News In Brief
President Clinton turned to the task of filling remaining vacancies in his second-term Cabinet and team of economic advisors. Although he named most of his foreign-policy team last week, one important post remains up for grabs. Diplomat Richard Holbrooke was said to be a leading candidate to replace Madeleine Albright as UN ambassador.
The number of people on Aid to Families with Dependent Children declined from 14.1 million in January 1993 to 12 million this September, the White House said. During his weekly radio address, Clinton took credit for the decline and praised the controversial new welfare law he signed in August. The president, who had earlier pledged to soften the impact of the new measure, said nothing about plans to ask Congress to amend it.
Sixty percent of Americans believe the president is doing a good job, a new CBS poll indicated. Two-thirds of the respondents said they expect Clinton will work together with the Republican Congress on most important issues.
Unemployment edged up to a four-month high in November and job growth slowed, the Labor Department reported. The jobless rate rose to 5.4 percent. Nonfarm payrolls grew by 118,000, down from 224,000 in October.
The space shuttle Columbia finally returned to Earth after a two-day weather delay. The length of the mission - 17-days, 15 hours - set a record for shuttle flights. Two scheduled space walks were cancelled after a hatch leading from the airlock to the cargo bay refused to open.
In September 1971, President Richard Nixon pushed for tax audits of wealthy Jewish contributors to his Democratic rivals, the San Francisco Examiner said. The newspaper quoted material from recently released Nixon White House tapes.
US and Chinese defense chiefs begin two days of talks in Washington today. William Perry and Gen. Chi Haotian are expected to discuss Taiwan, Chinese weapons sales, and access of US naval ships to Hong Kong after the British colony reverts to Chinese rule next July.
House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he would not support a spending cap on political campaigns. Gingrich, who was involved in one of the year's most expensive House contests, said campaign spending should be protected as form of free speech.
A federal judged ordered the University of California to stop implementing Proposition 209, a voter initiative to dismantle the state's affirmative-action programs. The order forbids enforcement until Dec. 16, after which the judge indicated he might issue a preliminary injunction until a related lawsuit is settled. The suit, filed by civil-rights groups, claims that Proposition 209 discriminates against minorities and women because it allows preferences for other groups, such as military veterans.
The stock market got a welcome rest over the weekend after comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan caused a whirlwind of selling on Friday. In a Thursday speech, Greenspan asked whether stock prices were too high. His question sent prices plunging in Asian, European and US markets.
CIA Director John Deutch refused to reinstate a security clearance for former White House aide Richard Nuccio. Nuccio lost his highest security clearance after disclosing to a member of Congress the identity of a paid CIA informant who may have been involved in murders in Guatemala. Deutch said Nucio, a former special adviser to Clinton on Cuba and a former special envoy to Guatemala, could reapply for the clearance in a year.
Results of key collegiate football contests helped to shape the lineup of this season's bowl games. Texas upset Nebraska 37-27, Florida outscored Alabama 45-30, Brigham Young outlasted Wyoming 28-25 in overtime, and Army came from behind to beat Navy, 28-24.
Opponents of Serbian President Milosevic were awaiting Supreme Court rulings on 33 local elections in which their victories were annulled. Lawyers for the plaintiffs said they expected to lose each of those appeals. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of demonstrators massed in Belgrade for more street protests against the president. A coalition of trade unions threatened to strike in support of Milosevic's opponents. One protester was severely beaten by police for carrying an effigy of Milosevic in prison clothes, news reports said.
Police backed up by water cannon sealed off sections of Rangoon, Burma, amid signs that the city's universities might be closed to quell student unrest. Witnesses reported seeing inside the restricted area at least a dozen empty trucks of the type used previously to haul students to bus and train stations. Recent protests against the military government have been the largest in years.
Hutu refugees from Rwanda abandoned two camps in neighboring Tanzania, but the UN said it could not confirm that they were headed home. Tanzania's government ordered all Rwandan Hutus - an estimated 542,000 - out of the country by the end of this month. But many of the refugees refuse to return to Rwanda for fear of being accused of participating in the genocide of 1994.
The UN Security Council is expected to poll its members today to determine which of the new nominees for the post of secretary-general has most support. African governments have nominated four candidates so far to succeed Boutros Boutros-Ghali, whose bid for a second term was vetoed by the US.
Israeli government officials said they were considering a plan to build 132 houses for Jews in Arab East Jerusalem. If approved, the proposal was considered certain to provoke international condemnation. Palestinian officials were not available for immediate comment on the matter.
Striking Russian coal miners threatened a campaign of civil disobedience if billions of dollars in back wages were not paid. Union leaders called the government's response to their demands "inadequate" and said they would meet today to plan further strategy, including a call for a nationwide general strike by the end of the year.
An estimated 5,000 protesters rallied in Kazakstan's capital, demanding the government's resignation because of unpaid wages and pensions. Many of the demonstrators were described as elderly, some of whom held signs reading, "I want to eat."
Two more North Koreans - one of them an intelligence agent - defected to Hong Kong, news agencies in Seoul reported. Their escapes followed the defections last week of 17 other North Koreans to the British colony. It was the largest such group to leave the economically distressed North Korea since 1953. All the recent defectors were expected to seek asylum in South Korea.
Tens of thousands of people marched in Melbourne, Australia, protesting what they called a growing climate of racism. The rally - the largest in a recent series - took place against a backdrop of debate on welfare benefits to Aborigines and on whether Australia should continue to admit Asian immigrants.
Populist President Jerry Rawlings was 60,000 votes behind challenger John Kufuor in his bid for a new term in Ghana. In early returns, Rawlings appeared to be handicapped by discontent with high inflation and unemployment in the West African nation. A runoff must be held by Dec. 29 if neither candidate emerges as outright winner.
''I don't see any reason why Jews can't live in the Old City or in the east of the city....It can lead to coexistence."
-- Israeli housing official Meir Porush, defending a controversial plan to build 132 homes for Jewish settlers in Arab East Jerusalem.
Retailers in Utah aren't alone in expecting a shopping rush. So does the state's Department of Motor Vehicles. It says orders for "vanity" license plates reach a peak during the holiday season, as residents seek unique gifts for that special someone. But the department says at least five such plates are already taken: BMW, LEXUS, JAGUAR, HONEY, and SWEETIE.
Now, imagine that SWEETIE plate on a car assembled at Utah State University in Logan. Instructor Ronald Thurgood assigned his students to prove their design skills by building and testing edible automobiles. The fastest car was made out of candy canes and frosted graham crackers.
THE DAY'S LIST
Football Bowl Lineup
College football's bowl pairings were expected to become official at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. The expected matchups:
Las Vegas, Dec. 19: Nevada (8-3) vs. Ball State (8-3)
Aloha, Dec. 25: Navy (8-3) vs. California (6-5)
Liberty, Dec. 27: Houston (7-4) vs. Syracuse (8-3)
Carquest, Dec. 27: Virginia (7-4) vs. Miami (8-3)
Copper, Dec. 27: Utah (8-3) vs. Wisconsin (7-4)
Peach, Dec. 28: LSU (9-2) vs. Clemson (7-4)
Alamo, Dec. 29: Texas Tech (7-4) vs. Iowa (8-3)
Holiday, Dec. 30: Washington (9-2) vs. Colorado (9-2)
Sun, Dec. 31: Michigan State (6-5) vs. Stanford (6-5)
Independence, Dec. 31: Army (10-1) vs. Auburn (7-4)
Orange, Dec. 31: Virginia Tech (10-1) vs. Nebraska (10-2)
Outback, Jan. 1: Michigan (8-3) vs. Tennessee (9-2)
Gator, Jan. 1: West Virginia (8-3) vs. North Carolina (9-2)
Citrus, Jan. 1: Northwestern (9-2) vs. Alabama (9-3)
Cotton, Jan. 1: Kansas State (9-2) vs. Brigham Young (13-1)
Rose, Jan. 1: Arizona State (11-0) vs. Ohio State (10-1)
Fiesta, Jan. 1: Penn State (10-2) vs. Texas (8-4)
Sugar, Jan. 2: Florida State (11-0) vs. Florida (11-1)
- Associated Press