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News Briefs

Big Apple Population Hits 8 Million

NEWSDAY -- NEW YORK

New York City’s population broke through the 8 million mark for the first time, jumping 9.4 percent from its level over 10 years ago, according to Census 2000 figures released Thursday.

In a city that is 8,008,278 strong, Hispanics saw significant growth over the last decade, amounting to nearly 27 percent of the population in the five boroughs in 2000. Their numbers now equal those of blacks. Meanwhile, Asians currently make up about one in every 10 New Yorkers.

“It’s really a very healthy sign for American society that our major city is experiencing this population growth,” said Kenneth Prewitt, the former head of the Census Bureau and a dean at The New School University. “It’s an important reaffirmation of city life in American life. And New York is now the most demographically complex metropolis in world history.”

The previous census high for the city was hit in 1970, when the population reached 7,894,086, only to see a precipitous drop to 7,071,639 in 1980.

Farm Interests Put Squeeze On Bush Budget Plan

THE WASHINGTON POST -- WASHINGTON

As congressional committees prepare to write a budget that is faithful to President Bush’s tax and spending proposals, farm state interests are demanding a huge, decade-long commitment to agriculture that could strain the administration’s plan.

In the House, some Republicans from farm states have made clear to Budget Committee members that they want agriculture taken care of as a condition for their support of tax cuts, sources said. In the Senate, where seven Democrats from farm states are facing re-election next year, a Democratic proposal with bipartisan support would increase spending on agriculture by $100 billion, an amount that equals or exceeds Bush’s proposals for Pentagon modernization or expanded health coverage for the uninsured.

But in testimony Wednesday before the House Budget Committee, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman declined to endorse the effort and said it was “too early to determine precise needs for any additional farm assistance.”

Bush Emissions Reversal Seen Hindering Global Warming Talks

THE WASHINGTON POST

Environmental groups and some lawmakers anxious to get international global warming talks back on track said Thursday that President Bush’s decision to abandon a campaign pledge to curtail carbon dioxide emissions from power plants has dealt a serious blow to chances for a deal this summer.

Bush’s decision, contained in a letter to Senate Republicans on Tuesday, has provoked dismay in Europe, where Green parties exercise growing clout, and resentment is building against the United States’ reluctance to engage in an international effort to combat global warming.

“This letter was a real poke in the eye to the European Union,” said Kalee Kreider, global warming director of the National Environmental Trust. “This letter sounds like they want to walk.”

Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y., an influential moderate allied with environmentalists, added, “I don’t think that will enhance the prospects for productive negotiations.”

Talks on how to comply with a protocol negotiated in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997 that prescribes sharp cuts in emissions of carbon dioxide -- a gas that scientists say is a major factor in the planet’s rising temperatures -- collapsed in November.