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News Briefs 1

U.S. Diabetes Rate Rises To 3 Percent of Overall Population


More than 3 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes, a threefold increase in the past four decades that can be attributed in part to an aging and increasingly obese population.

About 16 million Americans have diabetes, up from 11 million in 1983, said Dr. Richard Eastman of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institues of Health. The current figure is triple the 1958 total, said Eastman, who presented his figures here Thursday at a conference on diabetes sponsored by the American Medical Association and the American Diabetes Association.

Another reason for the increase, Eastman said, is the rise in minorities in the overall population.

Minorities are particularly hard hit by the disease: 9.6 percent of blacks have diabetes, the same percentage as Mexican-Americans. Between 15 percent and 20 percent of Japanese-Americans have it, and close to 50 percent of American Indians are diabetic.

D'Amato Says Hillary Clinton Won't Be Called to Testify on Whitewater


Senate Whitewater Committee Chairman Alfonse D'Amato, (R-N.Y.), Thursday said it was up to first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton to decide whether to appear before the committee after two of her top advisers offered contradictory testimony marked by memory lapses that Republicans said strained credulity.

Calling on Clinton to testify "would be construed by the White House and the political apparatus of the Democratic Party as a political witch hunt," D'Amato said. "I am not going to engage in that."

The congressional Whitewater investigation seemed to lose steam Thursday. Despite intense questioning, lawyer Susan Thomases and the first lady's chief of staff Margaret Williams unflinchingly asserted that they could not remember critical details of at least 17 telephone conversations with White House officials in the hours and days after Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster committed suicide July 20, 1993.

Reiterating testimony first offered in August, the pair denied conspiring with Clinton and former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum to block Justice Department investigators and police from searching Foster's office.

Senate Blocks Passage of Rise In Social Security Earning Limit

The Washington Post

The Senate Thursday rejected legislation to allow senior citizens to earn more income without losing Social Security benefits, a proposal that was endorsed both by President Clinton in his 1992 campaign and by House Republicans in their 1994 "Contract With America."

The Senate voted 53 to 42 in favor of the proposal but failed to muster the 60 votes necessary to overcome budgetary obstacles to the measure's passage. Under current law, Social Security beneficiaries aged 65 to 69 lose $1 in benefits for every $3 in earnings over $11,280 a year. The proposal before the Senate, sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would have allowed earnings without penalty up to $14,500 next year, increasing by annual increments to $30,000 by the year 2002.

The current limit "arbitrarily seeks to render senior citizens useless" by penalizing them for working, McCain argued before the vote. It is a "Depression-era dinosaur" that was created to discourage older Americans from working and no longer can be justified on economic or humanitarian grounds, he added.

While earlier efforts to relax the Social Security earnings limit also failed to satisfy budget requirements, proponents were cautiously optimistic they would win this time. The House approved the legislation earlier this year and showed support in a nonbinding vote last week.