News In Brief

President Clinton may be liable to a contempt-of-court citation for his testimony in the Paula Jones sexual-harassment suit, a federal judge in Little Rock, Ark., said. Judge Susan Webber Wright said it was time for the court to consider whether Clinton should be held in contempt for admitting to an affair with Monica Lewinsky after denying sexual relations with her in a deposition in the Jones case. Wright said she raised the issue in September but had decided not to pursue it until the Jones suit was settled and the impeachment proceedings concluded.

Clinton invited congressional leaders to meet next week at the White House in an effort to shift public attention to the year's legislative agenda. Senate majority leader Trent Lott accepted the invitation and House Speaker Dennis Hastert was expected to attend, spokesmen for the two leaders said. Also invited were House minority leader Dick Gephardt and Senate minority leader Tom Daschle. The session is planned for Tuesday.

The White House said it would try again to make Bill Lann Lee assistant attorney general for civil rights, a post he has held on a temporary basis since a key Senate panel rejected his nomination two years ago. In response, Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, urged the president to find a new candidate.

Army Secretary Louis Caldera called for recruiting more high school dropouts to help meet enlistment quotas. Caldera said that - in competition with a robust civilian economy - the Army could fall 10,000 short of this year's goal of 70,000 recruits. Current policy requires about 90 percent of new personnel in the Army and other military services to at least have high-school diplomas.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) of New Jersey will not seek a new term in 2000, his office said. The decision brings the number of retiring Senate Democrats to two, following the earlier announcement by New York's Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

A lawsuit charging San Francisco's public school desegregation program with fostering new racial discrimination was settled out of court. The program barred any school from having more than 45 percent enrollment from any one racial or ethnic group - a practice that three Chinese-American families said had kept their youngsters out of preferred schools. Details of the accord were not immediately available, but comments indicated court-ordered limits on racial and ethnic groups at each school would be repealed.

The Clinton administration asked Congress for $956 million in emergency funds for Central America in the wake of Hurricane Mitch. The storm killed more than 9,000 people and caused an estimated $8.5 billion in damage.

Miami city commissioners passed a resolution urging a local developer to preserve a centuries-old ring of carvings cut into limestone bedrock at the mouth of the Miami River. And officials from Dade County said they might be willing to search for money to buy the land. But a representative for developer Michael Baumann, who has the needed permits and has set a late February deadline for moving the carvings, indicated he is determined to proceed with a $100 million condominium development.

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