News In Brief
Significant progress toward opening China's huge market to US manufacturers, farmers, and financial firms, was reported by American officials. In return for China agreeing to open markets, the US would reportedly stop objecting to Chinese membership in the World Trade Organization. The proposed deal is seen as a possible centerpiece for a week-long US visit by Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji, which is scheduled to begin April 6. Meanwhile, the US officials said they would seek a UN censure this week of alleged Chinese human-rights violations. It was not clear whether that would affect the trade talks.
President Clinton's handling of the Kosovo crisis won public backing in new polls, but it was thin. Support for US intervention stood at 53 percent in a Newsweek survey Thursday and Friday; 36 percent opposed it. In a Time-CNN poll, 44 percent approved of the action; 40 percent were against it. In an ABC News poll taken Friday, 60 percent approved the strikes. But support was only at 50 percent or a bit higher in three other surveys.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian was convicted of murder in the death of a man diagnosed as terminally ill. Kevorkian was found guilty of second-degree murder by a jury in Pontiac, Mich., for fatally injecting Thomas Youk. Prosecutors said Kevorkian would face a sentence of 10 to 25 years for the conviction. He was also found guilty of delivering a controlled substance, which carries a penalty of up to seven years. He is to be sentenced April 14.
Congress passed a GOP tax-cutting budget plan - 55 to 44 in the Senate and 221 to 208 in the House. The votes on the nonbinding budget resolutions were largely along party lines. They set the stage for a series of anticipated battles over actual funding for Medicare and other federal programs. In a rare display of bipartisanship, the GOP budget proposal was modified to provide $10 billion over 10 years for child care.
Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona called on his party to soften its anti-abortion platform. In an interview with Reuters, McCain said Republicans should revert to their 1980 platform on abortion, which opposes the procedure but recognizes differing views in the party. All 11 GOP presidential candidates and potential candidates are on record as opposing abortion.
Foreigners arrested in the US must be advised of their right to contact their consulates, a federal appeals court said. In a 3-to-0 ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals set aside the marijuana conviction of a Mexican man and told a US judge to determine whether failure to notify him of his rights harmed his defense. The Vienna Convention entitles people arrested outside their home countries to speak to their consular officials.
A Methodist minister was suspended for violating church law by presiding over a same-sex marriage. A 13-member jury in Downers Grove, Ill., ruled on a 10-to-3 vote that the Rev. Gregory Dell of Chicago should be suspended, beginning in July 5, until he agreed to follow church directives. It was the first such conviction under a 1996 church ordinance.