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News In Brief

By CompiledRobert Kilborn and Lance Carden / December 21, 1998



The US

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President Clinton defied GOP calls for him to resign over his impeachment, vowing instead to work "until the last hour" of his term. House passage of two articles of impeachment - generally along party lines - set the stage for only the second Senate trial in US history. But it was not clear whether such a process would take place. The fact that a Senate vote along party lines would not remove the president from office triggered speculation that bipartisan agreement on an alternative punishment would emerge - although Senate majority leader Trent Lott rejected discussion of a deal, saying he would proceed to prepare for a trial.

House GOP leaders endorsed chief deputy whip Dennis Hastert of Illinois in the wake Rep. Bob Livingston's surprise announcement that he would not serve as the next Speaker. After calling on Clinton to resign, Livingston himself in effect resigned over extramarital affairs that had became public two days earlier. Livingston, who said he would only remain in Congress another six months, had been in line to take over the speakership from Newt Gingrich, who stepped down six weeks ago after party losses in the Nov. 3 elections. No date was set for choosing a new House leader, but officials said the GOP caucus was likely to meet Jan. 5.

Clinton announced the end of the US-British air offensive against Iraq after four rounds of attacks, declaring the operation a success but vowing to strike again if necessary. The president said he had received no reports of US casualties and that "significant damage" had been inflicted on Iraqi efforts to produce weapons of mass destruction.

Clinton's public-approval rating rose after the impeachment vote - and most Americans still think he should finish his term, new polls indicated. An NBC survey showed Clinton's support rising from 68 percent to 72 percent after impeachment. Sixty-two percent said he should serve out his term - up 11 percent from early last week. The number of respondents who said the president should resign dropped from 44 percent to 34 percent. A CBS/New York Times poll found 66 percent opposing a suggestion that it would be better for the country if Clinton resigned.

Two men were charged with smuggling of illegal immigrants after a boat capsized and at least eight people died off the Florida coast. A search was continuing for six Cuban refugees who remained missing. The alleged smugglers - one of them the owner of the boat - were taken to a US detention center in Miami.

David Boone, a former analyst at the National Security Agency, pleaded guilty to spying for the former Soviet Union. He entered the plea before the district court in Alexandria, Va., where he is to be sentenced Feb. 26.

Clinton and independent counsel Kenneth Starr were named Time's "Men of the Year." The magazine said it tries to select "the person or persons who most affected the news of our lives, for good or for ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse."

The World

"Victorious again!" proclaimed banner headlines in Iraqi newspapers as the US and Britain ceased four nights of punishing air strikes. In videotaped comments, President Saddam Hussein did not mention the attackers by name but told Iraqis their response was "up to the level that your leadership had hoped." Earlier, the government announced it would not work again with the UN commission on weapons inspections. At least 42 people were reported killed in the attacks, although the government had yet to issue a final casualty assessment.

Virtually without exception, other world leaders refused to comment publicly on the impeachment of President Clinton. Editorial opinion in major world newspapers tended to divide along political lines, with left-wing publications blasting congressional Republicans and conservative journals calling for Clinton's resignation. Others lamented the damage to American prestige because of the ordeal.

Jewish settlers from the West Bank and Gaza were trying to persuade right-wing members of Israel's parliament to back Prime Minister Netanyahu in a crucial no-confidence vote today. The outcome appeared uncertain after Netanyahu won his Cabinet's approval to suspend peace efforts with the Palestinian Authority until the latter met a series of Israeli security demands. Netanyahu controls only a two-vote majority in parliament and is expected to call a national election early next year if he loses.

Protestants and Catholics traded verbal abuse, but no violence was reported during an Orange Order parade in Portadown, Northern Ireland. The marchers, estimated to number in the thousands, passed a Catholic enclave but were prevented by police from using the Garvaghy Road, scene of earlier confrontations.