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News Shorts I

Mayor Barry Returns to Post After 17-Day Leave Of Absence

Los Angeles Times

Ending speculation that he might resign, Washington Mayor Marion Barry reclaimed his office Monday after an unscheduled 17-day leave to seek physical and spiritual renewal.

Barry, who served a six-month prison sentence after FBI agents videotaped him smoking crack cocaine in 1990, suddenly turned over the running of the nation's capital to his chief of staff and chief financial officer on April 27. Rumors were rampant that the mayor had relapsed into alcohol and drug abuse.

At the time, Rock Newman, a close friend of the four-term mayor, heightened public concern by saying Barry was fighting "a battle for personal survival." There were reports Barry had been seen back on Washington's late-night circuit where he had became legendary in the 1980s as a mayor living on the fast track.

But on Monday, Barry, 60, emerged from the seclusion of two retreats to reassure his cabinet and the media that he was healthy, capable of governing and had regained "an active and reciprocal relationship with my God."

"I come back more rested, with more energy, with clearer vision and more determined than ever before to transform our DC government into America's first city and more determined than ever to lead our city out of financial distress," Barry said.

Terror Trial Opens With Errors


They called their plot "Project Bojinka," or explosion, a scheme to blow up 11 U.S. airliners during a single day of rage against the United States.

Monday, Project Bojinka's alleged ringleader, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, 28, a Pakistani national, went on trial in U.S. District Court in Manhattan with two others - Abdul Hakim Murad, 28, also a Pakistani, and Wahli Khan Amin Shah, who has used so many aliases that his age and nationality are unknown.

Seventy-five potential jurors were summoned by U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Duffy to begin what could be several days of jury selection.

He informed them that the trial could last up to three months and told them that while they would not be sequestered, they would remain anonymous and would be known only by their court-assigned numbers.

Monday afternoon, Duffy dismissed the entire panel from consideration after a variety of logistic mix-ups in the case. In the morning session, the defendants' suits were not available. They appeared in court wearing their blue jail clothes. In another mishap after lunch, some of the jurors might have seen the defendants being transported to the courthouse in handcuffs. Jurors are not supposed to know whether defendants are in custody because it would be prejudicial.

Duffy will start over with a brand new panel Tuesday.

Clinton Plans Ban On Land Mines

Los Angeles Times

President Clinton, under pressure from Congress to join an international push to ban land mines, is preparing a compromise that would bar some types of mines in three years but permit use of others until a global treaty is negotiated.

Administration officials said that Clinton essentially has decided on the new policy and is expected to announce it by midweek, possibly as early as Tuesday. They said the White House was discussing final details with congressional leaders Monday.

Under the proposal, the military would be barred after 1999 from using so-called "dumb" mines, which remain active indefinitely, except in defense of South Korea and for use in training soldiers on how to deal with enemy mines.

However, U.S. troops would be allowed to continue using "smart" mines until a global treaty banning them is negotiated sometime in the next several years. Smart mines deactivate or destroy themselves automatically after a specified time.

Clinton's decision caps weeks of wrangling between the Pentagon and congressional supporters of a global ban.