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Navy Awarded $365 Million Pact On Eve of Clinton Taking Office

Los Angeles Times

The Navy, acting at the 11th hour of the Bush administration, awarded a $365 million contract for a supply ship in an effort to preclude President Clinton from blocking or delaying the controversial and troubled program.

Just two business days before President Bush left office, the Navy awarded the contract to the National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. in San Diego to build the AOE-10, the fourth and last in a series.

The award swept aside congressional objections about cost overruns and mismanagement at NASSCO, as well as concerns raised by the Pentagon's inspector general that the Navy might not even need another supply ship if the incoming Clinton administration carried through with its intention to cut the Navy fleet.

In a recent memorandum to Secretary of Defense Les Aspin PhD '66, the inspector general asserted that the Navy's contract award "was inappropriate and done to preclude giving you [Aspin] the option of considering the ship acquisition during the new administration budget review."

Navy spokesmen declined comment. But a shipyard executive defended the award, saying it had been planned for nearly a year. Rep. Julian Dixon (D-Calif.) a member of important House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, said the panel had strongly backed the Navy's action.

4 Reputed Members of Palestinian Terrorist Group Indicted

Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON

In a major crackdown on an alleged Palestinian terrorist organization in the United States, four reputed members have been indicted on racketeering charges, including killing the teen-age daughter of one to silence her, conspiring to murder Jews and discussing the possibility of blowing up the Israeli Embassy here.

The indictment, unsealed Thursday by a federal grand jury in St. Louis, marked the first U.S. legal action against the shadowy Abu Nidal organization here.

The indictment sheds new light on alleged activities of the U.S. cell of an organization best-known for terrorist activities overseas. A State Department report blamed Abu Nidal, a Palestinian whose real name is Sabri al Banna, for more than 90 terrorist attacks since 1970 that killed or injured nearly 900 people in 20 countries.

Allegedly operating a racketeering "enterprise" here since at least 1986, Abu Nidal's purposes included smuggling money to other members worldwide, helping develop terrorism and murder plans, targeting Jews as victims, and obtaining both light and heavy weapons, according to the indictment.

The four defendants charged by the indictment were Zein Isa, Saif Nijmeh and Luie Nijmeh, all of St. Louis, and Tawfiq Musa of Milwaukee. All are American citizens.

19 Papers Cancel Comic Strip After Gay Character Appears

Newsday

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Since then, 19 newspapers have canceled the 14-year-old comic strip that will explore, over the next three weeks, the consequences of the 17-year-old's "coming out."

Another 50 newspapers have asked the comic strip's distributor, Universal Press Syndicate, for backup material that could be substituted for the controversial series, said Elizabeth Andersen, an associate editor at Universal.

"We're having mixed reactions," Andersen said. "I've gotten several calls from editors saying they support the comic." The strip has about 1,400 subscribers.

"If I've learned anything from this experience, it's that people are more afraid of this subject than loaded weapons," the strip's creator, Lynn Johnston, said in Ontario, Canada.

Johnston said she was inspired to draw this episode partly because of the family upheaval created when her brother-in-law revealed that he was gay.

Weather

April showers

By Michael Morgan
Staff Meteorologist

Welcome to Spring! The cold, damp, raw weather of yesterday and earlier this week, was in many ways typical of spring here in southern coastal New England. The Atlantic is still very cold, with ocean temperatures around 40F (4C), so that anytime we get a persistent east wind in Boston, temperatures take a tumble and low clouds, drizzle, and fog roll in. Winds today will remain out of the east and northeast -- keeping the clouds and cool weather in place. Because we will still be under the influence of a large cyclonic circulation for the next few days, showers -- particularly in the afternoon -- will be likely. With cold air up in northern New England and eastern Canada, there is the risk of rain perhaps mixing with or changing to snow on Saturday.

Tonight: Cloudy with fog and scattered showers. A thunderstorm is possible. Low around 35 F (1 C).

Saturday: Mostly cloudy and continued cool. Showers likely. Showers may begin to mix with snow north and west of Boston. High 42-46 F (6-8 C). Low 30-33 F (-1 to 1 C).

Sunday: Variably cloudy. High 42-48 F (6-9 C). Low 25-30 F (-4 to -1 C).