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News Briefs II

U.S. Reports Steep Drop in Juvenile Arrest Rate for Second Year

Los Angeles Times

The arrest rate for juveniles for violent crimes dropped a dramatic 9.2 percent in 1996, marking the second consecutive year it declined after arrest rates had risen for seven years in a row.

In announcing the figures Thursday, Attorney General Janet Reno attributed the sharp drop to an emphasis on tougher punishment, better policing in communities and more attention to after-school youth programs.

Although arrests for violent youth crimes were down 2.9 percent in 1995, "I have worried since that it might be a blip," Reno told her weekly news briefing. "But this drop, I think, is real now."

The new FBI figures were reported as a Republican-sponsored juvenile crime legislation, which the Clinton administration believes contains too little money for such preventive measures as youth counseling and after-school activities, moves through Congress. The GOP bills stress harsher punishment for violent crimes and treatment of youths as adults.

Some crime analysts outside government called the figures encouraging but said it was impossible to determine who deserves the credit.

Russian Statements Contradict Earlier Claims on Weapons Sales

The Washington Post

Russia's internal security service acknowledged Thursday that it had stopped an attempt by Iran to obtain ballistic missile technology from a Russian factory, undercutting earlier assurances by Russia that it was not supplying missile parts to Tehran.

Only last week, President Boris Yeltsin "categorically" denied that Russia was the source of materials and know-how for Iran to build weapons of mass destruction. "There is nothing further from the truth," Yeltsin said, in the latest in months of statements insisting that Western reports of missile parts going to Iran from Russia were false.

The security service disclosed the Iranian attempt to procure missile parts in an interview that an unnamed official gave to the Russian news agency Tass. The official insisted that Russia is "unswervingly" complying with international agreements against ballistic missile and nuclear weapons proliferation.

But, the official said, the security service this year "thwarted" an Iranian attempt to have parts manufactured for a liquid-fuel missile at a Russian factory, identified as NPO Trud, in Samara, on the Volga River. The parts were being disguised as gas compressors or pumps, he said.

The official added that "separate occasions of cooperation with Iran" had been uncovered in which Russia "may have contradicted" the Missile Technology Control Regime, a global pact designed to restrict missile proliferation.