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News briefs

U.N. Rights Report Makes El Salvador Confront Its Past

The Washington Post

SAN SALVADOR

The release of a report detailing responsibility for human rights abuses during 12 years of civil war forces El Salvador to come to terms with evidence that the state and military, while receiving massive U.S. financial aid, were responsible for killing tens of thousands of civilians in the name of anti-communism.

The Truth Commission -- mandated by the U.N.-brokered peace agreements and made up of three international jurists -- charged the government, its military and their civilian allies in shadowy death squads with 85 percent of the abuses. It also blamed former Marxist guerrillas of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) for terrorist acts, selective assassinations, kidnappings and forced disappearances.

While the report, titled "From Madness to Hope: The 12 Year War in El Salvador," includes new details on the most prominent cases and formally names those responsible, it contains few overall surprises.

The consequences of these findings could alter El Salvador's political landscape. Investigators recommended banning three prominent FMLN leaders from holding public office for 10 years. They also recommended immediate dismissal for 40 military officers tied to the violence and named prominent civilians linked to the governing Republican Nationalist Alliance (ARENA) party as sponsors of death squads.

Jackson, Sarandon Arrested At Rally for Haitians With AIDS

Newsday

NEW YORK

When it was over -- when the Rev. Jesse Jackson, actress Susan Sarandon, film director Jonathan Demme and 38 other protesters had been cuffed and shoved into paddy wagons -- the 7-foot replica of Lady Liberty stood looking cold and forlorn Monday.

The statue had been been a backdrop for Jackson and other celebrity activists who stood on a temporary stage, surrounded by at least 100 police officers, to condemn President Clinton for not freeing 267 Haitian refugees held in a stockade at the U.S. base at Guantanamo, Cuba. Many carry the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS and the rest are their relatives.

Jackson's arrest was his first since 1985, when he was jailed in Washington for demonstrating in front of the South African Embassy.

Monday's protesters were arrested when, after several brief speeches, they blocked Fifth Avenue and ignored police orders to disperse.

weather

Blizzard of '93 Summary

By Michael Morgan
Staff Meteorologist

The cyclone responisble for the Blizzard of '93 is now well out in the North Atlantic. In its wake, residents of some East Coast communities are still assessing damage and digging out. While there is no one way to answer the question, "How bad was this storm?", provided here are some measures of it fury (taken from a National Weather Service storm summary):

In terms of area affected by this storm, about 23 states felt the affects of the storm in terms of snow. From northern Florida to Maine and from western Kentucky to the East Coast, snow was reported. The heaviest amounts occured in the mountains of North Carolina where Mt. Mitchell reported 50 inches (127 cm). Other mountainous regions reported amounts from 1-3 feet (30-90 m). The major cities from Washington up to Boston received about a foot (30 m) of snow before the change over to sleet and rain. To the west of these cities, amounts climbed to 1 to 2.5 feet (30-76 m). In the south, Birmingham, Ala. reported it's all time daily single storm and total season record for snowfall with 13 inches (33 cm)! Mobile, along the Gulf Coast, received 2 inches (5 cm).

In terms of wind, sustained winds of 40-50 mph (64-80 kph) were common along the coast, with gusts up to 80 mph (123 kph) reported in Boston. The highest gusts were reported in Florida at 110 mph (176 kph). Tornadoes were also spawned by this cyclone in Florida.

The passage of the cyclone was associated with the lowest barometric pressures ever observed at some East Coast stations. As the cyclone intensified, it brought down some of the coldest weather this season into the Deep South. Residents of Birmingham, awoke to a bone chilling 2F (-17C) on Sunday morning. The storm was also responsible for more than 100 deaths, most of them in the southern US.

Warmer Times Ahead

The weather in southern New England should be much more tranquil this week. Temperatures will moderate as southwest winds ahead of another arctic front develop today. The front will make slow eastward progress. Ahead of the front, light snow and rain are expected. A small cyclone may develop on the front Thursday and keep the rain and snow going along the coast.

Today: Increasing clouds. Light snow developing in western New England. High around 40F (22C). Winds southwest 10-15 mph (16-24 kph).

Tonight: Cloudy with a flurry or sprinkle possible. Low 28F (-2C).

Wednesday: Cloudy with light rain or snow spreading east. High 42-48F (6-9C). Low 25-28F (-4 to -2C).

Thursday: Variably cloudy and colder with a period of snow possible. High 32-36F (0 to -2C). Low 20F (-7C).