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News In Brief

By CompiledRobert Kilbornand Lance Carden / December 3, 1996

The US

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President Clinton returned to the White House after a long Thanksgiving weekend to face a number of tasks, including Cabinet and budget decisions. One White House official said the president's first move was likely to be the reorganization of his national security team. Clinton celebrated the holiday at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland.

The Clinton administration should update the federal cost-of-living index to avoid stalling next year's budget debate, said Sen. Don Nickles (R) of Oklahoma. Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Nickles said Congress would not be willing "to move forward" on the budget without a new Consumer Price Index. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan said adjusting the index could save $1 trillion over 10 years.

Republican senators vowed to hold hearings on Democratic Party fund-raising. This came after Attorney General Janet Reno rejected for the third time a demand that she appoint a special prosecutor to examine the issue. Meanwhile, a House ethics probe of Speaker Newt Gingrich reportedly is focusing on a Denver-based chairty, the Abraham Lincoln Opportunity Foundation. It was founded in 1984 to encourage Republicans to help needy inner-city youth. But some Democrats say it misused $200,000 in tax-exempt funds to produce TV shows for Gingrich.

The US Supreme Court upheld Ohio's latest congressional redistricting plan. It unanimously rejected arguments by former Rep. Clarence Miller and other defeated candidates that the Constitution requires Ohio's congressional districts to be drawn in a politically neutral way. The court also rejected the appeal of a woman convicted of blocking access to a Milwaukee abortion clinic two years ago, and turned down a California businessman's challenge to a state ban on fully automated telephone sales pitches.

The late Thurgood Marshall, gave the FBI information about the civil rights movement in the 1950s, despite his outspoken criticism of the bureau, USA Today reported. Marshall was the first black member of the US Supreme Court. The newspaper report cited newly released FBI files.

The number of US college students studying abroad rose 10.6 percent in 1994-95, the New York-based Institute of International Education said. More than 84,000 US collegians studied outside the country. There are now a reported 453,787 foreign students on US campuses, a rise of only 0.3 percent from last year.

Spending on new construction climbed at the strongest rate in seven months during October, the Commerce Department said. The announcement came as a surprise because of widespread predictions that building was due to decline. Total spending rose 1.8 percent to a record seasonally adjusted annual rate of $581.2 billion. It was the third straight monthly increase.

Revenues at the nation's malls on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, were 11 percent above the same day last year, the International Council of Shopping Centers reported. TeleCheck Services Inc. said sales paid by personal check were up 3.6 percent for the day. Last year the increase was 2.7 percent.

A US Indian housing program often fails to benefit low-income reservation residents, as intended, the Seattle Times reported. It cited a number of instances in which funds were used to build mansions for tribal leaders, their friends, and relatives. An easing of strict standards and close scrutiny of the program began in 1992 under HUD Secretary Jack Kemp and was expanded by his successor, Henry Cisneros.

US astronaut Shannon Lucid received a Congressional Space Medal of Honor from Clinton, nine weeks after returning from her record stay on the Russian space station Mir. She said she prefers longer space flights to shorter ones because the work pace is less hectic.

The mission of the space shuttle Columbia was extended to Friday to allow a US-German orbiting ultraviolet telescope to gather more information. The shuttle had been scheduled to return home Thursday.

The World

Thousands of students defied government threats and heavy snow in Belgrade to keep the pressure on Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. After two weeks of street unrest - the longest sustained challenge Milosevic has faced in nine years in power - demonstrators are now calling for his ouster. He is accused of rigging local elections won by an opposition movement late last month. His government warned over the weekend that further protests would be met by a police crackdown.

Zaire lost more territory to separatist rebels backed by neighboring Rwanda, missionary sources said. The town of Beni was reportedly the farthest north point yet taken by the rebels. Zairean soldiers leaving the scene were accused of looting and raping as they fled.