News In Brief

The US

Washington lawyer Vernon Jordan, the president's friend and adviser, is due back in federal court today to testify further on his role in the Monica Lewinsky controversy. Earlier, he told jurors about his efforts to find Lewinsky a lawyer and a job after she was named a possible witness in the Paula Jones sexual-misconduct lawsuit against the president, The New York Times quoted case lawyers as saying. And he predicted his "enduring friendship" with President Clinton will continue. Meanwhile, a closed hearing was scheduled for Lewinsky's first lawyer, Francis Carter, regarding a subpoena from Whitewater investigator Kenneth Starr.

The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously that unlawful sexual harassment in the workplace extends to incidents involving employees of the same sex. The Clinton administration and civil-rights groups had urged the justices to reverse an appeals court ruling that a 1964 federal civil-rights law barring discrimination based on sex cannot be applied to same-sex harassment cases. The court also ruled that police with search warrants don't need extra justification to enter a home without knocking first, even if entry results in property damage. It previously had ruled that police with warrants can enter a home if they have "reasonable suspicion" that knocking or announcing themselves would be dangerous or harm the investigation.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan urged Congress to exercise caution in deciding how to deal with the Congressional Budget Office's projected federal surplus of $8 billion for the remainder of fiscal 1998. He said Congress should put the budget into "significant surplus" to increase national savings and promote lower interest rates. The CBO also predicted a $9 billion surplus for 1999 and a $138 billion surplus by 2008.

Clinton asked Congress for $4.35 billion to finance US operations in Bosnia and the Gulf, and to help Americans recover from recent weather-related disasters, a senior administration official said. The president proposed that most of the bill be paid with the expected budget surplus. He requested $2.35 billion for maintaining troops in Bosnia, which included $487 million for fiscal 1998 and $1.86 billion for 1999. He also sought $1.36 billion for 1998 for US troops in the Gulf, $387 million for rebuilding after US weather disasters, and $255 million to replenish emergency funds for future weather disasters.

The US Senate approved an amendment to the highway bill that would establish a national blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent for motorists. Supporters, led by Frank Lautenberg (D) of New Jersey, decried a "patchwork quilt" of various state laws on drunk driving. Conservatives opposed the amendment, which they called an improper mandate on the states.

A Senate panel voted overwhelmingly to expand NATO to include former Warsaw Pact members Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. They were approved for entry into the 16-member Western alliance last December, but can't be admitted until all NATO members have ratified the move.

Clinton and Vice President Gore were scheduled to unveil a food-safety initiative at a White House ceremony to halt imports of fruits and vegetables from countries with inadequate safety standards. Imports account for almost 40 percent of fruit consumed in the US, and consumer groups are concerned about outbreaks of food-borne diseases linked to unsanitary conditions.

Electricity bills will rise $70 to $100 a year over the next 15 years for the average American if the US implements the global warming agreement it signed in Kyoto, Japan, according to a White House economic analysis. Labor unions, energy-intensive industries, and many congressional Republicans have denounced the accord.

The World

UN investigators awaited word on when and how many diplomats would accompany them on an early test of Iraq's pledge to open up previously off-limits presidential compounds. A spokesman said a key concern was how to bring diplomats into Iraq without providing too much advance warning of the inspections. In Washington, President Clinton issued a blunt warning that US-led military attacks could still follow if Iraq failed to give the UN inspectors unrestricted access to such sites.

After a six-hour trial-in-absentia, deposed Cambodian co-Premier Norodom Ranariddh was convicted of arms smuggling and sentenced to five years in prison. The outcome was expected; Ranariddh put up no defense and said he would not seek a pardon. Two top aides also were convicted in the case. A second trial on charges of conspiring with the outlawed Khmer Rouge guerrilla movement is scheduled for March 17.

Prime Minister Netanyahu will fill the week-old vacancy at the top of Israel's troubled Mossad secret service with a former deputy director who has close ties to neighboring Jordan, news outlets in Jerusalem reported. If he accepts the post, Ephraim Halevy would replace Danny Yatom, who resigned after Mossad agents botched the assassination of an Islamic militant leader in Jordan and then were caught wiretapping last week in Switzerland.

Maverick Israeli President Ezer Weizman easily won reelection in a secret vote by members of parliament. Weizman defeated a little-known lawmaker for the largely ceremonial post. Weizman enjoys wide public support despite his outspokenness on women's rights and homosexuality. His opponent had the endorsement of Netanyahu, with whom Weizman has feuded over the course of the Middle East peace process.

India's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) opened negotiations with potential new allies to try to cobble together a majority in Parliament and form the next government. No party received a mandate in national elections over the past two weeks, but the BJP and its usual allies won 251 seats in the lower house - 21 short of a majority. The BJP also said its choice for prime minister would be moderate Atal Behari Vajpayee, who briefly held the office in 1996.

A suspected Nazi war criminal was arrested in Stuttgart, Germany, as an accessory to the murders of 70,000 Jews in 1942 and 1943. Prosecutors said the former low-ranking police and Gestapo officer - identified in one report as Alfons Goetzfried - admitted to shooting 500 prisoners at the Majdanek death camp in eastern Poland. His alleged crimes surfaced in testimony incriminating himself last July. Details on possible prosecution were incomplete.

A national strike in Zimbabwe to protest higher taxes and soaring food prices brought business to a standstill for a second straight day despite government threats to punish merchants and state employees who participated. President Robert Mugabe called the strike illegal and part of a plot to undermine his power.

A march across Asia - aimed at protecting the rights of children and sponsored by the UN - arrived in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu. Estimates put the number of child laborers in Nepal at more than 1 million, 1/20th of the country's population. Marchers from a dozen countries began their trek in the Philippines and expect to meet groups that started from other parts of the world in Geneva June 1 for a UN conference on child labor.


"This is the first time this has been achieved since we walked on the moon."

- US Rep. John Kasich (R) of Ohio, after the Congressional Budget Office projected a federal surplus

for fiscal 1998, something that hasn't happened in 29 years.

Need a place to chill out for a while? Try Sweden's Jukkasjaervi Hotel. It sleeps 100 people and offers such amenities as skiing, a cinema, a lounge - even a chapel for meditation. What it doesn't have is central heating. The hotel is built entirely of ice and snow (31,200 tons). Guests from around the world, pay as much as $100 a night. For reservations, call your travel agent. But be advised: The hotel is north of the Arctic Circle, and temperatures dip to minus-34 degrees F. Each summer the whole thing melts into a nearby river.

Without performing a single number, the rock band U2 has won thousands of new fans in New Zealand. U2 allowed its cargo plane to be diverted from an Australian tour so emergency electrical generators could be flown to Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, still mired in a two-week-long blackout.


The Day's List

Car Stolen Most in US: 1989 Toyota Camry

Imports are "hot" nationwide - at least among car thieves. Except for the '95 Ford Mustang, Toyotas and Hondas "stole" their way into every position on the top 10 list of last year's most-pilfered cars and trucks. Chicago-based CCC Information Services develops its annual rankings from an analysis of total-loss insurance claims. The 10 most-stolen vehicles of 1997:

1. '89 Toyota Camry

2. '94 Honda Accord EX

3. '90 Toyota Camry

4. '95 Honda Accord EX

5. '88 Toyota Camry

6. '88 Honda Accord LX

7. '90 Honda Accord EX

8. '91 Toyota Camry

9. '92 Honda Accord EX

10. '95 Ford Mustang

- PRNewswire

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