INMAN WITHDRAWS FROM NOMINATION Bobby Ray Inman is withdrawing as President Clinton's nominee for defense secretary, the White House announced Jan. 18. Mr. Clinton announced his choice of Mr. Inman on Dec. 16, just a day after Les Aspin had abruptly resigned. At the time, Clinton praised the retired Navy admiral's intellect, integrity, and leadership. Inman said then that he neither sought nor wanted the job, but accepted it out of ``duty and country.'' Inman ended three decades of government service in 1982, when he resigned as deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency. At the time he said he had lost his zest for bureaucratic infighting. Of his current nomination, Inman said in a letter released Jan. 18 that he withdrew because he could not take the attacks on his reputation that he said had accompanied the nomination process. Japan opens market

Moving to counter the threat of Jan. 20 US trade sanctions and charges of corruption at home, the Japanese government approved a plan Jan. 18 designed to improve foreign access to its huge public works programs. For major projects, the plan calls for open, competitive bids rather than the old system of limiting bidding on contracts to companies with prior experience in Japan. Supreme Court decisions

The Supreme Court Jan. 18 cleared the way for Shannon Faulkner to become the first female to attend day classes with cadets at The Citadel a 151-year-old military college in Charleston, S.C.. Chief Justice William Rehnquist set aside a temporary stay he imposed last week.

The Court also refused to let Minnesota limit the benefits paid to welfare recipients who have lived in the state less than six months. The court left intact rulings that said such limits violated new residents' equal-protection right and their right to travel. Convictions in luge case

Two German neo-Nazis were convicted Jan. 17 for leading an Oct. 29 beating attack on US luge racer Duncan Kennedy after insulting his black teammate. It was the first neo-Nazi assault against an American. The court sentenced one attacker to almost three years and the other to one year. State defies abortion order

Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey (D) told President Clinton he will not obey the federal directive requiring states to pay for abortions for poor women who are victims of rape or incest. Governor Casey, known for his anti-abortion stand, wrote Mr. Clinton on Jan. 14 that he would not override state law ``based solely on the unfounded legal interpretation of a federal official. '' Other states objecting include Utah and Louisiana.

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