Cambodian guerrillas have attacked northwestern government positions in a major offensive to protect U.S.-funded development programs, officials said Tuesday.

More than 2,000 troops of the Khmer People's National Liberation Front and fighters loyal to Prince Norodom Sihanouk began attacking positions around the district capitals of Svay Chek and Phnom Srok in Battambang province Monday, Liberation Front spokesman Ok Serei Sopheak said.Western diplomats in Bangkok said the offensive was designed to cut supply lines and extend what the guerrillas call their "liberated zone" to safeguard the American-backed development efforts. U.S. officials have said long-range artillery fired by the Vietnamese-backed government had been hitting the area.TV writer, producer Harry Ackerman dies BURBANK, Calif. (UPI) - Harry Ackerman, a director, producer, writer or creator of such landmark television programs as "Studio One," "Gunsmoke," "I Love Lucy," "Burns and Allen" and "Amos and Andy," has died, a family spokesman said Monday. He was 78

Ackerman died Sunday at a Burbank hospital of pulmonary failure, said family spokesman Frank Liberman.

Known as the "Sire of the Sitcom," Ackerman worked in one major capacity or another on such situation comedies as "Leave it to Beaver," "Bewitched," "Gidget," "Our Miss Brooks" and "The Donna Reed Show."Postal Service reports $1.2 billion loss WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Postal Service has lost $1.2 billion so far this fiscal year, the agency reported Tuesday.

The net loss occurred between the start of the agency's fiscal year on Sept. 22 and Jan. 11, underscoring the need for the postage rate hike that took effect Sunday, officials said.

The law requires the post office, which no longer receives a taxpayer subsidy, to break even in its operations.

The loss occurred despite a productivity increase of 1.4 percent during the same period, said Postmaster General Anthony Frank.Laos crash sites may yield bodies of MIAs BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - Military experts are digging up two U.S. plane crash sites in southern Laos after finding evidence they may yield remains of U.S. soldiers missing from the Vietnam War, a U.S. spokesman said Tuesday.

A U.S. army team flew to Laos from Bangkok on Sunday to begin the project, which is expected to take up to three weeks, said James Williams, the spokesman of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok.

Laotian experts will work jointly with the 20-member team from the Joint Casualty Resolution Center based in Hawaii, he said.In other news. . . . A SECURITY GUARD accidentally shot a hole through the roof of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's jet and tried to cover up the damage with masking tape, a newspaper reported. . . . FORMER CABINET official Elizabeth Dole said Monday she will work her first year as president of the American Red Cross as a volunteer - without a salary.