News In Brief
The Supreme Court has set the stage for an important ruling on racial preferences in the workplace. In the opening day of its 1985-86 term, the court agreed yesterday to review a quota system for promoting blacks and Hispanics among Cleveland's firefighters, and also announced that it would study court-ordered quotas for union membership.Skip to next paragraph
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The court will hear a challenge to the Cleveland quota system by a predominantly white firefighters union. The challenge is supported by the Reagan administration.
In the union case, the court said it will review lower-court rulings requiring a New York-New Jersey sheet metal workers' union to raise its black and Hispanic membership to 29 percent and imposing heavy fines for refusal to meet that quota.
Union officials said they had not met the quota in part because of hard economic times and higher unemployment in the industry.
The high court's action expands its study of affirmative-action plans attacked as ``reverse discrimination.'' The court indicated earlier that it would settle a related issue in a case from Michigan.
Acting on a flood of new cases, the court also:
Agreed to decide whether people opposed to the death penalty may be barred for that reason from serving as jurors in deciding guilt or innocence in capital cases.
Set the stage for a ruling on free-speech by agreeing to decide in a Tacoma, Wash., case whether school officials may discipline a student who used sexual innuendo in a speech to fellow students.
Agreed to decide in the case of an accused Czech spy whether people may be forced to testify against their spouses if both spouses are accused of participating in a crime.
Let stand the conviction of former Environmental Protection Agency official Rita Lavelle for lying to Congress.
Refused to force the federal government to compensate US citizens whose land in El Salvador was seized by that government.
Agreed to decide whether an employer may be sued when, even without his knowledge, a supervisor sexually harasses a worker.
Let stand a decision giving the federal government rather than the states almost complete control over railroad regulation.
US asks World Bank to raise its lending to debtor lands
The US, formally acknowledging that its debt strategy has changed, urged the World Bank yesterday to boost its lending to debtor nations. The various commercial banks must keep lending money to developing nations if incomes are to rise throughout the world, US Treasury Secretary James A. Baker III told a meeting of international economic officials.
Mr. Baker said the bank could boost its annual payout to debtor countries to between $13.5 billion and $14 billion a year from the $11.4 billion lent in its last financial year.
A task force commissioned by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund reported that projected aid to low-income countries is likely to be inadequate and recommended more contributions from private sources and middle-income nations.
Four Palestinians killed on West Bank, Israel says
Israeli soldiers killed four Palestinians Saturday during an Army ambush on Hebron mountain in the occupied West Bank, a military spokesman said Monday. A fifth was wounded in the ambush, he said. The group is believed responsible for a series of attacks in the last six months on Jews in the occupied territories, the spokesman said.
The Army believes the group had been operating since May 1984 and had murdered five Israelis in three attacks. The group is also believed responsible for four incidents of shootings at Israeli buses traveling from Jerusalem to Hebron, in which 17 people were injured.