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News Briefs, part 1

U.N. Group Chastises Mauritania, Sudan for Allowing Slavery

Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON

The International Labor Organization, a U.N. agency, chastised the African nations of Mauritania and Sudan Monday for continuing to practice the centuries-old scourge of slavery and accused nine other countries in Asia and Latin American of tolerating something that could be even worse -- other forms of forced labor.

In its annual report, the ILO acknowledged that Mauritania is trying, though somewhat feebly, to deal with the traditional problem. But the U.N. agency denounced the Sudanese government for encouraging slavery as a weapon in its war against the country's rebellious south.

"At the end of the 20th century many people assume that slavery has been eradicated," the ILO said. "Not so. Millions of people, even in 1993, are forced to work under harrowing conditions for little or no reward. The forms which forced labor takes on today may be more diverse, and better disguised, than those of earlier times. But they can be no less shocking."

The ILO found that entrepreneurs in Pakistan, India and Peru entrap millions of workers by driving them into debt; that landowners of Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Myanamar lure or coerce migrant workers to distant, guard-patrolled plantations from which escape is nearly impossible; and that shopkeepers and householders of Haiti, Sri Lanka and Thailand force children to work like slaves.

Max R. Kern of Germany, the chief of the ILO's Freedom of Workers Section, described these forms of forced labor as "equal to slavery or even worse."

"Traditionally," he said in an interview, "slavery had paternalistic tendencies." But employers of modern forced labor, he said, do not feel any responsibility to take care of the labor they are exploiting.

Kern acknowledged that the ILO had no other weapon except the glare of publicity to try to embarrass governments into trying to squelch these practices. But, even when governments cooperate, he said, the practices are too deep rooted to end easily.

Stanford Professor Named to Council of Economic Advisers

Los Angeles Times

Stanford University economics professor Joseph E. Stiglitz PhD '66 has been named to the Council of Economic Advisers, his family said Sunday.

Stiglitz's wife, Jane Hannaway, said he spoke with President Clinton last week, and was en route to Washington on Sunday night.

Stiglitz, who still faces Senate confirmation, has long been rumored to be a candidate to fill the remaining seat on the three-member board, said Gavin Wright, chairman of the Stanford University economics department.

"I think he will have his biggest impact on the tax system -- on how to redesign the tax system so business will be most productive and at the same time, something can be done about the deficit. I think he may also work on the health problem," Wright said.

Stiglitz, 50, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author of a recently published introductory economics textbook, Wright said. At 26, Stiglitz became the youngest full professor at Yale University, Wright said.

Rapper Pleads Not Guilty to Carrying Gun in Luggage

Newsday

NEW YORK

The lead singer of the popular rap group House of Pain was freed on $10,000 bail Monday after pleading not guilty to carrying an unloaded handgun in his luggage at John F. Kennedy Airport, authorities said.

Eric Schrodi, 23, was arrested Sunday evening after the weapon, an unloaded .38-caliber automatic was detected by a routine X-ray scan of his checked luggage, authorities said. He is to return to court April 23 to answer a charge of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Schrodi was stopped as he passed through the Delta Airlines metal detector on his way to board a flight to Los Angeles, authorities said.

Weather

Overnight Storms

By Arnold Seto
Staff Meteorologist

The weak system that brought us overcast skies and a shower last night will move off the coast today, leaving mostly cloudy skies in its wake. These clouds will clear out on Wednesday, only to bring another system Wednesday night that will give us 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) of snow. This second storm may last through Thursday morning, but will then give way to sunny skies. Winds will remain in the teens and highs will be around 40F (4C) through Friday. Friday, look for a more intense storm from the Gulf of Mexico to bring us rain.

Today: Broken cloudiness. West winds, 10-20 mph (16-32 kph). High 40-45F (4-7C).

Tonight: Clearing. Slight NW winds, 5-15 mph (8-24 kph). Low 25-30F (-4 to -1C).

Tomorrow: Mostly sunny with increasing cloudiness. Winds northwest, 10-20 mph (16-32 kph). High 38-45F (3-7C). Low 27-33F (-3 to 0C). Snow late in the evening.

Thursday: Early morning shower, clearing afterwards. Variable winds, 10-20 mph (16-32 kph). High 40-45F (4-7C). Low 20-30F (-7 to -1C).