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News In Brief

By CompiledRobert Kilborn and Vic Roberts / November 13, 1997



The US

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Federal Reserve policymakers met to consider interest-rate strategy amid a shaky opening on the New York Stock Exchange. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 40 points after two hours of trading on news of another decline in Asian financial markets. There were widespread expectations that the central bank's Federal Open Market Committee would decide to keep borrowing costs steady.

Theodore Kaczynski's trial was scheduled to begin with the questioning of prospective jurors in Sacramento, Calif. Kaczynski, the accused Una-bomber, faces a 10-count federal indictment and could be sentenced to execution if convicted. He is alleged to have mailed or placed 16 explosive devices between 1978 and 1995, but has pleaded innocent to all charges.

US Justice Department investigators questioned President Clinton and Vice President Gore separately about their roles in soliciting contributions to the Democratic Party by telephone, the White House announced. It was not known whether the interviews were conducted under oath. Attorney General Reno is determining whether there is sufficient evidence to request an independent prosecutor to probe Democratic fund-raising.

Attorneys for Clinton were to take a deposition in Little Rock, Ark., from Paula Jones in her sexual harassment lawsuit. A day earlier, the same lawyers took statements from Arkansas state troopers Larry Patterson and Roger Perry, who claim they helped to arrange sexual liaisons for Clinton when he was governor and then helped to hide them from his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Eastman Kodak joined a growing list of US employers announcing worker layoffs. Kodak said it would furlough 10,000 employees. The announcement, along with similar moves by Fruit of the Loom, Waste Management, and two other companies, came less than a month after the American Management Association reported that corporate downsizing was at its lowest level in this decade.

Despite Clinton's plan to issue a directive suspending the import of military-style assault weapons, federal regulators have OK'd 600,000 of them, the Los Angeles Times reported. It said manufacturers had "eluded restrictions" by making minor modifications that still leave the guns able to accept ammunition magazines of up to 100 rounds.

A $500 million federal program to reduce infant mortality may not be meeting its goals, but the release of a report detailing that finding was blocked by government officials, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. In 1994, the first year to be assessed under the Healthy Start program, preliminary data showed little or no impact in targeted poor communities, the Inquirer said. It said a presentation of the report to a meeting of the American Public Health Association was cancelled on grounds that the data were from only nine of 15 sites.

ITT Corp. was urging the reelection of its current board of directors as shareholders met in New York to decide the future course of a takeover battle. The hotel/casino company wanted the directors returned so they can auction it off to the highest bidder. Hilton Hotels Corp. has been engaged in a fight for control of ITT with Starwood Lodging, the US's largest real estate investment trust. Starwood has bid $10.6 billion; Hilton $10 billion.

In her first public statement since being freed from prison in the death of an infant in her care, British au pair Louise Woodward said she "prayed" that further investigation would convince the baby's family that she did him no harm. She thanked Massachusetts Judge Hiller Zobel for "giving me back my liberty" and denied reports she had sold her story to the news media. Prosecutors have up to 30 days to file for a review of Zobel's ruling.

The World

The UN Security Council was expected to pass a resolution imposing a travel ban on Iraqi officials responsible for disrupting weapons inspectors. Baghdad's official el-Thawra newspaper vowed the resolution would not force Iraq to retreat from its decision to expel Americans serving on inspection teams. For the ninth time in 10 days, Baghdad turned back American experts attempting to leave the UN compound in Baghdad.

Gunmen killed four American oil workers and their Pakistani driver on a downtown Karachi street. Police said the motive for the attack was unknown but raised the possibility of it being linked to Monday's conviction of Mir Aimal Kasi by a US court. Kasi, a Pakistani, faces a possible death sentence for killing two CIA employees outside the agency's headquarters in Langley, Va., in 1993.