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News In Brief

By CompiledLance CardenRobert Kilborn, and Yvonne Zipp / October 21, 1996


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President Clinton proposed drug tests for teenagers applying for driver's licenses. He also said he would issue a rule today to put into effect a law passed by Congress last year that will require states to make it illegal for people under 21 to drive with any alcohol in their blood. States not complying would risk the loss of federal highway construction funds.

The president also signed legislation designed to help the Coast Guard fight drug smugglers. The measure makes it more difficult for suspects in international waters to claim that their vessels are under foreign registry.

Republican candidate Bob Dole intensified his criticism of Clinton's ethics and tried to tie the president to questionable campaign contributions to Democrats from Asian businesses. Clinton, continuing to lead by at least 10 points in major opinion polls, was scheduled to campaign in New Jersey, New York, and Ohio on Sunday. Dole was on tour in New Hampshire.

US Gulf war commanders failed to respond to repeated warnings of Czech soldiers that chemical toxins from Iraqi weapons were endangering American troops, The New York Times reported. Czech soldiers told the Times that, even as they pulled on gas masks and protective suits, nearby American troops remained unprotected. Combat logs of officers under Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf were cited to confirm the report.

Marathon talks began between striking Canadian Auto Workers and General Motors of Canada. Negotiations began after another 2,500 employees at GM plants in Orion Township and Grand Blanc, Michigan, were reportedly told not to report for work today. Union and company negotiators set a deadline of noon today for a settlement in the talks.

The US trade deficit narrowed a bit in August, but remained close to July's five-year high, the Commerce Department reported. The August deficit was $10.8 billion, down 6.6 percent from $11.6 billion in July. The trade imbalance for the year is running at an annual rate of $112 billion.

US trade officials expressed satisfaction with the outcome of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Manila. Senior APEC officials agreed to lower tariffs on computers, telecommunications equipment, and similar products.

The nation's oldest civil rights group said it was no longer in debt. At an annual board meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, it was announced that $4 million of debt had been retired in the past year.

A torrential rainstorm moved north from the New York City-New Jersey area into New England. The storm caused at least one fatality, flooded coastal areas, and closed a number of major roads and bridges.

The nation's largest home health care provider and its new owner agreed to pay $255 million to settle allegations that it overbilled and submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare. The allegations were made against First American Health Care of Georgia, which filed for bankruptcy protection. The new owner is Integrated Health Services.

A fast-moving wildfire along California's Big Sur coastline sent vacationers and residents packing and closed two state parks and parts of Highway 1 about 30 miles south of Monterey. Winds pushed the flames across 650 acres of often rugged, inaccessible terrain.

Federal election expenditures are likely to be nearly twice as much this year as they were in 1992, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics said. Philip Morris, AT&T, and trial lawyers are the top contributors, the group reported.

California said it would prohibit Chrysler from shipping vehicles into the state for 45 days as punishment for selling 116 "lemons" in the state. The ruling was to take effect in 40 days, unless reversed on appeal.


Syria applauded - but Israel rejected - a proposal by French President Jacques Chirac that the European Union become a co-sponsor of Arab-Israeli peace talks. Chirac said the EU should be "more than mere partners for reconstruction" in the region. Syrian President Hafez al-Assad escorted Chirac on the French leader's stop in Damascus as part of a Middle East tour. Chirac is due in Israel today.

Israel's Defense Ministry will seek a multibillion-dollar increase in its budget to improve its preparedness for war, a Jerusalem newspaper reported. The report cited US intelligence estimates that limited fighting between Israeli and Syrian forces on the Golan Heights was a "distinct possibility."