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News Briefs, part 2

Ukraine's Nuclear Disarmament Faces New Obstacles

The Washington Post
KIEV, Ukraine

The repeatedly stalled nuclear disarmament of Ukraine appears to be facing new obstacles in Kiev's negotiations with Russia and the United States over security guarantees that Ukraine has demanded in exchange for surrendering its inherited strategic weapons.

Moreover, the Ukrainian parliament has failed to ratify the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a condition of last month's Moscow accord. Ukraine pledged then to begin dismantling its 1,800 nuclear warheads in return for large-scale U.S. financial aid and inviolable international security guarantees.

Taking these factors together, analysts and diplomats here say, it appears unlikely that the final form of any U.S. security pledge to Ukraine will be ready by the time Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk meets with President Clinton in Washington on Friday.

Ukraine is trying to obtain from all five nuclear powers -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- as strong a set of guarantees against potential aggression as possible, but it is the assurance that U.S. prestige and power will support its sovereignty that the Kiev government covets most. U.S. diplomats have been trying to reach agreement with the Kiev government over the wording of a security pledge, but they have declared repeatedly that military aid to Ukraine in the event of an attack by Russia is out of the question.

Ukraine, which was dominated by Russian czars and Communist commissars for centuries before the collapse of the U.S.S.R. in 1991, shares an 800-mile border with Russia and is fearful that a resurgence of Russian imperial ambitions would leave it virtually defenseless.

Judge Orders Lorena Bobbitt Released from Mental Hospital

The Washington Post
WASHINGTON

Saying Lorena Bobbitt does not pose a threat to herself or the community, a Prince William County, Va. judge Monday ordered the 24-year-old manicurist released from a Virginia state mental hospital, provided she gets weekly outpatient therapy and does not leave the state without permission.

Bobbitt, who was in court for the brief proceeding, appeared a few minutes later outside the Manassas courthouse before dozens of reporters and cameras for a 10-minute news conference in English and Spanish, in which she thanked supporters and said she was eager to get on with her life out of the harsh public spotlight.

"I still have my American dream," said the buoyed, seemingly self-possessed Venezuelan immigrant, who smiled at reporters and gave no hint of the mousy, withdrawn demeanor she exhibited in January at her eight-day trial for cutting off her husband's penis.

Later, at her employer's home in Fairfax County, where her release was celebrated with a white chocolate cheesecake, Bobbitt expanded on her dream, adding that she still hopes to find "a family, children, a husband -- a nice husband this time."

Ever since the morning of June 23, 1993 -- when, Bobbitt said, she severed her husband's penis with a kitchen knife because he had raped her -- the couple has been fodder for stand-up comics, feminists, columnists and armchair sociologists in the United States and abroad.