News In Brief

Congress finally began a public debate over the conflict in the Balkans and the US role there. The House was to vote on a measure backed by Speaker Dennis Hastert and other GOP leaders that would require President Clinton to receive congressional approval before deploying ground forces in Yugoslavia. The White House opposes the legislation as an unnecessary restriction even though it says it does not plan to introduce ground troops. Proposals to formally declare war against Yugo-slavia and to end the US military role in the Balkans seemed headed for rejection in the House after gaining little support from its International Relations Committee.

The GOP-led Congress seemed ready to double the president's $6 billion request to help fund US military operations in the Balkans. The House Appropriations Committee scheduled a vote today on a $12.9 billion package for the military campaign, refugees, and worldwide Pentagon needs - including a 4.4 percent pay raise for US troops. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R) of Alaska was drafting a similar measure totaling nearly $12 billion that his panel may vote on next week.

An Ikonos 1 satellite, which can take detailed photos once limited to military aircraft, disappeared almost immediately after it was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It was an apparent setback for Space Imaging, a Denver company that planned to market the high-resolution images, and Lockheed Martin, maker of the four-stage Athena II rocket that carried the satellite. Officials could not say whether the satellite was in orbit.

Per capita income in the US climbed 4.4 percent last year to $26,412 - significantly outpacing inflation, the Commerce Department said. The 4.4 percent rate of increase was less than the 4.7 rise in 1997. But inflation was up only 0.8 percent last year, after a 2 percent jump in 1997. Factoring that in, the nation's per capita income after inflation was up 3.6 percent last year, after rising 2.7 percent in 1997.

A nationwide moratorium on the spread of casinos, lotteries and slot machines was recommended by a sharply divided panel studying gambling in

the US. The National Gambling Impact Study Commission split over the language, particularly the use of the word "moratorium." Five of nine commissioners approved the wording.

A policy change that would allow food and medicines to be shipped to countries that allegedly support terrorism was to be announced by the Treasury Department, a federal official said. The policy shift would affect such governaments as Iran, Libya, and Sudan. Sen. Dick Lugar (R) of Indiana said it would clear the way for Niki Trading Co. to sell some $500 million worth of farm goods to Iran. Farm-state lawmakers have pressed the administration for months to lift sanctions and open up new markets for US farmers.

Monitor senior science writer Peter Spotts has been awarded a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Spotts, who will be on leave beginning in September, through May 2000, plans to focus his studies on disciplines loosely grouped around the theme of managing the planet.

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