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Calling suggestions that he or his staff relished their investigation of President Clinton "wrong," independent counsel Kenneth Staff presented his case for impeachment to a House Judiciary Committee hearing. He quickly took issue with Democratic complaints that anti-Clinton accusations were only about a private sexual matter, saying the president had failed his oaths to testify truthfully and to faithfully execute the law.
Nine thousand Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits in the week ending Nov. 14 - the highest total since mid-July, the Labor Department said. The increase pushed the widely watched four-week average of claims to 317,000. That is the highest since the average hit 337,000 July 25.
Eight Americans in 10 have had medical checkups in the past year, but individual health habits otherwise tend to be un-disciplined, a new survey reported. The Gallup Organization said its data showed almost half of Americans 12 and older are overweight under National Institutes of Health guidelines. It also found 25 percent of respondents still smoke tobacco and only 1 in 3 people of retirement age exercise to even a moderate degree.
Four more states joined - or scheduled news conferences to announce they'd likely agree to - the proposed settlement of a lawsuit against major US tobacco companies. Attorneys general in Ohio, Idaho, and Hawaii said they'd sign the $206 billion deal aimed at closing all remaining state cases, which seek to recover costs of treating smoking-related illnesses. Rhode Island's announcement would bring to 18 the number of states included in the settlement. Meanwhile, in Washington, the National Cancer Institute said it planned to spend $142 million over the next five years to study what programs work best in discouraging teen smoking.
Three New Jersey brokerage-firm executives pleaded guilty to bilking more than $100 million from investors and spending the money on houses, sports cars, designer clothes, and other luxuries. Richard Goettlich, Anthony Gianninoto, and Eileen Lane of Interregional Equity Corp. are to be sentenced in March in federal district court in Newark. Defrauded investors filed almost 7,200 claims with the court, covering the period 1988-1997.
Little known novelist Alice McDermott was the surprise winner of the fiction prize in the 49th US National Book Awards ceremonies in New York. McDermott's "Charming Billy" is the story of a tightly knit Irish family's experiences in that city. "Slaves in the Family," the first book by Edward Ball, won the nonfiction prize. Gerald Stern's "This Time: New and Selected Poems," won the poetry prize.
CORRECTION: An item in this space yesterday referred to US Rep. Dick Gephardt (D) of Missouri as House majority leader. He is the minority leader.
The Middle East peace process entered a new phase as Israel's Cabinet approved the first withdrawal of troops from West Bank land in nearly two years. In the West Bank town of Jenin, some 5,000 Palestinians paraded the streets in celebration. Israel has committed to cede 13 percent of land in three phased pullbacks over 12 weeks. In return, the Palestinians have agreed to crack down on anti-Israel militants and other political movements. Israel also said it would free 750 Palestinian prisoners.
President Clinton urged the Japanese public for patience in their recovering economy and an openness to American goods. "Don't be discouraged, but do be determined," he told a nationally televised meeting. He endorsed Japan's effort to shore up its ailing banking system. In his meetings with Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, they were expected to discuss the military threat posed by North Korea's test-firing of a ballistic missile. Clinton is scheduled to leave for South Korea today.
The first segment of the first international space station is to be launched today from Baikonur in Kazakhstan. The 41-foot Russian-built Zarya (Sunrise) will provide propulsion and fuel storage for the station. The US will follow on Dec. 3 with the launch of Unity Node, which will connect with Zarya. About 100 elements are expected to be launched on at least 45 missions, before its scheduled completion in 2004. Ultimately, the station will weigh 500 tons. The 16-nation project has a price tag of $40 billion, with the US contribution at $21 billion.
Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov launched his own political party in an apparent bid for the presidency of Russia in 2000. He said his movement, Fatherland, would seek a balance between free-market principles and a strong state economy.