The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 30.0°F | Partly Cloudy

News briefs, part 2

<*t(279,0," ",0,0," "):

>Administration Weighing Increase In Corporate Income Tax

>The Washington Post

<*t(279,0," ",0,0," "):

>WASHINGTON

<*t(279,0," ",0,0," "):

>President Clinton's administration is weighing an increase in the corporate income tax rate to put it in line with a likely new top personal income tax rate of 36 percent, administration officials said Monday.

A higher corporate tax rate would generate about $5 billion to $6 billion a year in revenues for the federal government, a relatively modest amount in a $1.5 trillion federal budget.

But the higher corporate tax rate would be designed to make it look as though corporate America were bearing its fair share of the burden of deficit reduction at a time when Clinton is likely to ask individual Americans to tighten their belts.

The corporate income tax rate has been 34 percent since the 1986 legislation overhauling the tax laws, when both personal and corporate tax rates were cut in exchange for closing tax loopholes.

But corporate taxes have not generated as much revenue as expected, in part because of lower than expected corporate profits and in part because taxpayers shifted partnership income into the lower 31 percent personal income tax category.

NBC Says Show on GM Truck Test Used Incendiary Device; GM Sues

The Washington Post

NBC News acknowledged Monday that it placed incendiary devices on a General Motors Corp. pickup truck to ensure a fire during a crash test staged for a report last November on potential safety problems with GM trucks.

NBC News President Michael Gartner defended as "fair and accurate'' the "Dateline NBC'' program segment on the danger created by the placement of gasoline tanks on older, full-size GM pickup trucks. NBC contended the fire was caused by a spark from a headlight and therefore there was no reason to tell viewers about the incendiary devices.

But GM, which filed a lawsuit in an Indiana state court Monday against NBC and the Institute for Safety Analysis, which conducted the crash tests for the program, said the fire was caused by the incendiary devices. The automaker said NBC and the institute GM is seeking a "full retraction and correction'' and compensatory and punitive damages and said it would request a jury trial.

Appeals Court Urged to Release Questionaires in Rodney King Case

LOS ANGELES

Lawyers for the Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press asked a federal appeals court Monday to force the judge in the Rodney G. King beating case to release copies of completed juror questionnaires because, they warned, secrecy in the trial will only fuel suspicion about its fairness.

Motions filed by the two news organizations say that they are not seeking jurors' names or other information that is "deeply personal'' or would disclose their identities. But, they said, the public should be allowed to review other information on the lengthy questionnaires.

The federal trial of four police officers charged with violating King's civil rights in the March 3, 1991, beating "is an event of enormous importance and consequence for the Los Angeles community,'' wrote John A. Karaczynski, the lawyer for The Associated Press. "Public confidence in these proceedings ... will be severely compromised if any aspect of this trial is cloaked in secrecy.''

<*t(279,0," ",0,0," "):

>

<*t(279,0," ",0,0," "):

>U.S.-Canada Trade Panel Rules Against American Wheat Growers

>The Washington Post

<*t(279,0," ",0,0," "):

>WASHINGTON

<*t(279,0," ",0,0," "):

> A U.S.-Canadian panel handling trade disputes between the two countries has ruled against American wheat growers in a pricing quarrel, Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said Monday, just as officials from both governments met to review their closely-linked trade policies.

Dorgan said he was told Monday that the panel has rejected U.S. arguments that Canadians have used unfairly subsidized prices to capture a large share of the U.S. market for durham wheat, which is used primarily in the manufacture of pasta. The panel's decision is to be announced Tuesday.

Canadian Trade Minister Michael Wilson said the issue was part of the agenda for his separate meetings Monday with U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor and Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown, but neither Wilson nor administration officials would discuss the panel's findings.

The Bush administration initially was not inclined to take Canada's wheat pricing policies before the U.S.-Canada panel but finally did so under pressure from U.S. farmers and wheat-state lawmakers.

Before 1987, Canada had sold no durham wheat in the United States, but since enactment of the free trade agreement between the two countries in 1988, shipments have risen rapidly, reaching 15.3 billion bushels last year -- about 20 percent of the U.S. market -- according to the Canadian Grain Commission. Shipments of spring wheat and barley also are up.

"We were sold down the river,'' complained Dorgan, referring to assurances that the U.S.-Canadian trade pact would not lead to surges in agricultural imports.

A U.S. official said Kantor and Wilson both "recognized the need to find solutions that would reduce trade tensions'' over wheat, steel, autos and other trade issues dividing the two countries. Meetings to work on the issues will begin this spring, possibly by mid-March, the official said.