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News Briefs I

FBIAsks for Help, Offers Reward In Unsolved Olympic Bombing Case

The Washington Post

With an admission that it has no suspects in the July 27 Olympic bombing, the FBI issued a plea for help Monday, asking for any photographs or videotapes taken in the Atlanta park that night, promising a $500,000 reward and releasing a tape of the 911 call warning of the blast in hopes that somebody will recognize the voice.

Federal law enforcement officials said the announcement is an attempt to jump-start an investigation that has stalled despite more than four months of work by a legion of federal, state, and local investigators. By calling public attention to the crime, the FBI hopes to jog loose a recollection or some bit of potential evidence that might produce fresh leads.

The most dramatic effort to reignite public interest in the bombing came at an Atlanta news conference Monday when the FBI played the 911 tape in public for the first time. A somewhat muted voice, in an almost robotic cadence, is heard saying 11 words: "There is a bomb in Centennial Park. You have 30 minutes."

FBI Deputy Director Weldon Kennedy said at the news conference that perhaps someone might be able to recognize the voice. He cited "investigative reasons" to explain why the FBI had not released the tape sooner, when people's memories of the event were still fresh.

Britain, Ireland Make No Progress As Christmas Season Approaches

Los Angeles Times

On a joyful, crystal clear night one year ago, President Clinton lit a Christmas tree in downtown Belfast that symbolized glowing hopes for peace in tormented Northern Ireland. This Christmas, those dreams are as tarnished as old tinsel.

In a meeting appropriately delayed by fog, the British and Irish government architects of peace conferred here Monday without markedly bridging the differences between them or mollifying Catholic and Protestant adversaries in the British province.

Irish Prime Minister John Bruton and Britain's John Major had little progress to report after lunching at Downing Street over the Northern Ireland question in quicksilver search for a new cease-fire and meaningful peace talks.

Meanwhile, British intelligence sources warn of likely pre-Christmas terrorist attacks by the Irish Republican Army. And Republican sources fuel the winter gloom by ruling out a Christmas truce, which the IRA has traditionally declared during its struggle to overthrow British control of the northern six counties of Ireland.

Plan for Excess Plutonium Disposal Could Result in Radioactive Waste

Los Angeles Times

Energy Department plans to destroy 50 tons of surplus Cold War plutonium by encasing it in glass or burning it in nuclear reactors drew sharp reaction Monday from critics who fear that the solution is a sop to the nuclear power industry.

Energy officials argue that the plan represents the most prudent way to dispose of plutonium. But they acknowledge that important issues involving the cost, environmental safety and technology remain unanswered.

The Energy Department plan does not indicate where the plutonium will be burned or, if encased in glass, where it will be buried. At best, the process would take 20 to 30 years to complete, and would result in waste products that remain radioactive for thousands of years.