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News Briefs I

Clinton Uses Line-Item Veto On Pensions

The Washington Post

President Clinton Thursday used the line-item veto again to kill a provision that would have allowed many federal workers to switch retirement systems and potentially boost their pensions.

The president's latest line-item veto of a 1998 spending bill eliminated an opportunity for more than 800,000 federal employees and 300,000 Postal Service workers to shift from an old civil service retirement program to a new benefits system. Clinton denounced the provision as "hastily conceived" and said it would cost taxpayers $854 million over five years and force federal agencies to reallocate $1.3 billion in taxpayer dollars to cover the cost of higher retirement benefits.

The National Treasury Employees Union, a major federal employees' union, quickly went to court here and filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the line-item veto. New York City also filed a suit Thursday against another veto action.

Papon Asked to Leave Another Residence

The Washington Post

Maurice Papon, France's most famous accused war criminal, is also fast becoming its most famous homeless person.

Papon, on trial in the city of Bordeaux for crimes against humanity, was asked Thursday to leave his third residence since the trial began last week. The judge in the case had freed him from detention Friday on the grounds that remaining in prison would damage his health.

Since then, Papon, 87, and his entourage have tried two luxury hotels and a four-bedroom rental house. He was asked to leave the hotels because they were receiving threatening telephone calls.

Thursday, the family that owns the rental house asked him to vacate for the same reason: They were getting death threats at their home in Paris. Papon has a few days to find another place, and his lawyer appealed to journalists Thursday not to reveal details when he moves.

In addition, the town council of Castres-Gironde, the Bordeaux suburb closest to the house, passed a resolution Wednesday evening "deploring" Papon's presence, which it called a "dishonor" for the community and its members. "We don't know exactly when he will leave, but we hope his days here are short," Mayor Daniel Constant said.

Nixon's Passion for Secrecy

The Washington Post

With the fallout from a White House-sponsored burglary in the Pentagon Papers case fresh in the headlines and his approval of a "clearly illegal" 1970 domestic intelligence plan about to become public, President Richard M. Nixon vigorously but elliptically defended such measures on May 23, 1973, at a Cabinet Room meeting with Republican congressional leaders.

Nixon had just given them a rundown on varying negotiations with China, the Soviet Union and North Vietnam and emphasized how important secrecy was to their success.

"That is why you have to take the strongest measures to see that the bureaucracy doesn't leak, and that the Congress doesn't leak," Nixon said. "That is why we have taken such measures in the past. And it is one thing you need not be a bit defensive about."

His remarks drew sustained applause. They were a brief snippet from 154 hours of Cabinet Room tapes made during the Nixon presidency that were made public Thursday at the National Archives facility in College Park. They include 436 conversations and meetings on subjects from Africa to Yugoslavia and controversies from auto safety to the standoff at Wounded Knee.

The releases, delayed for decades by legal wrangling with the late president and his estate, are the first large batch of Nixon tape recordings to be made public since last year's disclosure of 201 hours of tapes reflecting "abuse of government power" during Nixon's tenure.

Two segments released Thursday, including Nixon's remarks about "the strongest measures" to prevent leaks, were labeled "abuse of power."