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News Briefs, part 1

Frustrated U.N. Commander In Bosnia Resigns



Frustrated by what he has called "a fantastic gap" between rhetoric and action in Bosnia, the commander of U.N. forces in the former Yugoslav republic has resigned after only six months and asked to be redeployed in his native Belgium, diplomats said Tuesday.

Following an earlier confirmation from the Belgian defense ministry, the United Nations said Tuesday that Lt. Gen. Francis Briquemont, who commands 12,000 multinational troops under the U.N. flag in ethnically splintered Bosnia, had asked to leave two weeks ago. But a spokesman for Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali said Briquemont cited only personal reasons for his decision to quit.

Diplomatic sources said Tuesday the United Nations plans to name Michael Rose, a lieutenant general in the British Army who was knighted Monday by Queen Elizabeth II, to replace Briquemont.

Briquemont's one-year tour would have ended in July. But, like French Gen. Philippe Morillon before him, he grew frustrated by an assignment that includes watching Serbs shelling Muslims, Croats destroying Muslim villages and Muslim forces mostly trying to fend off both, sometimes adopting their enemies' tactics.

Briquemont recently criticized the U.N. Security Council for passing truckloads of resolutions that it never seriously tried to enforce, the most recent significant example being the creation of safe areas in six areas of Bosnia to protect besieged Muslim refugee populations.

Trans World Airlines' CEO And Vice Chairman Resign

The Washington Post

Two of Trans World Airlines Inc.'s top three officials quit Tuesday following an extended period of tension within the board of the financially struggling airline.

Board chairman and chief executive officer William R. Howard resigned and was replaced by Donald Craib, a board member who is the former chairman and chief executive of Allstate Insurance Co.

Howard said in a prepared statement that his primary goal was to help lead the airline out of bankruptcy "and with that task now accomplished, I have no doubt that the company will continue to grow and prosper."

TWA said its board unanimously expressed the view that Howard's leadership was in large part responsible for the renewed enthusiasm and dedication of TWA's employees.

Glenn R. Zander, a vice chairman of the board, also resigned, citing personal reasons. Zander played the key role in the complex financial negotiations that led to the removal of financier Carl Icahn from any role in the airline.

Administration May Delay Order On State Funding of Abortions

Los Angeles Times


The Clinton administration is weighing whether to delay a requirement that states help pay for abortions in cases of rape or incest, because the directive has placed some states in the untenable position of either violating their own laws or losing federal Medicaid funds, officials said Tuesday.

"They set these states up to be sued," said Ray Hanley, head of the Arkansas Medicaid program and chairman of the State Medicaid Directors Association.

The controversy arose from a debate over what Congress intended last year when it loosened the ban on federal funding for abortions in cases of rape and incest. Previously, federal Medicaid funds -- which must be partially matched by states -- had been provided only in cases where a woman's life was threatened.

In a directive last week, the administration said it now deems abortions in rape and incest cases as "medically necessary," meaning states must pay for them from Medicaid funds.

Medicaid, a program providing medical services for the poor, receives half of its funds from the federal government, but is administered by the states.

However, for some states, changing their laws in time could be impossible. Louisiana's legislature, for instance, does not go into session until April, and even then, is required by a recently adopted constitutional amendment to consider only fiscal matters.