The News in Brief
Robert Kilborn and Cynthia Hanson, The Christian Science Monitor
President Clinton warned Iraqi President Saddam Hussein not to be emboldened by raucous protests expressed at an internationally broadcast town meeting at Ohio State University. He made the comments to reporters after his national security team struggled to be heard over hecklers while trying to voice the administration's position on Iraq. There was also solid support in the hall for the US stand and anger that the hecklers disrupted the event. Earlier, the administration said nuclear weapons wouldn't be used in a US air strike.
A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll found that 76 percent of respondents approve of air strikes on Iraq. But 69 percent said they would prefer to see the stalemate over UN weapons inspections resolved through diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions. A CBS News poll found 77 percent in support of bombing the country. Democratic fund-raiser Maria Hsia was indicted on charges of conspiring to make illegal campaign contributions from the Buddhist Progress Society to political candidates and committees, the Justice Department said. It also alleged the scheme used straw donors. The temple was named as an unindicted co-conspirator. Deputy White House counsel Bruce Lindsey arrived at a Washington courthouse flanked by 10 other Clinton lawyers. Lindsey was to appear for a second day before a grand jury probing the White House sex scandal. The slew of lawyers indicated the White House might invoke executive privilege for Lindsey. Meanwhile, attorney and Clinton friend Vernon Jordan's appearance was postponed. Jordan reportedly met four times with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, exchanged several phone calls, and received a package from her by courier. The contacts occurred from early December to mid-January - a week before she was subpoenaed to testify in the Paula Jones lawsuit. A group of lawyers and business people announced formation of a new legal defense fund for the Clintons. Former US Sen. David Pryor (D) of Arkansas, who led the effort, estimated the Clintons currently owe about $3.2 million. But an article in the National Legal Journal put their legal bill at more than $8 million - before the Lewinsky controversy. A sharp deterioration in December pushed the US trade deficit for 1997 up 2.4 percent to its highest level in nine years - $113.7 billion, the Commerce Department said. The imbalance with China climbed to an all-time high: $49.7 billion, the worst with any country other than Japan. Exports of goods and services rose 9.9 percent to a record $932.3 billion. But imports hit a record as well:rising 9 percent to $1.05 trillion - the first time they have topped the 1 trillion mark. Clinton outlined a five-year plan to spend an additional $2.3 billion to strengthen programs to fight water pollution from cities, agriculture, and industries. It is largely a reworking of existing programs and an effort to improve coordination among federal agencies, states, and communities to control tainted runoff that winds up in the nation's waterways. A US military helicopter on a search and rescue training mission crashed in central California's Sequoia National Forest, killing at least four people. An observer on the ground said he saw smoke coming out of the plane before the crash. Meanwhile, a US Air Force B-1B bomber crashed into a muddy pasture in Marion, Ky., moments after its crew of four ejected safely. The co-pilot said the plane lost control on a training mission. Legendary baseball broadcaster Harry Caray, who died in Rancho Mirage, Calif., was known for his folksy chatter and such classic phrases as "Holy Cow!" and "It might be, it could be, it is - a home run!" His career spanned 53 years. The World Saying he'd been advised to "be firm in substance and show flexibility in form," UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan left Paris for his planned meeting in Iraq with President Saddam Hussein. Annan was reminded of warnings that the US and Britain maintain they have ultimate say over any settlement he might negotiate in the weapons-inspections crisis. …