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News briefs, part 1

NASA Space Station Budget May Be Slashed

The Washington Post


President Clinton's new budget will cut funding for NASA's planned space station by 40 percent, triggering yet another major restructuring of the project and more delays, sources said Thursday.

Key Capitol Hill aides and others close to the program said theWhite House had approved $1.35 billion for program in the nextfiscal year, instead of the $2.25 billion NASA requested. White House officials would neither confirm nor deny those figures.

But Clinton, meeting at the White House with Democratic congressional leaders, said that although he supported the space station during his campaign, he was troubled by the massive cost-overruns associated with the project. According to one member, ``He said he would have a very difficult time coming before Congress and asking for more money because of cost overruns.''

Sources said the arrangement, being referred to as ``the 60 percent solution,'' was reached in talks this week between NASA administrator Daniel Goldin and White House economic officials as away to fend off threatened termination of the project. Some said that Goldin's assurances that the agency could build a space station at that price have boosted his chances of staying on as administrator.

Prosecutor So Popular, Even Rap Has Taken to Her

The Washington Post


In choosing Janet Reno as the nation's first female attorney general, President Clinton Thursday selected a tough, battle-scarred Miami prosecutor with a demanding style and a track record of turning the most ardent political critics into loyal allies and friends.

An imposing 6-foot-2-inch workaholic who has been known to take her sleeping bag to the office, Reno was described by friends and colleagues Thursday as a public official of ramrod integrity who has 15 years prosecuting the tidal wave of homicides, drug smuggling and violent street crimes that has inundated Dade County, Florida. In that sense, her resume is far different from that of Zoe E. Baird, the corporate lawyer who was Clinton's first choice to be attorney general.

But Reno's most striking attribute, many of them said, is her shrewd political skill -- an asset that has enabled the 54-year-old Harvard Law School graduate to repeatedly win lopsided elections with substantial support among Miami's diverse ethnic communities.

"Janet Reno is the most accessible political figure in the state of Florida," said H.T. Smith, a prominent black Miami lawyer who was once one of her most vocal critics. "She returns every phone call. She's all over the community. People feel if they have a problem, they can speak to her. ... I was one of her strongest critics, and in the past 12 years, she's convinced me she's honest to the fault, that race and sex played no part her prosecutorial and employment decisions."

As Smith's comments suggest, Reno has been no stranger to controversy. She has been attacked for failing to vigorously pursue public corruption, bungling high-profile cases and sloppy management of the Dade County state attorney's office -- a 238-lawyer, $33 million-a-year unit that is one of the largest in the country.

Her relationship with the black community was strained for years by charges that she turned a blind eye to allegations of police brutality and was slow in hiring and promoting minorities.

These charges reached a climax in 1980 when four white Miami police officers were acquited of charges that they beat to death with metal flashlights a black insurance man, Arthur McDuffie, during a traffic stop. The verdict touched off three days of rioting in downtown Miami with angry rioters shouting "Reno! Reno! Reno!" outside her office.

But in the years since, Reno has ardently "worked" the black community -- speaking at black churches and civic groups, extensively recruiting blacks and other minorities, and marching every year in an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, where she is now loudly cheered.


Slushy Icy Mess

By Yeh-Kai Tung
Staff Meteorologist

A strong system will move through our area over the weekend,bringing large amounts of precipitation.

It will start as freezing rain, but the warm air associated with the system will cause the precipitation to change over to rain. However, as temperatures fall Friday night into early Saturday monring, the rain will change back to freezing rain or snow in some inland sections.

Warmer temperatures during the day on Saturday should melt most of the frozen precipitation, but colder temperatures on Sunday will cause widespread freezing.

Friday. Overcast with precipitation starting in the afternoon. Any freezing rain will change over to rain late in the afternoon. Easterly winds 10-15 mph (16-24 kph). High 35 F (2 C).

Friday night. Rain becoming heavier with easterly winds picking up to 15-20 mph (24-32 kph). Some of the rain may change back to freezing precipitation in the early morning hours, particularly over inland sections. Low 33 F(1 C).

Saturday. Rain ending by evening. High 44 F (7 C). Low 30 F (-1 C).

Sunday. Overcast and turning colder. High 35 F (2 C).