News In Brief

The US

The US Senate approved the admission of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to NATO by an 80-to-19 vote. President Clinton expressed delight in the "overwhelming margin" of the decision. The House has no say in treaty matters.

The president signed into law an emergency spending bill aides had suggested he would veto. It provides $6 billion for weather-related disasters and for US troops in Bosnia and the Gulf - but not a cent for either the International Monetary Fund or the UN. Clinton's national security adviser said it would be a "body blow" to US credibility if Congress failed to pay the nation's UN debt and contribute to the IMF.

Some congressional Democrats threatened to withdraw support for the IMF. House minority leader Richard Gephardt of Missouri and Democratic whip David Bonior of Michigan were among those who said the agency should link its loans to improvements in human rights and labor laws.

The lawyer for Clinton friend Webster Hubbell said there was no chance his client would succumb to pressure of a new criminal indictment and make a deal with Whitewater prosecutors. The comment came after a grand jury indicted Hubbell, his wife, and two advisers on 10 tax-related counts, creating a new incentive for the former associate attorney general to cooperate in the inquiry. Prosecutors are reportedly focusing on more than $500,000 in consulting fees paid to Hubbell shortly after he left the Justice Department.

The Clinton administration is seeking to scrap a law that would impose a one-year moratorium on US use of antipersonnel land mines, The New York Times reported. The moratorium was signed into law two years ago, but only comes into effect next Feb. 12. Its drafters reportedly hoped the measure would spur the Pentagon to search for alternatives to antipersonnel mines. The US has refused to sign a treaty that would ban the weapons.

A measure to create an advisory commission to see if improperly acquired Holocaust-era assets are located in the US was approved by the Senate. The presidential commission would look into Holocaust-related assets that arrived in the US from 1933 to 1945.

Police in riot gear fired tear gas to disperse thousands of Michigan State University students who were protesting an alcohol ban. The incident stemmed from a university decision to ban alcohol in Munn Field, where students hold tailgate parties before and after home football games. Police said the protest began at the field, then moved to downtown East Lansing, where bonfires were set and the crowd swelled to more than 2,000 people. Nine were arrested on disorderly conduct charges.

A record percentage of high school graduates enrolled in college last fall, the Labor Department said. Sixty-seven percent of those graduating from high school a year ago reportedly went on to college - up from 65 percent in the prior year. That was the highest percentage since the department began collecting the data in 1960.

The space shuttle Columbia was to return to Florida's Kennedy Space Center after a 16-day science mission. The crew discovered a hydraulic-power problem on the shuttle, but the US space agency said the malfunction should not affect Columbia's landing.

A college professor lost her bid to overturn a Georgia Board of Regents' rule barring state-college teachers from seeking federal office. Christina Jeffrey, who teaches political science at Kennesaw State, had wanted to oppose House Speaker Newt Gingrich, but a US district judge upheld a ruling that professors cannot run for seats in Congress because they handle government grants and could unduly influence students.

Growth in Americans' personal income slackened in March to the slowest pace in eight months, the Commerce Department said. The income gain in March was 0.3 percent.

The World

After a marathon meeting in Brussels, European Union leaders elected Dutchman Wim Duisenberg as the first president of the central bank that will launch a single currency Jan. 1. But, as expected, Duisenberg then announced that once the euro replaces the national currencies of EU member states he will step aside in favor of France's Jean-Claude Trichet.. The move drew heavy criticism. Among others, European Parliament president Jose-Maria Gil Robles of Spain said it violated the spirit of the 1993 Maastricht Treaty that formed the EU.

Prospects for Secretary of State Albright's meetings today in London with Israeli and Palestinian leaders appeared bleak. Prime Minister Netanya-hu left Israel, saying through a spokesman that it would be "utterly impossible" to agree to a US-proposed 13 percent pullback from the West Bank. Palestinian Authority President Arafat, who is to meet separately with Albright, said Israel bears sole responsibility for the success or failure of the talks.

British Prime Minister Blair scheduled a meeting for Thursday with leaders of Northern Ireland's Orange Order after the latter called for a "no" vote in the May 22 referendum on peace in the province. The recommendation, in 5-inch-tall print in the order's monthly newspaper, is aimed at 50,000 members and supporters. The order, Northern Ireland's largest Protestant group, claims the deal reached with rival Catholics would weaken links with Britain and serve as a stepping-stone to Irish unification.

Rival negotiators accused each other of responsibility for the collapse of peace talks on Afghanistan. Meeting in the capital of neighboring Pakistan, the two sides had agreed late last week on the composition of a 40-man commission of Islamic scholars who would hammer out details of a lasting peace. But a Sunday session was suspended when the Taliban movement refused to discuss the lifting of highway blockades that prevent food shipments from reaching opposition-controlled areas.

Khmer Rouge guerrillas and their families streamed across the border into Thailand as the government of Cambodia declared their movement all but wiped out. Troops claimed to have seized the final Khmer Rouge enclave, although Thai observers said it appeared the guerrillas still held pockets of high ground and could prove difficult to dislodge.

Add UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the list of senior world leaders who knew in advance of the Rwandan genocide but did nothing to stop it, The New Yorker magazine reports. Citing a former deputy and related documents, the magazine says Annan, who was head of UN peacekeeping operations at the time, ordered his forces in Rwanda not to intervene in plans by the Hutu-led government to slaughter minority Tutsis. Annan, traveling in Africa, was not available for comment. But over the weekend he said he'd support the appointment of a commission to investigate the 1994 genocide.

Calm returned to Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe, after four days of clashes between government troops and Islamic opposition forces. At least 11 people died in the fighting.

Twenty opposition activists were arrested and others were being hunted by police in Nigeria after an antigovernment protest resulted in numerous casualties. The city of Ibadan was still littered with charred vehicles and debris Sunday after the May Day rally turned violent, with police using live ammunition to disperse protesters. At least seven people were killed and an undetermined number of others were hurt.


"Don't laugh; there's no reason!"

- French President Jacques Chirac, defending the political maneuvering that will allow his nominee to quickly replace the Dutchman elected as first chief of the European Central Bank.

The setting: New York's posh Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The occasion: a luncheon for people elected to the American Society of Magazine Editors Hall of Fame. The honorees (two of them anyway): feminist icon Gloria Steinem, cofounder of Ms., and her gender-wars nemesis, Hugh Hefner, whose monthly issues of Playboy include pictorials of unclothed women. They agreed to pose for photographers, but only if a third inductee stood between them.

If you happen to live in Claire City, S. D., state Rep. David Gleason hopes you'll exercise your right to vote in the state's June 2 primary election. He just doesn't want you to vote for him - and he's a candidate for reelection. The two-term Democrat filed his nomination papers, then changed his mind about running after it was too late to remove his name from the ballot. If he wins anyway, he could at that point withdraw and the party would name a replacement.

The Day's List

Firms Win Awards for 'Corporate Conscience'

The Washington-based Council on Economic Priorities has announced the winners of its annual Corporate Conscience Awards, given to companies that demonstrate outstanding social responsibility. The firms, chosen by an independent and international panel, will be honored June 2 at an awards ceremony in New York. They were recognized for accomplishments in: environment stewardship, employee empowerment and diversity, and community partnership. The winners for 1998 in each category:

Environment Stewardship

British Airways

British Petroleum


Employee Empowerment and Diversity

Avon Products

Oticon (Denmark)

Community Partnership

Dollar General Corp.

General Mills

Glory Foods

Stairstep Inc.

U.S. Bancorp.

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