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News Briefs II

Clinton Attacks Opponents Over Economic Isolationism

The Washington Post

Laying bare his frustration with many fellow Democrats, President Clinton complained that lawmakers who want to limit his power to negotiate trade agreements are pursuing an "America-last strategy" that is rooted in ignorance of the new international economy.

"For the life of me, I can't figure out why anybody in the wide world believes it will create jobs for us to stay out of markets that other people are in, when we can win the competitive wars," Clinton complained.

The president was speaking to a friendly audience - the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, which supports his bid to win "fast-track" trading authority - but his remarks were the bluntest criticism he has made of others in his party who do not support his trade views.

The skeptics are an apparent majority among congressional Democrats, whose scant support for Clinton's free-trade policy has imperiled his prospects for winning the fast-track vote.

Clinton Monday implicitly acknowledged the uphill nature of his fight. "I still believe we're going to win it," he said, "but we have to fight every day till the last vote is taken."

Moments before he sounded that uncertain note about the trade vote, Clinton was triumphant on another subject: the latest federal budget deficit number. The federal budget deficit for last fiscal year was $22.6 billion, the lowest figure since 1974.

Prosecution Wins Nearly All Pretrial Points in CIA Slaying Trial

The Washington Post

A Fairfax, Va., judge cleared the way Monday for the prosecution to mount its case for capital murder against Mir Aimal Kansi next week, rejecting defense efforts to move the trial out of Northern Virginia and throw out key statements and physical evidence.

One more pretrial hearing is scheduled Tuesday in the case of the man charged with killing two people outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., in 1993. But Fairfax Circuit Court Judge J. Howe Brown Jr. turned down several of the defense's most serious challenges Monday.

Brown largely put to rest defense efforts to make the FBI's June capture of Kansi in his native Pakistan a legal barrier to his trial in this country, and he ruled a police search of a suitcase owned by Kansi that turned up guns and ammunition was constitutional.

Public Defender Richard C. Goemann had argued that intense local news coverage, some of it erroneous, has made it impossible for Kansi to get a fair trial in the area. In addition, Goemann said, "Fairfax is an area with a very high percentage of government workers and we are talking about CIA employees who were shot. That increases the prejudice against my client."

But Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. argued that Goemann had failed to prove potential jurors have already made up their minds, and Brown agreed. Brown also found police were justified in searching three suitcases and an apartment where Kansi lived before the shootings because Kansi had left the area and his roommate gave permission for the search.