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News Briefs, part 1

Incoming GOP Lawmakers Promise A New Order' in Washington

Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON

The new Republican leadership of Congress took the first steps toward an uneasy revolution Monday, with the House team promising a "transformation not only a transition" to a "new order" in Washington.

And while pledging to guarantee full participation by the Democratic minority, they vowed to keep the House in session seven days a week if that's what it takes to pass their "contract with America," a slate of legislative goals, in the first 100 days of the new Congress.

Meanwhile, Speaker-in-waiting Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and presumptive Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., met for the first time since last Tuesday's elections and sought to put a tranquil face on what is widely expected to be a complex and fragile relationship. Though there was nothing but smiles for reporters Monday, they are about to embark on a struggle to see who will be the most powerful member of Congress: Dole, the elder moderate legislator, or Gingrich, the New Republican revolutionary.

The promise of a new order was most clearly sounded by the Republican captains designated by Gingrich to direct the disassembly of the Democratic system that has governed the House for 40 years.

Train Makes First Commercial Run Through Chunnel'

Los Angeles Times
LONDON

The Eurostar high-speed train completed its first commercial journey through the tunnel under the English Channel on Monday - a hitch-free trip to Paris in just under three hours and arriving three minutes early.

Later, a similar train departed London's Waterloo Station to carry its fare-paying passengers through the Channel Tunnel and on to Brussels, Belgium. And the first train from Paris to London arrived at Waterloo on Monday morning - also on time.

The new service will be twice a day in both directions at first, and gradually increase to several trips daily between London and Paris and London and Brussels.

Aboard the first 794-seat France-bound train, high-ranking officials breathed a collective sigh of relief as they debarked at Paris' Gare du Nord: The first official journey for ordinary passengers was not plagued with the stoppages that delayed earlier preview trips.

There had been some concern that the train would be late when it lost five minutes navigating the congested South London commuter routes. But it made up the time on the high-speed section of track in France.

The train, with engineers Robert Priston, 34, and Lionel Stevenson, 36, at the throttle, entered the Channel Tunnel at 9:40 a.m. and emerged in France 20 minutes later.

The long-delayed multibillion dollar project was one of the engineering feats of contemporary times and permits passengers to ride non-stop in three hours from the center of London to central stations in Paris and Brussels.

Lobbyists With GOP Links Are In Demand Now

The Washington Post
WASHINGTON

No one banged down the door to hire Rick Grafmeyer last year when he decided to quit as minority tax counsel of the Senate Finance Committee. In a town dominated by Democrats at every level, a former Republican congressional aide was in as much demand as a travel agent in a prison yard.

What a difference an election makes. Only hours after the Republican sweep of Congress last week, Grafmeyer got his first feeler from a Washington law-lobbying shop. By week's end, two more firms offerred to bring him in as a full partner.

For all the talk of sweeping political change, there is one immutable requisite of Washington: access to the lords of Capitol Hill. With Democrats calling the shots for most of the century's second half, lobbying firms came to rely on one-time legislative and campaign aides of powerhouses with names like Rostenkowski, Dingell and Byrd, who brought with them a guaranteed entree to their former bosses in exchange for lucrative private sector salaries.