News In Brief

The white house vowed to continue its Balkans strategy, despite House rejection of a resolution authorizing airstrikes in Kosovo - and despite House approval (249 to 180) of a measure that would block funding for deployment of ground troops unless President Clinton first wins congressional approval. The nonbinding air-strikes resolution, sponsored by Democrats, lost on a 213-to-213 vote. Twenty-six Democrats broke ranks to oppose it; 31 Republicans voted for it. A move by some Republicans to end the US military role in the Balkans was rejected (290 to 139), along with a resolution to formally declare war on Yugo-slavia (427 to 2). The Senate voted for airstrikes March 23.

Clinton will fly to Germany Tuesday to meet US pilots bombing Yugoslavia and troops aiding hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Kosovo conflict, the White House said. The itinerary includes visits to the Spangdahlem and Ramstein Air Force bases.

Authorities in Littleton, Colo., said they would arrest a man who allegedly provided a gun used in the Columbine High School massacre and charge him with selling handguns to minors. The sale involved a TEC DC-9 semiautomatic, Jefferson County District Attorney David Thomas told NBC. He did not say who was believed to have bought the weapon.

The US birth rate fell to a record low of 14.5 per 1,000 people - a total of 3.9 million births - in 1997, the Health and Human Services Department reported. The teen birth rate fell 4 percent, its sixth consecutive year of decline.

Jurors from Susan McDougal's latest court case won't be interviewed by prosecutors working for independent counsel Kenneth Starr, a federal judge in Little Rock, Ark., decided. The ruling was seen as reducing chances that Starr would seek a retrial of Clinton's former Whitewater business partner. Starr had sought court approval to speak with jurors about why they deadlocked on two charges of contempt of court against McDougal, which caused a mistrial on those counts to be declared April 12.

People taking drugs, drinking, or smoking were shown in 98 percent of top movie rentals or were featured in 27 percent of the most popular songs in 1996 and 1997, a new study found. The report, commissioned by the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Department of Health and Human Services, also said fewer than half of these movies and song lyrics portrayed the negative effects of drug use.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers urged Clinton to summon entertainment-industry leaders to the White House to find ways to curb portrayals of violence in their media. Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D) of Connecticut, Rep. Dan Burton (R) of Indiana, and Rep. Ed Markey (D) of Massachusetts said they also would call for a Surgeon General study of the subject and for recommendations "on how we can turn this tragic tide of youth violence."

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