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News briefs

FBI May Report on Possible Tampering With Clinton's Passport

The Washington Post


The Bush administration Monday refused to clarify reports that it is investigating possible tampering with the passport records of Democratic candidate Bill Clinton, but fueled partisan suspicions of skullduggery by suggesting that the FBI might eventually report on the matter.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher was bombarded with questions at his daily briefing about a report by Newsweek magazine that the FBI had been called to investigate after State Department officials who retrieved Clinton's passport file found "that several pages appeared to be ripped out."

In fact, the FBI had no comment, a spokesman said. The Bureau also refused to confirm that it was involved in an investigation of Clinton's passport file.

The official statements prompted a wide range of partisan speculation among both Democrats and Republicans, who variously suggested that Democrats may have sought to cover up potentially damaging information in Clinton's record, that Republicans may have removed such information in order to leak it to the press, or that reports of the FBI's involvement may have been intended to cast a shadow on one side or another.

Administration officials said the State Department and FBI statements Monday were meant to signal a degree of uncertainty about the case. One official said it is now up to the FBI to decide "whether there is anything to look into." Another source suggested the Bureau hoped to come to a decision on the matter as quickly as possible.

Kuwait Elects Parliament

The Washington Post


Kuwait's all-male electorate voted Monday for a 50-man National Assembly that is expected to demand an increased role in decision-making with the ruling Sabah family.

The election, the first held since Kuwait's 1991 liberation from Iraqi occupation, went off smoothly in neighborhood schools festooned with campaign posters and surrounded by stands serving drinks and snacks from rival candidates.

Climaxing the most enthusiastic campaign the country has seen, the election meets a public demand for restoration of the parliament, which was suspended by the ruling emir, Sheik Jabir Ahmed Sabah, in 1986. Many Kuwaitis, particularly young ones who stayed here during Iraq's seven-month occupation, have said they want the new parliament to be a strong body, but expect the ruling family to resist this.

Candidate Abdul Aziz Mahkkled, a middle-aged man with weather-worn skin and an easy smile, shook his head slowly when asked if he thought the ruling family would work well with the new parliament. "There will be confrontation because the government wants to control everything," he said. "The only way to change that is confrontation."

"More Kuwaitis are taking their responsibility to politics and the future of Kuwait seriously," said Meg Thompson, head of an observer delegation from the Washington-based International Republican Institute, an organization that promotes democratic development.

Supreme Court Opens New Term

The Washington Post


The Supreme Court Monday opened its 1992-93 term by announcing it will review the Bush administration's policy of forcibly repatriating Haitians picked up at sea and by accepting two cases that could further refine the constitutional separation of church and state.

The court's acceptance of the Haitian case, among more than 1,400 new appeals pending, was a priority for the administration whose policy on Haiti has been in dispute since an appeals court ruled in July that summarily repatriating Haitians violates federal law.

The church-state cases reflect the federal courts' constant struggle with how states can ensure they do not establish or endorse a religion, yet avoid unconstitutionally discriminating against religious speech or practice. In one case, a New York school district denied a group access to its facilities because of the religious content of a planned film series. In the other, an Arizona school district forbade a deaf high school student a state-financed interpreter because he attended a Roman Catholic school.

Overall, the court accepted 22 cases for review. Combined with the 65 cases that were carried over from last term, the court now has a docket of 87 cases.


Fine Fall Weather to Continue

By Michael Morgan
Staff meteorologist

A large ridge of high pressure will drift eastward slowly from the Midwest providing sunny, mild days and clear nights through the period.

Today: Mostly sunny and cool. Winds north to northeast 10 mph (6 kph). High 55F (13C).

Tonight: Clear and a bit milder. Light winds. Low 43F (6C).

Tomorrow: Sunny and milder. High 61-66F (16-19C). Low 53F (12C). Winds southwest 5-10 mph (3-6 kph).

Thursday: Partly cloudy. High 65-70F (18-21C). Low 55F (13C). Winds southwest 10 mph (6 kph).