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News Briefs, part 1

Mayor-Elect Giuliani Names Police Commissioner

The Washington Post


Republican Mayor-elect Rudolph W. Giuliani, elected on a pledge to crack down on crime, Thursday named Boston police commissioner William Bratton as the city's new police commissioner.

Bratton, 46, a Boston native, began his career in the Boston police department and was acclaimed for his performance from 1990 to last year as head of New York's transit police before he took the top police job in Boston.

"We will take back the streets as we took back the subway," Bratton told reporters Thursday. "I did not come here to lose."

Bratton will head a 30,000-member force hit hard recently by allegations of corruption and brutality, about which an investigative commission's report is expected in January. Bratton takes over from Raymond Kelly, a highly regarded leader considered a strong candidate to stay on.

In announcing Bratton's appointment, Giuliani praised Kelly and called the decision a difficult one.

But, he said, "I felt that it was important for this new administration to have a new police commissioner, to take a new look at the police department and redefine in the same way that we will take a new look at all city agencies."

With Bratton as chief, the 5,000-member transit police force acquired new uniforms and patrol cruisers, computers, radios and weapons. Bratton traveled by subway himself.

He also brought in undercover units to crack down on small-time offenders such as fare-beaters and smokers in an attempt to highlight intolerance of even the slightest subway crime. During his tenure, the rate of subway crime began a steady decline and now is 37 percent below the 1990 level.

"I gave him rave reviews as transit police chief," said Tom Reppetto, president of the Citizen's Crime Commission, a police watchdog group here. "People would ask me if it was true he walked on water, and I would say he does. ... New York has once again stolen Babe Ruth. We've gotten a very outstanding guy."

Aristide, Malval Meet As U.S. Tries to End Haitian Crisis

Los Angeles Times


Deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide met with his fatigued and embattled prime minister in Washington Thursday as U.S. policymakers searched wearily for new ways to restore a democratic regime in Haiti.

But the closed sessions in Aristide's Georgetown apartment only underscored the pessimism in the Clinton administration over chances for a satisfactory denouement to the crisis in the small, impoverished Caribbean land.

There was no indication that Prime Minister Robert Malval had changed his mind about leaving office in two weeks. Fearful that the departure would sever Aristide's only institutional tie to Haiti, Secretary of State Warren Christopher, traveling in Europe, has called for Malval to remain in his post.

Acting Secretary of State Peter Tarnoff, who plans to meet with Malval Friday, also surely will press the prime minister to remain, arguing that U.N. sanctions eventually will weaken the resolve of the Haitian military commanders who overthrew Aristide in a 1991 coup and are blocking his return.

After the Haitian president and prime minister conferred in Georgetown, a top team of Clinton administration foreign policy advisers -- Tarnoff, national security adviser Anthony Lake and Defense Secretary Les Aspin -- conferred at the White House in a strategy session on both Haiti and Somalia policy. President Clinton did not attend the meeting.

Before leaving the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, Malval, a 50-year-old businessman regarded as a political independent, announced his intention to resign and said, without elaboration, that he would present "different proposals" to Aristide in hopes of resolving the crisis.

The proposals, he said, evolved in a series of meetings he had held with military officers, politicians, business leaders, church officials and union representatives.

The meetings included several sessions with Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, the commander of the armed forces, whose intransigence scuttled the July 3 Governors Island agreement, which called from him to resign and for Aristide to return at the end of October.