News In Brief
Yugoslavia could lose international recognition for its territorial claim on Kosovo if Serbs do not stop killing the region's ethnic Albanians, President Clinton warned. During peace talks last month in France, the US supported autonomy - rather than independence - for Kosovo's ethnic Albanians.
The Pentagon was scrambling to avoid a shortage of the cruise missiles used to attack heavily defended targets in places like Iraq and Yugoslavia. Before the latest strikes over Kosovo and Serbia, the Air Force was down to 150 cruise missiles with conventional warheads. The Navy had more than 2,000. Cruise missiles are not in production, so the Air Force wants to convert 92 nuclear-tipped missiles into conventional air-launched missiles. Congress must approve the $51 million program.
Forced to pull their workers out of Kosovo, US humanitarian aid groups were focusing on tens of thousands of refugees streaming into neighboring lands. In addition to money, relief groups - including Oklahoma City-based Feed the Children and Atlanta-based CARE - appealed for food, medicine, clothing, blankets, tents, and bottled water. Meanwhile, American Red Cross officials encouraged donations of money to the Geneva-based International Red Cross, which buys goods near refugee camps.
A new study indicated bottled water isn't necessarily healthier than most tap water. The study, by the Natural Resources Defense Council, looked at 103 brands of water available in the US. The New York-based environmental group said 25 to 40 percent of them are "repackaged municipal tap water which may or may not have been subjected to additional treatment." The industry called the study an attempt to "scare consumers."
Amazon tribes asked the US Patent and Trademark Office to revoke a patent on a plant they hold sacred. The tribes believe a vine called ayahuasca, which they use in religious rituals, has medicinal properties. The patent was granted in 1986 to Loren Miller, whose California-based International Plant Medicine Corp. hasn't yet marketed a product based on it. Native-rights and environmental lawyers said the petition raises ethical issues about intellectual-property rights involving the traditional knowledge and materials of native cultures.
Security was tightened around a New York court house where four police officers were to be formally charged in the killing of Amadou Diallo. In almost daily demonstrations, some 1,200 people have been arrested in acts of civil disobedience to protest the city's handling of the case in which the African immigrant was struck 19 times in a barrage of bullets outside his Bronx apartment building Feb. 4.
A jury ordered Philip Morris to pay $81 million to the family of a Marlboro smoker who died after being diagnosed as having lung cancer. A company attorney - noting the industry has a 40-year history of prevailing in such cases - vowed to appeal. The award, in a civil case in Portland, Ore., was the biggest liability verdict to date against the tobacco industry and second of its kind against Philip Morris this year. A San Francisco jury awarded $51.5 million last month to an ailing Marlboro smoker.
Compiled by Robert Kilborn and Lance Carden