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News Briefs 1

UCAffirmative Action Rally Results in Student Arrests

Los Angeles Times

In a broad-based show of support for affirmative action on campus, thousands of students staged demonstrations around the state Thursday to demand a renewed commitment to diversity at the University of California.

Teach-ins, walkouts and rallies were staged at all nine UC campuses, including a 2,200-person march at UCLA that shut down busy Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood and led to the arrest of 33 students.

Chanting "No justice! No peace!," the students sat down in the middle of the street and were led away by police, booked for failure to disperse and released.

At UC Berkeley, where a handful of professors canceled their classes in support of the student protest, more than 3,000 demonstrators filled Sproul Plaza to hear the Rev. Jesse Jackson, then marched off campus and into the streets.

Student organizers of the so-called National Day of Action said they hoped the protests would prick the nation's conscience and mobilize students to push the UC Board of Regents to rescind its rollback of affirmative action at the 162,000-student university system.

"We hope to send a clear signal to the regents: We will not allow them to take something away that we've fought so hard to preserve," said Max Espinoza, a Chicano Studies major at UCLA. "This is the beginning of a strong and unified movement to fight back."

The protests were part of what organizers had described as a national effort to draw attention to educational access with protests in some 10 states. But late Thursday, it was unclear how many campuses outside of California had participated.

Gingrich Says He Is Worried About Possible Powell Candidacy

The Washington Post

House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., has recently told fellow Republicans he is worried that a presidential candidacy by retired Joint Chiefs chairman Colin L. Powell could frustrate the goals of the party's 1994 electoral victory and asked them whether he should become a candidate himself.

Gingrich made a series of telephone calls within the last week some GOP elected officials and strategists, apparently prompted by polls showing sagging support for the Republican Party and indicating that right now President Clinton would defeat Republican frontrunner Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Dole, R-Kan., in a head-to-head contest.

According to several Republican sources, Gingrich said he was concerned that if Dole continued to weaken in the polls and frustration mounted with the rest of the Republican presidential field, Powell could win the GOP nomination without Republicans knowing for certain whether he shared the party's enthusiasm for its conservative economic and social agenda.

During his book-selling tour, Powell has staked out positions in favor of abortion rights, affirmative action and limited gun control - all contrary to GOP orthodoxy - and has been more elliptical about the GOP's agenda for shrinking the federal government, reforming welfare and moving power out of Washington to the states.

Menendez Brothers Trial Continues

Los Angeles Times

Jose and Kitty Menendez secretly spied on their sons, even taping their telephone calls, which made them seem all-knowing and all-powerful to their college-age sons, an attorney for Lyle Menendez told a jury Thursday.

Lyle and Erik Menendez believed there was no escape from parents who abused them and controlled every aspect of their lives, Deputy Public Defender Charles A. Gessler said in his opening arguments.

Gessler said the brothers "both wondered, How do Mom and Dad know everything we do?' They talked seriously about whether their mother was a witch becasue she knew everything they did."

Finally, when Lyle Menendez learned that his father had been molesting younger brother Erik for 12 years, the disclosure touched off an escalating family crisis that culminated in the 1989 shotgun slayings of the parents, Gessler said.

Lyle Menendez, 27 and Erik Mendendez, 24, have admitted they killed their parents, but contend their crime was manslaughter, not murder. The reason: The sons were certain their parents would kill them rather than risk public airing of the family's dirty linen, Gessler said.