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Forecasters said the worst is over for storm-battered residents in the Pacific Northwest. But flood warnings remained in effect for dozens of rivers in the West, and hundreds of residents in northern California have been forced out of homes by rising waters. Officials declared states of emergencies in 19 Washington counties, 17 California counties, and four Oregon counties. Nevada also declared a state of emergency in four counties, and heavy rains caused the worst flooding in downtown Reno in more than 40 years. Some 14 deaths have been blamed on storms in Washington and Oregon since Christmas.
President Clinton headed to the Virgin Islands New Year's Day to join his wife, Hillary, and daughter, Chelsea, for a four-day vacation. He also telephoned Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to express condolences over the wounding of five Palestinians by a soldier in Hebron.
New Yorkers are celebrating the lowest number of homicides in their city since the 1960s. The tally for 1996 was 983 - three fewer than the total in 1968. It's also a 16 percent drop from 1995 and a more than 50 percent drop from the city's record high of 2,245 in 1990.
The congressional ethics subcommittee that investigated House Speaker Newt Gingrich will recommend he be reprimanded. The punishment would allow him to keep his job, sources close to the investigation said. The recommendation goes to the full ethics committee Wednesday, a day after the speaker's election.
The number of US workers filing first-time jobless benefits shot up by 22,000 last week to the highest level since mid-July, the Labor Department announced. Many analysts had expected only a slight increase. Meanwhile, stocks and bond prices dropped sharply yesterday morning after The National Association of Purchasing Management reported surprisingly strong growth in manufacturing for December. The index rose to 54 percent in December from 52.7 percent in November. Economists had been expecting a 51.5 percent reading.
The Federal Elections Commission reported that House and Senate candidates in the 1996 election spent $626.4 million, an increase of $36.8 million or 6.3 percent from the previous high in 1994. House candidates in the fall election spent a total $405.6 million, up 24 percent from 1994. The biggest spender was Speaker Gingrich.
The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning not to consume colored liquid products named "Orange fX Rush," Lemon fX Drop," and "Cherry fX Bomb" after about 50 people at a concert in Los Angeles became ill after consuming them. Vials of the synthetic designer drugs were handed out at the concert, where one concert promoter described the drink as a legal, herbal stimulant. The FDA said it would test the liquids. A bottle- and stone-hurling melee took place on downtown streets after the concert was shut down.
Police planned to question Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin about accusations by a woman that he held a gun to her head while teammate Erik William's and another man allegedly raped her. Irvin, who is on probation for a drug offense, says he was at a sports bar when the alleged incident took place. The woman's estranged husband says she has falsely accused men of sexual assault twice before, but neither case was reported to police, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Five more members of the Viper Militia, accused of plotting to blow up government buildings, pleaded guilty in Phoenix, Ariz., to lesser conspiracy and weapons charges. Some 10 member of the paramilitary group have pleaded guilty in the case.
Mattel Inc. announce it is putting warning labels on Cabbage Patch Snacktime Kids doll packages to alert parents the doll's chewing mouth can snag hair and chomp fingers. Removing its backpack will stop the mechanism. At least 35 children have had been munched on by the doll.
Peruvian Marxist rebels released seven more hostages but stuck to their original demand that the government release about 400 jailed comrades. Meanwhile, the Japanese and Peruvian governments expressed anger at the propaganda coup the rebels pulled off in an impromptu news conference inside the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima, where they still hold 74 hostages.
Israeli and Palestinian officials were optimistic that a deal on Hebron will be sealed soon, despite a shooting attack by an off-duty Israeli soldier that left seven Palestinians wounded in a Hebron marketplace. Negotiators were haggling over a Palestinian demand that Israel commit itself to target dates for further redeployments already agreed on in previous deals. And the militant group, Islamic Jihad, said it will avenge the Hebron shooting.