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News Briefs

De Klerk Calls for Vote on Reforms

The Baltimore Sun

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa

Startled by his party's loss to apartheid forces in a local election, President Frederik W. de Klerk put his career and his country's movement toward the end of apartheid on the line Thursday by calling for a nationwide vote of confidence by white voters.

The announcement, made one day after de Klerk's ruling National Party lost an important election to its right-wing opposition, was a high-stakes gamble designed to make it clear which party speaks for whites on the issue of South Africa's future.

De Klerk said that he would step down and his government would resign if he loses the referendum, which will be held within the next six weeks.

If de Klerk wins, his government can confidently pursue reforms aimed at ending apartheid and negotiating with the black majority on a new constitution. But if he loses, the entire reform process would be thrown into turmoil, and South Africa would suffer a serious setback in its efforts to regain international respectability and internal stability.

"This is something which must be settled," de Klerk said in a speech to Parliament, which is meeting in Cape Town. "It is in the interest of the negotiation process itself that we settle this question."

He said that the referendum is necessary because the opposition Conservative Party claims to represent the majority of white voters. "It's that claim on which these voters must now give a verdict. It's a question of credibility.

"If I lose the referendum, I will resign, the government will resign and there will be an election," he said.

Buchanan Charges Bush With Promoting `Reverse Discrimination'

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON

In a slashing attack on President Bush that married the resentments of race and class, Patrick J. Buchanan pointed his presidential campaign squarely toward the upcoming primaries in the South by charging the president with signing a civil-rights bill that would lead to "reverse discrimination."

Speaking to a receptive audience at the annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, Buchanan used the highly charged rhetoric familiar to supporters of former Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace and former Louisiana state representative David Duke to assail the well-born, Yale-educated Bush for signing the 1991 Civil Rights Act.

Arguing that the law would result in racial quotas, Buchanan declared: "Now, if you belong to the Exeter-Yale GOP club, that's not going to bother you greatly, because as we know, it is not their children who get bused out of South Boston into Roxbury, it is not their brothers who lose contracts because of minority set-asides, it is not the scions of Yale and Harvard who apply to become FBI agents and construction workers and civil servants and cops who bear the onus of this reverse discrimination.

"It is the sons of middle America who pay the price of reverse discrimination advanced by the Walkers Point GOP to salve their social consciences at other people's expense," Buchanan said. "If I am elected, my friends, I will go through this administration, department by department, and agency by agency, and root out the whole rotten infrastructure of reverse discrimination, root and branch."

Buchanan has vowed to make the March 3 primary in Georgia his next stand against Bush and will have an advantage there because Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader who also is running for the Republican presidential nomination, is not on the Georgia ballot. Buchanan's remarks suggested that he will target the same constituency of low-to-moderate-income whites who flocked to Duke's Senate and gubernatorial campaigns in Louisiana.

Weather

A Clipper Sailing By

Forecast by Marek Zebrowski

Staff Meteorologist

A fast-moving low pressure system, originating in the Northern Plains (and hence known as an "Alberta Clipper") will be passing through our area on Friday. Light precipitation, locally in liquid form is expected, while some snow will dust the hilly terrain to our north and west. Cooler and clear weather will follow for early Saturday and then some more light precipitation is scheduled as a weak frontal system will approach from the west late on Saturday and into early Sunday

Friday Afternoon: Clouds breaking slowly towards nightfall with the precipitation moving away into Gulf of Maine. High 41 F ( 5 C). Winds shifting from westerly to northwesterly at 10-15 mph (16-24 kmh)

Friday night: Becoming clear with lighter northwesterly winds. Low around 27 F (-3 C).

Saturday: Clear early with clouds gradually advancing from the west. Light and variable winds may become onshore. High about 39F (4 C).

Saturday night: Some light precipitation, locally mixed with some snow possible away from the coast. Lows in the low 30s (0-1 C)

Sunday outlook: Precipitation ending during the day with clearing and colder weather to follow in the afternoon. Winds shifting to west-northwest.