News In Brief

The US

Administration officials questioned the credibility of President Clinton's latest accuser, Kathleen Willey, who described on national TV an alleged 1993 sexual encounter at the White House while asking the president for help at a time when she was in distress. On TV talk shows, White House spokeswoman Ann Lewis said Willey's charges had "surprised" her because Willey came to Lewis after the alleged incident and asked to work in the president's reelection campaign. Clinton lawyer Robert Bennett cited on ABC TV "substantial" unreleased court material that he said "seriously undercuts" her story. Meanwhile, former Vice President Dan Quayle said Republicans will press for impeachment proceedings against Clinton if the prosecutors find evidence of perjury and obstruction of justice.

President Lyndon Johnson was so concerned that Hubert Humphrey would break with him over the Vietnam War in an attempt to win the 1968 election that he had the FBI bug his own vice president, a new biography of Johnson indicates. In the book "Flawed Giant," Boston University historian Robert Dallek also reveals that Johnson - even though he had withdrawn as a candidate in March - secretly encouraged a draft-Johnson movement at the Democratic convention that summer.

A report on Save the Children and three other charities found that individual sponsorship of a poor child is primarily a marketing myth. Although ads often ask for a few dollars a month to sponsor a poor child, the Chicago Tribune said it found that sponsored children often got few or no benefits - and that money is sometimes accepted on behalf of children who have died. Save the Children Federation Inc., Childreach, Children International, and Christian Children's Fund defended their approach to fund-raising, saying donors understand money does not go to benefit individual children but to the broader community where the children live.

An outside report on the International Monetary Fund's main lending program for poor countries urged the agency to look harder at the problems of the poor, make its staff more accessible, and work closer with the World Bank. The report, compiled by professors working in Britain, the Netherlands, and the US, also said ways should be found to "humanize and demystify" the image of the IMF.

Iraq will not gain an end to trade sanctions merely by opening up presidential sites to UN weapons inspectors, Defense Secretary William Cohen said. On CNN, Cohen said Iraq also would have to "produce proof positive" that all its weapons of mass destruction have been destroyed.

Jean Kennedy Smith said she would be stepping down as ambassador to Ireland this summer and returning to the US. Mrs. Kennedy Smith, a sister of the late President Kennedy and US Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) of Massachusetts, will have served five years.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. may have long known that smokers inhale nearly twice the amount of tar and nicotine indicated in US government ratings, The Wall Street Journal reported. The newspaper cited a Reynolds document used as an exhibit in a lawsuit filed against the firm in state court in Philadelphia that indicates the firm's own measure of tar and nicotine intake for its Winston brand in 1979 was twice as high as Federal Trade Commission findings.

Dr. Benjamin Spock, who died in San Diego, was an influential pediatrician and the author of "Baby and Child Care," which was first published in 1946. In it and a half-dozen later books, Spock tried to provide readers with a flexible and supportive approach to caring for children.

The World

Tensions in the Middle East rose another notch as Israel threatened to exclude the European Union from any future role in peacemaking if British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook went ahead with a planned visit to the controversial Har Homa housing project in an Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem escorted by a Palestinian leader. Meanwhile, the Palestine Authority's security chief said Jews would "not leave alive" if they attacked Arab neighborhoods in the volatile West Bank city of Hebron.

Turkish, Muslim, and Gypsy representatives broke ranks with ethnic Albanian leaders in Kosovo and joined talks with visiting Serbian envoys on the future of the province. But one Albanian leader appeared to offer a compromise on demands for independence, saying it should not be a precondition for joining the dialogue but should not be rejected in advance either. Meanwhile, Serb riot police turned back a march by thousands of women to rural villages that were the object of a Serb crackdown against Albanians earlier this month.

Mediators in the renewed peace negotiations between the two Koreas were hoping for more substantive discussions as all parties assembled in Geneva. This, despite early reports that North Korea had rejected a proposal by the South for setting up committees that would work on trust-building measures and was expected to repeat demands for the withdrawal of 37,000 US troops stationed on South Korean soil. Meanwhile, a parallel meeting in Beijing today is expected to consider an offer by the South of 50,000 tons of free food to the impoverished North.

With 11 percent of delegates voting no or abstaining, outgoing Chinese Premier Li Peng was elected chairman of the National People's Congress. Li is considered a hard-line conservative, whereas the legislature is one of China's most liberal institutions. Li ran unopposed, and analysts called the "no" votes and abstentions an embarrassing sign of dissent.

In one of the lowest voter turnouts in modern French history, the ruling leftist coalition won control of more than half the country's 22 regions. But analysts said the election gains were due as much to divisions on the political right as to the popularity of Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. The ultraright National Front won 15.2 percent of the vote, virtually unchanged from its showing in the 1995 presidential election.

The Vatican released a long-awaited document calling the Holocaust an "indelible stain" on the 20th century but defending wartime Pope Pius XII against accusations that he did little to try to stop it. The document noted that even the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir said Pius XII had raised his voice "for its victims." The statement had been promised to Jewish leaders in 1987.

US military advisers serving in Colombia are about to become targets of the country's leftist rebels, a guerrilla leader said. Fabian Ramirez accused the Americans of deviating from their stated objective of combating illegal drugs and said they now are heading covert antiguerrilla operations. US sources say 30 Americans now serve in Colombia, but independent sources put the number far higher.

World oil and natural-gas industry executives heard disturbing reports about oversupplied markets and the Asian economic crisis as they opened an annual conference in Dubai. Delegates were told the nine-year low in crude-oil prices was unlikely to change in the near future. A slump in currency values across much of Asia kept 100 delegates from attending the two-day session.

Etceteras

"It's not just sexual harassment; if it's true, it's sexual assault."

- National Organization for Women president Patricia Ireland, responding to Kathleen Willey's televised account of an alleged and unwelcome sexual advance by President Clinton.

When computer-science teacher Ernie Carey asked his class in American Fork, Utah, for the probability of two of his daughters giving birth on the same day, the students said there was almost no chance. When he threw in the possibility of a third daughter delivering the same day, they laughed. So much for probabilities.... Carey's daughters beat what his Utah Valley State College students calculated as 1-in-50-million odds last Wednesday, giving birth to two boys and a girl.

Political fallout from Whitewater? You make the call. Twenty-four states have towns named Clinton - all predating the current president's arrival in the White House. But if a state legislator in New Jersey has his way, that number will drop by one. Only partly in jest, Michael Carroll wants to rename Clinton and its surrounding township in honor of former President Reagan. But his resolution has run into immediate opposition. For one thing, Carroll is a Republican and Clinton's mayor is a Democrat. For another, Clinton isn't in Carroll's district.

The Day's List

Ranking the Great Artists Of Rock 'N' Roll History

The Beatles and Rolling Stones top a list of 100 greatest rock 'n' roll groups and artists compiled by VH1 TV, a cable network with an older audience than its cable cousin, MTV. The ranking is based on more than 100 responses to a poll of musicians whose videos appeared on VH1. The network's top 15:

1. The Beatles

2. The Rolling Stones

3. Jimi Hendrix

4. Led Zeppelin

5. Bob Dylan

6. James Brown

7. David Bowie

8. Elvis Presley

9. The Who

10. The Police

11. Stevie Wonder

12. Ray Charles

13. The Beach Boys

14. Marvin Gaye

15. Eric Clapton

- Associated Press

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