News In Brief
The USSkip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
President Clinton announced measures that will slightly relax US efforts to isolate Cuba. They include permitting a resumption of direct humanitarian charter flights to the island, allowing persons in the US to send $1,200 a year to relatives in Cuba, and expediting procedures for selling medicine and medical supplies to Cuba. The president said this would help meet the humanitarian needs of the Cuban people and prepare them for democracy.
Four Cuban baseball players, a coach, and four other Cubans who defected from the communist island more than a week ago were rescued at sea and taken to Ragged Island in the Bahamas, about 80 miles off the north coast of Cuba. The players and coach had been banned from baseball in July because Cuban officials suspected they had plans to defect.
Tornadoes cut a swath of destruction across the Southeast. At least 11 people were killed and more than 80 others injured in Georgia; two people were killed and 27 injured in North Carolina. The Georgia tornado tore through a 10-mile stretch in the rural northeast part of the state. In North Carolina, most of the business district of Stoneville was destroyed.
Independent counsel Kenneth Starr argued the issue of executive privilege with White House lawyers in a closed hearing before US District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson. Presidential aides Bruce Lindsey and Sydney Blumenthal have reportedly cited executive privilege in refusing to testify before a grand jury about certain conversations they had in the White House concerning Clinton's ties to former intern Monica Lewinsky.
Carol Bruce, a Washington lawyer and former prosecutor, was named independent counsel to investigate whether Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt broke the law by making false statements to the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee about his role in rejecting a proposal for a casino from a group of Wisconsin Indians.
San Francisco's school board unanimously approved a requirement that high school students read at least one book each year by a minority author. Students from minority households make up nearly 87 percent of the district's high-school population. The board rejected earlier proposals that required up to 7 of the 10 books students read each year be written by minority authors.
Twenty percent of US middle schools and high schools reported at least one serious crime last year, the Education Department said. Its survey, based on responses from school principals, counted only crimes reported to police as taking place at schools, aboard school buses, or at school-sponsored events.
The suicide rate among young blacks more than doubled between 1980 and 1995, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. In 1995, there were 4.5 suicides per 100,000 blacks age 10 to 19, up from 2.1 in 1980. Historically, suicide rates among white youths have been higher than suicide rates among black youths. This study indicated the gap is narrowing.
Robert Duvall's "The Apostle" dominated the 13th Independent Spirit Awards presentation in Santa Monica, Calif. The film about a firebrand Southern preacher's quest for redemption was honored as best feature, and Duvall was named best director and best male lead. Spirit Awards are the top honors given by the nation's independent-film community. Duvall's performance has also been nominated for an Oscar at tonight's Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.
The US intelligence budget this year totals $26.7 billion, virtually unchanged from last year, the CIA said. This is the second consecutive year that the agency has decided it could release the total intelligence-budget figure without harming national security.
Israel prepared for another visit by special US envoy Dennis Ross later this week but said in a statement that Washington could not dictate terms for breaking the deadlock in peace negotiations with the Palestinians. Reports of a new US plan calling for an Israeli withdrawal from 13 percent of the West Bank - linked to a tougher Palestinian crackdown on Islamic militants - were "unacceptable," the statement said. Israel has refused to yield more than 9 percent.
Over the objections of the Yugoslav government and concern-ed Western nations, ethnic Albanians in Kosovo turned out for an informal parliamentary election. Western countries support autonomy but not independence for the Albanian-dominated province, despite a police crackdown earlier this month in which at least 80 people died. Yugoslavia is threatened with new sanctions if its special police are not withdrawn and repression does not end by Wednesday.