News In Brief
CIA directors should have statutory six- or seven-year terms, the agency's inspector general said. Frederick Hitz cited as an example of a too-frequent rotation of spy chiefs President Clinton's decision last week to replace current CIA director John Deutch with Anthony Lake. Lake would be the agency's fifth director in about as many years.
The Chinese defense minister spoke to an audience of US military officers in Washington on International Human Rights Day, but was more revisionist than apologetic about his response to student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square six years ago. Gen. Chi Haotian was in charge of the Army crackdown in which hundreds, perhaps thousands, of student demonstrators and civilians died in Beijing. But he told his American listeners that not a single life was lost in the incident.
The chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers has told Clinton of his plans to resign, administration officials said. Joseph Stiglitz is expected to become the World Bank's chief economist. Also, the president appointed his deputy chief of staff, Evelyn Lieberman, to head the Voice of America. The VOA broadcasts news worldwide.
Clinton will seek Senate ratification of a treaty banning chemical weapons next year, said Nancy Soderberg, a White House deputy assistant for national security. The accord, negotiated by President George Bush, bans the acquisition, development, production, stockpiling, transfer and use of chemical weapons. The Republican-controlled Senate failed to act on the convention in September. The treaty takes effect next April.
A majority of Americans favors appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate questionable fund-raising by the Democratic Party, an ABC News poll indicated. Six respondents in 10 said the controversy requires a full-scale federal inquiry, and 56 percent said a special counsel, not the Justice Department, should investigate.
Democrat Nick Lampson won a narrow victory over Republican Steve Stockman in one of three runoff elections held in Texas to fill seats in the US House. The race was closely watched because Stockman was swept into office in 1994 mid-term elections. In other contests, Democrat Ken Bentsen was returned to Congress for a second term, and Kevin Brady won a seat left open by retiring fellow Republican Jack Fields.
US cities are cracking down on homeless persons who panhandle and "camp" in public parks, a study by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty said. The survey found that 75 percent of the largest US cities have anti-panhandling laws - up from 62 percent two years ago.
San Francisco will soon be a "safety zone" for immigrants, if Mayor Willie Brown endorses an ordinance passed by the the city's Board of Supervisors. The measure says noncitizens, including illegal immigrants, will not be denied social-service and health-care benefits. Brown is expected to sign the measure, which is in direct opposition to California's voter-approved Proposition 187.
A powerful storm lashed northern California, knocking out power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses, causing rivers to overflow, and flooding highways. The storm dropped up to six inches of rain on parts of the San Francisco Bay area. Many roads were flooded and about three feet of water and mud crashed down onto Interstate 580 in the Oakland hills.
Teenagers are less inclined than they were five years ago to give to charity, a national survey conducted by the Gallup Organization indicated. In the study, 41 percent of people aged 12 to 17 said they gave to charity last year. In a 1991 study, nearly 50 percent reported giving. The survey was conducted for a coalition of volunteer groups.
Inflation at the wholesale level rose 0.4 percent last month, the Labor Department reported. The rise was identical to the wholesale inflation increase reported for October.
A special panel assembled by China chose shipping tycoon Tung Chee Hwa as the first postcolonial leader of Hong Kong. The British colony reverts to Chinese control next July. Tung's family fled China when the Communists seized power there in 1949. Police arrested several demonstrators who protested that the public was denied a say in the selection.
UN officials quickly shut down the pipeline carrying the first Iraqi oil in six years to Mediterranean ports, because contracts with buyers were not yet approved. But Turkish officials later said the approvals had finally arrived and pumping was expected to resume.
Russia agreed to open negotiations on closer ties with NATO, but again denounced the alliance's plans for expansion in Eastern Europe. Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov said in Brussels that his country was willing to consider a new relationship with NATO if all Russian concerns were "dealt with." Primakov did not appear mollified by pledges that NATO would not deploy nuclear weapons in the region.
UN police stumbled onto Bosnia's most-wanted war-crimes suspect, Radovan Karadzic, on a patrol in Pale, the Bosnian Serb capital. The UN said Karadzic's guards were carrying weapons that violate the Dayton peace accord, but that its officers made no attempt to detain the Serb leader because they were outnumbered and unarmed. NATO, whose peacekeepers have been criticized for making no effort to arrest Karadzic, said it had no troops in the vicinity.
Legislation that would have made it easier to seize the assets of drug traffickers failed to pass the lower house of Colombia's Congress. The measure was defeated by a 59-to-57 vote, after earlier passing in the Senate. It now goes to a joint conference committee, which will decide whether it can be salvaged in any form. Legislators leaning toward passage reportedly received death threats.
Philippines President Fidel Ramos refused to put in writing his pledge not to seek reelection. Ramos said it was "unbecoming" of his political opponents to ask for the gesture. The country's Constitution allows presidents only one six-year term. But Ramos supporters have begun a drive to amend the charter so he could run for a second term. That action has drawn criticism from Filipinos who say it evokes memories of the late authoritarian President Ferdinand Marcos.
Palestine Authority President Yasser Arafat condemned an Israeli plan to build new housing units for Jews in Arab East Jerusalem. Arafat said the proposal, approved this week by the city's planning commission, violated Palestinian agreements with Israel. The plan still needs approval by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government before it can be implemented. Meanwhile, witnesses reported watching a mock combat drill in the neighborhood by Israeli police.
An agreement on ending tariffs on commerce in information technology appeared near at the World Trade Organization meetings in Singapore. WTO sources said the US, Japan, Canada, and the European Union were negotiating over which products should be covered in the deal, which they hoped to conclude by early today.
Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka inflicted heavy casualties in one of their fiercest attacks in the country's civil war, officials said. At least 36 soldiers and police commandos were killed, 39 others were wounded, and four armored personnel carriers were destroyed. The rebels are fighting for a separate Tamil homeland on the island.
"As a final punctuation mark to the Olympics Games, we can say with certainty we raised more money than we spent."
- A.D. Frazier, chief operating officer of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, in announcing a profit.
Funny, what you sometimes learn about people when they're no longer around. The most-quoted saying of the late Chinese Communist Party Chairman, Mao Zedong may have been, "A revolution is not a dinner party." But now comes word that in 1975 two sets of the finest porcelain tableware were ordered secretly for Mao. Military guards made sure the pieces were fired at temperatures hotter than were ever used for the china of the country's imperial families. Some of Mao's leftovers are to be auctioned this weekend in Beijing.
Bought all your holiday gifts yet? What about one for the family pet? The Wall Street Journal reports that Americans spend $5 billion each Christmas on their furry and feathered companions. If you want to do something really special for yours this year, retailer Nieman Marcus offers a neoclassical pet mansion - for $9,400.
The Day's List
Utilities Interested in Using Plutonium for Fuel
The US Energy Department unveiled a controversial plan to make plutonium from nuclear warheads available as a fuel for atomic power plants. Utilities that have said they'd be interested in using weapons-grade plutonium as a fuel mix:
1. Arizona Public Service Co.
2. Centerior Energy, Ohio.
3. Duke Power Co., N.C., S.C.
4. Commonwealth Edison, Ill.
5. Entergy Operations Inc., Miss., La.
6. Florida Power & Light Co.
7.Georgia Power Co.
8. IES Utilities Inc., Iowa.
9. Niagara Mohawk Power Co., N.Y.
10. North Carolina Municipal Power Agency No. 1
11. Piedmont Municipal Power Agency, S.C.
12. PECO Energy Co., Pa.
13. Southern Nuclear Operating Co., Ala.
14. Tennessee Valley Authority, Ala.
15. Virginia Power
16. Wisconsin Public Service Co.
17. Washington Public Power Supply System
- Associated Press