News In Brief

By , and Lance Carden

The US

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.

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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.

Israeli troops on the Golan Heights are training for a possible attack by Syria, Time magazine reported. It quoted senior commanders as saying the Israeli Army was not adequately prepared for war. It is widely believed in Israel that Syria's strategy would be to capture a small area of the Golan and force diplomatic intervention by the US.

Jewish settlers in the West Bank said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told them he would seek to annex the Jordan Valley in any permanent peace settlement with the Palestinians. Published reports also said that he plans to double the valley's Jewish population by the end of his term, in 2000.

NATO's expansion plans again came under fire by Russia as the summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe got under way in Lisbon. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin told delegates from the 54-nation group that NATO would create "new dividing lines" if it went ahead with plans to admit countries from Eastern Europe as members. He said that would "worsen the whole geopolitical situation" in the world.

The general in charge of Russia's ground troops was fired by President Boris Yeltsin as the last of his forces began their withdrawal from the breakaway republic of Chechnya. Yeltsin said Gen. Vladimir Semyonov's actions were "incompatible with his duty."

Unofficial results from Moldova's runoff election gave parliament chairman Petru Lucinschi an eight-point victory over President Mircea Snegur. Lucinschi, a former senior Communist official in the Kremlin, attacked Snegur's call for closer ties with neighboring Romania and for full privatization of Moldovan land.

An estimated 1,500 students rallied outside Rangoon University, demanding that Burma's military regime investigate police brutality. The protest did not appear linked to the democracy movement led by Nobel Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi, but it was the largest of its type in years. Security forces made no immediate move to break it up.

Protesters on Okinawa demonstrated against a new agreement by the US to return some of the land its troops use there. The deal was reached between Defense Secretary William Perry and Japanese officials. It also calls for moving one US Marine facility offshore to a base that Japan will build. But Okinawans, led by Gov. Masahide Ota, complained that the plan will take years to complete and ignores their demand for sharp reductions in the number of Americans stationed on the island.

Etceteras

". . . a decade ago, studying abroad was considered a luxury. I think it's now considered a more instrumental part of undergraduate education."

- Institute of International Education chief Richard Krasno, on the rising number of US students enrolled overseas.

Five minus one equals two. No, the math isn't flawed. It's just that one of the famous Three Tenors, Luciano Pavarotti, has announced he'll retire five years from now. As presently constituted, that would leave the other two - Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras - without a touring partner sometime in 2001. Pavarotti made his professional debut in 1961 and says 40 years of performing in public is "all a tenor dares to do."

So many Russians go without pay these days that operators of the movie theater in the farming town of Klyuchi are accepting eggs instead of cash at the box office. President Boris Yeltsin is pledged to complete a program of economic reform in his beleaguered country. But a barter economy may not be quite what he had in mind. Imagine if Klyuchi's local industry was - say - forging manhole covers.

So there was Frank Rooke, busily painting an outdoors scene in western England, when a woman approached and informed him that he was trespassing on her property. Rooke, who is confined to a wheelchair, looked up and recognized Princess Anne, the daughter of Queen Elizabeth II. But she liked the look of his work and commissioned another painting from him as a retirement gift for a member of her staff. No word on how much the artist was paid.

The Day's List

Ten US Companies That Give the Most to Charity

The Taft Group in Detroit publishes newsletters on persons, companies, and foundations that engage in philanthropy. Its corporate list for fiscal 1995:

1. Microsoft Corp. $73.2 million ($62.1 in the form of software)

2. Johnson & Johnson $72.8

3. IBM $72.2

4. Eli Lilly & Co. $71.9

5. Hewlett-Packard $71.2

6. General Motors N/A

7. Philip Morris Cos. N/A

8. Pfizer Inc. N/A

9. Bristol-Meyers Squibb N/A

10. Exxon N/A

- Corporate Giving

Watch/Associated Press

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