News BriefsJustice Dept. to Review China Nuclear Probe THE WASHINGTON POST -- WASHINGTON
The Justice Department is establishing a team of FBI agents and federal prosecutors to review the government’s response to suspicions that the Chinese were engaged in espionage at some of the nation’s nuclear weapons laboratories, Attorney General Janet Reno said Thursday.
Describing the review as “administrative” and not a criminal investigation, Reno said the purpose of the inquiry will be to determine whether “there was anything, either in this administration or in prior administrations, that could have been done differently.”
“I don’t have any allegation that anybody did anything wrong,” Reno said. “What I have is a process, a process that is always a very difficult process, and I want to look at it from the point of view of performance to see what we could have done in any way differently.”
The focus of the review will be the government’s investigation of Wen Ho Lee, a former scientist at the Los Alamos laboratory in New Mexico. Lee was fired in March and remains under investigation for possible espionage dating back to the 1980s, but he has not been charged with a crime. Lee’s lawyer has denied Lee committed any crime and China has denied stealing U.S. secrets.
Clinton: Refugees’ Return Will Be ‘In Safety and In Freedom’
The Washington Post
President Clinton, meeting for the first time with refugees from the Kosovo crisis, vowed Thursday that they will be able to return to their war-torn province “in safety and in freedom.”
At a refugee center in this town near Frankfurt, Clinton spoke with several groups of ethnic Albanians who have been driven from their homes by Yugoslav and Serbian security forces. In frequently emotional encounters -- first with a family and later with two larger groups -- the president listened sympathetically, explained the limits of international relief efforts, and urged the refugees not to yield to despair and hatred in the wake of their experiences.
“It is very important that every freedom-loving person in the entire world know the story of Kosovo,” the president told nearly 300 refugees gathered under cloudy, chilly skies. “To those of you who told us the stories of your lives -- the heartbreak, the nightmare, the cruelty. ... I listened very carefully to all of you.”
Jordan Will Ask for Debt Reduction THE WASHINGTON POST -- AMMAN, Jordan
Jordan’s King Abdullah said Thursday he will ask leaders of the world’s most economically powerful countries to forgive half of Jordan’s $7 billion in outstanding foreign debt in order to rekindle economic growth.
In a meeting with Western reporters on the eve of a trip to Europe and the United States, the new king said his country is currently stifled by international interest payments of $800 million annually, nearly 20 percent of Jordan’s gross national product.
Hoping to capitalize on the global sympathy that Jordan received when Abdullah’s father, King Hussein, died in February, the young monarch said he feels he has a brief “window” of a few months at best to win financial concessions from abroad and move at home to reform a stagnant domestic economy.
In meetings that begin this weekend in Britain and will continue later in the month in Washington, he said he wants members of the so-called Paris Club of creditor nations, as well as the International Monetary Fund, to forgive enough debt now so that Jordan won’t have to make such appeals again.