News In Brief
THE USSkip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
As the partial government shutdown hit the two-week mark, President Clinton was set to join the budget talks today. Senator Dole, who will likely join Clinton, said there's a "50-50 shot" at resolution. Lower-level aides have been niggling over details, but "there were no substantive discussions. It was procedural," said Speaker Gingrich's spokesman. Meanwhile, some moderate Republicans and Democrats have a compromise plan that would shrink the $245 billion GOP tax cut by half while making bigger cuts in Medicare than most Democrats want.
At Mideast peace talks: "Everything is on the agenda," an Israeli diplomat said of his country's discussions with Syria in a 26-room Georgian mansion in Maryland. The US is participating in the sessions as the two nations explore the kind of peace Israel could get if it gives up the strategic Golan Heights. After today, talks will run Jan. 3-5. Then Secretary of State Christopher will take over with Damascus-Jerusalem shuttle trips.
Southern Californians may get a traffic reprieve - but only if they're willing to pay up to $2.50 for a 10-mile ride. The nation's first automated, privately built toll road opened in Anaheim. The four-lane, $126 million project runs beside to the notoriously jammed Riverside freeway. To pay, customers don't stop their cars but put a tiny transponder on their dash. It signals an overhead receiver as they enter, which debits their account. Organizers hope the idea will catch on and help relieve crowded highways - and make profits - elsewhere.
President Clinton was set to veto the $275 billion defense-spending bill. He is concerned the bill would effectively abrogate nuclear arms-reduction treaties by funding an antimissile defense system that is part of the GOP Contract With America. The bill is $7 billion more than Clinton asked for and includes planes and ships he doesn't want.
Putting American radar installations in Sarajevo doesn't constitute Somalia-like "mission creep" in the US effort in Bosnia, top Pentagon officials insisted. The move was requested by NATO. The Pentagon says radar units from other countries will replace US hardware in 30 days.
Consumer confidence is slipping, despite a record financial year. The index of a widely followed Conference Board survey of 5,000 households dropped from 101.6 in November to 98.7 in December. Sales of previously owned homes slipped, too. But on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at new highs 69 times so far this year, the most since 1964. Investors flooded mutual funds, which now hold a record $2.64 trillion. And there were a record 8,773 mergers or acquisitions worth $466.34 billion.
The US deported a record 51,000 illegal aliens in 1995 - the largest number on record, the INS said. The increase came from better border patrols and more expulsions of criminal illegal aliens after they ended jail terms. Two-thirds of the 1995 deportations were inmates. The biggest deportation efforts were in Illinois, Texas, Florida, California, and New York.
Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., will get a surprise $3 million gift from Olive Swindells. Neighbors knew her as a quiet woman who lived modestly in a cluttered, run-down Baltimore house. She built up a $4.4 million fortune through shrewd investments. The gift is the largest from an individual the renowned school for the deaf has received. There was no explanation in Swindells's will, though her husband was deaf.
The 2,400 US troops in Haiti won't extend their stay, the State Department said, dismissing speculation that the soldiers would remain past their Feb. 29 pullout date. That same deadline applies to all 6,000 troops serving in Haiti under the UN.
Cable pioneer Ted Turner launches CNNfn today. The financial news channel will try to broaden the small market now dominated by CNBC by targeting more general viewers - specifically the educated and affluent, not just avid market watchers. CNNfn is starting with a modest 5.5 million subscribers; CNBC has 56 million. The moves comes as other firms are starting up networks to rival Turner's CNN.
Bosnian Muslim and Serb forces met the first deadline of the Bosnian peace accord, withdrawing from selected front-line positions in Sarajevo. French troops replaced them. "We are very satisfied with the compliance in the past seven days," Gen. George Joulwan, supreme NATO commander, said in Belgrade. The severe Balkan winters may make peacekeeping difficult.
Pacific countries led a chorus of international outrage as France exploded its fifth, and possibly penultimate, South Pacific nuclear test. The 16-nation South Pacific Forum, which suspended diplomatic ties with France over the tests last October, said Paris was showing total disregard for the countries of the region. The US expressed disappointment over the tests.