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News Briefs Two

Administration Threatens Anti-Affirmative Action Bill Veto

Los Angeles Times

The Clinton administration threatened Thursday to veto anti-affirmative action legislation that would ban consideration of race or gender in federal hiring and contracting programs and charged that the bill's GOP sponsors are masking their opposition to "our national objective of integration."

In blunt and confrontational tones, Assistant Attorney General Deval Patrick told Rep. Charles Canady, R-Fla., who co-authored the bill with Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., that the administration objects because the legislation removes all "goals and timetables" needed to measure the blending of minorities and women into the workplace.

Staring directly at Canady, Patrick said during testimony on the bill before the House subcommittee on the constitution, "I'm afraid that the real message of your bill, Mr. Chairman, is that you and your co-sponsors are ready to give up on our national objective of integration. If an integrated society is still our common national objective ... (the bill) would wreak a disastrous change, practically but also symbolically."

Patrick's comments stunned Canady and Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., drawing sharp and personal responses from each of them. Other Republicans on the subcommittee were not present during Patrick's testimony.

Michael Jackson Being Treated For Several Medical Problems

Los Angeles Times

Michael Jackson remained in serious but stable condition Thursday after being admitted to the intensive care unit of a Manhattan hospital, where he was being treated for a variety of medical problems.

"Mr. Jackson suffered a fainting reaction possibly due to a cardiac arrhythmia with dehydration," his doctors said in a statement distributed at the Beth Israel Medical Center North Division.

"Since his emergency admission ... he has been critically observed in the intensive care unit," the statement said. The 37-year-old recording star was rushed by ambulance to the hospital Wednesday after collapsing during a rehearsal for an HBO TV concert special that was to air Sunday but is now postponed.

Ambulance attendants found Jackson semiconscious lying on the side of the rehearsal stage at the Beacon Theater.

Thursday, Jackson's physicians, Allan Metzger and William Alleyne, said he was being treated for gastroenteritis, dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance affecting his kidney and liver function.

"His medical team is continually monitoring his condition," the statement said. The doctors said the entertainer would require "several more days" of observation and treatment in the hospital.

"The arrhythmias that patients like this get are usually very trivial," said Dr. David Cannom, medical director of cardiology at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles. "My guess is this is a simple problem and he is going to be all right."

Opponents Cry `Cover-Up' In Colombian President's Case

Los Angeles Times
BOGOTA, Colombia

Opponents are crying "Cover-up!" and Colombians fear new violence as a congressional committee dominated by President Ernesto Samper's political cronies prepares to clear him of charges that he financed his 1994 electoral campaign with drug money.

Chief congressional investigator Heyne Mogollon has recommended that the Congressional Committee of Accusations shelve a four-month inquiry into Samper's activities for lack of proof of wrongdoing, Colombian newspapers reported Thursday.

The reports could not be independently confirmed, but many analysts say they believe them and expect the committee to follow Mogollon's recommendation.

The committee has been investigating accusations by the president's campaign treasurer, Santiago Medina, that Samper solicited money from the Cali drug cartel.

Eventually, more than $6 million in drug money entered Samper's war chest, Medina said. However, under oath, Medina told Mogollon that he cannot prove his allegations, according to the newspaper El Tiempo.

Officials Face Deportation For Child-Smuggling

The Washington Post

Two Nicaraguan women, both members of their country's legislature, are awaiting deportation after pleading guilty in Miami last week to smuggling illegal immigrants into the United States.

The case has aroused indignation in the State Department over the abuse of diplomatic courtesies, which are commonly invoked in visa requests by foreign dignitaries and their families.

The women, alternate legislators of the leftist Sandinista party, have spent more than three months in jail since they were arrested on charges of smuggling two children into Miami to join their illegal immigrant parents. All four were traveling on diplomatic passports.

The arrests illustrated "how high involvement in alien smuggling can rise in a Central American country, which is a reason we should be paying a lot of attention to it," said John Maisto, the U.S. ambassador to Nicaragua.

The organizer of the scam, Sylvia E. Fox-Lewis, 39, had charged the Nicaraguan parents $6,600 to bring in their 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son on diplomatic passports with false names, the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security said in a criminal complaint.

Her accomplice, Bertha Rosa Flores, 37, was to be paid $2,000 for posing as the children's mother, the complaint said.

Fox-Lewis used a diplomatic note to obtain U.S. visas for the children, a technique she had employed successfully in several similar smuggling ventures over the past few years, a federal investigator said.