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News Briefs I

Masses of Korean Students Protest

Los Angeles Times
SEOUL, South Korea

Thousands of college students marched through Seoul Thursday in rapidly escalating mass student protests that for the first time are calling for the ouster of President Kim Young Sam.

The protests - triggered by the recent heart-attack death of a student demonstrator after he was beaten by riot police - could hardly come at a worse time for Kim, whose ruling New Korea Party is already expected to lose its parliamentary majority in crucial legislative elections next week. Kim has been president since 1993.

The sharp turn of campus sentiment against Kim - who in the 1980s was revered by college students as a leading fighter for democracy - is widely viewed as damaging to the ruling party, especially among younger voters. The party was already plagued by a corruption scandal that erupted several weeks ago.

Protesters rallied throughout the day Thursday at Yonsei University, around a coffin containing the body of Roh Soo Sok, 20. A huge sign by the main campus gate declared: "Before we bury Soo Sok, let's topple down Kim Young Sam, murderer and chief thief!"

Witness' Credibility Challenged

Los Angeles Times

Defense attorneys charged Thursday that the government's key witness in the Whitewater affair has offered a number of differing accounts of a mid-1980s financial conspiracy that allegedly included President Clinton.

Sam Heuer, attorney for Clinton's former investment partner James B. McDougal, attacked the credibility of prosecution witness David L. Hale at the outset of cross-examination in the trial of McDougal, his ex-wife, Susan, and Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker.

But Heuer's emotionally charged cross-examination did little to ruffle Hale's studied composure. Hale strongly resisted the defense's insinuations that he had fabricated the alleged conspiracy in order to win leniency from Whitewater Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.

"You're slick; you're good," Heuer finally conceded in frustration. "I've never cross-examined anyone as slick as you."

Nevertheless, Heuer succeeded in showing that some parts of the story told by Hale from the witness stand over the past three days were not identical to statements he had made in earlier interviews with the FBI and the press.

Court Upholds Teen Abortion Rule

Los Angeles Times

A strongly divided California Supreme Court Thursday upheld a previously blocked state law that requires minors to obtain permission from a parent or a judge to have an abortion.

The 1987 law, never enforced because of lower court rulings, prohibits doctors from performing abortions on unmarried girls under the age of 18 without consent. Doctors who perform the abortions could be prosecuted for misdemeanors.

Justice Stanley Mosk, the court's most liberal member, wrote the majority 4-3 decision to uphold the law. Rejecting arguments by civil libertarians, physicians and women's groups, the majority held that the law does not violate state constitutional protections of privacy because minors have fewer legal rights than adults.

"This case is not about the morality of abortion," wrote Mosk. Minors, he said, "may not reasonably expect to have the unrestricted freedom of an adult to exercise" the choice to have an abortion without consent.