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News In Brief

By CompiledRobert KilbornLance Carden and Caryn Coatney / June 15, 1998



The US

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No progress was reported in talks between General Motors and the United Auto Workers in a effort to end strikes by 9,200 union members at the Delphi Flint East parts plant and the Flint Metal Center in Flint, Mich. The two strikes have reportedly idled more than 50,000 GM workers at facilities in the US, Mexico, and Canada - or 45 percent of GM's North American production capacity. The union is contesting GM efforts to move work to other factories - inside and outside the US - where costs are lower.

President Clinton extended a moratorium on offshore leasing to oil companies by a decade and signed a permanent ban on drilling in marine sanctuaries. The directive extends until 2012 a moratorium on offshore-oil and -gas drilling that was initially imposed by President Bush in 1990.

A $34 million payment by Mitsubishi Motors to settle a sexual harassment case should prompt corporate leaders to review their policies on the issue, legal experts said. Mitsubishi settled allegations that managers on the assembly line at its Illinois factory allowed women to be harassed. The accord requires the biggest sexual-harassment payout obtained by the US government. It will be shared by 350 women who have worked at the plant since 1987.

At least 600 Latin Americans of Japanese ancestry held in US internment camps during World War II will each get $5,000 under a settlement announced by the Justice Department. The accord resolved a 1996 lawsuit by five Latin Americans who were among more than 2,000 - mostly deported from Peru - who were forcibly interned in the US. The lawsuit was filed in Washington after Japanese-American WWII internees were given $20,000 each under a 1988 law. Some of the affected Latin Americans said they would appeal because the US internees received four times as much as their Latin American counterparts.

The Federal Communications Commission voted to maintain a subsidy for connecting schools and libraries to the Internet, instead of ending the program as some lawmakers had demanded. However, the FCC decided to collect only $1.3 billion in 1998 - mostly from long-distance telephone firms. That is considerably less than the $2 billion requested this year by more than 30,000 schools and libraries seeking Internet access. But it should allow long-distance carriers to reduce surcharges they plan to pass on to consumers.

The New Republic said 27 of 41 articles written by one of the magazine's reporters contained at least partly made-up material. Six of the pieces by Stephen Glass "could be considered entirely or nearly entirely made up," the journal reported. Glass was fired last month as an associate editor after confessing he had "embellished" a story about computer hackers.

Some 48 conservative groups pledged to fight a proposed UN international criminal court, denouncing it as dangerous to national security. US Sen. John Ashcroft (R) of Missouri said the court could nullify protections in the Bill of Rights and investigate US military operations overseas. A conference to discuss the proposal opens next week in Rome.

The Justice Department announced an easing of visa restrictions on Asian students. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright requested the move to lighten the financial burden on Asian students hit by the region's economic collapse. The new guidelines will allow eligible Asian students to work longer hours and take fewer courses.

A bill requiring couples to take premarital classes or wait three days to get married after receiving a license was signed into law by Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles (D). Backers say the Marriage Preparation and Preservation Act, which takes effect Jan. 1, 1999, is the first of its kind in the US. It also requires couples filing for divorce to take classes to prepare themselves and their children for the separation.

The World

The roar of warplanes is expected over Albania and Macedonia today as NATO planned a show of force to try to stop the ethnic crackdown in neighboring Kosovo. Alliance members oppose independence for the mostly Albanian province, but want to keep the conflict from becoming a wider war in the Balkans. More than 300 people have died since the Kosovo crisis erupted earlier this year. But as the NATO jets assembled at a base in Italy, the Yugoslav Air Force countered with a televised air show of its own.

Heads of state from the 15 members of the European Union gathered in Cardiff, Wales, for a two-day summit aimed at resolving such issues as reforming costly subsidy programs, the ability of one government to veto decisions that the rest may favor, and ways to repair relations with Turkey. Ties with Turkey have been strained since it was left off a list of candidates for future EU membership at the last leadership conference in December.