosts, but with three votes to spare, the Senate on Tuesday squelched the proposed constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget.

The 63-37 vote in favor of it fell short of the two-thirds majority required for constitutional amendments. That killed the measure for the year, but it is sure to resurface. (See How Congress voted, 3A)

Advocates of a balanced budget included Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., who said, "Until we tie our hands so that we cannot spend our children's legacy, we are just not going to get there."

Opponents included Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who said, "What we need are not words on a piece of paper, we need guts in our belly."

NATO PILOTS SHOOT DOWN SERB PLANES: U.S. fighter pilots who are part of a NATO mission enforcing the no-fly zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina sighted six Bosnian Serb planes bombing a Muslim munitions factory Monday morning. When the planes refused to identify themselves, the U.S. pilots opened fire, downing four of them.

Later, Croatia's foreign minister signed two important accords with the Muslim-led Bosnian government. The agreements, accepted by the leader of Bosnia's Croat minority, provide for a new Muslim-Croat federation in Bosnia, and for a loose union between that federation and Croatia.

MINORITIES FEEL THWARTED BY EACH OTHER, POLL SHOWS: To be sure, more and more Americans say they support a racially and ethnically integrated society. And many Americans in minority groups still feel left out, or at least left behind. What's more, many black Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans feel that they are being held back not just by bigoted whites but by each other.

A survey conducted by the National Conference (formerly National Conference of Christians and Jews) and released last week found that 46 percent of Hispanic Americans and 42 percent of blacks thought that Asians were "unscrupulous, crafty and devious in business," and that 68 percent of Asians and 49 percent of blacks believed Hispanic Americans "tend to have bigger families than they are able to support."

In addition, 31 percent of Asian Americans and 26 percent of Hispanic Americans said blacks "want to live on welfare."

In each case, the percentage of people in minority groups voicing these stereotypes was larger than the percentage of whites willing to express them.

Sociologists say the survey results do not necessarily mean there is more prejudice among minorities than there is among whites. Thirty years of the civil rights movement have taught whites to be wary about expressing negative opinions of minorities, even if they hold them.

Also, college-educated individuals generally voice the most tolerant views of other people, and whites are more likely to attend college than are members of minorities.

"SCHINDLER'S LIST' OPENS IN GERMANY: Schindler's List opened across Germany last Thursday, after a gala premiere in Frankfurt attended by Steven Spielberg and President Richard von Weizsacker, who said its lesson for his compatriots was the need for vigilance and open-mindedness as the best defense against intolerance.

Spielberg, who had received an anonymous death threat during the Vienna premiere last month, was given tight security, though a bomb threat forced one theater in Karlsruhe to delay the opening for half an hour.

Forty-eight theaters began showing the film Thursday, nearly all of them to sellout crowds, according to the producers.

In Frankfurt, where Oskar Schindler lived in obscurity until his death in 1974 and where some of the Jews he saved from the concentration camps still remember him in their prayers, city authorities said they were considering sending all schoolchildren to see the film.

"Everybody should see this film," a respected conservative Frankfurter daily said.

The director also shepherded openings last week in Krakow, where much of Schindler's List took place and was filmed, and in Israel. Most theaters in Germany are showing the film as Spielberg made it, with the actors speaking in dubbed German.

While elsewhere the film had been criticized for making a German the hero of a story about the Holocaust, in the country responsible for it the central point was this: Why only Schindler? Why did so few other Germans try to stop the death machinery?

As Dieter Trautwein, a German Protestant minister who befriended Schindler in the 1960s, asked after seeing the picture, "Where was everybody else?"

_ New York Times