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District tardy with plan for school-choice program IN SPORTS SAMPRAS UPSET Hingis, Williams sisters advance at Lipton N.C. State surprises UConn, 60-52 LOCAL NEWS, IB WEATHER: Mostly sunny. High: 76. Low: 62. 2A HURRICANES 5 PANTHERS 3 SPORTS, 1C v. he Palm Beach Post ' TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 1998 54 PAGES 50 CENTS FINAL EDITION t ; ft if. 1998 ACADEMY AWARDS 'Titanic' has night to remember 'As Good as It Gets' stars Hunt, Nicholson win top acting honors Actress Supporting actor Actor . It was a low-key fashion night at the Oscars ACCENT, ID Picture Titanic Director CS J v". ' J: IJkl MMiiiM-irii- Miiiniil ti..i V-iir ri.,.ui . - Robin Williams Good Will Hunting Jack Nicholson As Good as It Gets By Bob Thomas The Associated Press LOS ANGELES Titanic won a record-tying 11 Oscars on Monday, including best picture, director and song, while Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt won best acting honors for As Good as it Gets. Titanic director James Cameron received three awards: as producer, director and film editor of the $200 million disaster epic and all-time box-office champion. The film lost a chance to win a record 12 Oscars when it fell short in three categories: Hunt beat Kate Winslet, Kim Basinger took supporting actress for LA Confidential over Gloria Stuart, and Men in Black claimed the makeup prize. Nicholson became only the second actor to win three Oscars, this time for playing the vrtvx ft V antisocial writer of romance novels who's softened by a waitress, played by Hunt, and a gay neighbor. Nicholson's other Oscars were as best actor for One Mew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1975 and supporting actor in Terms of Endearment in 1983. The other three-time male winner was Walter Brennan all as a supporting actor. "I'm honored to be on any list with you, Bobby, Dusty, and you and your father Mr. Damon, and my old bike pal, Fonda" Nichol Supporting actress Kim Basinger ": L.A. Confidential li.iii.iiti.iii-. ilnnii son said, making the umpteenth joke of the .:-; . Please see OSCARS744 James Cameron Titanic . " Helen. Hunt : As Good as It Gets Ifeltsin Clinton struggles with surging crowd in Africa ires his V premier i ifat tff Cabinet J 0 V f The surprise move is thought to be an effort to bolster his image in advance of the elections of 2000. By Charles W. Holmes Palm Beach Post Staff Writer . MOSCOW President Boris Yeltsin abruptly fired the prime minister and Cabinet on Monday in a startling move meant to fortify his economic reform efforts and reverse his ailing image. After months of stinging criticism from the 'V v. r y Pfi 'XI Y Russian people and infighting in the Kremlin, Yeltsin chose a characteristically sensational remedy: Gut the government and start anew, prompting the most sweeping government overhaul since the collapse of the Soviet Union. "Unfortunately, people don't feel changes for the better. I believe that recently the government has been lacking dyna a: REUTERS i ACCRA, Ghana - President Clinton yells to an exuberant and unruly A White House spokesman later said Clinton had appealed to the crowd crowd to 'back up," as he is greeted in Independence Square Monday. for restraint after he saw those in the front being crushed. STORY, 3A Li Yeltsin Fellow detainees resent Cuban players' free pass mism and initiative, new outlooks, fresh approaches and ideas. And without this, a powerful breakthrough in the economy is impossible," Yeltsin said in a nationally televised address. Russia's already weak economy has been buffeted in recent months by the tumble of Asian markets and the fall in world oil prices. The cash-strapped government has been unable to fulfill the promise to pay back wages and pensions to millions of Russians. Yet sacking the entire government also seemed intended to demonstrate that Yeltsin, at 67, remains firmly in charge of Russia following months of conjecture about his failing health and inability to lead. Yeltsin underwent heart surgery in 19 and has been forced into seclusion twice since December for llcase see YELTSIN&4 is an understanding of how unlevel the playing field can be. There's always been a double standard and there's always been preferential treatment," said Peter Upton, an Indiantown attorney. "In many ways, immigration policies are extensions of what's expedient This time, it's baseball players who benefit" Special consideration for Cuban By Dan Moffett Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Immigration policy has long been a perplexing part of the American Dream to interpret. And if Cuban baseball players keep defecting, it may soon make no sense at all. So claim attorneys who work in the field, and so charge angry refugees held in the Bahamas for many months, whose best chance at quick release may be to develop a good curveball. About 250 Cubans, Haitians and Chinese detained in a barbed-wire-enclosed Nassau camp talked of hunger strikes after four players and a coach, days after arriving, appeared to be on a fast track to freedom and ultimately entry into the United States. The athletes, through their Cuban-American agent Joe Cubas, petitioned the Costa Rican government for asylum Monday, raising resentment from fellow detainees who once had considered the players he roes. "Our fear is that we will be deported back to Cuba, where we know that, simply for being baseball players who have decided to abandon the country, we can expect grave consequences," said a letter from Cubas, appealing to Costa Rican President Jose Maria Figueres. Not all immigration lawyers are sure about how grave the peril to baseball players really is in Cuba. But having seen U.S. policy at work, there Please see CUBANS61 Inside 'Die, you monster,' victim's brother tells serial killer LOTTERY PEOPLE SCORES STOCKS THEATERS TV LISTINGS TV SPORTS 2 2A 7C 68 40 50 2C List of upcoming executions 9A ANN&ABBY 20 BUSINESS 58 CLASSIFIEDS 9C COMICS 60 DEATHS 48 EDITORIALS 16 HOROSCOPE 20 CROSSWORDS SECTNWSCD Browns back The NFL will expand to 31 teams for the 1999 season, returning the Browns to Cleveland. STORY, 2C District plan Amendment that would have required panel to draw election districts killed, j; STORY, 4A m PALM BEACH Weather. ' & INTERACTIVE news, sports urn Collil com and views FOR HOMC DCLIVm SCRVKC S3M663 1-800-654-1231 By Ron Word lie Associated Press STARKE A short order cook who confessed to 41 murders possibly more than some far better-known serial killers was put to death Monday in the first of four electrocutions scheduled in Florida over the next eight days. A man who killed a Jacksonville police officer was to be executed today, followed by a woman who poisoned her husband and killed her paraplegic son. A man who killed a store clerk during a tri-state crime spree was set to die after her. Gerald Stano, 46, was executed for killing a 17-yeamld hitchhiker in December 1973 and dumping her body in a drainage ditch. His was the state's first execution since a foot-long flame flared from a condemned man's mask a year ago. Stano said only that his attorney and religious adviser would release his final statement. He then stared straight ahead as he was strapped into the electric chair, mustering only a small smile toward his attorney. No smoke or flame was visible when the black-hooded executioner threw the switch, sending Stano lung- ilfast set EXECUTKWi'.H 1 -, i - 1 : ' - " - " - - - - - - - 4 Vol Mite. 21 4i About tvjp dozen opponents cf cr. sunnse vigil in Sta-ke. whee G- ' pun;s'iient p'Otest during a S'ano. 45. was put to deatn.