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News Briefs I

Egyptian Christian Assails U.S. Anti-Persecution Bill

Los Angeles Times

One of two Christians in the 32-member Egyptian Cabinet said Monday he will lobby the U.S. Congress against American legislation to penalize countries that persecute religious minorities or fail to stop atrocities by members of a dominant faith.

Youssef Boutros-Ghali, Egypt's economy minister and a nephew of former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, said the proposed U.S. religious liberty law would "deflect" efforts to ease religious tension in Egypt and produce a backlash against outside interference.

"I will decide if I am discriminated against," Boutros-Ghali, a member of the Copt denomination, Egypt's largest Christian group, told reporters. "Maybe [the legislation] solves domestic political problems here in the United States, but leave me out of it. It deflects us from addressing the problems that exist."

Boutros-Ghali said he will try to buttonhole Rep. Frank R. Wolf, (R-Va.) the primary sponsor of the legislation, which calls for the imposition of trade sanctions on offending countries, and staffers of key congressional committees.

Clintons Pay Nearly $92,000 in Federal Taxes, Returns Show

Los Angeles Times

While no longer millionaires, the president and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton paid $91,964 in federal taxes last year on adjusted gross income of $569,511, the White House reported Monday.

As in a growing number of working couples, the main breadwinner was the wife, with Hillary Clinton reporting $281,898 in royalty income from her 1996 book, "It Takes a Village."

The first couple's federal tax return shows that the president was paid a $200,000 salary, and he also got a $76 royalty payment from his 1992 appearance on Arsenio Hall's television show. The Clintons reported just over $65,000 in capital gains, and $12,000 from a special fund set up in 1912 for the presidential spouse.

The Clintons made $270,725 in charitable contributions, mostly from Hillary Clinton's book royalties and the $12,000 spouse fund. Although the White House declined to release a list of the Clintons' charities, White House spokesman Barry Toiv said the donations went mainly to organizations that help children, such as children's hospitals, as well as to the Clintons' churches and colleges.

Historically Contentious Easter March is Quiet in Ulster

The Washington Post
BELFAST, Northern Ireland

The opening of Belfast's often-contentious "marching season" came off quietly Monday, marked by the same spirit of cooperation that helped spawn Friday's far-reaching peace accord.

The traditional Easter Monday parade by the Apprentice Boys - a group of Protestants commemorating a 17th-century victory over a Catholic king - went off with nary a nasty word as the marchers quietly accepted a government order that barred them from marching through a predominantly Catholic neighborhood.

About two dozen marchers wearing black-and-white uniforms and black derbies, plus their youthful fife and drum corps, made a neat U-turn on the Ormeau Bridge and paraded back to their own neighborhood. A small group of Catholics watched quietly from across the river.

Northern Ireland has been scarred by 30 years of civil conflict, parades often have caused open warfare, large fires, injury and death. Feelings are so bitter in some places that each group insists its fundamental rights are violated if people from the other side march through the neighborhood even on one day per year. Two years ago, for example, this same Easter Monday march ended in a street battle of firebombs and tear gas grenades because the Apprentice Boys did not agree to turn around at the bridge.