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World Briefs I

Ron Brown's Son Pleads Guilty To Making Illegal Donations

Los Angeles Times

Michael A. Brown, son of the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, pleaded guilty Thursday to the misdemeanor charge of making $4,000 in illegal contributions to Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's 1994 re-election campaign.

In what he described in a prepared statement as a "mistake," Brown, 32, admitted making twice the legal limit of contributions by giving money in the names of three others and then reimbursing the individuals, who were not identified in court papers.

Justice Department prosecutors said the funds for the unlawful contributions were provided to Brown by Nora T. Lum and her husband Gene Lum, Democratic fund-raisers who earlier pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy to make $50,000 in illegal contributions during the 1994 campaign.

The Lums, who are to be sentenced Sept. 9, conspired to make the illegal contributions through a straw contributor to the campaigns of Kennedy and W. Stuart Price, an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the House from Oklahoma.

Price allegedly helped the Lums purchase Dynamic Energy Resources Inc., a natural gas pipeline company in Oklahoma. Michael Brown later served on its board of directors.

A spokesman for Kennedy Thursday reiterated that the senator had no knowledge of the illegal campaign contributions, and that he had returned "all the contributions in question."

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Pushes Base Closures to Fund Readiness

Los Angeles Times

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday that cracks are beginning to appear in U.S. military readiness, and declared that only by saving money through politically unpopular base closings will the military be able to buy what it needs.

In a farewell interview before his term ends next month, Gen. John Shalikashvili told reporters that members of Congress who have stymied the military base shutdowns need to "put politics aside."

"We don't have the money we need for troops. I don't see how we're going to get there from here without a big commitment to close more bases," he said. "I don't know how I can say it more bluntly."

Shalikashvili's comments signaled the administration's determination to press forward with efforts to close bases, even though that drive has been bitterly opposed by lawmakers. Lawmakers derailed the issue earlier this summer for at least the remainder of the year, despite the administration's efforts to portray it as essential to national security.

Shalikashvili's comments also intensified the military's public expressions of concern about readiness.

The general said that in some military units, too much equipment is out of commission because of a lack of spare parts, and too many units have fallen substantially below adequate strength levels as manpower has been cut by roughly one-third.

But he said the greatest source of concern is the stressful pace of overseas deployments, exercises and other operations, which has many service members working too long and too far from home. This pace has the leadership "concerned more than anything else," Shalikashvili said.

Security Council Puts Sanctions On Angola's UNITA Movement

The Washington Post

The Security Council imposed air and travel sanctions Thursday on Angola's UNITA movement in an effort to deter the former rebel force and its long-time leader, Jonas Savimbi, from increasing tensions that threaten to rekindle Africa's longest civil war.

The 15-member council unanimously endorsed the sanctions after Secretary General Kofi Annan SM '72 reported that UNITA has failed to heed past U.N. calls to demobilize its troops and supply accurate accountings of how many many men it has under arms. U.N. officials also said UNITA has flouted earlier council sanctions barring acquisition of arms by continuing to import large amounts of weapons from abroad.

Thursday's new sanctions resolution was co-sponsored by the United States in a move that seemed to mark a final break with Savimbi, once a favored proxy of Washington during its Cold War struggles against communist penetration of Africa.

During Ronald Reagan's presidency, Savimbi's forces were one of the pillars of what came to be known as the Reagan doctrine - a policy of using American-supplied guerrilla surrogates to wage war against Marxist governments in the Third World. In Angola, that meant backing UNITA, an acronym for the National Union for the Total Liberation of Angola, against the government of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, a Marxist sympathizer supported by the Soviet Union and Cuba, in the civil war that has ravaged the country almost continuously since it won independence from Portugal in 1975.