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News In Brief

By CompiledCynthia Hanson and Lance Carden / March 16, 1998



The US

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President Clinton was to return from a secluded weekend at Camp David to a White House reeling from the latest allegations of sexual misconduct. Former White House volunteer Kathleen Willey was expected to give a scathing account on "60 Minutes" last night of a meeting with Clinton in 1993. Earlier, 700 pages of documents detailing alleged trysts and efforts to keep them quiet were filed by Paula Jones's lawyers in response to efforts by Robert Bennett, Clinton's lawyer, to have her sex-harassment suit dismissed.

The Pentagon said it would look into allegations that Linda Tripp lied on her security clearance form by failing to disclose that she had been arrested in 1969. Tripp's lawyer confirmed his client was arrested but said the charges were dropped because she was innocent. The incident involved a stolen watch and $263. Tripp is the Pentagon staffer who surreptitiously recorded conversations with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky about an alleged affair with Clinton.

A military jury in Fort Belvoir, Va., returns to court today to sentence Sgt. Maj. Gene McKinney on one charge of obstruction of justice. The jury cleared McKinney of 18 sexual misconduct charges made against him by six military women. He faces a maximum of five years in prison, plus dishonorable discharge or reduction in rank, for urging one women to lie.

Residents of Georgia began cleaning up after floodwaters that left 11,000 people homeless began receding. Earlier, the Flint River crested at 37 feet above flood stage in Albany, Ga., about 250 miles south of Atlanta. Clinton added four more Georgia counties to a list of federal disaster areas, bringing the total to 10. Elsewhere in Georgia, farmers tallied their losses after a three-day cold snap wiped out blueberry, peach, and strawberry yields.

The Senate Budget Committee is scheduled tomorrow to consider a budget plan for fiscal 1999. Republicans are expected to argue that tax cuts should be larger than those proposed by Clinton. Senate GOP leaders are pushing for a full Senate vote by the Easter recess. Earlier, the Senate voted 93 to 0 to declare Iraqi President Saddam Hussein an international war criminal and to urge creation of a UN tribunal to indict, arrest, and try him.

Speaker Newt Gingrich detailed a House Republican plan to increase highway and mass-transit funding that uses an existing highway fund to pay down the national debt.. Earlier, the Senate approved the massive Intermodal Surface Transportation and Equity Act for spending on road and transit projects. The bill contains a 42 percent increase over a comparable six-year authorization that expired last fall.

Thai Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai headed home with the promise of $1.7 billion in US aid after a four-day visit. Clinton excused Bangkok from obligations to buy eight US military jets during a meeting with Chuan in the Oval Office. The president also praised Thailand as a model for the rest of Asia to follow as the region struggles with a financial crisis.

Falling energy prices sent wholesale prices down in February for the fourth straight month, the Labor Department said. The producer price index eased 0.1 percent after sliding 0.7 percent in January.

An asteroid headed toward Earth will miss the planet by 600,000 miles, NASA said. It made the announcement after the International Astronomical Union said it would pass very close to Earth and could conceivably hit it in 2028.

US Congressman Joseph Kennedy (D) of Massachusetts announced he won't run for reelection. He plans to leave politics to run the nonprofit Citizens Energy Corp. formerly headed by his late brother, Michael.

The World

Israeli security forces increased their presence in major cities after days of violent disturbances in the West Bank and a pair of weekend bombings that wounded four Palestinians and an Israeli. No group claimed responsibility for either blast. Violence has flared since early last week, when Israeli soldiers shot dead three Palestinian workers at a military checkpoint in the West Bank in what Israel termed a "tragic mistake." Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook was to begin a three-day Middle East visit today to try to unblock the stalled peace process.

Lebanese guerrillas attacked Israeli positions in southern Lebanon as civilians flocked to rallies marking 20 years of Israeli occupation.