The News in Brief

Article excerpt

The US

The US Senate approved the admission of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to NATO by an 80-to-19 vote. President Clinton expressed delight in the "overwhelming margin" of the decision. The House has no say in treaty matters.

The president signed into law an emergency spending bill aides had suggested he would veto. It provides $6 billion for weather-related disasters and for US troops in Bosnia and the Gulf - but not a cent for either the International Monetary Fund or the UN. Clinton's national security adviser said it would be a "body blow" to US credibility if Congress failed to pay the nation's UN debt and contribute to the IMF. Some congressional Democrats threatened to withdraw support for the IMF. House minority leader Richard Gephardt of Missouri and Democratic whip David Bonior of Michigan were among those who said the agency should link its loans to improvements in human rights and labor laws. The lawyer for Clinton friend Webster Hubbell said there was no chance his client would succumb to pressure of a new criminal indictment and make a deal with Whitewater prosecutors. The comment came after a grand jury indicted Hubbell, his wife, and two advisers on 10 tax-related counts, creating a new incentive for the former associate attorney general to cooperate in the inquiry. Prosecutors are reportedly focusing on more than $500,000 in consulting fees paid to Hubbell shortly after he left the Justice Department. The Clinton administration is seeking to scrap a law that would impose a one-year moratorium on US use of antipersonnel land mines, The New York Times reported. The moratorium was signed into law two years ago, but only comes into effect next Feb. 12. Its drafters reportedly hoped the measure would spur the Pentagon to search for alternatives to antipersonnel mines. The US has refused to sign a treaty that would ban the weapons. A measure to create an advisory commission to see if improperly acquired Holocaust-era assets are located in the US was approved by the Senate. The presidential commission would look into Holocaust- related assets that arrived in the US from 1933 to 1945. Police in riot gear fired tear gas to disperse thousands of Michigan State University students who were protesting an alcohol ban. The incident stemmed from a university decision to ban alcohol in Munn Field, where students hold tailgate parties before and after home football games. Police said the protest began at the field, then moved to downtown East Lansing, where bonfires were set and the crowd swelled to more than 2,000 people. Nine were arrested on disorderly conduct charges. A record percentage of high school graduates enrolled in college last fall, the Labor Department said. Sixty-seven percent of those graduating from high school a year ago reportedly went on to college - up from 65 percent in the prior year. That was the highest percentage since the department began collecting the data in 1960. The space shuttle Columbia was to return to Florida's Kennedy Space Center after a 16-day science mission. The crew discovered a hydraulic-power problem on the shuttle, but the US space agency said the malfunction should not affect Columbia's landing. A college professor lost her bid to overturn a Georgia Board of Regents' rule barring state-college teachers from seeking federal office. Christina Jeffrey, who teaches political science at Kennesaw State, had wanted to oppose House Speaker Newt Gingrich, but a US district judge upheld a ruling that professors cannot run for seats in Congress because they handle government grants and could unduly influence students. Growth in Americans' personal income slackened in March to the slowest pace in eight months, the Commerce Department said. The income gain in March was 0.3 percent. The World After a marathon meeting in Brussels, European Union leaders elected Dutchman Wim Duisenberg as the first president of the central bank that will launch a single currency Jan. …