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An outside counsel plans to submit a report today on ethics violations by House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Meanwhile, Rep. Jim McDermott (D) of Florida announced he will recuse himself from the House ethics panel after Republicans accused him of leaking a tape-recorded cellular phone conversation involving Gingrich. McDermott made the recusal contingent upon the GOP removing a member from the same committee to maintain balance. A Republican leader said the GOP isn't interested in a partisan advantage. Rep. Lamar Smith (R) of Texas will likely recuse himself, leaving the committee with four Republicans and four Democrats, reports said.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service plans to allocate $400 million from a record $3.1 billion budget to deter illegal crossings along the border with Mexico and to remove undocumented aliens from the US, commissioner Doris Meissner announced. Part of the money will be used to hire 2,000 new personnel, including 1,000 new Border Patrol agents and 350 inspectors at crossings and airports, she said.
Mitsubishi Motor agreed to spend about $200 million over the next five years on minority initiatives, including the financing of new dealerships. The agreement with the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition ends a consumer boycott brought by the organization after the EEOC sued the company for discriminatory employment practices. The EEOC suit and private litigation against Mitsubishi have yet to be settled. Meanwhile, Jackson announced PUSH will open a Wall Street office to monitor how corporations treat minorities.
The Democrats are planning to propose modest capital-gains tax reductions later this month aimed at small-business development. The proposal is likely to include breaks for investors in small companies and for family farmers approaching retirement who want to sell their property. Also likely to be proposed: making tax-deductible Individual Retirement Accounts available to more taxpayers.
The Big Three automakers objected to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposal to allow vehicle owners to disconnect their air bags. The automakers said the policy would be difficult to implement properly and would send a mixed message about air bags. Dealers and mechanics are also concerned the policy would expose them to lawsuits. GM recommended installing a retrofitted cutoff switch instead.
Fewer guns, more butter: President Clinton's budget proposal calls for a $5 billion cut in defense outlays and $16 billion for federal welfare spending, sources say. Most of the $16 billion would be pegged for food stamps for legal immigrants who became disabled after entering the US. Clinton plans to present the budget to Congress Feb. 6.
Astronauts cheered and tore open packets of bread and salt - the traditional Russian welcome - after the space shuttle Atlantis successfully docked with the Russian space station Mir. Retired Air Force colonel John Blaha now will head home and be replaced by Dr. Jerry Linenger, who kicked off a 4-1/2-month stay.
The replacement of a commuter plane's right engine didn't cause a Comair twin-engine turboprop to crash five days later, the airline said. The plane crashed in Raisinville Township, Mich., killing all 29 people on board. The pilot apparently shut down the right engine during the flight, and flight recorder and cockpit voice recorder information indicated an apparent stall warning just before the crash.
Residents of North Dakota, Minnesota, and Nebraska braced for high winds and yet another blizzard. The snowstorm will be the fourth in the last month for North Dakota, where 20-foot snowdrifts have kept some residents isolated for a week.
The deal on redeployment of troops from the West Bank city of Hebron appeared likely to win narrow passage in Israel's Cabinet, despite opposition by almost half of its members. Jewish settlers in Hebron also rejected the agreement, reached by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Arafat. Israeli sources said troops could pull back from Hebron as early as tomorrow to limit the ability of militants to cause trouble.
Leftist guerrillas holding 74 hostages in Peru accepted a government proposal for mediating the month-long standoff. But Tpac Amaru leaders said discussions must include the release of hundreds of their followers from jail. As the announcement was made in Lima, Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori toured historic ruins with his visiting Ecuadoran counterpart, Abdala Bucaram.