News In Brief
The House voted overwhelmingly to block future satellite exports to China and to say Clinton's approval of such an export earlier this year was "not in the national interest." With little Democratic opposition, the House adopted four sets of new restrictions on China policy as part of a $270 billion defense-spending bill. The White House insisted Clinton had done nothing wrong in giving Loral Space & Communications a new permit to have one of its satellites launched atop a Chinese rocket.
The president's trip to China next month is still on - and will begin in Tiananmen Square, the White House insisted - despite protests from human rights groups and the efforts in Congress to tie Clinton's hands on technology transfers.
The Justice Department rejected an FBI suggestion to consider appointing an independent counsel to take over an inquiry into whether campaign donations may have illegally influenced Clinton's China-trade policies, The Washington Post reported. Justice officials concluded there were no specific allegations of wrongdoing against Clinton and therefore no justification for taking such action, the Post said. Attorney General Janet Reno had rejected an earlier FBI call for an independent counsel in the case.
The administration was trying to persuade skeptical senators not to impose sanctions against Russia for allowing Iran to obtain missile technology. With a Senate vote pending on sanctions already approved by the House, a top White House official told a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee Clinton was likely to veto a sanctions measure if it reached his desk.
The White House and Congress were working together on at least one front - developing a package of economic and military aid to persuade Pakistan not to follow India's nuclear testing with an atomic blast of its own. Lawmakers said the measures likely would include economic and military cooperation and aid, in addition to delivery of 28 US F-16 fighter jets Pakistan has already paid for.
A US appeals court upheld an injunction against the Immigration and Naturalization Service for the agency's failure to notify those facing deportation of their right to fight allegations of using false documents. Assailing the "complexity and ineptness" of INS procedures, a three-judge circuit court of appeals largely backed a lower-court ruling that the INS violated the Constitution by not notifying people charged with using false documents that they could request hearings.
A measure to let thousands of skilled foreign workers fill US job vacancies cleared a House panel, two days after the Senate approved a similar bill. The House Judiciary Committee approved a proposal by Rep. Lamar Smith (R) of Texas that would create an extra 30,000 temporary visas for computer programmers, health-care workers, and other specialists.
The owner of the disoriented Galaxy IV satellite said it would be about a week before all pagers, gas-pump credit cards, and TV and radio broadcasts were fully restored. PanAmSat officials noted they had already shifted some signals from the $250 million satellite to other orbiting facilities. The satellite malfunction knocked out service to an estimated 80 to 90 percent of 45 million US pagers.
US officials extended an undercover money-laundering sting to Venezuela, charging four banks and five individuals with laundering $9.5 million in illegal drug proceeds. The Treasury and Justice departments' indictment was unsealed in US District Court in Los Angeles, two days after officials of some of Mexico's largest banks were similarly charged.
Someone with a rifle opened fire in a high school cafeteria in Springfield, Ore., killing at least one person and wounding up to 16 others. Details were not immediately available, but a policeman said the attacker was in custody.
In his first address to the nation, new Indonesian President B. J. Habibie promised "clean government, free from inefficiency and the practices of corruption and nepotism." Habibie, hand-picked as the suc- cessor to President Suharto, also said he'd provide opportunities for Indonesians to do business fairly. Suharto quit after weeks of violent unrest, drawing praise from other world leaders. But the International Monetary Fund said it would suspend - and perhaps drastically overhaul - its $38 billion bailout of the troubled Indonesian economy.
Backers of the Northern Ireland peace accord were hoping for a 70 percent "yes" vote as Protestants and Catholics go to the polls today for a crucial referendum on the province's future. Only a bare majority is required under terms of the April 10 deal struck by leaders on either side of the sectarian divide. But the larger the margin of acceptance, the easier it would be to render dissidents irrelevant, British Prime Minister Blair suggested in a last-ditch campaign appearance in Belfast. Residents of the Republic of Ireland also are voting on the accord.
China's Foreign Ministry appealed to the Clinton administration to fight four congressional amendments intended to prevent further bilateral agreements on space or missile technology and the launching of satellites. The measures, passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representatives, follow on the heels of revelations that American encryption technology may have fallen into Communist hands and that a Chinese aerospace executive gave money to the 1996 Clinton-Gore reelection campaign.
Following on their earlier warning that Pakistan would revert to "terrorist activity" in Kashmir, Indian defense officials complained of stepped-up heavy-weapons fire across the border to cover the infiltration of armed militants into the disputed region. The countries have fought three wars over Kashmir, and tensions have grown since India's underground test explosions of nuclear devices. Firing across the border is common, but normally is not heavy.
More than 230 Rwandan Hutus joined the ranks of prisoners confessing to a role in killing minority Tutsis in the country's 1994 genocide. Rwandan jails hold 130,000 people accused of participation in the massacre of Tutsis. But speedy trials and reduced sentences are offered to those who admit responsibility and identify extremist officials who urged or forced them to act. So far, 300 cases have been tried, with 90 defendants sentenced to death. Twenty others have been acquitted.
For the first time since 1963, voters in Lebanon will decide the makeup of their local governments, beginning Sunday. Balloting for almost 10,000 seats on municipal and other councils is scheduled to be completed over a month, except in the Israeli-occupied zone in south Lebanon and in 21 villages to which Christians displaced by the country's long civil war never returned.
The fate of almost 200 Cubans remaining in a Bahamian detention center was unclear after the Nassau government said it hadn't received a third-country offer to grant them asylum. The Bahamas sent 61 more refugees back to Cuba and planned still other repatriations despite word that Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Alman had written a letter granting temporary shelter "in the name of liberty." A Foreign Ministry official said Alman's letter had not been received. The Bahamas resumed deportations this week after a five-month pause.
"Do you support the agreement reached at the multi-party talks on Northern Ireland
and set out in Command Paper 3883?"
- Wording of the peace-deal ballot question on which both Protestants and Catholics in the province are voting today.
No one is more keenly interested in the outcome of today's peace-deal referendum in Northern Ireland than the folks who run . . . an eel farm at Lough Erne. That's because their pilot project straddles the boundary between the deeply divided province and the Republic of Ireland. Its commercial potential - estimated at $28 million a year - depends on bilateral cooperation, a spokesman says. The eels, he adds, "know no borders."
Ever read anything written on legal paper? Then you know it measures 8-1/2 by 14 inches. Or, put another way, the same size as the centennial banknote being issued today in the Philippines. What's believed to be the world's largest bill will have a face value of 100,000 pesos ($2,565 US). Special precautions were taken to make it counterfeit-proof. No word, though, on how people are expected to fit it into their wallets.
The Day's List
High-Tech Execs Explain Industry's High Turnover
A new survey indicates almost 90 percent of high-technology firms have experienced a shortage of qualified employees. The poll of 134 executives - co-sponsored by William M. Mercer, a consulting firm, and the Pittsburgh High Technology Council, an employers' group - asked them to select three most-significant reasons for turnover from a list of 10. The top 6 and the percentage choosing each:
1. Aggressive hiring practices of competitors 54%
2. Unhappiness with income 49%
3. Dissatisfaction with career opportunities 46%
4. Dissatisfaction with management practices 41%
5. Dissatisfaction with type of work assigned 34%
6. A feeling that the organization lacks direction 22%
- PR Newswire
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The Christian Science Monitor will not be published Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, a legal holiday in the United States.