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News Briefs, part 1

West Indian Wins Literature Nobel

Los Angeles Times

BROOKLINE

Derek Walcott, a West Indian poet whose ancestors were slaves, won the 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature Thursday, marking the first time the award has gone to a Caribbean writer.

Called a modern-day Homer by some critics, the 62-year-old poet was honored for an extensive body of work that blends African, West Indian and European cultural traditions in a rich, evocative voice.

"In him, West Indian culture has found its great poet," said the Swedish Academy of Letters in awarding the $1.2 million prize. The academy praised Walcott for his "melodious and sensitive" style that shows "singular luster and great force."

Although his work is not widely known in the mass marketplace, Walcott's reputation in international poetry circles has been golden for several decades. Joseph Brodsky, the 1987 Nobel literature laureate, recently called him "the best poet the English language has today."

Walcott's most recent book is "Omeros," a 64-chapter Caribbean epic that blends elements of the Odysseus legend and the turbulent West Indian world. Although the poet said he was greatly honored by the prize, he suggested that his people and their culture are the real winners.

Study Reports Increase In Poverty Among Whites

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON

Poverty in the United States has increased fastest among non-Hispanic whites in recent years, according to a study released Thursday.

The study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal th ink tank, said 17.7 million non-Hispanic whites in 1991 had incomes below the government's official poverty line, compared to 10.2 million blacks and 6.3 million people of Hispanic origin. In 1991, the poverty line for a family of four was $13,924 in income.

"Poverty debates in this country frequently become ensnared in controversies about race and ethnicity. But poverty is not confined to minorities," said Isaac Shapiro, the study's principal author.

Even in metropolitan areas, the report said, non-Hispanic whites are the largest single bloc of poor, 43 percent. In rural areas, seven of every 10 poor people are non-Hispanic whites.

Shapiro noted that even though the absolute number of poor non-Hispanic whites is far larger than either blacks or Hispanics, the proportion of non-Hispanic whites who are poor is 9.4 percent, still only about a third the proportion among blacks and Hispanics.

Gorbachev Suffers Indignity Of Pushing His Way Past Police

Los Angeles Times

MOSCOW

When will the indignities end for former Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev? He has lost his limousine, passport and the luxurious office complex that housed his think-tank. And on Thursday, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former Kremlin chief had to shove through a cordon of police to get to his desk to read an eviction notice.

"If this government calls itself democratic and this president calls himself the people's president, how can this be?" Gorbachev asked at a news conference, perhaps the last he will hold in the sprawling headquarters of the Gorbachev Foundation.

On Wednesday, Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin ordered the foundation ousted from its government digs, a decree that police gathered to enforce on Thursday.

"We are being closed, as if we were a spy nest," Gorbachev said, bitterly recounting how police blocked his offices' gates and seized all equipment and accounts early Thursday.

Feisty and defiant, Gorbachev stepped up his attacks on longtime rival Yeltsin, threatening to take the Russian government to court for stripping him of his right to travel in an action taken last week. After Gorbachev ignored a summons to testify about his leadership of the Communist Party from 1985 to 1991, Russia's Constitutional Court last week asked the government to keep him from leaving the country.

"On what grounds was my trip canceled?" he asked, pounding the table with a clenched fist. "Under what laws?"

The scene bore no small traces of irony, for Gorbachev, as president, had followed a Soviet practice of limiting foreign travel and emigration for almost all citizens. However, he relaxed those restrictions, allowing millions to travel more freely.

Weather

Rainy Weekend

By Yeh-Kai Tung
Staff Meteorologist

A large cyclonic low pressure cell located in the center of the country is slowly going to move our way. Cloudiness and rain associated with this system will be the story for Friday and Saturday. There is a chance of clearing skies Sunday, thus salvaging at least one of the two weekend days.

Today: Cloudy. High 68F (20C). Southwest wind 15-20 mph (24-32 kph).

Tonight: Rain starting in the evening, heavy at times. Low 58F (14C).

Tomorrow:<\p>Light rain continuing in the morning, ending by afternoon. High 70F (21C). Low 53F (12C).

Sunday: Clearing skies. High 69F (21C).