News In Brief
Polish President Walesa told the left-dominated parliament to dissolve itself, or said he would do it. Legislators countered that such a move would be illegal. Last week, Walesa sent letters to the heads of both chambers of parliament, asking their opinion about the legality of his steps. Parliament passed a resolution last weekend, saying it would take Walesa before the state tribunal, a special court that rules on the constitutionality of politicians' actions. Walesa has accused parliament of stalling on economic reforms and remaining passive in the face of corruption and inefficiency. (Story, Page 1.)
Amid a heavy rocket and artillery barrage on southern parts of Grozny, thousands of Chechen families fled to neighboring Ingushetia. The approximately 50,000 people remaining in Grozny (out of a prewar population of about 400,000) have no water, heat, or safe way to get food, aid workers said. The refugees in Ingushetia are straining the already overburdened economy there. Ironically, the Russian government gives each refugee free housing, blankets, some food, and $5.
Mediators suspended talks between Ecuador and Peru in Rio de Janeiro, after Ecuador requested more time to study a cease-fire proposal. The agreement calls for an immediate end to hostilities, demobilization of troops, and demilitarization of the disputed region. Ecuadoran President Duran-Ballen said talks would continue, probably in Brasilia, but he did not reveal a starting date. After the talks brokedown, Peruvian President Fujimori vowed to enforce his country's claim to the disputed border area.
Two intersecting routes across the Sarajevo airport were opened, allowing hundreds of Sarajevans to travel outside their besieged city. The belated opening was part of a truce brokered by Jimmy Carter and signed by the Bosnian government and Bosnian Serbs in December. Some Serb civilians traveled directly between the Serb-held suburbs of Lukavica and Ilidza, saving them about 30 miles around the city. A similar understanding fell apart last month, and officials acknowledge that this accord is tenuous.
Pakastani youths burned tires and set a bus on fire after a weekend of sectarian violence in Karachi. Prime Minister Bhutto implied that India was behind the killings but offered no proof.
The largest evacuation in Dutch history ended when authorities said centuries-old dikes would hold and residents could go home. About 70,000 people had already returned home, and 250,000 more followed once authorities gave them the green light. Meanwhile, as much of northern Europe cleaned up after last week's floods, the southern stretches of Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and Greece continued to parch in an expensive drought. In Spain, reservoirs are 10 percent full, more than 2 million people face daily water restrictions, and the drought is threatening harvests.
Agricultural advances will help the world feed a billion more people in 1995 than 20 years ago, according to a new UN analysis of world agriculture. The challenge for the next two decades, the UN says, is to feed yet a billion more. UN agencies estimate that 700 million people are still going hungry.
China and the US took steps toward resuming talks on intellectual property piracy. The day before, China's foreign trade minister said Chinese exporters could find "countless" other markets if sanctions kept them from US markets. Some US sources predicted that the sides would begin tackling the multibillion-dollar feud as early as next week. Washington and Beijing ordered sanctions last weekend but gave each other a 22-day grace period for further talks. The US
Republicans attacked President Clinton's budget proposalfor not making cuts in fast-growing social-service programs. Clinton's $1.61 trillion plan trims back hundreds of government programs and includes $63 billion in tax cuts. But it leaves Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, and other benefit programs untouched, meaning the deficit would continue at around $200 billion annually for the rest of the decade. GOP leaders, who want a balanced budget by 2002, say entitlement programs will have to be reduced. Labor Secretary Reich said on ABC's "Good Morning America" that it was too early to discuss whether Clinton would accept further public-spending cuts under Republican pressure. (Story, Page 1.)
Senate debate on the balanced-budget amendment entered its second week, with Republicans saying the race for votes would go down to the wire. Democrats, led by Senator Byrd, want to know exactly how the budget will be balanced. Byrd said it would take another three to five weeks for the American people to understand the proposal's consequences. Senator Lott, the majority whip, said 52 of 53 Republicans support the measure and estimated the total yes vote at 65 to 70. A two-thirds majority is needed to pass a constitutional amended.
The House was scheduled to vote on the line-item veto bill to celebrate former President Reagan's birthday. The proposed constitutional amendment would allow the president to veto a specific spending item in legislation without killing the whole bill. As usual, a two-thirds majority vote would be required to override. Saying that gives the president too much power, Democrats were set to offer an amendment that would require only a simple majority to reverse a veto.
Senate Republicans want to review affirmative-action laws to see if they discriminate against whites and men, Senator Dole said. He said deciding how to make up for slavery and past discrimination against minorities is "a tough question." He also endorsed Jack Kemp's call for the GOP to reach out to blacks and Hispanics.
The New York terrorism trial took a surprise turn when the alleged mastermind of the plot to bomb US landmarks pleaded guilty. Siddig Ibrahim Siddig Ali is a student of Muslim cleric Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who along with 11 followers has also been charged in the plot. (Story, Page 3.)
Most child-care centers are inadequate, a four-university study said. It found that most child care is poor enough to interfere with children's development. At 1 in every 8 centers, children's health and safety are threatened, while only 1 in 7 provides quality care that encourages a child's growth, the report said. Researchers from universities in California, North Carolina, Colorado, and Connecticut studied 228 infant-toddler classrooms and 521 preschool classrooms in the four states over 2-1/2 years. All had state licenses. The findings support earlier federal and congressional studies.
Despite a continuing leak of jet fuel from the space shuttle, NASA and Russian space officials agreed to allow Discovery to fly up to 35 feet from the Mir space station.
The Agriculture Department warned that the entry of Austria, Finland, and Sweden into the European Union could hurt some US farm exports. The department said $229 million in US exports of produce, rice, and tree nuts to these countries would now face higher EU tariffs. The tariffs are to be gradually reduced, however, under the new GATT agreement.
Westchester County, which borders on New York City, has a novel way of dealing with the homeless. According to the Daily News, the wealthy suburban county has been shipping homeless people to locations in the Bronx and Harlem for at least two years. County officials say only 50 people were sent to the Big Apple. Etcetera
Thirty-three birds flew into the wilds of New York Citylast weekend when the historic aviary at the Bronx Zoo collapsed during a northeaster. Eight gray gulls, 12 Inca terns, 12 Andean gulls, and a band tail gull may have been blown as far as New Jersey.
Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" album has become the second-best-selling album of all time in the United States, with 17 million in sales. The 1977 album trails only Michael Jackson's "Thriller," which has sold 24 million. Boston's "Boston" is third at 15 million.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's all-time leading scorer, was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Also voted in: Olympic stars Cheryl Miller and Anne Donovan, forward Vern Mikkelsen, and three others. Top-rossing Film Last Weekend (Preliminary figures) 1. "Legends of the Fall," $5.3 million. 2. "Boys on the Side," $4.8 million. 3. "The Jerky Boys," $4.6 million. 4. "In the Mouth of Madness," $3.5 million. 5. "Dumb and Dumber,"$3.4 million. 6. "Nobody's Fool," $3 million. 7. "Highlander: The Final Dimension," $2.9 million. 8. "Higher Learning," $2.3 million. 9. "Murder in the First," $2.2 million. 10. "Little Women," $1.6 million.
- Associated Press
``This budget clearly lacks courage. The bottom line is they refused to deal with entitlements, and we are going to have to.''
- House Budget Committee chairman John Kasich, on the president's plan