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News Briefs

Government Awards States, Cities For Jailing Illegal Immigrants

Los Angeles Times

The Justice Department released $495 million Thursday partly to reimburse states and municipalities for the costs of imprisoning illegal immigrants.

The beefed-up grants fall far short of the complete reimbursement that states and municipalities have been demanding, but federal officials said the almost 60 percent reimbursement rate is a significant increase over last year's 16 percent.

To provide the money, federal officials are reaching back to the 1986 immigration reform law, which authorized that states be compensated for the cost of imprisoning illegal immigrants. For years, however, no funds were appropriated under the program.

Linda McCay, the Justice Department official in charge of the program, said the 1996 total is "a fairly big chunk of change."

Attorney General Janet Reno called the awards an important step toward responsibility for the jailing costs of illegal immigrant felons.

"We have more work to do but we have made real progress and our task now is to build on that progress," Reno said. "We will continue to expedite deportation and removals, and we will work together with Congress to increase the funding to ensure complete reimbursement for the states."

Clinton, Yeltsin Agree to Hold Next Summit in March

Los Angeles Times

The presidents of Russia and the United States agreed yesterday to hold their next summit in March, probably on U.S. soil, a spokesman for Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin said.

The date was announced following a 20-minute telephone conversation yesterday between Yeltsin and President Clinton, the Itar-Tass news agency reported.

The summit, the latest in a series of friendly post-Cold War meetings between the two presidents, will be their first since both won re-election this year. It is also the highest-level meeting announced by Yeltsin's office since he underwent quintuple heart bypass surgery last month.

The 65-year-old Russian leader, who checked himself out of full-time medical care Wednesday and moved from a suburban Moscow sanatorium to a nearby government "dacha," has not returned to a full-time Kremlin schedule but has begun to work a few hours each day. His physician, Dr. Sergei P. Mironov, had earlier suggested Yeltsin might take a "trial trip" to the Kremlin this week.

Witness from Flight to Los Angeles Contradicts Simpson's Testimony

Los Angeles Times

As he flew to Los Angeles after learning of his ex-wife's death, O.J. Simpson told a fellow airline passenger that Nicole Brown Simpson and a male victim had been murdered in the garden near her home, the traveler testified yesterday in an account that appeared to contradict Simpson's sworn statements that he had been unable to find out details of the slayings.

Simpson has testified that he spent much of the flight frantically calling friends and family to learn anything he could about the death, since the police officer who alerted him of the tragedy would tell him only that Nicole Simpson had been killed. But no one was able to give him information, Simpson said.

In his pre-trial deposition, Simpson described his efforts to learn what had happened as futile: Denise Brown, Nicole's sister, yelled something and hung up on him, he said. Arnelle Simpson, his grown daughter, "didn't know anything." He could not reach houseguest Kato Kaelin or football buddy Marcus Allen.