The News in Brief

Article excerpt

The US

Conservative House Democrats were expected to release a budget-balancing package in which they propose to save $103 billion over five years by reducing the increase in the Consumer Price Index by 0.8 percent. Also, President Clinton urged Robert Torricelli (D) of New Jersey, the only US senator believed still undecided on the issue, to vote against the balanced-budget amendment. He voted in its favor while serving in the House.

Caution is "especially warranted" for the stock market in 1997, Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan told a Senate panel in a report on the economy. He also said he could not rule out a preemptive increase in interest rates. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped more than 100 points shortly after his remarks, but recovered some of its lost ground moments later. Senate majority leader Trent Lott renewed his call for an independent counsel to investigate whether the White House was used illegally for Democratic fund-raising. "The Lincoln Bedroom was never sold," Clinton said after it was revealed that he was involved in initial planning to invite financial backers for overnight stays. Several spent the night in the Lincoln Bedroom. The US Supreme Court began hearing arguments on a Nevada dispute that could affect land-use planners and landowners nationwide. The justices are expected to reach a decision by July on what steps property owners can be required to take before claiming in court that they were improperly prevented from building on their land. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright planned to meet today with high-ranking Saudi officials to discuss last year's bombing at a US military base in Dhahran, which killed 19 Americans. The Saudis promised greater cooperation in the investigation during an earlier meeting with Clinton. Congress opened a tap to allow funds for overseas family planning to flow again after a half-year freeze. The White House hailed the Senate vote to begin releasing $385 million provided for in the 1997 budget. Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward homosexuals in the military is a failure, according to a report to be released by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. The report shows a 42 percent rise in the number of homosexuals discharged from the military since the policy was enforced in 1994. A prominent supporter of abortion rights admitted he lied during a 1995 ABC "Nightline" interview when he said "partial birth" abortions are performed rarely and only to save a mo-ther's life. Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers in Alexandria, Va., said the procedure is common for healthy mothers who are five months pregnant with healthy fetuses, The New York Times said. Congress tried to ban the procedure, but Clinton vetoed the measure. FBI Director Louis Freeh ordered an investigation into whether the bureau covered up possible inaccurate testimony during the ouster of US District Judge Alcee Hastings in 1989. Freeh said an internal memo alleging evidence was falsified in the bribery case was withheld from Congress and now congressman Hastings (D) of Flo-rida. Some 41 federal indictments were handed down in Roanoke, Va., in a drug operation. The operation used 20 high-tech boats that evaded radar by riding mostly submerged. Each boat used by Colombia's Cali cartel carried two people and a ton of cocaine. Most of those indicted will escape prosecution because they live in Colombia, which has no extradition agreement with the US, prosecutors said. Chemical heir John du Pont was convicted of the third-degree murder of Olympic wrest-ling star Dave Schulz. A jury in Media, Pa., found him guilty but mentally ill. He could be released on parole in as little as five years. Americans charged more than $1 trillion on their credit cards in 1996, the Consumer Federation of America reported. It said one-third of the charges were being paid in installments. …

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