News In Brief
The White House rejected a Chinese demand that NATO halt its bombing campaign against Yugo-slavia as a prelude to any UN Security Council consideration of peace talks. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary William Cohen told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that Chinese officials were dishonest in saying the NATO attack on their embassy in Yugoslavia was intentional - and that this had intensified public protests against the US in China.
Johnny Chung was to testify in public for the first time that the head of China's military intelligence provided $300,000 intended to help reelect President Clinton. The scheduled testimony before the House Government Reform Committee came at a time when US-Chinese relations are strained by NATO's bombing of the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia as well as numerous inquiries into whether China stole US nuclear-weapons secrets. Chung has cooperated with a Justice Department probe of fund-raising abuses in the 1996 elections.
Clinton removed the last roadblock to the launch of a Chinese rocket carrying a satellite into space June 7 for the US-led Iridium global-paging and telephone network. In a report to Congress, the president said export of satellite fuels and separation systems for communications would not harm US interests - nor would the material and equipment "improve the missile or space-launch capabilities" of China.
Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said he would name a security "czar" and impose an 18-month moratorium on declass- ifying sensitive documents. A congressional report detailing numerous concerns over the security of US nuclear laboratories is expected to be released next week.
The Senate was expected to take up the issue of gun control as part of a juvenile-justice bill. One section members of both political parties generally agree on is the so-called juvenile-Brady law, which would prevent a teenager convicted of a violent crime from ever acquiring a gun legally. However, many amendments to the bill were expected, and it was uncertain whether any of the legislation would be voted into law.
Sixty-one law-enforcement officers were murdered on duty in the US last year, a decline of almost 13 percent from 1997, the FBI reported. Firearms accounted for 58 of the 1998 killings - 40 of them by handguns.
The pilot acquitted earlier of manslaughter in the Italian cable-car tragedy was sentenced to six months in prison and dismissed from the Marine Corps for helping to destroy a videotape of the flight. Capt. Richard Ashby became the first crewman to be sentenced in connection with the accident that killed 20 people in the Italian Alps last year.
A white supremacist was sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing an Arkansas family as part of a scheme to overthrow the US government and establish a whites-only nation. Defense lawyers in Little Rock said they would appeal. Prosecutors had asked that Chevie Kehoe be put to death.