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World Briefs I

Racial Incident Probed After U-Va. Slavery Forum

The Washington Post
charlottesville, va.

A confrontation at the University of Virginia has sparked a police investigation and the appointment of a committee to examine race relations and other issues.

The incident occurred Tuesday night at the end of a U-Va. student forum on slavery issues. Among those speaking at the forum was W. Avon Drake, a political science professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.

As the event broke up, Drake and an assistant dean at U-Va., Ishmail Conway, both African Americans, were alerted to a confrontation between a black student and a white campus police officer in the lobby of the building, Minor Hall.

According to various accounts of the incident, Officer Deborah L. Higgins asked the student to open his backpack because another student had alleged that the backpack was stolen.

The student balked at the officer's request and the scene was escalating when Drake and Conway arrived. Conway identified himself to Higgins, who asked him to stay out of the situation. Drake said he was stunned by Higgins' tone of voice and asked her to reconsider whom she was addressing.

"She turned to me and told me to get out of there, to leave the building," Drake said. At one point in the exchange, "She grabbed me and pushed me back," he said, causing a button to pop off his jacket.

Michael Sheffield, chief of campus police, has appointed two lieutenants, one white and one black, to review the incident.

The incident has heightened racial consciousness on the campus, said U-Va. student Kasara E. Davidson, who is networking director of the Black Student Alliance and witnessed the confrontation.

Although the university has "come a very, very long way," she said, "incidents like this remind us that we have a long way to go."

Intel Faces Antitrust Inquiry

The Washington Post

Intel Corp. is facing a wide-ranging antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, which is exploring whether the nation's leading maker of computer chips has unfairly used its dominance to thwart competition.

"While big isn't bad, you can't use monopoly power to engage in exclusionary acts or foreclosures, namely shutting people out of a business," said Kevin Arquit, a lawyer with Rogers & Wells in Washington and former director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition.

According to industry sources, the investigation of Intel is a sweeping look at how the chipmaker is maintaining its share of the market for microprocessors and expanding into new areas.

Intel makes about 85 percent of the computer logic chips that serve as the brains of personal computers. In the past few years it has also begun to build many of the other components that make up the inside of a PC.

According to a copy of the subpoena circulated by the FTC, the investigation already is focused on several issues: among them whether Intel tries to pressure customers that use its chips into not buying chips from competing manufacturers and whether Intel has promoted technical standards that unfairly coerce companies into using Intel's chips and components instead of competitors'.

House Democrats Step Up Fight Over Voter Fraud Probe

Los Angeles Times

Stepping up its campaign to block an investigation of voter fraud that could overturn last year's election in California 's 46th Congressional District, the House Democratic leadership Thursday asked Attorney General Janet Reno to look into whether it is illegal for Republicans to share Immigration and Naturalization Service data with California officials.

Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., also vowed to use any means necessary to complicate congressional business unless the probe of Democrat Loretta Sanchez's 984-vote victory over Republican Robert K. Dornan is dropped. And other lawmakers said there may be class-action lawsuits filed under the Voting Rights Act.

"Be on notice, from this day forward: If there is an attempt to vacate this election against the wishes of the voters on some whim or suspicion or hope, there will be a heavy price to pay from the Democratic Party," Gephardt warned at a Capitol Hill news conference. "It is wrong. It is immoral. It is against every principle of this democracy and we will not let it stand."