News In Brief

President Clinton flew to St. Louis to greet Pope John Paul II. They were to visit briefly in an Air National Guard hangar at the St. Louis airport. US policies toward Iraq and Cuba were said to be likely topics of discussion for the two leaders, who had met on three previous occasions. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims converged on St. Louis, hoping for a glimpse of the Pope during his 30-hour visit. A prayer service, a Mass, and a youth rally were to be held before he returned to Rome.

Rejecting an effort by Democrats to keep its deliberations open to the public, the Senate voted mostly along party lines to debate in private a motion to dismiss the charges against Clinton. A vote on the motion was not expected until today, after the Senate debated the potentially explosive issue of whether to call witnesses. Republicans rejected a Democratic plan to side-step votes on dismissal and witnesses and move to a vote on the articles of impeachment.

A US appeals court reinstated tax-evasion charges against Webster Hubbell, a longtime friend of the Clintons. In a victory for independent counsel Kenneth Starr, the appeals court in Washington ruled on a 2-to-1 vote that a federal judge was wrong to dismiss the indictment against the former No. 2 Justice Department official on grounds that the case exceeded Starr's jurisdiction. Hubbell and his wife, Suzanna, were named in a 19-count indictment the included their attorney and accountant.

US pilots flying in Iraqi "no fly" zones have been given expanded orders allowing them to bomb not only the source of an attack but Iraqi air defenses more widely, National Security Adviser Sandy Berger told reporters. Meanwhile, Pentagon officials said they regretted that civilians were killed and injured Monday in an attack near the southern city of Basra. But they placed the blame on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein for ordering actions that threaten US aircraft. Iraqi officials said American missiles had killed 11 civilians and injured 59 others.

To help address the threat of global warming, the Clinton administration said it will propose $4 billion in spending and tax breaks in its upcoming budget - $1 billion more than this year. Most of the money would be spent researching global-warming; developing renewable, efficient energy technologies; and promoting cleaner vehicles.

Consumers' confidence in the economy edged up slightly in January to the highest level since August, the Conference Board reported. Its index of consumer confidence rose 0.9 of a point - to 127.6 from a revised 126.7 in December. The index dropped sharply in October, but has made a steady recovery.

A La Nia global weather pattern is likely to remain in place through at least June, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said - predicting continued extremes. La Nia pushes unusually warm air northward and unusually cold air southward.

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