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News Briefs One

Rabin's Confessed Assassin Re-enacts Crime for Police


In an eerie predawn re-enactment of his crime, confessed assassin Yigal Amir Thursday went back to the square in Tel Aviv where he killed Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin 12 days ago and retraced his steps before a crowd of angry onlookers.

Surrounded by police barricades, wearing a white bullet-proof vest and chained around his stomach to a security officer as he was led in, Amir looked glum and impassive but did as he was told.

Amir, clad in blue jeans and sweatshirt, with a black yarmulke on his head, took a toy pistol and snaked his way through an imaginary crowd in the parking lot. When he was within 1 foot of the police officer who was standing in for Rabin, Amir lifted the pistol, extended his arm and fired directly at the man's head.

Then he coolly put the gun back into his waistband and continued the re-enactment. A few seconds later, he handed the pistol back to the police.

"Die, you maniac," shouted a passer-by. "You piece of garbage," screamed another. "God will make you pay." One man tried to push past the barricade, but police held him back. "You should have protected the prime minister this way," he said.

Amir, 25, has said he killed Rabin because he disagreed with the government's policy of negotiating with Palestinians and returning occupied land in exchange for peace. Amir told police he acted alone, under orders only from God. Officials believe he was part of a conspiracy that plotted the murder for months. Seven people have been arrested in connection with the crime.

House and Senate Resolve Differences on Veterans, EPA Bill

The Washington Post

House and Senate negotiators resolved their differences Thursday over an $80.3 billion bill funding veterans, housing, space and environmental agencies employing some 300,000 government workers.

But even with Republicans dipping into a newfound $1.1 billion trove of money to add back some of the funds cut earlier from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Housing and Urban Development Department, White House sources signaled that the spending bill was still unacceptable. "I see no indication that we've had a huge breakthrough," said one official.

If President Clinton were to sign the measure, which appropriates money through next September, furloughed workers at the agencies it covers could return to work.

On the Republican side, the desire to accommodate the administration was tempered by anger at resistance to GOP policies from some agencies. The conferees sent what they called a "strong message" of displeasure to Veterans Affairs Secretary Jesse Brown in the form of sharp cuts in his office's staff and travel budget. The cuts had not been included in versions of the bill passed earlier this year by the House and Senate.

California Board Backs Off From Electric Car Mandate

Los Angeles Times

Backing off from a controversial state mandate, the California Air Resources Board Thursday directed its staff to reduce the number of electric cars that auto manufacturers must produce in 1998.

Obliging some of the major concerns of the automobile industry after years of impasse, the order by the air board is the first step toward overhauling the mandate requiring mass production of zero-polluting cars, in effect meaning electric cars.

ARB chair John Dunlap said the suggested revisions would put some electric cars in California showrooms as soon as late next year -- earlier than the mandate now requires -- but scale back the total numbers that must be sold in the initial years of the program.

Under the landmark rule adopted in the waning days of the George Deukmejian administration, 2 percent of the automobiles that major manufacturers sell in California, or about 22,000 vehicles, must be exhaust-free beginning in 1998. The requirement increases in 2001 to 5 percent of annual sales, and to 10 percent in 2003.

"We believe a change is in order, particularly in 1998 to provide some relief from the 2 percent figure," Dunlap said. "But we are not going to sacrifice any emissions reductions."