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News Briefs II

Clinton Hails Chilean Partnership

The Washington Post

In the same presidential palace where socialist President Salvador Allende died in a CIA-encouraged military coup nearly 25 years ago, President Clinton Thursday hailed the "tides of change" that have converted Chile into a "partner and friend for the United States."

Clinton met at La Moneda palace with Chilean President Eduardo Frei at the start of a state visit focused on themes similar to those he pursued in Africa last month - trade, education, the environment and access to credit for aspiring entrepreneurs.

With Chile and other Latin American states, as with Russia, Vietnam and Angola, Clinton has sought to rethink the nature of U.S. relations with other countries. As he travels the world now, Clinton the president sounds much like Clinton the candidate stumping the United States in 1992, stressing economic opportunity rather than strategic alignment as the key to stability. In Frei, he said, he has found a leader who fully shares his views. Clinton praised "the astonishing record established by Chile in the last few years in economic and political terms." Frei said his visit to Washington last year and Clinton's reciprocal visit here "reflect the new level of maturity that relations between our two countries have achieved."

Repair Proposal Is Extended Beyond TWA Flight 800 Jets

Los Angeles Times

Fixes to prevent the sort of fuel-tank explosion in 1996 that brought down Trans World Airlines Flight 800 - a Boeing 747 jumbo jet - were proposed Thursday for another Boeing jetliner, the widely used 737.

The estimated cost of complying with the proposal to rework the fuel-sensor wiring systems on 1,140 of the U.S.-registered, narrow-body 737 jetliners is about $41 million. The FAA said that an order mandating the repairs and installations on 737-100, -200, -300, -400 and -500 series planes probably would be handed down in about 45 days.

Once the order is issued, airlines then would have a year to complete the work. About 2,800 of the 100 through 500 series 737s are in use around the globe, making them the most widely used transport aircraft in the world. Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board, reacting to suspect wiring found in the wreckage of TWA Flight 800 and on some other 747s, urged the FAA to order inspections of fuel-sensor wiring systems on about 650 of the wide-body jets.

The NTSB still has not determined what touched off the center fuel-tank explosion that tore Flight 800 apart a few minutes after it had taken off from New York, killing all 230 on board. However, NTSB investigators have said that a power surge in normally low-voltage fuel-sensor wiring that somehow had been stripped of protective insulation might have caused a spark that triggered the blast on the 747.

Study Uncovers Wide Gap Between Races in Internet Usage Levels

Los Angeles Times

At a time when the Internet is growing faster than any other communications system in history, there is a "troubling" racial divide in how readily blacks can access the global computer network, researchers said Thursday.

In the first survey of its kind, a team of Vanderbilt University management experts compared whites and blacks of equal education and income. They found that whites were much more likely to own a home computer and to use the World Wide Web regularly.

The digital divide was greatest among high school and college students, the Vanderbilt researchers found.

"The gap is huge," said Stanford University telecommunications expert Francois Bar, who studies Internet access. "It reinforces inequalities."

The study found that white students were more than twice as likely to own a home computer, even when household income was taken into account. Less than one-third of black students owned a home computer, compared to almost three-quarters of the white students, according to the study, which is published Friday in Science.

And white students who did not own a home computer still were more likely to access the Web from other locations, the researchers said. They were three times more likely to have used the Web recently than black students in the same situation.

Jewish Student Accuses Harvard Newspaper of Religious Bias

The Washington Post

Through the years, they have grappled with problems of gender, race and even income when sizing up their staff. But as editors at the Harvard Crimson took stock of things last fall, they were confronted with a debate about whether their editorial page staff was too heavily Jewish.

Editors at the 125-year-old student newspaper found that eight of the daily publication's 10 columnists were Jewish, a figure they saw as evidence of the Crimson's failure to represent the full range of views in the university community. Their solution: Hire editorial chairmen with a commitment to diversity. The new bosses later expanded the number of columnists to 16 and added more space for opinion pieces, which allowed for new Muslim, black and female voices on the editorial page.

But those decisions, made in the name of inclusiveness, have ignited a small furor on the Harvard campus after junior Justin Danilewitz claimed he was rejected for the prestigious post as chairman of the paper's five-person editorial board because he is Jewish.

Although the two students chosen for the job coveted by Danilewitz are themselves Jewish, he believes they were selected only because they shared the view that too many Jewish opinion writers is not a good thing. Danilewitz aired his views in the current issue of the American Jewish Committee journal Commentary, drawing national attention to his cause.