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News Briefs, part 2

Yeltsin Tells Military to Prepare For Toughening U.S. Policy

Los Angeles Times

President Boris N. Yeltsin warned his top military officers on Monday to steel themselves for "a certain toughening" in U.S. foreign and military policy toward Russia in the wake of Republican mid-term election gains.

In his first public reaction to the new conservative wave in U.S. politics, Yeltsin also told a conference of Russian Army officers he had realized that "it's necessary to work out relations with the Republicans, to even out our relations with the U.S."

Yeltsin enjoys a hearty friendship with President Clinton but has done little to cultivate support among the Republicans who will now dominate Congress.

He told the hundreds of officers attending the annual military planning meeting that he wanted to avoid a mistake like the old Kremlin made when it ignored the Republicans during the Carter presidency and paid the price when Ronald Reagan won the 1980 election.

"Then the victory of the Republicans and lack of contacts with them led to an acceleration of the arms race and aggravation of relations between the superpowers," Yeltsin said, according to Russian reporters who were allowed to attend the conference. "This must not be permitted today."

Tropical Storm Gordon Slams Into Southern Florida

Los Angeles Times

Blustery winds and driving rain lashed much of Florida Monday as Tropical Storm Gordon canceled school for 9,200 children in the Keys, diverted the space shuttle to California and recalled for many the horror of Hurricane Andrew two years ago.

Before bearing down on Florida, the late-season cyclone was blamed for at least 100 deaths in the Caribbean, where heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

With sustained winds of about 50 mph, Gordon did not threaten Florida with widespread disaster. But howling gusts of up to 65 mph bent palm trees to the ground, rocked vehicles stalled on flooded streets and pushed tides far above normal.

As the diffuse center of Gordon headed west through the Florida Straits and across the heart of the Florida Keys late Monday, forecasters hoisted tropical storm warnings for most of South Florida, from Palm Beach to Fort Myers.

Early Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy pulled nine crewmen and a dog from a 180-foot Haitian freighter foundering in 20-foot seas east of Key Largo. The sailors were airlifted from the Juno Express by two helicopters and ferried ashore, according to a Coast Guard spokesman.

The storm forced the shuttle Atlantis from its scheduled landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral to an alternate site at Edwards Air Force Base in California's Mojave Desert.