Following Bob Dole's recent string of primary victories, a new TIME/CNN Poll shows President Clinton with a nine percentage point lead over Dole. The survey of 826 registered voters has Clinton leading Dole 49 percent to 40, a slight drop from a February poll showing Clinton with a 52 to 39 percent lead. These figures would change significantly if Ross Perot enters the fray, tipping the balance even further in Clinton's favor. In that race, Clinton gets 46 percent, Dole 33 percent, and Perot 14 percent. The good news for Dole? A Dole-Colin Powell ticket leads 47 percent to Clinton-Gore's 45 percent. Voters also perceive Dole as doing a better job than Clinton in reducing the federal budget deficit and improving the country's moral climate.PONTIAC, MICHIGAN: After deliberating for nine hours over two days, a jury in the Kevorkian assisted suicide case returned a verdict of not guilty on two counts of assisted suicide in the deaths of two terminally ill patients. Kevorkian was charged with assisting the suicides of Merian Frederick, 72 and Dr. Ali Khalili, 61. Frederick had Lou Gehrig's disease, and Khalili was dying of bone cancer. The two ended their lives inhaling carbon monoxide through a mask in a Detroit apartment provided by controversial doctor. Kevorkian's second acquittal in two years saved him from possible sentences of up to four years on each of the two counts.China Threatens TaiwanTAIWAN: In a move calculated to increase tensions in the western Pacific, the Chinese military launched three M-9 ballistic missiles into waters near the ports of Kaohsiung and Keelung early Friday morning. The missiles were the first of a series of tests announced by the Chinese government on Tuesday, and are scheduled to continue until March 15th. Beijing called the launch simply routine, but the tests closely preceed Taiwan's election on March 23, which makes indimidating incumbent Taiwanese president and likely winner Lee Teng-hui a likely goal. "Its obvious that the Communists in Beijing are trying to scare the Taiwanese voters and candidates." says TIME's Bruce Nelan. "Beijing wants Lee Teng-hui to know that Taiwan should not get any big ideas about declaring independence. Beijing is not going to permit it."Clinton Plans Mideast TripWASHINGTON: President Clinton is planning a trip next week to the Mideast to underscore worldwide support for the peace process that has been threatened by the recent wave of suicide bombings. The White House will announce today that Clinton will join world leaders at a summit in Egypt next Wednesday to address ways to combat terrorism. Clinton will also visit Israel, where 61 people have died in four bombings since Feb. 25. Jerusalem Bureau chief Lisa Beyer says that while the summit won't have an immediate effect on the peace process, it is an important step. "This signals a whole new level of confrontation of terrorism. For Clinton to pack his bags so swiftly to come here sends a message in bold capital letters that the world is taking this seriously." The summit could also give a needed boost to Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres before May's election. Peres has been under attack for not taking a harder stand against Hamas. "Politically it always helps an Israeli prime minister to be seen as close to an American administration," Beyer says. White House spokesman Mike McCurry said it would be reassuring to Israelis to see so many countries coming together to express their support for Israel. Beyer says the summit will be comforting to Israelis, however they will be waiting for tangible results. "Israelis don't expect anyone else to protect them. They want to be reassured by actions not words. On a psychological level it will be comforting because it will give people a sense of not being alone."