News In Brief

The pentagon may ask for authority to activate as many as 33,000 reservists in support of the Kosovo conflict, Defense Department officials said. The call-up would include up to 25,000 Air National Guard members in units that fly refueling missions both from the US and Europe - as well as some civil-affairs specialists from the Army Reserve, they said. President Clinton is expected to approve the request, if made.

Clinton plans to ask Congress early this week for $5.9 billion to cover US military costs of the conflict, administration officials said. The emergency request, including up to $700 million in humanitarian aid, would fund Pentagon expenses in the Balkans for more than five months, an official said. But it would not include funding for ground troops, should they be needed.

US fighter planes bombed anti-aircraft sites in northern Iraq, the first such action in the area in about a month. The planes launched attacks after they were threatened while patrolling the northern no-fly zone, US officials said. The Iraqi armed forces said four civilians died in the attacks and another was injured.

Clinton may unveil this week a plan to rid US national parks of air pollution obscuring scenic vistas by 2064, The Boston Globe and The New York Times reported. Although the time-table is unusually long, the controversial proposal would use a 1977 statute calling for "no manmade impairment of visibility in national parks" to force states to begin addressing the problem. The Globe article said summertime visibility has declined up to 80 percent in certain parks over the past half-century.

The National Marine Fisheries Service called for a moratorium on sturgeon in federal waters along the Atlantic coast. The ban begins May 27 and will remain in effect from Maine to Florida until sturgeon stocks recover, agency officials said. Every East Coast state has its own ban on fishing for sturgeon, which can grow to eight feet long and weigh up to 600 pounds. Because it takes 15 years for females to reach breeding age, it could take up to 40 years before populations of sturgeon return to fishable levels, the Fisheries Service said.

Key provisions of one of the nation's most-restrictive state campaign-finance laws were upheld by the Alaska Supreme Court. A superior court had overturned the law last summer. The Supreme Court upheld limiting annual contributions to candidates to $1,000, banning donations from corporations and unions, and restricting out-of-state contributions as constitutional. Also upheld were limits on donations to candidates from political parties and lobbyists.

Dry conditions in Florida fueled more of the fires that have burned homes and thousands of acres over the past week. One state official said the number of wildfires this season is running 25 to 30 percent above normal.

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