News In Brief
The FBI briefed two National Security Council officials in June on suspected Chinese efforts to buy US political influence, but told them to keep the information to themselves, leaving President Clinton in the dark, the White House said. The disclosure added a new twist to the campaign-finance controversy dogging Clinton. White House spokesman Mike McCurry said he could not explain why national-security information was kept from the president and other policymakers.
Most of the public believes Republicans and Democrats are equally influenced by campaign contributors, a new Harris Poll reported. Two-thirds of respondents said they could see no difference. The survey's margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Two Oklahoma Indian tribes said they were disappointed with results of trying to influence Democrats with campaign contributions. Leaders of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Indians told The Washington Post and The Phila-delphia Inquirer they gave $107,000 to the Democratic Party last year, hoping to get back 7,500 acres from the government. They ate at the White House with Clinton, dined at Vice President Al Gore's residence, and received floor passes to the Democratic convention. But the land, taken in 1869 for a military fort, remains under US government control.
President Clinton was scheduled to meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the White House. Mubarak said he would ask Clinton to persuade Israel that creation of new Jewish neighborhoods could "explode the whole peace process." Mubarak (r.) discusses the Middle East with former Senate majority leader Bob Dole at Blair House in Washington.
Nearly half the members of the House of Representatives spent the weekend at the resort town of Hershey, Pa., trying to foster improved civility among lawmakers. Organizers called the meeting, which was closed to the press, a successful start. Some 200 congressmen and their families attended.
A search of US files has found no definitive evidence that melted-down jewelry and dental fillings of Holocaust victims went to Swiss banks, officials close to the investigation said. Research is ongoing, but an interim report is to be released this month. Under pressure from Jewish groups, Switzerland is probing its past to determine the extent of its dealings with Nazi Germany.
States are spending surplus federal dollars intended for welfare services on social programs, schools, roads, and prisons, USA Today reported. US welfare rolls have dropped from a high of 14.4 million cases in March 1994 to about 11.5 million. Under the new welfare-reform law, states get $16.5 billion in federal funds this year, compared with $15 billion last year.
The Chinese Navy made its first official visit to a US port when three destroyers and 800 sailors arrived for a four-day goodwill mission at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii - although a Chinese training ship visited there eight years ago, the US Pacific Command said. American warships have visited Chinese ports over the past two years. The Chinese depart tomorrow for San Diego, where the ships will be in port March 21-25.
The feared former police chief of Haiti's capital was expected to be extradited to the US today to face charges that he ran a smuggling ring with Colombian drug cartels, according to newspaper reports. The Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said Lt. Col. Joseph Michel Franois was to be extradited Saturday but authorities were unable to get a flight out of Honduras. Franois sought asylum in Honduras last year after being arrested in the Dominican Republic on charges of plotting against the Haitian government.
General Motors recalled some 390,000 cars to fix a potential problem with windshield wipers. The models include the 1994 Pontiac Grand Prix, '94 and '95 Buick Regals and Oldsmobile Cutlass Supremes, and '95 Chevrolet Luminas and Monte Carlos. Dealers will install a new windshield washer-wiper switch for free. No injuries or accidents have been reported as a result of the problem.
Top Palestinian negotiator Mohamed Abbas threatened to resign after Israel said it would give up only a third of the West Bank territory it still holds. Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat said he felt deceived by the Israeli decision and that he considered the Middle East peace process to be in "real crisis." Israeli officials said it was likely that US intervention would be needed to resolve the issue.
Insurgents in southern Albania seized three more towns in the growing campaign against the government of President Sali Berisha. At least six people reportedly died in the takeovers of Berat, Permet, and Corovod. Insurgent leaders said no weapons would be surrendered until Beri-sha appointed a caretaker government.
French President Chirac was scheduled to aim a national TV appearance at young people disillusioned by a shortage of job opportunities. Unemployment among 18- to 25-year-olds in France is a reported 25 percent, and the opposition Socialist Party has made finding employment for 700,000 young people the theme of its 1998 election campaign. France faces new labor protests this week by auto and hospital workers because of recent layoffs.
South Korean President Kim Young Sam warned of a tough military response after reports that North Korean soldiers had crossed the buffer zone between the two countries. He accused the North of "frantic efforts" to launch a military strike while ignoring its own starving people. Meanwhile, China said it would allow a senior North Korean defector to leave the South Korean embassy in Beijing and travel to South Korea. Hwang Jang-yop sought asylum Feb. 12.
Zairean rebels claimed they had encircled the city of Kisangani, leaving open only one corridor for civilians and government troops to flee. The reports could not immediately be confirmed.
A journalist with a troubled employment history hijacked a domestic flight from Taiwan to China, where he surrendered to police after asking for political asylum. Officials said the plane, with 150 passengers and a crew of 8, would be permitted to return to Taiwan via Macao. Hijackings from China to Taiwan are not unusual, but those in the opposite direction are rare.
Textbooks used in Hong Kong schools do not conform to Chinese government policy and "must be revised" after the British colony reverts to Beijing's control July 1, Foreign Minister Qian Qichen told the National People's Congress. Meanwhile, Indonesia said 60,000 guest workers from Hong Kong will be sent home in June because their travel documents may not be valid once China takes over the colony. A spokesman said they would be permitted to return if the documents were authorized by China.
Zambian police broke up a riot by university students pro-testing the government's failure to pay allowances for books and meals. The protesters were dispersed with clubs and tear gas after looting campus buildings and pelting the police with rocks.
Poland's armed forces chief was fired by President Kwasniewski for his reported objections to placing the military un-der civilian control. Gen. Tadeusz Wilecki was appointed to the post in 1992 by former president Lech Walesa. Civilian control of a country's armed forces is a condition of membership in NATO, which Kwasniewski's government is seeking.
The Communist Party of Nepal said it would try to form a new government after the outgoing coalition failed to win enough support and pulled out of the running. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba resigned last week after losing a vote of confidence in parliament at Kathmandu. The Communists last ruled the Himalayan kingdom from November 1994 to June 1995.
"We go back to Washington, I think, with real, real respect and, in most cases, affection for each other . . ."
- US Rep. David Skaggs (D) of Colorado, as lawmakers from both parties ended a "civility retreat" in Hershey, Pa.
Whatever kudos the Vienna Philharmonic may have won by admitting its first woman member, were short-lived. Eight days after harp-ist Anna Lelkes was granted full voting rights, the orchestra was picketed by dozens of protesters outside Carnegie Hall in New York. They objected to the fact that Mrs. Lelkes wouldn't even appear on stage because the orchestra's program - three pieces by Beethoven - involved no harp music.
Then there's the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, which protested a government order to play the music of Dutch composers 7 percent of the time. The Netherlands bows to no one in the painters it has produ-ced - Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh among them - but acclaim has largely elu-ded its composers. The musicians are trying to bargain the government down to 2 percent.
For all of their dedication, none of the crew at Fire Station No. 1 in Livermore, Calif., want to be on duty when a single bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling conks out. Reason: The thing is famous, having been in service since 1901. It's believed to be the longest-burning bulb on the planet.
The Day's List
Five Cities in Running for 2002 Summer Olympics
Late last week, the International Olympic Committee narrowed the list of cities competing for the world's most prestigious sporting event from 11 to 5. The IOC chooses the host city Sept. 5. Here are the finalists, with comments on their prospects:
ROME - Considered the front-runner.
ATHENS - Vowed never to bid again after being passed over for the 1996 Centennial Games, but is again a top contender.
BUENOS AIRES - The fact that the Games have never been held in South America adds weight to this bid.
CAPE TOWN - Sentimental favorite; staging the Games would symbolize a new era for Africa.
STOCKHOLM - There is strong internal public and political opposition to holding the Games in Sweden.
- Associated Press