News In Brief

The Pentagon said it would activate 33,000 National Guard members and reservists for duty in the Kosovo conflict. About three-quarters of the total were expected to be Air Force reservists. The call-up follows an earlier announcement that 30 more Air Force refueling aircraft - including some that will be flown by Air National Guard units - had been ordered to Europe to support airstrikes against Yugoslavia.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson was to lead a group of US religious leaders to Yugoslavia. He said he hoped to secure the release of three captive American soldiers and provide President Slobodan Milosevic "an honorable way" to resume peace negotiations. Jackson said the delegation - including rabbis, Muslim clerics, Serbian-American religious leaders, the Rev. Joan Brown Campbell of the National Council of Churches, and Rep. Rod Blagojevich (D) of Illinois - will travel at the invitation of Yugoslav religious leaders.

The long-ignored War Powers Act (WPA) was invoked in Congress in connection with the Kosovo conflict. A House panel was to consider two measures under the act - one to force the end of US military involvement in Kosovo, another seeking a formal declaration of war on Yugoslavia. Even if rejected by the International Relations Committee, as expected, both of the proposals by Rep. Tom Campbell (R) of California are required under the WPA to be taken up by the full House. The act, passed in 1973 over President Nixon's veto, prohibits presidents from waging war for more than 60 days without congressional approval.

A request for mediation in the dispute over California's Proposition 187 was granted by a US appeals court. The mediation, requested by Gov. Gray Davis (D), will not be binding. Most of Proposition 187, which bars illegal immigrants from receiving public schooling and nonemergency health care, has been blocked by federal courts in an ongoing legal battle. Davis, who took office earlier this year, opposed the initiative. His Republican predecessor, Pete Wilson, supported it.

More than 21,600 square miles of ocean off New Jersey will be closed to commercial fishing for the month of June to protect spawning grounds for bluefin tuna, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced. NOAA also imposed new regulations designed to protect bluefin and yellowfin tuna, 72 shark species, swordfish, and billfish. Environmentalists criticized the new rules as particularly inadequate to protect swordfish stocks from depletion.

People cannot be convicted of giving an illegal gratuity unless the gift is proven to be linked to an official act, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled. The justices refused to reinstate a California agricultural cooperative's conviction for illegally giving gifts to former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy. He was acquitted in December of all 30 corruption charges involving gifts he accepted from Sun-Diamond Growers of California and others. A US appeals court last year threw out the Sun-Diamond conviction and a $1.5 million fine that came with it.

Detroit and Wayne County, Mich., filed lawsuits accusing the firearms industry of a "calculated strategy of willful blindness" to the illegal gun trade. The two separate suits - against 35 handgun manufacturers, dealers, and outlets - did not request specific damages.

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