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News Briefs, part 1

Clinton Decries Youth Violence

Los Angeles Times

President Clinton decried youth violence Monday, reminding a convention of police officers of a recent Chicago tragedy in which two boys, 10 and 11, murdered a 5-year-old who had refused to steal.

"We can hire 5 million police officers and, if we keep losing the battle for what these kids think is right and wrong, we're going to be in a lot of trouble," he said.

"Kids are going to look up to somebody," Clinton said. "It's up to the adults in this country to decide who they're going to look up to."

As is often the case, those remarks - which formed the emotional highlight of Clinton's speech - came as a departure from his prepared text. Aides said that Clinton penned the thoughts while flying here from Washington, adding them to a text initially focused on the crime bill that passed Congress in August.

Clinton's speech, to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, came as part of a continuing campaign by the administration to rehabilitate the crime bill, which has come under unrelenting attack from Republicans, who have attempted - with some success - to hang the "pork" label on the package.

Responding to that charge, Clinton told the convention that with the bill now law federal and local officials together must "demonstrate to our people that the money is being well spent.

Immunization Program Struggling to Get Started

The Washington Post

Two weeks after the Clinton administration initiative to guarantee immunizations for all children was supposed to start, no vaccine has arrived in doctors' offices locally, or in half the states.

Even though the "Vaccines for Children" program was signed into law a year ago, neither federal officials nor those in 24 states have worked out a system for shipping the vaccines to tens of thousands of physicians.

In February 1993, the immunization program was the first attempt by the fledgling Clinton administration to broaden the federal government's role in health through a promise of free shots for every child.

By the time it went into effect this month, the idea had become an illustration of the federal government's difficulty in changing even a small part of the nation's health care system.

The administration's initial $1 billion plan was too broad and ill-conceived, according to Sen. Dale Bumpers, D-Ark., and other members of Congress. Some members complained that the president's initial proposal called for spending federal money to vaccinate children whose families had good health insurance or could afford to pay for shots.

More fundamentally, some in Congress and in the medical community questioned whether the program would work. They contended that the real problem was not the cost or supply of vaccine - which has always been available without charge in public clinics - but the failure of some parents to take their children to get shots.

Court Lets Contempt Conviction Of Abortion Foe Terry Stand

The Baltimore Sun

Anti-abortion leader Randall A. Terry appeared headed to jail after the Supreme Court refused Monday to hear his appeal of a contempt conviction for plotting to have a fetus thrust into the face of presidential candidate Bill Clinton in 1992.

But Terry's lawyer, Jay Alan Sekulow of Atlanta, plans to ask a federal judge to eliminate the five-month jail sentence, on the ground that the Operation Rescue leader has not been arrested or charged with anything since the 1992 incident.

In addition, Sekulow indicated through an aide, he will contend that the legal issues surrounding Terry's contempt case remain unsettled despite the Supreme Court's action Monday, so he should not have to serve jail time.

Terry has been jailed before for his anti-abortion protest activities and his organization has been assessed heavy fines . He was jailed six years ago in Atlanta for a role in a series of demonstrations outside abortion clinics during the Democratic National Convention in that city.