News In Brief

The US

President Clinton defied GOP calls for him to resign over his impeachment, vowing instead to work "until the last hour" of his term. House passage of two articles of impeachment - generally along party lines - set the stage for only the second Senate trial in US history. But it was not clear whether such a process would take place. The fact that a Senate vote along party lines would not remove the president from office triggered speculation that bipartisan agreement on an alternative punishment would emerge - although Senate majority leader Trent Lott rejected discussion of a deal, saying he would proceed to prepare for a trial.

House GOP leaders endorsed chief deputy whip Dennis Hastert of Illinois in the wake Rep. Bob Livingston's surprise announcement that he would not serve as the next Speaker. After calling on Clinton to resign, Livingston himself in effect resigned over extramarital affairs that had became public two days earlier. Livingston, who said he would only remain in Congress another six months, had been in line to take over the speakership from Newt Gingrich, who stepped down six weeks ago after party losses in the Nov. 3 elections. No date was set for choosing a new House leader, but officials said the GOP caucus was likely to meet Jan. 5.

Clinton announced the end of the US-British air offensive against Iraq after four rounds of attacks, declaring the operation a success but vowing to strike again if necessary. The president said he had received no reports of US casualties and that "significant damage" had been inflicted on Iraqi efforts to produce weapons of mass destruction.

Clinton's public-approval rating rose after the impeachment vote - and most Americans still think he should finish his term, new polls indicated. An NBC survey showed Clinton's support rising from 68 percent to 72 percent after impeachment. Sixty-two percent said he should serve out his term - up 11 percent from early last week. The number of respondents who said the president should resign dropped from 44 percent to 34 percent. A CBS/New York Times poll found 66 percent opposing a suggestion that it would be better for the country if Clinton resigned.

Two men were charged with smuggling of illegal immigrants after a boat capsized and at least eight people died off the Florida coast. A search was continuing for six Cuban refugees who remained missing. The alleged smugglers - one of them the owner of the boat - were taken to a US detention center in Miami.

David Boone, a former analyst at the National Security Agency, pleaded guilty to spying for the former Soviet Union. He entered the plea before the district court in Alexandria, Va., where he is to be sentenced Feb. 26.

Clinton and independent counsel Kenneth Starr were named Time's "Men of the Year." The magazine said it tries to select "the person or persons who most affected the news of our lives, for good or for ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse."

The World

"Victorious again!" proclaimed banner headlines in Iraqi newspapers as the US and Britain ceased four nights of punishing air strikes. In videotaped comments, President Saddam Hussein did not mention the attackers by name but told Iraqis their response was "up to the level that your leadership had hoped." Earlier, the government announced it would not work again with the UN commission on weapons inspections. At least 42 people were reported killed in the attacks, although the government had yet to issue a final casualty assessment.

Virtually without exception, other world leaders refused to comment publicly on the impeachment of President Clinton. Editorial opinion in major world newspapers tended to divide along political lines, with left-wing publications blasting congressional Republicans and conservative journals calling for Clinton's resignation. Others lamented the damage to American prestige because of the ordeal.

Jewish settlers from the West Bank and Gaza were trying to persuade right-wing members of Israel's parliament to back Prime Minister Netanyahu in a crucial no-confidence vote today. The outcome appeared uncertain after Netanyahu won his Cabinet's approval to suspend peace efforts with the Palestinian Authority until the latter met a series of Israeli security demands. Netanyahu controls only a two-vote majority in parliament and is expected to call a national election early next year if he loses.

Protestants and Catholics traded verbal abuse, but no violence was reported during an Orange Order parade in Portadown, Northern Ireland. The marchers, estimated to number in the thousands, passed a Catholic enclave but were prevented by police from using the Garvaghy Road, scene of earlier confrontations.

Prominent labor activist Liu Nianchun was freed from detention and sent into exile by Chinese authorities. He and his family reportedly were bound for New York. Officials called the release of the activist, who was serving a three-year sentence in a labor camp, "medical parole." Analysts said it appeared to be an attempt to blunt criticism of today's trial of another pro-democracy campaigner, the third to begin in less than a week.

Thick smoke from mortar fire hung over the capital of the Congo Republic as antigovernment forces pressed their attack against President Denis Sassou Nguesso. From exile in the US, opposition leader Bernard Kolelas claimed his forces were inside Brazzaville but wanted negotiations with the government because "we are a small country [and] cannot continue to kill each other."

Efforts to patch together a new coalition government in Turkey failed, and Prime Minister-designate Bulent Ecevit said he would hand back his invitation today to the country's president. Ecevit was asked late last month to try to form a new government by President Suleyman Demirel after predecessor Mesut Yilmaz lost a vote of no-confidence in parliament. Ecevit warned that his failure likely would return the Islamic opposition to power until national elections can be held in April.

Business and Finance

Next year's economic-growth target will be the lowest since the end of World War II, the Japanese Cabinet decided. In a special Sunday meeting, the ministers set a 0.5 percent goal for the fiscal year - a reflection, analysts said, of doubts that Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi can fulfill his pledge to bring the world's second-largest economy back to full recovery within two years. The government's Economic Planning Agency also lowered its growth target for the current fiscal year to minus-2.2 percent, the second downward revision in three months.

A report due out today from the office of the US Trade Representative is expected to list imports from Europe that will be liable for 100 percent tariffs beginning in March. The move stems from a bitter dispute over European policy on importing bananas, which, the US says, discriminates against Latin American producers in favor of those from Caribbean countries. The US won a complaint on the issue before the World Trade Organization last year, but continued efforts to settle the row with European Union negotiators have failed.


'The year drew to a close the way it had opened in January, with events being driven by what these two men had wrought.' - Time magazine, on the selection of President Clinton and Kenneth Starr as its 1998 "Men of the Year."


The NFL's Green Bay Packers aren't having one of their more dominating seasons, so their famous "cheesehead" fans have had less reason than usual to sound off. The company that makes their lightweight, wedge-shaped headgear, on the other hand, is especially active these days. Foamation Inc. has moved its manufacturing plant to the Milwaukee suburb of St. Francis, Wis. And now it wants the town to change the name of the street out front to - honest, we're not making this up - Cheesehead Whey. One alderman is dubious about the idea. "A name change is a pretty permanent thing," Richard Lentz said. "What if they relocate again?"

The Day's List

Think China sends the US a lot of 'gifts'? You're right

Have you noticed that a lot of the toys and other gifts you're buying this Christmas season seem to have a "Made in China" label? Well, it's not just your imagination. China is far and way the single biggest exporter of many toys and gift items to the American market, according to a report released last week by the US Bureau of the Census. The agency listed six countries as the dominant exporters of various types of these products to the US during the first eight months of this year. The nations, the sorts of toys or gift items of which they were the major exporters to the US from January through August, and the value of those exports (in millions):

China - stuffed toys $1,170.8

Italy - jewelry 855.1

China - dolls 641.9

China - unstuffed toys,

representing animals or nonhumans 432.8

China - sports footwear 201.9

China - ice and roller skates 65.9

China - electric trains 35.7

China - tennis rackets 28.4

China - basketballs 27.8

France - skis 25.6

Mexico - wheeled toys

(for children to ride) 23.7

China - puzzles 15.8

Pakistan - soccer balls 14.2

China - golf clubs 11.3

Japan - Scale-model kits 7.2

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