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News Briefs I

India Challenges Great Powers Over Nuclear Test-Ban Pact

Los Angeles Times

Last week, India showed it could say "No" to the great powers.

After the United States and the four other avowed nuclear-weapons nations declined to bind themselves to a timetable for liquidating their arsenals, India effectively vetoed the global nuclear test-ban pact being negotiated in Geneva by refusing to sign it.

International criticism was immediate, but the Indian government has vowed not to budge. "There is no question of a change in our position even if we get isolated," Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda said.

For frustrated U.S. disarmament ambassador Stephen J. Ledogar, the Indian position smacked of insincerity. "The real reason is that the current government in New Delhi wants to maintain the Indian nuclear weapon option," he charged.

That is true, Indian security experts acknowledged in interviews. Their country, they contend, is in a unique predicament. China, a known nuclear power, and Pakistan, like India a "threshold" state that may already have nuclear bombs, are its immediate neighbors, and India has fought wars with both.

By agreeing to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty negotiated during the past 2 years, the Indian specialists maintain, India would be handcuffing its defense options.

Clinton Reveals Aspirations Of Greatness in Second Term


President Clinton will spend the next 72 days seeking the blessing of voters and, if he is successful, he will spend the next four years seeking the blessing of history.

Clinton is a politician who has wanted since he was a young man not merely to win the presidency but to join the small company of large presidents, to be one of those rare leaders who stamp an imprint deep on an era. But he has failed in his first four years when he tried to sponsor large changes, and succeeded when he has stood in opposition to the Republicans and offered a more modest and incremental agenda.

His methods in the past two years have produced an impressive political comeback but, in the eyes of presidential scholars and many of his contemporaries in government, they have yet to yield a presidency that will echo through time. And the reality of recent decades is that second terms are rarely more successful than first terms, and are often dramatically less so.

Health Officials Worry Over Effects of Welfare Reform Bill

Los Angeles Times

The welfare reform signed by President Clinton Thursday might achieve its objective of prodding millions of Americans to get productive jobs but some public health officials are expressing the fear that it could cause many to simply get sick.

And the poor, they said, might not get sick alone.

As legal immigrants lose access to Medicaid and families run up against a new five-year limit on cash benefits, these health experts anticipate a resurgence of tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases not likely to confine themselves to low-income neighborhoods. Over time, they foresee a rising infant mortality rate and a gradual lowering of life expectancy for many Americans, not just those on welfare.

"Sooner or later, we will find ourselves with housekeepers who are tubercular, workers dying of infectious illnesses. No matter how much we create isolated enclaves, we depend on people who live in poor communities to make our clothes, package our food, work at our McDonald's," said David Rosner, professor of history and public health at City University of New York.