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News Briefs

Administration to Push Child-Support Enforcement Idea

The Washington Post

President Clinton Tuesday will launch a public campaign to make parents who fail to meet their child-support obligations ineligible for driver's licenses, administration officials said.

Nineteen states already use driver's licenses as a tool against so-called deadbeat dads, but the administration's proposal to nationalize that approach as part of welfare reform has so far gotten nowhere in Congress.

Clinton plans to make the case Tuesday morning in a speech to the National Association of Counties. Administration officials said the address, which will deal broadly with the federal government's role in helping people in poverty, will be an effort to put Clinton at the center of the welfare reform debate, which in recent months has been dominated by the more far-reaching rhetoric and proposals of Republicans.

Clinton is set to announce in his speech that Ohio will be the 25th state to receive a waiver from the federal government to experiment with its welfare rules. The announcement is intended to remind people that Clinton has been a supporter of innovation in welfare rules, and not the defender of the status quo that he is often portrayed in opposition rhetoric.

But an administration official said Clinton is determined not to strike a tone too controversial. To the contrary, the official said, his message is that welfare reform should be "rescued from the jaws of politics" and that he is eager to work with Republicans.

Chinese Budget Shows Struggling Central Government

The Washington Post

Finance Minister Liu Zhongli unveiled a 1995 budget Monday that shows a central government still struggling to establish its authority to tax the nation's businesses and individuals, while battling to control the free-wheeling spending habits of local and provincial governments.

The problems arise as the government undertakes the massive task of shifting from a centrally planned economy, in which all enterprise revenues and expenditures were part of the government accounts, to a more market-oriented system in which the government must rely on tax payments.

Liu noted that tax receipts fluctuated wildly from place to place; that some localities were in such dire financial straits that they could not meet their normal payrolls; and that state-owned enterprises continue to bleed money and require the infusion of large state subsidies.

The finance minister also lashed out at the "serious extravagance and waste" of state money by local governments that give tax breaks to enterprises, pour money into wasteful construction projects, "indiscriminately" hand out bonuses and subsidies, or engage in the "blind pursuit of high-class goods and extravagant consumption at the public expense."

Such abuses often take place in areas that are trying to lure outside investment or to build prestige projects.

Mexico Formally Asks U.S. To Return Ruiz Massieu

Los Angeles Times

The Mexican government formally asked the United States on Monday to return Mario Ruiz Massieu, a crusading former deputy prosecutor, to face charges here that he covered up crucial information last year in his investigation of his brother's murder.

That extradition request came as a federal judge in New Jersey ordered Ruiz Massieu, once a Mexican symbol of political reform, held without bail on U.S. charges that he failed to report $22,000 in cash he was carrying as he attempted to leave Newark International Airport for Spain last week.

Within minutes of Ruiz Massieu's hearing in Newark, where he appeared haggard and in handcuffs, federal prosecutors in Mexico announced that they had issued an arrest warrant for him late Sunday night.

He is accused of hiding the role of Raul Salinas de Gotari, the elder brother of former Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, in the Sept. 28 slaying of his Francisco Ruiz Massieu.