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News Briefs, part 1

U.S. Calls for Latin American Support on Haiti

Los Angeles Times
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil

Attempting to increase pressure on Haiti's military dictatorship, U.S. State Department officials Thursday asked a coalition of major Latin American nations meeting here to call jointly for the Haitian regime to leave power, and to support military intervention if it does not.

They will get the statement, but not much else.

The 14 Latin American nations, officially dubbed the Rio Group, were scheduled to issue a joint declaration Friday demanding that the "de facto authorities in Haiti leave power immediately."

The statement, however, will be virtually the same as one they have released annually since the September 1991 military coup in which the Caribbean nation's first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was ousted.

But the group, which includes Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, refused to back away from its opposition to any military intervention to restore Aristide to power.

"We are staunchly opposed to military intervention," said Venezuelan Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Burelli Rivas.

Of the group's members, only Argentina, which voted for the July 31 resolution of the U.N. Security Council that gave President Clinton the authority to invade Haiti, supports the U.S. position.

Protestant Groups Say They Won't Match IRA's Cease-Fire

Los Angeles Times
BELFAST, Northern Ireland

Protestant paramilitary groups loyal to Britain issued a statement here Thursday saying they would not declare a cease-fire to match that observed by the outlawed Irish Republican Army for the past week in Northern Ireland.

The Combined Loyalist Military command, which wants continued British rule in the province, said before calling a cease-fire it would need proof that the IRA's armistice is holding and that no secret peace deals were made with the Irish nationalists by the British government. The group also wants guarantees that Ulster, as the Protestants call Northern Ireland, would remain in the United Kingdom after a peace settlement.

However, political observers pointed out that no loyalist attacks have occurred since Sunday, and that the paramilitary groups may well be observing a de facto cease-fire without publicly committing themselves to one.

Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds, who this week held an unprecedented meeting with the IRA's political spokesman, Gerry Adams, Wednesday had called on the loyalists to participate in the cease-fire.

Women Have Same Election Victory Chance As Men, Study Says

Los Angeles Times

The most comprehensive study ever done of women's chances of winning elections delivered a verdict that surprised even its authors: Women candidates have the same chance of victory as men, no better and no worse.

The survey, released Thursday by the National Women's Political Caucus, appeared to shoot down a prevailing political belief: That women, because of biases on the part of voters and their general status as outsiders to the political Establishment, have a harder time winning elections than men.

In fact, the major variable that determined whether women candidates won general elections was simple incumbency, the survey found. Men dominate state legislatures, Congress and the statehouses because they always have.

"Winning has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with incumbency," said Jody Nelson, coordinator of the survey of 50,563 candidates who have run for public office since 1972.

Another surprise was the survey's finding that 1992's political "Year of the Woman" in some ways was not: More women won than ever before because more of them ran for open seats, but the women who did run had no better shot at winning than male candidates.