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News In Brief

By CompiledRobert Kilborn and Lance Carden / February 17, 1998

The US

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The grand jury looking into President Clinton's ties to Monica Lewinsky may hear testimony today from retired Secret Service officer Lewis Fox. On Friday, Attorney General Janet Reno decided to allow limited questioning of Fox, if protective techniques and procedures of the Secret Service, which has responsibility for guarding the president, are not disclosed. Fox appeared Thursday at the Washington courthouse where the grand jury meets, but did not testify.

US Sen. John McCain said it's time for the president to set a deadline for Saddam Hussein to back down or face US military action. Other lawmakers said Clinton should not act without a vote of support from Congress, which is on vacation this week. McCain, an Arizona Republican and senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, made his suggestion on the Fox TV network.

Iraq has smuggled deadly weapons programs to sympathetic Arab states for safekeeping, along with up to 400 Scud missiles that could deliver germ or chemical agents, said Yossef Bodansky, director of the House Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. Iraqi Scud missiles were shipped to Sudan and Yemen after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Bodansky reported. He also said Iraq retains production capabilities for weapons of mass destruction through joint programs in Sudan and Libya.

An arrest warrant was issued for a North Carolina man in connection with the bombing of an Alabama clinic where abortions are performed. US Attorney Doug Jones said Eric Robert Rudolph is charged with using an explosive device. His truck was reportedly spotted near the scene of the incident. An off-duty police officer was killed and a nurse critically injured in the Jan. 29 blast at the New Woman All Women Health Care center in Birmingham, Ala. Authorities also announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to the bomber's arrest and conviction.

Two more churches were damaged by fires in Charlotte, N.C., where officials are looking into a series of blazes at other area churches, a fire department spokesman said. As firefighters extinguished a blaze that gutted a newly renovated fellowship hall at Moore's Chapel United Methodist Church late Saturday, a separate fire was reported about a mile away at the New Apostolic Church, officials said. Two other churches - Garden Memorial Presbyterian and Sunset Forest Baptist - were damaged by fire last week.

Clinton signed legislation to help Holocaust survivors recover assets seized by the Nazis in World War II. The Holocaust Victims Redress Act, passed by the House of Representatives last month and by the Senate in November, allows organizations that help Holocaust survivors to share up to $25 million. It also provides an additional $5 million for archival research to help with recovery of assets extorted or looted from Holocaust victims.

Hundreds of US soldiers may have died in a secret network of Chinese prison camps during the Korean War, formerly secret Army intelligence reports revealed. They indicate that the US knew of the prisoners and closely tracked their movements. On a visit to Beijing in January, Defense Secretary William Cohen asked top Chinese officials to open their archives and other files that might contain data on more than 8,000 US servicemen still unaccounted for from the Korean War.

Labor Secretary Alexis Herman said the US will spend $25 million to help California workers whose jobs have been lost or disrupted by recent floods. It would allow such people to be hired to clean up public and private-nonprofit property damaged by flooding, The state enjoyed a brief respite from the elements Sunday, but residents in southern counties were told to prepare for more rain.

The World

Indications were growing that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan would undertake an 11th-hour mission to Iraq aimed at averting a US-led military strike. Annan was to meet in New York with permanent Security Council members for a discussion of "bottom line conditions" for inspections of suspected Iraqi weapons sites, which British diplomats said the Baghdad government must accept in writing. Pending such a move, Annan would likely meet Iraq's foreign minister in Paris tomorrow and then fly on to Baghdad, diplomatic sources said.

Sinn Fein leaders said they would challenge moves to expel the party from negotiations on the political future of Northern Ireland. The British government formally issued an indictment of the party's guerrilla ally, the Irish Republican Army, for the murders of two pro-British Protestants in Belfast last week. Rules of the talks require the ouster of any participant whose militant elements break the cease-fire currently in effect in the province. Last month, the pro-British Ulster Democratic Party quit the negotiations before it could be expelled after admitting that gunmen it represents had killed three Catholics.