Around the world

OIL OUTPUT CUT: Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Mexico will work together to reduce oil output by up to 2 million barrels a day, the countries' oil ministers announced Sunday. The three countries said in a statement released in the Saudi capital of Riyadh that they would coordinate with other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC members. The decision follows an oil glut in recent months that has led to tumbling prices on the global market. The countries will cut production by 1.1 million barrels by April 1, the statement said.

SOCIAL DEMOS GAIN: Germany's opposition Social Democrats scored impressive gains Sunday in local elections in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, bolstering their hopes of ousting Chancellor Helmut Kohl in September's national vote. The Social Democratic victory reaffirmed the popularity of Gerhard Schroeder, who was chosen as Kohl's challenger after leading his party to a resounding victory three weeks ago in his home state of Lower Saxony. Early returns showed the Social Democrats winning 42.5 percent of the vote. Kohl's Christian Democrats scored about 39 percent.

Across the nation

GAS PRICES DIP: Gasoline prices dipped 2 cents per gallon in the past two weeks on falling crude oil costs, but the decline wasn't nationwide, and some areas actually saw price increases, an industry analyst said Sunday. The average price of gasoline, including all grades and taxes, was about $1.07 on Friday, according to the Lundberg Survey of 10,000 stations nationwide. That was down 1.91 cents from the March 6 survey and represents the lowest price since 1920 when adjusted for inflation, analyst Trilby Lundberg said. Slight increases were reported in about a half-dozen cities in the West and Midwest where dealers already had slashed their retail prices, Lundberg said.

JEWEL OF A NECKLACE: A 170-carat sapphire and diamond necklace modeled after a piece of jewelry in the movie "Titanic" sold for $2.2 million late Saturday at a fund-raiser held in honor of Princess Diana. The black-tie Princess Ball in Beverly Hills, Calif., was part of a gala to raise money for the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and Southern California's Aid for AIDS. The two charities will split the money. The necklace was valued at $3.5 million before the auction. The buyer was not identified.

In Washington

DRUG INFLUENCE: Almost half the men and women on probation in the United States were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when they committed their crimes, the Justice Department said Sunday. The first national survey of probationers, conducted for the Bureau of Justice Statistics, found that 46.8 percent of probationers had used either alcohol, drugs or both at the time of their offense. This was lower than use among incarcerated criminals at the time of their offenses. Among jail inmates, 60 percent had used alcohol, drugs or both when they committed their crimes; among state prison inmates, the figure was 49 percent.

In other news . . .

A COLLEGE STUDENT on spring break was in critical condition Sunday after plunging from a third-story Daytona Beach, Fla., hotel balcony, crashing through a Plexiglas roof and landing in a swimming pool.. . . THREE VIRGINIA Military Institute seniors suspended for spanking freshmen with a belt and hanger will not be prosecuted, according to one of the students who was beaten. . . . EGYPT BANNED the English-language Cairo Times for interviewing a lawyer whose books are deemed blas-phemous and for reporting the arrest of one of its writers, its publisher said Sunday.