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News Briefs, part 2

Rapper Eazy-E Says He Has AIDS

Los Angeles Times

Rap artist Eazy-E, a founding member of the group N.W.A. and a major figure in the commercial development of "gangsta" rap, has AIDS, his record company announced Yesterday.

Eazy-E, co-founder of the rap group N.W.A., is one of the first major music performers to announce he has AIDS. Health experts and AIDS activists said his declaration forces the public face of AIDS into another community.

At a Hollywood news conference, Ron Sweeney, the rapper's friend and attorney, said the singer learned two weeks ago that he has AIDS and is now recovering from surgery in a hospital intensive care unit.

As Tomika Wood, the musician's wife, stood by crying and clutching the hands of relatives, Sweeney read a statement from Eazy-E, whose real name is Eric Wright.

"I'm not religious but wrong or right, that's me," said Wright, 31. "I'm not saying this because I'm looking for a soft cushion wherever I'm heading. I just feel I've got thousands and thousands of young fans that have to learn about what's real when it comes to AIDS."

Wood and Wright were recently married and have a 1-year-old son. Sweeney said both Wood and the child have tested negative for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Wright - a self-described ex-gangster and former drug dealer - did not say how he had contracted the AIDS virus. But in his statement, he indicated he had a number of sexual partners.

U.S. Renews Pressure on Japan Over Auto Trade Barriers

Los Angeles Times

The White House has quietly begun to step up pressure on Japan to reach an agreement to open its auto market to U.S. companies, and summoned the Japanese ambassador Yesterday to emphasize the importance of the issue.

Negotiators have made "zero progress" in their attempt to break down Japanese barriers to imports of U.S. autos and auto parts, a senior Clinton administration official said.

While the administration is holding back from specific threats of trade sanctions or from setting specific deadlines, it might try to move up to next month a September deadline the two countries set for reaching an agreement.

"We will not wait forever," said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "The time for serious negotiations and resolution of this issue is now."

The renewed effort comes shortly after the administration turned a corner in another troublesome trade relationship - reaching a copyright piracy agreement with China - and at a time when negotiations with European nations have been put on hold as a result of the dispute over naming the first chief of the World Trade Organization.