News In Brief

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The US

The House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to investigate whether President Clinton should be removed from office. The 21-to-16 vote along party lines sent a GOP resolution to the full House, which is virtually certain later this week to approve it. Democrats said the case against the president failed to raise impeachable offenses, but the panel defeated their attempts to limit the time and scope of the inquiry.

Clinton told senior finance officials from 22 countries that they must build "a system that will lessen and manage" risks in global markets. The president made the comments between appearances at a series of Democratic Party unity events, in which he and the party's top lawmakers raised $1.2 million for candidates in midterm elections.

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GOP Senate leaders told the White House to drop plans to expand the Antiballistic Missile Treaty to cover states of the former Soviet Union. In a letter to Clinton, they said the 1972 treaty "did not survive the dissolution of the Soviet Union" and could not be expanded without Senate approval. The treaty, which runs counter to GOP efforts to deploy a missile-defense system, was made with the Soviet Union to limit deployment of such systems.

The House voted to give the Pentagon $97 million for overt military aid to Iraqi rebel groups opposing the government of President Saddam Hussein. The bill, passed 360 to 38, would also earmark $2 million for Radio Free Iraq.

Immigration officials were decrying a new requirement that they lock up thousands more legal permanent residents and other noncitizens who are deportable because they have criminal records. Already struggling with a record demand for jail beds, the Immigration and Naturalization Service said it lacks space, personnel, and budget to fulfill the new mandate. The INS has lobbied Congress unsuccessfully to extend a two-year grace period that expires tomorrow night.

A federal shutdown seemed increasingly unlikely as GOP lawmakers showed signs of compromise on some key issues. Rep. Lamar Smith (R) of Texas said he expected an accord to be reached on whether to allow 40,000 Haitians already in the US to remain permanently - an idea he opposes. House majority leader Dick Armey, another Texan, conceded he probably can't prevent $18 billion from going to the International Monetary Fund. And some Republicans said they expect some antiabortion provisions and language reining in some environmental restrictions to also eventually be retracted.

The US rationale for not endorsing the new International Criminal Court is "absolutely unmeritorious and without justification," said Richard Goldstone, a former chief prosecutor of Balkan war criminals. He made the comment in an address at Bard College in New York. Two months ago, 120 nations approved the new court. The US, one of seven dissenting nations, said the court might subject US troops to prosecution on politically motivated charges of war crimes.

A bill that would allow private firms to send reusable launch vehicles into space was passed by the House. It would authorize the Transportation Department to license companies to launch vehicles similar to US space-agency shuttles. Private companies can already send objects into space, but they are prohibited from returning vehicles to Earth. The measure was sent to the Senate on a voice vote.

The National Basketball Association canceled its entire preseason. After previously calling off the first 24 exhibition games, the NBA canceled the final 90 because of stalled labor talks. When the two sides meet again tomorrow, they will have only a few days to reach a deal that would preserve an 82-game regular-season schedule.

The World

Terms set by the UN Security Council for preventing military intervention in Kosovo haven't been met by Yugoslav President Milosevic, a senior American diplomat said. Richard Holbrooke was shuttling between talks with Milosevic and with Albanian separatist leaders. His mission was seen as perhaps the final bid to stop Milosevic's crackdown against the separatists before punitive air strikes are launched by NATO. But at the UN, Russia vowed to veto any Security Council resolution authorizing the attacks. (Related story, Page 1.)

A revised forecast by the Japanese government predicted that the struggling economy would shrink for the second year in a row instead of posting just under a 2 percent growth rate. The new prediction: a 1.8 percent decline. The world's second-largest economy hasn't experienced such a contraction for two consecutive years since 1955. Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi ordered his Cabinet to consider still more stimulus measures on top of the $126 billion tax-and-spending package now before parliament.

Secretary of State Albright began talks with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat on the West Bank after an inconclusive meeting in Jerusalem with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu. There were hopes the US envoy would hold a decisive three-way meeting with them before she ends her latest Mideast visit and yet another attempt to forge a land-for-security deal.

Rhetoric between Syria and Turkey heated up amid diplomatic efforts to end their confrontation over Kurdish rebel bases on Syrian soil. Turkey issued a "last warning" to halt Syrian support for "separatist terrorism." Syria appealed for Arab-wide support of its position and "deplored" the "Turkish drive to heighten" tensions. Egyptian President Mubarak was shuttling between their capitals, and the US and Russia urged both to use restraint.

With tens of millions of Russians expected to turn out tomorrow for nationwide strikes and antigovernment protests, Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov scheduled a live TV address to outline his plans for reviving the economy. So far, Primakov hasn't given a detailed account of how he'd modify the methods attempted by his predecessors. Last week he disputed published accounts that he'll call for tough new central control over the economy, saying they did not reflect his intentions.

Both the Iraqi government and its top opponent in exile scorned a move in the US Congress to spend $99 million on efforts to topple President Saddam Hussein. The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 would channel the aid to opposition groups prepared to beam TV and radio broadcasts into Iraq and mount an armed campaign against Saddam. From his base in Iran, the leader of the dissident Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq said the measure wasn't "sufficiently serious."

Worries about a new military takeover in Pakistan were fueled by Army chief Jehangir Karamat's call for a "security council" that would help to make internal policy decisions. There was no immediate comment by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government, which confronts deep economic and sectarian turmoil, bitter opposition to its aim of establishing an official Islamic order, and tense relations with neighboring India. But opposition legislators called Karamat's move a "last warning" to Sharif. The Army has ruled Pakistan for half of its 51-year history.

Former first lady Imelda Marcos's 1993 prison sentence on graft charges was overturned by the Philippines Supreme Court. By an 8-to-5 vote, the justices decided she did not have to serve 12 years for her role in a land-leasing deal that cost the government an estimated $445,000 in revenues.

Etceteras

" Civilians have become the object of war. There's no way this will be stopped if we don't have some form of international justice." - Former Balkan war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone, on the US's rejection of a world criminal court.

Watching the bottom line is essential if you're in business, right? It certainly is if you consider the Washington State Ferries system. On its vessel that sails between Seattle and Vashon Island, the capacity set by the Coast Guard used to be 250 passengers - based on the theory that the average person takes up 18 inches of space when sitting. But since many riders couldn't squeeze in, the system itself cut the load to 240. Still too many; some had to sit in the aisles. So now it's down to 230. It would appear, a spokeswoman said, that "we've all expanded."

Golf course operators in Bangkok, Thailand, already hard hit by the Asian recession are bracing for even tougher times. Reason: The city's new police commissioner has ordered all superintendents under his command not to be caught on the links until their precincts are "absolutely free" of crime.

The Day's List

Americans Dominate List Of World's 'Working Rich'

A recent ranking of the richest individuals and families in the world places five Americans in the top 10. The Forbes magazine list, based on 1998 statistics, includes some heads of state, but otherwise excludes those not considered to be active in business. The wealthiest, their home countries, main business interest, and estimated fortunes (in billions of US dollars):

1. Bill Gates (US) computer software $51.0

2. Walton family (US) Retail stores $48.0

3. Sultan Hassan al-Bolkiah (Brunei) oil/gas $36.0

4. Warren Buffett (US) stock market $33.0

5. Paul Allen (US) stock market $21.0

6. King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud (Saudi Arabia) oil/gas $20.0

7. Emir Jabir al-Ahmad al-Sabah (Kuwait) oil $15.0

8. Kenneth Thomson (Canada) publishing $14.4

9. Jay and Robert Pritzker (US) hotels/tobacco $13.5

(tie) Forrest Edward Mars Sr. and family (US) consumer products $13.5

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