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News In Brief

By CompiledCynthia HansonAbraham T. McLaughlin, and Peter Nordahl / December 8, 1995



The US

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President Clinton's seven-year balanced-budget plan was set to arrive on Capitol Hill yesterday. Speaker Gingrich warned that it is doomed if it uses overly optimistic economic forecasts. The plan gives smaller tax cuts and takes shallower bites from Medicare and Medicaid than the GOP budget, which Clinton vetoed. His list of reasons for doing so began with the $433 billion reduction in Medicare and Medicaid and ended with cuts in the export enhancement program. Clinton also said he will veto the $27 billion bill for Justice, Commerce, and State Department funding that passed the House. It would dismantle his plan to hire 100,000 new police. Above, actress Whoopi Goldberg, a one-time welfare mother, protests planned cuts in children's programs at a Capitol Hill forum with Senator Kennedy.

Microsoft was set to unveil its plans to capture a larger share of Internet ''gold rush.'' The software giant will begin by revamping its three-month-old Microsoft Network on-line service to get ready for the estimated 125 million people who will be using the World Wide Web by 1999. Also, Microsoft may become a partner in NBC's planned 24-hour news channel, which aims to rival CNN. The Wall St. Journal says the two are in talks.

The House ethics committee will hire an outside counsel to investigate Speaker Gingrich. Although it cleared him of most ethics complaints, the issue of whether he improperly used tax-deductible contributions to finance a college course he taught will be probed. Gingrich says he will be cleared of the charge. The panel reprimanded him on three charges, including giving out an 800 number for his political materials on the House floor.

HBO postponed Sunday night's Michael Jackson concert. The pop superstar was taken to a hospital after fainting during rehearsal for the concert.

Connecticut's three-month tax amnesty period brought in more money than expected. Some 17,000 delinquents paid about $40 million in back taxes. With the period now over, the state is gearing up to prosecute its tax deadbeats.

Former Education Secretary William Bennett, a longtime critic of what he calls ''trash TV,'' has inspired a new television show for children and their parents. PBS will launch an animated half-hour series next season based on his bestselling ''Book of Virtues.'' It will be PBS's first animated prime-time series and will dramatize such virtues as courage, compassion, and friendship.

Corporal punishment is still an often-used discipline tool among the nation's parents. Some 65 percent of 1,000 parents surveyed by New York-based Gallup said they hit their kids on the bottom with a bare hand; But 85 percent use ''time outs'' or send children to their rooms. About 25 percent agreed that praising children too much ''may go to their heads.''

Kindergartners should know that animals need air, water, food, and light, says a new set of science standards put out by the Washington, D.C.-based National Research Council. By high school, students should be versed in natural selection and evolution. The standards don't provide curricula but do give guidelines and provide a few specifics.

Treasury Secretary Rubin has a secret plan to avoid debt default in January. For now, he will continue tapping two $61.3 billion federal-employee pension funds, which he began doing last month. But that will keep the government afloat only through Dec. 29. He won't divulge the details of his plan for January - when the US will bump up against the $4.9 trillion debt ceiling, as it did Nov. 15 when Rubin authorized the use of the trust-fund. Republicans don't want to raise the ceiling until a seven-year balanced-budget plan is passed.

The World

With time growing short before NATO troops arrive, rebel Serbs resumed expelling Muslims from areas the Serbs will control in postwar Bosnia, UN officials said. In addition to the expulsions, Serbs, Croats, and Muslims have been destroying property on lands they must vacate once the peace accord is signed. Also, the first US military plane flew into Tuzla - headquarters for the 20,000 US troops heading to Bosnia. Meanwhile, 184 members of the House of Representatives, nearly half, went on record as opposed to sending US troops to Bosnia. That's 34 members short of a majority needed to defeat a resolution backing the troop deployment. (Related stories, Pages 1 and 7.)

The invasion of two embassies in Jakarta, Indonesia, by 115 mainly East Timorese turned violent as pro-Indonesia protesters followed them and shouted abuses. Two Dutch diplomats were injured. The East Timorese had forced their way into the Dutch and Russian Embassies to demand that an independence petition be delivered to a UN representative. The protest marked the 20th anniversary of Indonesia's invasion of East Timor.