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News Briefs II

Serbia Begins Crackdown Against Presidential Protesters

Los Angeles Times
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia

In a bid to intimidate the huge crowds marching daily against Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, police arrested a group of demonstrators Sunday and state television likened opposition leaders to Adolf Hitler.

Issuing an unusually harsh condemnation of a protest movement it has virtually ignored, television controlled by Milosevic accused demonstrators of using "pro-fascist hysteria and violence" to "introduce terrorism" onto the streets of Belgrade.

The commentary was accompanied by repeated footage showing a small group of demonstrators destroying government property and a warning from police headquarters that it will no longer tolerate illegal acts. All of the demonstrations, technically speaking, have been illegal.

The warning and the harsh language, coupled with the first reports of arrests in the protests, appeared to signal an imminent crackdown.

Until Sunday, Milosevic had officially ignored the biggest-ever sustained protests against his authoritarian rule. Independent media were largely gagged and state-controlled media had mostly ignored the unrest. But as international pressure mounted - and as the largest crowd yet filled downtown Belgrade on Saturday - Milosevic apparently decided to up the ante.

Dozens of busloads of police from southern Serbia were seen moving into Belgrade, which is both the Serbian and Yugoslav capital, on Sunday night.

Models Union Pushes for Law To Fight Against Agency Fraud

Los Angeles Times

The head of the Models Guild persuaded City Council leaders Monday to take a second look at passing a law to protect aspiring models from unscrupulous agencies.

"I get 15 calls a week from people who get ripped off," model Donna Eller, president of the 250-member models' union, said after meeting with council Speaker Peter Vallone in City Hall. "I'm getting hysterical mothers who've spent every penny they have."

Vallone said later that since the state Legislature hasn't acted on a request the council made in 1993 to pass legislation, the council will hold hearings on the issue for a second time. "It cries out for some type of regulation," he said.

Eller, a Wilhelmina agency model who has appeared in commercials for Oil of Olay and on the covers of McCall's and Good Housekeeping magazines, said families are losing as much as $6,000 to agencies that lure young women with empty promises of modeling jobs.

Legislation was introduced in the council in 1993 that attempted to crack down on allegedly widespread fraud by requiring model agencies to be licensed. Councilman Anthony Weiner, who sponsored the bill, said it had to be dropped because it was supplanted by pending state legislation.

Then the measure stalled in the state Legislature, he said. "There was a reluctance on the part of the major firms, the legitimate firms, because they're not crazy about being licensed.