News In Brief

Support for sending nato ground troops into Yugoslavia is slipping, a survey published by Newsweek magazine indicated. The poll by Princeton Survey Research Associates found 48 percent of Americans saying they don't support using ground troops; 43 percent said they favored such a move. A week earlier, 50 percent had approved sending ground troops, and 42 percent had opposed it.

NATO leaders have backed away from earlier plans to impose an oil blockade against Yugoslavia with military force, The Washington Post reported, citing unnamed officials. Instead, the alliance will seek wider voluntary cooperation, the newspaper said. A softer strategy would reportedly be a setback for US officials, who have favored military action by alliance warships against tankers violating the embargo.

The three US soldiers who spent 32 days as prisoners of war in Yugoslavia were abducted in a Serb ambush inside Macedonia, beaten repeatedly, "paraded as captured criminals," and forced to read anti-NATO materials under threat of death, their Army commander said. Staff Sgt. Christopher Stone, Staff Sgt. Andrew Ramirez, and Spc. Steven Gonzales were awarded six medals each in Wrzburg, Germany, before flying home.

A $12 million program to provide temporary jobs for displaced Oklahoma residents was announced by President Clinton after he viewed damage done there by devastating tornadoes. The temporary jobs would be at relief centers and construction sites, he explained. The president also said he would seek $372 million in disaster-relief funds from Congress for survivors of the storm. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma insurance commissioner said some 10,000 homes had been destroyed in the state.

The White House is to host a summit on youth violence today that will include representatives of the movie, music, broadcast, cable, software, and firearms industries. Officials described the gathering as a brainstorming session that would be followed by creation of a nonprofit entity designed to lead a nationwide campaign to curb violence among young people. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and the Welfare to Work Partnership were cited as successful precedents.

A mistrial was declared in the trial of Julie Hiatt Steele, who was charged with lying about knowledge of alleged sexual advances by Clinton. In the only criminal case arising from independent counsel Kenneth Starr's investigation of Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky, the jury deliberated about eight hours before saying it was hopelessly deadlocked over whether Steele had lied about former White House volunteer Kathleen Willey telling her of an alleged sexual advance in 1993. Prosecutors said no decision had been made on whether to retry Steele.

The Marine pilot in the Italian cable-car tragedy was found guilty of obstruction of justice and conspiracy for helping to destroy a videotape of the flight. Capt. Richard Ashby of Mission Viejo, Calif. - who earlier escaped conviction on manslaughter charges - could get up to 10 years in prison or be dismissed from the Marines. Closing arguments in a sentencing hearing were scheduled for today at Camp LeJeune, N.C. The flight's navigator had pleaded guilty earlier to identical charges.

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