NEWS WATCH

PRESIDENT CLINTON came to Capitol Hill Thursday to unveil the 1998 Democratic agenda that includes a $1-an-hour hike in the minimum wage over two years. The $5.15 wage floor would be increased in two 50-cent intervals over the next two years to $6.15. A bill introduced earlier this year by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., would have raised the floor by $1.50 an hour over three years, and Kennedy plans

PRESIDENT CLINTON came to Capitol Hill Thursday to unveil the 1998 Democratic agenda that includes a $1-an-hour hike in the minimum wage over two years. The $5.15 wage floor would be increased in two 50-cent intervals over the next two years to $6.15. A bill introduced earlier this year by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., would have raised the floor by $1.50 an hour over three years, and Kennedy plans to reintroduce Clinton's plan when Congress returns Feb. 23 from its President's Day recess. The increase would mean that someone being paid the minimum wage year-round for 40-hour weeks would get a $2,080 raise to $12,792. A test vote on the wage hike could come as early as April in the Senate and a Kennedy aide said backers would "shut the Senate down" in an effort to make their point. The wage floor was last increased by Congress in 1996 when it was raised 90 cents in two steps, to $5.15 an hour. The second step took effect last Sept. 1.

Prague and Brno, will open in the fall. Ahold's Euronova subsidiary already operates three formats in the Czech Republic: Mana supermarkets, Sesam discount stores and Prima minihypers.