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President Clinton said a US attack on a missile battery that had fired on American planes over Iraq was appropriate. The US would continue to enforce the "no-fly" zones in northern and southern Iraq, he said. The Pentagon said it appeared the Iraqis had fired three surface-to-air missiles at US F-16s in a no-fly zone in northern Iraq - and that US planes had reached their bases safely after returning the Iraqi fire.
Talks about the logistics of an impeachment trial are expected to intensify this week as the 106th Congress prepares to convene Jan. 6. Senators Rick Santorum (R) of Pennsylvania and John Breaux (D) of Louisiana suggested the trial begin by the next day. Several senators said they want the matter concluded in the first two months of the year. One Republican senator, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said censure should not be discussed until after the Senate votes on the two impeachment articles approved by the House. Leading Republicans and Democrats said Clinton was sure to face an impeachment trial but was unlikely to be removed from office.
The National Basketball Association moved closer to scrapping its entire season after the players' union turned down what commissioner David Stern called his final offer. During a secret meeting at a hotel outside Denver, the opposing sides were still unable to agree on several key issues. The league's Board of Governors will meet Jan. 7, and the commissioner has said he will recommend canceling the remainder of the season if no accord is reached by that date.
The National Football League announced matchups for the first round of playoffs as the regular season came to a close. In the American Football Conference, Buffalo plays at Miami Saturday - and New England plays at Jacksonville Sunday. In the National Football Conference, Arizona plays at Dallas Saturday - and Green Bay plays at San Francisco Sunday. The New York Jets, Denver, Atlanta, and Minnesota earned first-round byes.
Officials in southern California reported the latest in a series of five bogus anthrax threats in the region. A Los Angeles County hazardous-materials team and an FBI domestic-terrorism group went to the Glass House dance club after a man called police, saying "a significant quantity" of anthrax would be released, police Lt. Gary Graham said. Some 800 people were quarantined for several hours inside the club while officials checked the air-conditioning system and all vents and filters. Authorities have not determined whether the threats are related.
The Social Security administration has resolved its year-2000 computer problems, and retirement checks will be on time when the new millennium arrives, Commissioner Kenneth Apfel told NBC. He also said he had offered aid to other agencies facing the same problem.
Virginia Power officials said they hoped to finish restoring power to thousands of Virginia homes and businesses by tomorrow. Teams of linemen were working 16-hour shifts to repair damage left by a Christmas Eve ice storm that pummeled many Southern states. The storm reportedly hit hardest around the Richmond, Williamsburg, Petersburg, and Gloucester areas.
Four Iraqi soldiers were killed and seven others injured after "hostile" Western planes fired missiles at an air defense site, the government in Baghdad said. A statement said Iraqi air defenses had "bravely intercepted" the planes - which were "violating Iraqi airspace" - and had forced them to retreat to their bases in Turkey. The casualties were the first reported by Iraq since this month's bombing campaign by the US and Britain. On Sunday, Baghdad vowed to shoot down US or British planes patrolling no-fly zones over Iraq. In London, a government spokesman said British aircraft weren't involved in the recent bout of fighting.
Iraq quickly moved to deny reports it would stop the country's "oil-for-food" program and ask 400 UN workers monitoring it to leave. Announcing he'd been misquoted, Iraq's Trade Minister Mahdi Mohamed Saleh said the government had "not made a decision on whether to cancel or maintain" the program, which will end in May unless it's extended. Under the program, Baghdad is allowed to sell some $5 billion of oil every six months to buy food, medicine, and other supplies to ease the impact of UN sanctions on Iraqis.
In what some are calling the country's biggest experiment in democracy, Iran began registering candidates to compete in city, town, and village elections. Such balloting is stipulated in the Islamic country's 1979 Constitution, but has never been held. Political factionalism has threatened to disrupt the elections, scheduled for February 26, even though they are a centerpiece of President Mohamad Khatami's reform program.