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French Plea to End Fighting In Bosnia Is Rebuffed

LOS Angeles times


Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic Thursday rebuffed appeals from French President Francois Mitterrand and Balkan peace mediators to help persuade Bosnia's Serb nationalist faction to accept an international proposal aimed at ending 11 months of warfare in the former Yugoslav republic.

Mitterrand invited the Serbian president here at the behest of Cyrus Vance and David Owen, co-chairmen of the six-month-old international conference on the Yugoslav crisis, to see if he could help break the deadlock in talks among Bosnia's warring Serbs, Croats and Slavic Muslims.

France, which was allied with Serbia during World War I, has maintained close ties with the Balkan republic and only recently joined its European partners in branding Serbia as the chief instigator of the three-sided war in Bosnia. But after meeting for nearly two hours with Mitterrand and the mediators, Milosevic seemed unmoved by the French president's warning that "the world will respond by taking tougher action" against those who fail to support the peace plan.

For his part, Milosevic proposed an unconditional cease-fire to encourage all warring parties to accept a settlement, but he insisted that he could not speak for Bosnia's Serbs in determining what lands they may retain or surrender.

Bosnian Serb militia forces now control about 70 percent of the battered republic and are in the midst of a new offensive in eastern Bosnia that could significantly enlarge their holdings. Under a comprehensive peace plan proposed by Vance and Owen, the republic would be divided into 10 provinces dominated by local communal majorities, with the Serbs retaining effective control of roughly 43 percent of the republic.

The proposed boundaries of the provinces remain the key sticking point in the Vance-Owen talks. The Bosnian Serbs complain that it requires them to surrender too much territory and would leave them with few natural resources; Bosnia's Moslem-led government contends that the boundaries legitimize Serb military aggression and the practice of forced deportation of non-Serbs known as "ethnic cleansing." Only the Croats have endorsed the boundaries and all other aspects of the peace plan.

Senate Unanimously Confirms Reno as Attorney General

The washington post


Janet Reno was confirmed as the nation's first woman attorney general in a 98-0 Senate vote Thursday, with Reno's sister, two brothers and other relatives applauding from the visitor's gallery.

"It's an extraordinary experience, and I hope I do the women of America proud," Reno, 54, said later at the White House. She has been the Dade County, Fla., prosecutor in Miami since 1978.

"I'm elated by that," President Clinton said after the vote, which completed a Cabinet that includes three women.

"President Clinton, albeit not the first time at bat, has hit a home run," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph Biden, D-Del., said. Issues concerning the hiring of undocumented workers as household help had sunk the earlier chances of corporate lawyer Zoe Baird, who Clinton had nominated for the post, and U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood of Manhattan, who was considered for nomination.

Spurred by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who said the Senate should move swiftly to "fill a vacuum at the Justice Department," the lawmakers agreed to chop seven days from the normal voting process and consider Reno's confirmation a day after its judiciary committee advanced her nomination.

In floor discussion, conservative Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., said he would back Reno "because I think she is a lady of character," although he disagrees with her opposition to capital punishment and her support for handgun control and abortion rights.

Other senators, two of them terming the vote "historic," praised Reno for extensive law-enforcement experience and political independence.

Acting Attorney General Stuart Gerson, a Bush administration holdover, resigned Thursday to return to private law practice. Reno is expected to be sworn in by the weekend.


Yes, more snow

By Yeh-Kai Tung
Staff Meteorologist

Clear skies are the story for Friday, with another storm coming through Saturday. A low pressure cell will intensify as it moves over our area Saturday, bringing snow. Snowfall will continue into Sunday, ending in the afternoon. Temperatures will drop as a cold air mass moves in behind the storm. Expect below normal temperatures for early next week.

Today: Clear. Northwest wind 10-15 mph (16-24 kph). High 31F (-1C).

Tonight: Clouding up. Low 21F (-6C).

Saturday: Snow during the day and continuing into the evening. High 29F (-2C). Low 20F (-7C).

Sunday: Snow ending, then falling temperatures. High 30F (<\!->1C) early.