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News In Brief

By CompiledCynthia Hanson and Yvonne Zipp / June 24, 1996



THE US

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Democrats planned to unveil their "Families First" agenda in five cities. The agenda calls for educational tax breaks, expanded health insurance for children, and welfare reform, sources say. Also, President Clinton and Vice President Gore were to host a two-day conference in Nashville on family-friendly policies in the workplace.

House Speaker Newt Gingrich said House Republicans are willing to deliver a contempt of Congress vote against the Clinton administration for refusing to turn over documents needed for an investigation into the travel office firings. The White House has until Wednesday to deliver the documents to avoid the Thursday vote, he said. Also, a judicial panel authorized Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr to look into whether laws were broken when the Clinton administration received FBI files on former White House employees.

For the first time, federal investigators are merging computer files on 216 attacks on churches since May 1990 with hopes of finding a pattern. Also, a fire that destroyed a white Baptist church in rural southeast Missouri is being investigated as arson. And a white teenager was arrested and confessed to starting a fire at the black Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church in East Howellsville, N.C. No motive was given for the arson.

Clinton told the US Conference of Mayors in Cleveland, Ohio, that he asked Attorney General Janet Reno to report in 60 days with a plan to get a national tracking system for sex offenders into the hands of police. Presidential hopeful Bob Dole accused Clinton of stealing the idea from the GOP platform.

Security is expected to be tight in Sacramento, Calif., tonight for the arrival of Theodore Kaczynski. He is being transferred from Helena, Mont., to face Unabomber charges.

US troops may have unknowingly been exposed to chemicals when they destroyed an Iraqi ammunition depot in March 1991 that contained rockets armed with chemical agents, a Pentagon spokesman said. The Pentagon plans to conduct a new study on possible troop exposure, he added. Almost 9,000 Gulf War veterans have filed disability claims for illnesses they say are related to the conflict.

Justice Department investigators probing transactions involving the brother of former Mexican president Carlos Salinas discovered 70 bank accounts containing money allegedly gained through bribes, "60 Minutes" was to broadcast. Mexican officials told the news show that the accounts linked to Raul Salinas de Gortari could hold more than $300 million.

An attorney for one of two bankers on trial in Little Rock, Ark., backed down after suggesting Hillary Rodham Clinton be called as a witness. Attorney Dan Guthrie made the comment after prosecutors were allowed to introduce evidence about $180,000 in personal loans that the Clintons took out in connection with Clinton's 1990 gubernatorial campaign.

Clinton is preferred over Dole 2-to-1 by 18-to-29-year-olds, a Newsweek poll found. Some 51 percent of 380 "generation-Xers" interviewed would vote for Clinton if the election were held now, compared with 26 percent for Dole, the magazine says. Another 17 percent would vote for possible third-party candidate Ross Perot. Some 44 percent said Clinton understood their concerns, Only 16 percent said Dole understood them.

Female employees were being harassed at its Illinois auto plant, Mitsubishi admitted in a response filed to a government lawsuit. But the company claimed it punished the offenders when people complained. This could be the largest harassment case in the agency's history, both in the number of victims and the size of penalties, officials say.

Seven suspected arms sellers pleaded innocent to being involved in a smuggling operation that shipped 2,000 Chinese-made assault rifles to the US. Along with the automatic rifles, the Chinese arms dealers had proposed shipping rocket launchers, antiaircraft missiles, silenced machine guns, and tanks, the US Customs Service said.

THE WORLD

Arab states will "reconsider steps taken in the context of the peace process vis--vis Israel," if Israel does not stick to a land-for-peace format and honor previous commitments, Arab leaders said at the conclusion of a summit in Cairo. And they said a full settlement depends on Israel pulling out of all occupied land and creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israeli officials said the statement could be construed as a threat and violated the spirit of peace talks.