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News Briefs, part 1

NRA Withdraws as Governing Body Of U.S. Olympic Shooting Team

The Washington Post

The National Rifle Association withdrew Monday as the official governing body of the U.S. Olympic Shooting Team, ending years of arguments over whether the NRA used the athletes for promotional purposes.

A U.S. Olympic Committee panel unanimously recommended last Friday that the NRA's official sponsorship be revoked. The five-member panel said that the NRA has exerted too much control over the independent governing body it had appointed to oversee the team, in violation of Olympic regulations.

The NRA is one of about 40 sports organizations recognized by the USOC as governing bodies for U.S. Olympic and Pan American Games teams. The NRA has frequently highlighted the affiliation in advertisements as part of its image.

As an official sponsor, the NRA was required to delegate authority to an independent group, the International Competitions Committee. Instead, critics charged, the NRA has shown contempt for the group and repeatedly interfered in its activities.

In a unusual defeat for the lobbying group, the panel recommended that ties to the NRA be severed because the organization is "not in compliance with the membership requirements of the USOC constitution" because it manipulated the independent group, according to a copy of the panel's ruling obtained by The Washington Post.

Susan McDougal Offers Little New on Whitewater

Los Angeles Times

Susan McDougal, the former real estate partner of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, broke the long silence that has made her the "mystery woman of Whitewater," but in a sometimes emotional press conference here Monday she shed little light on that mystery.

Refusing to answer questions about the critical transactions that have plunged the White House into controversy, McDougal instead declared her innocence and accused the Republicans of persecuting her and her former husband, Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan executive James B. McDougal.

"I know that Jim McDougal did not ever knowingly violate any laws - and neither have I," she said, her voice quivering at times as she read a brief statement from handwritten notes.

Left unanswered, despite repeated questions from reporters, was whether Bill Clinton, while he was governor of Arkansas, played a role helping her obtain a $300,000 loan in 1986 from the Small Business Administration-backed investment fund of former judge David Hale.

St. Pat's Parade Overshadowed By New Yearly Ritual: Legal Battle

The Washington Post

The St. Patrick's Day parade, an annual rite of spring for decades in this most Irish of American cities, is being overshadowed by a new ritual - the annual legal battle over whether gay and bisexual marchers may participate.

It happens every spring. Two years ago, a group of 25 gay activists was first allowed by court order to step off alongside politicians, color guards, marching bands, bag-pipers and dozens of other groups.

The gay marchers were taunted and jeered at for much of the route through South Boston, an enclave of largely working-class Irish American families.

Last year, a gay contingent went to court for another temporary injunction. This time the marchers were met with a mixture of hostility and indifference.

Last week, a band of activists calling themselves the Irish American Gay Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston won yet another ruling from the Massachusetts Supreme Court upholding their right to march.

But this time the parade's organizer, the private, nonprofit Allied War Veterans Council, chose to resist. The group's president, John "Wacko" Hurley, canceled the parade.

"This is a family-oriented day, and they're out to destroy it," Hurley said in an interview.

"We're not against the gays. But we have too much respect for our families to let a radical group shove this stuff down the throats of decent people."