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News Briefs, part 1

U.S. Endorses Plan for NATO Aircraft to Support Peacekeepers

The Washington Post


The United States Monday endorsed the U.N. secretary general's plan for NATO aircraft to back up U.N. peacekeepers if they are attacked by Bosnian Serbs besieging two towns.

"We've endorsed that report," Secretary of State Warren Christopher said of the letter sent by U.N. leader Boutros Boutros-Ghali to the U.N. Security Council last Friday.

The secretary general said he had instructed top U.N. officials in Bosnia to move "actively" to open the Tuzla airport for humanitarian relief flights and to relieve a Canadian unit in Srebrenica with new U.N. troops. He added that he has authorized his civilian representative in Bosnia, Yasushi Akashi, to call in airstrikes if the Serbs attack the U.N. operations.

Christopher said that Boutros-Ghali's move "could lead to the use of airpower if there's not an agreement" with the Bosnian Serbs over allowing the United Nations access to Tuzla and Srebenica. But other U.S. officials reiterated that President Clinton does not intend to send American ground forces into Bosnia as peacekeepers or in the event that NATO air strikes trigger the need for outside military intervention in the Bosnian civil war. The U.S. refusal to commit ground troops caused an acrimonious exchange with France last week.

More Progress Needed Before Mideast Accords Finalized

Los Angeles Times


As details emerged here of tentative accords reached early Monday between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization on the future of Jericho and the Gaza Strip, it was clear that both sides would have to give significant ground on issues ranging from the security of Jewish settlers to control of international frontiers.

Sources said the proposed agreements, made by Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat in Switzerland, are so detailed they specify the type of window glass that will be used at border stations.

Early in the day, Israel Radio, which reported details of the tentative agreements for the first time, announced: "The indications from the prime minister's bureau are that, by and large, Rabin endorses these agreements."

Israeli Televison, though, took the opposite tone in its evening broadcast. It quoted sources close to the prime minister saying unofficially, "Whatever progress was made (between Peres and Arafat) was certainly not enough."

Underscoring that skepticism, Yossi Sarid, Israel's environment minister who joined Peres during the weekend talks, told Israeli Television on arrival from Switzerland, "There is still a long, long way to go."

Judge Allows Lawsuit by Denny, Three Others against L.A.

Los Angeles Times


A federal judge refused Monday to dismiss a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles by trucker Reginald O. Denny and three other 1992 riot victims, clearing the way for a trial that may begin later this year.

Denny, Wanda Harris, Takao Hirata and Fidel Lopez contend that Los Angeles police left them at the mercy of their assailants in a South-Central Los Angeles neighborhood during the early stages of the riot because the area is predominantly black.

Harris' 15-year-old son was shot and killed a block from the intersection where Denny was dragged from his rig and beaten. Hirata and Lopez were beaten in the neighborhood.

U.S. District Judge William Matthew byrne Jr. granted a motion by Assistant City Attorney Annette Keller to dismiss some of claims by the plaintiffs, in which they allege they were deprived of their constitutional right to due process of law.

However, the judge said all four plaintiffs can proceed with their claim that they were denied equal protection of the law. To prevail in the suit, the plaintiffs must prove that the police pulled out of the area because most of the residents were African-American.