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World Briefs II

13 Salmon, Steelhead Trout Species Proposed for Protection

Los Angeles Times

The Clinton administration has found 13 species of salmon and steelhead trout veering toward extinction on the West Coast, setting the stage for a massive recovery effort that will include habitat restoration, water quality improvements and buybacks of commercial fishing licenses, officials said Thursday.

The National Marine Fisheries Service announced 13 runs of chinook, chum and sockeye salmon and steelhead trout proposed for protection under the Endangered Species Act, ranging from three salmon runs in California to Washington's populous Puget Sound.

"There has been no Endangered Species Act listing that encompasses this scope in the 20-year history of the act," William Stelle, regional manager for the fisheries service, said in announcing the proposed listings in California, Oregon, Idaho and Washington.

Washington state, heaviest hit by the proposed protections, responded with a plan to begin recovering salmon habitat in its watersheds. Gov. Gary Locke said he will propose an initial $21 million recovery program, to be accompanied by a statewide review of how the fish can be restored to its rivers.

Yeltsin's Abrupt Departure From Meeting Leaves Questions

the washington post

President Boris Yeltsin, looking somewhat weak, abruptly left a long-awaited meeting with government ministers Thursday after failing to follow through on his opening threat to fire three of them by the end of the session for poor performance last year.

Aides later explained his departure was caused by a "tight schedule." But after months of speculation that Yeltsin would use the large assembly, originally planned for December, to make a dramatic gesture to rescue his government from drift, the session instead was marked by puzzling inaction.

"No self-congratulations," a stern Yeltsin implored as he opened the session at the Russian White House, which serves as headquarters for Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's government apparatus and for various ministers. His ministers should be "very self-critical, firm, with proposals," he declared, speaking extemporaneously, and threatening that "by the end of the meeting we will be three government members short." Yeltsin listened as Chernomyrdin delivered an hour-long address, then left the hall briskly during a break about 90 minutes into the session.

Why Yeltsin failed to follow through on his firing threat was not clear, but there were hints that Chernomyrdin might have forestalled any decision. "I oppose endless bureaucratic reshuffling and hectic reorganization," Chernomyrdin said. "I favor a natural course of events."