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News Briefs, part 2

Last Large U.S. Contingent Leaves Somalia

The Washington Post

MOGADISHU, Somalia

With their duffle bags stuffed with mementos from this desolate African country, some 340 U.S. Marines and Army infantrymen Monday night became the last large U.S. contingent to leave Somalia before the United Nations officially takes command of the peace-keeping operation Tuesday.

"Operation Restore Hope was a success," Air Force Capt. Joe Davis of Springfield, Va., declared, summing up the feelings of many here as he waited atop his luggage to board a chartered Boeing 747 for the 22-hour flight home. "But it's time for us to go home and the U.N. to get busy."

The departure of most of the U.S. troop contingent after nearly five months of U.S. involvement in Somalia ends a significant chapter in the use of American power abroad in the post-Cold War era. The mission, launched to help restore order and bring food to the country wracked by famine and anarchy, has been labeled as successful in achieving its limited goals by American troops here as well as by many Somalis.

Tuesday's ceremony to turn over command of the operation from the Americans to the United Nations also opens a new phase for the troubled world body, which is being called upon to perform expanding peace-keeping roles in places such as Cambodia, Angola, and the former Yugoslavia. The United Nations faces a variety of difficult tasks here related to returning Somalia to normalcy, including helping to re-establish a functioning government, resettlement of tens of thousands of refugees and reducing the threat of armed clans still operating in the north.

In contrast to the Marines' amphibious dawn landing at this seaside airport last Dec. 9 -- shown live by a dozen television cameras and watched by more than a hundred reporters -- the airport scene Monday at dusk passed almost unnoticed. A few of the troops flashed "V" for victory signs, but most marched to the plane quietly, offering few parting words for the two television cameras and half-dozen reporters on hand.

Catalog Merchant L.L. Bean To Launch Children's Line

Newsday

L.L. Bean, the venerable Maine retailer and leading catalog clothing merchant, is poised to launch its first line of children's clothing.

The children's apparel, much of which is miniature versions of popular adult mainstays including fleece pullovers and warmup jackets, is scheduled to debut in the fall and winter catalogs to be mailed in July.

"We want to present a package to a family saying, `Here are things that your whole family can use, and the enjoyment adults have in the outdoors the kids can now share,' " said Betsy Kelly, the executive in charge of the new children's apparel line. The line initially will be designed for 6- to 12-year-olds.

Kelly said that L.L. Bean has offered a smattering of children's items in the catalog, including some sports equipment and clothes. But the fall catalog will feature the first full line of children's apparel.