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News In Brief

By CompiledCynthia HansonLance Carden, and Yvonne Zipp / September 27, 1996



THE US

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Saying "parents may rush to the hospital, but they shouldn't be rushed out of it," President Clinton signed a bill that would force insurance companies to pay for at least 48-hours of hospital care for new mothers. Later, he was to visit Capitol Hill to rally congressional Democrats.

The White House tentatively praised one bill that aims to curb illegal immigration and castigated a second one that would let states bar children of illegal immigrants from public schools. The second measure was originally part of the first bill, but was dropped when Clinton threatened to veto the entire measure. The Senate is expected to pass the first bill, which would double the number of border guards and tighten penalties for document fraud, but the school-restriction measure is unlikely to pass. And Clinton pledged to veto it if it does, saying "if it comes to my desk, it's history."

The Senate was to vote on overriding Clinton's ban on certain late-term abortions. Last week, the House passed a similar measure, but the Senate is unlikely to garner enough votes for an override.

The State Department implicitly criticized Israel for the escalating violence between Jews and Palestinians, which was sparked by the completion of an Israeli tunnel at an Islamic holy site. Secretary of State Warren Christopher urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to personally take charge of the crisis. Netanyahu later said he was cutting short his trip to Europe to deal with the situation.

The White House is embarking on a new plan to transport thousands of urban welfare recipients to suburban jobs to help get them off public assistance, officials said. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros was to announce a four-year, $17-million pilot project that targets five cities - Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee, and St. Louis. Officials said the White House hopes to expand the program to at least 75 cities within two years.

Clinton's threatened veto has effectively killed a federal parks bill, congressional sources said. The bill would create or expand dozens of federal parks, but the White House says it would shrink Virginia's Shenandoah National Park, threaten Florida's barrier islands with development, and allow private parties to own cabins in Sequoia National Park in California. The bill's widely supported provisions may be includ-ed in a catchall spending measure before Congress adjourns.

A federal judge cleared the way for prosecutors in the Oklahoma City bombing trial to seek the death penalty for suspects Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Judge Richard Matsch rejected defense claims that Attorney General Janet Reno violated Justice Department policy by announcing she would press for the death penalty before any arrests were made.

A new private study indicates drug use among teenagers may be much higher than suggested by a recent government survey. About 18 percent of students in junior and senior high school use illegal drugs monthly, the study by the National Parents' Resource Institute for Drug Education found. The group says the use of illegal drugs and tobacco by minors "is at the highest level PRIDE has ever recorded."

Astronaut Shannon Lucid got to take her first steps on Earth after more than six months in orbit when the shuttle Atlantis landed at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Demand for big-ticket durable goods dropped 3.1 percent in August, the steepest decline in 16 months. A Commerce Department report also showed July orders were not as strong as previously thought, rising 1.4 percent.

Researchers at Bellcore uncovered a security flaw in smart cards - plastic money with a computer-chip memory - that makes it possible for them to be counterfeited.

THE WORLD

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat were set to meet to try to quell Israeli-Palestinian violence. Fighting between Israeli troops and Palestinian demonstrators escalated in the West Bank and Gaza. Reports from health officials indicated at least 37 Palestinians and five Israelis were killed in the second day of fighting. Hundreds of others were reported injured. And numerous countries voiced support for the Palestinians.

The US might keep ground troops in Bosnia if NATO military planners determine it is "necessary and appropriate," Defense Secretary William Perry said at a meeting of NATO Defense Ministers in Bergen, Norway. But, Perry added, the US is "not prepared to make a commitment at this time."

Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan cracked down hard on his political opponents. Troops backed by tanks were called into the capital, Yerevan, where they arrested supporters of Vazgen Manukyan, who is accused of trying to seize power in riots that followed Sunday's disputed election. Manukyan says the election, in which he finished second, was rigged.