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News Briefs

White House Forms Interagency Panel to Study Violence

By John Fairhall
The Baltimore Sun

WASHINGTON

Looking for ways to stop Americans from attacking one another, Clinton administration officials said Thursday they are beginning a far-ranging study that will include consideration of more gun control laws and the role of violence on television.

Child abuse, abuse of the elderly, racial and ethnic violence and sexual assault are other areas that will be studied by an interagency group, the existence of which came to light during a meeting between U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders and news reporters.

Commenting on a variety of public health issues, Elders delivered a warning to Congress about eliminating insurance coverage for abortions from President Clinton's health care reform plan. She said women "should make sure they never forgot" who voted to eliminate the coverage, which is one of the most controversial features of the plan.

"I would hope that our policy-makers would not be so narrow-minded as to deny a complete range of reproductive health services in our health care reform plan for all women," said Elders, in her first extensive meeting with reporters since being confirmed by the Senate Sept. 7.

Administration officials said the mission of the interagency group on violence is "to look broadly at the question of violence" and develop "suggestions for immediate action" and for the long run, said Peter Edelman, counsel to Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala.

Excited Students Greet Milken's Debut As Professor

Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES

Forget the jail time, the savings and loan crisis and the toupee. Former junk bond king Michael Milken made his debut as a professor this week, and his students were, well, totally psyched.

Few at the University of California, Los Angeles, could cite the securities fraud charges for which Milken was imprisoned, but nearly all of them seemed to know about the other side of the balance sheet. As Michael Seery put it, "He made $550 million in one year. It blows your mind."

If Milken ever made that much, he makes less now. Looking less at home behind the professor's lectern than his old X-shaped desk (he had some trouble with the overhead projector), Milken nonetheless held the 60 MBA students rapt during a three-hour session complete with props, charts and a drawing exercise that he once used to motivate the sales force at Drexel Burnham Lambert in the 1970s.

"He's the best finance guy since J.P. Morgan," said second-year student Jeff Stargardter during a break. "This is a great opportunity."

The faculty at the John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management was ambivalent at first when the former Wall Street wunderkind began discussing the possibility of teaching with the administration shortly after he was released from federal prison in January.

But after a protracted review process, associate dean Carol Scott says, the faculty decided the value of Milken's experience outweighed any potential controversy. When the course was listed, it quickly became the toughest ticket on campus.

"We're not putting him up there as a role model of any sort," said Scott, who is also faculty chairwoman. "What Milken did in the whole junk bond period really did change the face of corporate America, and I don't think there is any more dramatic way of learning about history than having one of its central participants there."

Jordan Announces Retirement, Leaves Door Open for Comeback

Los Angeles Times

CHICAGO

Michael Jordan, saying "the desire is just not there any more," announced his retirement from the National Basketball Association Wednesday, leaving basketball without its most well-known player.

Or did he?

Jordan's announcement was unemotional. It also didn't have an unequivocal stamp of finality.

Most of his employers and teammates were in attendance at the 40-minute news conference broadcast live nationwide from the team's practice facility in suburban Deerfield, as was Jordan's wife, Juanita, and NBA officials including Commissioner David Stern.

They heard Jordan, a seven-time NBA scoring champion, say: "I've always stressed to people that when I lose the sense of motivation, it's time for me to move on. I've reached the pinnacle and I've achieved a lot in a short period. I don't have anything else to prove.

"Everyone wants to know if my father's death has anything to do with this. Well, I was kind of leaning in this direction before, and he knew this. So it didn't alter my decision, but in some ways it made it simpler. What my father's death made me realize is how short life is, and how it can be taken from you in a minute.

"It's time for me to be a little unselfish and spend some time with my family -- to get back to a normal life, or as close to it as I can."

But, still, Jordan would not slam the door on a future comeback.

"If I do decide to come back a year from now or whatever, that's entirely up to me," Jordan said.

"Five years down the line, if the urge is there, if the Bulls would have me back, if David Stern would let me back, I may just come back. Who knows? That's an option that will never close."

Although Jordan appears serious about quitting basketball because he has nothing left to prove, one high-ranking official of the Bulls told the Los Angeles Times: "In my heart, all I think Michael wants is a year to himself.