News In Brief

President Clinton and congressional leaders were expected to set a post-impeachment tone at a meeting today in the White House. However, given lingering animosities and differences on issues, there was concern that the gathering would be limited to symbolic gestures of bipartisanship.

The Defense Department reversed itself and told former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter he may need to submit for pre-publication review a book expected to criticize the Clinton administration. A spokesman for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency said a letter had been sent to Ritter's attorneys, informing them that, under the contracts Ritter signed with the agency, publications discussing work he did hunting for illegal weapons in Iraq must be submitted for review. Last month the Pentagon said Ritter was no longer was under contract so his book didn't need a review.

Former California Gov. Pete Wilson was expected to announce that he will not run for president a second time. A longtime associate said Wilson determined in discussions with advisers in recent weeks that he couldn't raise the $20 million to $25 million he believed necessary to run a credible campaign for the GOP nomination. Wilson abandoned his last presidential run after one month in 1995.

The Supreme Court let stand Maine requirements that persons who circulate voter initiative petitions be registered to vote there and be legal state residents. In this action, the Supreme Court seemed to contradict its own Jan. 12 ruling that limited state regulation of voter initiatives by striking down as "excessively restrictive of political speech" several methods Colorado had used to police such initiatives - including a requirement that people who circulate petitions be registered voters.

The high court also left intact a Virginia law requiring doctors to notify a young girl's parent before performing the abortion she seeks. The justices turned away arguments that the law wrongly denies most mature girls under 18 the right to an abortion without parental involvement. And the court let stand a ruling by Iowa's highest court against a so-called "right to farm" statute designed to protect farmers from being sued by their neighbors under public-nuisance laws. All states are said to have similar laws.

New York was to begin seizing vehicles of motorists suspected of driving drunk - including first-time offenders. City officials said cars of those acquitted would likely be returned. The announcement by GOP Mayor Rudolph Giuliani brought complaints from civil-liberties groups that the measure is excessive and could punish the innocent. Twenty-two states allow city officials to seize cars of drunken drivers, but they mostly involve repeat offenders.

"Shakespeare In Love" and "Out of Sight" won Writers Guild scriptwriting awards. "Shakespeare" was named last year's best screenplay written directly for the screen. "Out of Sight" - written by Scott Frank, based on a novel by Elmore Leonard - received the award for best screenplay based on material previously produced or published.

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