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News Briefs

Exit Polls Show Political Outsider Winning Mayor’s Job in London


British Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn’t stop him, and the Fleet Street press couldn’t derail him.

He’s Ken Livingstone, a maverick left-wing politician who Thursday night was poised to become London’s first directly elected mayor, according to exit polls.

Separated from the Labor Party after he decided to run for mayor as an independent, Livingstone emerged from a hard-fought campaign as an ultimate survivor of British politics.

The man known as “Red Ken,” who ran the Greater London Council that was put out of business by Margaret Thatcher, is headed back into power.

“It’s a quite wonderful feeling,” Livingstone said in a British Broadcasting Corp. interview. “I never thought I’d be back in this type of position. I want to establish a system of government that serves as a model for the rest of Britain.”

According to a British Broadcasting Corporation poll, Livingstone gained 42 percent of the vote, ahead of the Conservatives’ Steven Norris (25 percent), Labor’s Frank Dobson (14 percent) and Liberal Democrat Susan Kramer (12 percent).

Livingstone failed to gain the 50 percent vote that would have led to a first-ballot knockout. But according to the poll, he was expected to pick up the majority of second preference ballots cast and claim the triumph. Final results are due Friday.

Mexican Presidential Hopefuls Bring Campaigns North


Step aside, Al Gore and George W. Bush.

In the next few days, California will become the battleground for a different presidential race. In the most dramatic sign yet of post-NAFTA political change, two of Mexico’s three major presidential aspirants will arrive in Los Angeles on Sunday for campaign swings. Their goal is to win over an increasingly important Mexican constituency: immigrants to the United States.

Most immigrants will not cast ballots in Mexico’s July 2 election, since the country does not allow voting from abroad. But candidates hope they will sway hundreds of thousands of relatives and friends back home. Those votes could be key in what is shaping up as the most competitive Mexican presidential race ever.

“Migrants have become an issue in (Mexican) presidential politics in a way they never have before,” said Robert Smith, a sociologist with the Project on Migration and Diasporas at Barnard College in New York. “They’re a very important swing vote.”

Vicente Fox, of the center-right National Action Party (PAN), and Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, of the center-left Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), will each barnstorm for two days in California, which has the biggest concentration of Mexican immigrants in the United States.

.Agency Pushes for More Thorough TB Testing for Immigrants


A panel of the nation’s leading public-health experts called Thursday for tougher tuberculosis screening of immigrants from Mexico and other countries with high rates of the infectious disease, warning that a global epidemic threatens to undercut gains in eliminating TB in the United States.

In a report on how to rid the nation of tuberculosis -- still the world’s leading infectious cause of death -- the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine recommends requiring that immigrants from Mexico, the Philippines, Vietnam and other countries with high incidences of the disease be tested not just for active tuberculosis but to determine whether they carry the latent form of the disease.

Immigrant-rights advocates immediately raised concerns about the recommendations, saying that they could lead to discrimination against certain immigrant groups. Moreover, they argued, immigration law is not the proper venue for health policy.

The incidence of tuberculosis in the United States has plummeted in the past five years. But more than 40% percent of all new TB cases in the nation are among immigrants from countries with high rates of the disease.

Former White House Lawyer Denies Coverup in Email Issue


Former White House counsel Charles F.C. Ruff acknowledged Thursday that he failed to pursue an e-mail breakdown vigorously enough to insure compliance with subpoenas covering the messages, but he emphatically denied there was a coverup.

Ruff said it may have been “my technological ignorance or my misunderstanding of the problem,” which was brought to his attention in June 1998, but he did not believe it had any effect on subpoena production because a quick check of all e-mails involving former White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky showed they had been supplied to investigators in paper form.

A study conducted on June 18, 1998, the day before Ruff was told of the problem, showed that there were more than 246,000 electronic messages on individual computers at the White House that had not been picked up by the automated system installed to make a permanent, searchable record of the correspondence.

Testifying before the House Government Reform Committee, Ruff and former deputy White House counsel Cheryl Mills said they had never seen the study before. It was conducted by an employee of Northrop-Grumman, which operated the e-mail system for the White House Office of Administration.