2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 23, 1998
U.S. pre:hssure* 7s *apan over economy
The Washington Post
NEW YORK --Seeking a degree of
stability in both their political and
financial worlds, President Clinton
and Japan's new prime minister, Keizo
Obuchi, met yesterday for the first
time in talks marked by U.S. pressure
on Tokyo to take grander measures to
strengthen its economy and repair its
troubled banking system.
"I think there is virtually unani-
mous support in the world for the
kind of financial reforms that would
restore economic growth in Japan,"
Clinton said during a break midway
through the talks.
Clinton administration officials,
reporting on the private meetings, sug-
gested that the president encountered
some resistance when he raised the
touchy subject of Tokyo's halting-
and widely criticized efforts to
reform its banking system.
Obuchi, at a solo news conference
later, said he and Clinton had an
"extremely useful exchange of views,"
but he didn't go beyond previous state-
ments about what the Japanese govern-
ment is prepared to do to turn around
the world's second-largest economy.
The Japanese leader cited plans for
a "permanent tax cut," an economic
stimulus package and continuing
reform and market openings.
Obuchi declined to specify what other
measures the government is considering
or to set a timetable for such actions as
additional bank closures.
'The shaky status of many Japanese
banks is considered central to Japan's
overall economic decline. In turn,
Japan will play a pivotal role in Asia's
ability to recover from its current
slump, with its global implications.
The informal meeting, held as both
leaders were in New York to attend the
opening sessions of the UN. General
Assembly, gave U.S. officials their first
real opportunity to assess Obuchi and
the measures he has taken to stabilize
the Japanese economy.
Among the most difficult issues
facing Obuchi is the extent to which
the Japanese Treasury will support
the troubled banks. Making clear
that Clinton did not receive the degree
of commitment he had sought from
Obuchi on this matter, U.S. Deputy
Treasury Secretary Lawrence
Summers said "the president believes
the infusion of public money is crucial
to an effective solution to the prob-
lem." But that approach has encoun-
tered political opposition in Japan,
tying Obuchi's hands.
"The prime minister made it clear to
the president there were a set of very
complex political discussions under
way with respect to banking legisla-
tion," Summers said.
Addressing another contentious issue,
Clinton reminded Obuchi, the sixth
Japanese prime minister with whom he
has dealt since taking office, of the ongo-
ing trade tensions between the two
AROUND THE NATION
Infected hemophiliacs get compensation
WASI IINGTON 'Tcgovernment is poised to compensate hemophiliacs who
contracted the AIDS virus when too little was being done to safeguard the ,lood
supply. But legislation authorizing payments has caught a snag: Iemophiliacs
weren't the only ones infected by tainted blood.
Now the question is whether to add payments for people who picked up the vir
through blood transfusions, which would more than double the cost of the bi
Hemophiliacs were infected by blood products that allow clotting.
The dispute, to be aired in a Senate committee today, has wound up pitting one
group of victims against another.
"I thought we were all in this together, and I quicklund out it was a commu-
nity vs. community kind of thing," said Steve Grissom of Cary, N.C., who
received a transfusion of infected blood in 1985 while being treated for
Hemophiliacs have been working for this legislation for five years. They fear the
entire bill will die if another group of victims is added in the final days.
"There are certain political realities, said Val Bias of the National Hemophilia
Foundation, who was infected with IIV while using a clotting agent.
Iemophiliacs and transfusion recipients were both infected during the eat
years of the AIDS crisis with blood donated by people who carried the HIV virus.
v .l L
Iranian leader sends
signal on Rushdie
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NEW YORK - Iranian President
Mohammad Khatami told reporters yes-
terday that "we should consider the
Salman Rushdie matter completely fin-
ished," his first direct, public comment
on the decade-old death sentence for
blasphemy against the author of a novel
deemed insulting to Islam.
Khatami, .who spoke for nearly two
hours in a breakfast meeting and subse-
quent formal interview with several jour-
nalists, stopped short of invalidating the
religious edict and accompanying bounty
that has been one of Iran's most con-
tentious points of division with the West.
But he made several remarks that dis-
tanced him from the call for Rushdie's
assassination issued by the late Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader
of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.
Iran's head of government also took
appreciative note of President Clinton's
Monday speech to the United Nations
General Assembly and went slightly far-
ther than he has done before in envision-
ing government-to-government contacts.
lie said the two nations had "taken
important steps" in the past year that
could "pave the way to remove the mis-
understandings between the two govern-
ments," which have had no diplomatic
relations since American hostages were
held in Tehran in 1979-80.
The Clinton administration, in pub-
lic and in secret channels through
Switzerland, has called for direct talks
to resolve outstanding disputes, among
which it has cited Iran's support for ter-
rorists and its nonconventional
With a quarter million Iranian
troops massed on the border with
neighboring Afghanistan, Khatami
expressed hope but no optimism that
Iran's dispute with Afghanistan's
dominant Taliban movement could
be resolved peacefully.
Senate denies wage
WASIIINGIDN -- A proposal to
raise the minimum wage by $1 an hour
was defeated yesterday in the Senate, and
Democratic supporters vowed to cam-
paign hard on the issue between now and
the November elections.
The measure, defeated by a 55-44
vote, would have raised the minimum
wage earned by some 12 million
Americans to $6.15 on Jan. 1, 2000.
The first 50-cent increase would have
taken efect next New Year's Day.
Supporters said a minimum wage
increase was needed to help hard-work-
ing Americans struggling to get by. At
a time of unparalleled prosperity, peo-
ple who work in factories, restaurants,
hotels, retail businesses and in other
modest jobs actually have seen their
purchasing power eroded, they main-
Opponents said an increase would
hurt small businesses and cause unem-
ployment, It "could actually have an
adverse impact upon our economy"
and could cause unemployment "that
hurts the low-income workers the hard-
est." Sen. Rod Grams (R-Minn.) said
before the vote.
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.),
chief backer of the increase, said the
vote showed that the Republicans wO
in the sway of business interests.
Youth abortion bill
stalls in Senate
WAS!IINGTON A bill making it a
crime to avoid parental involvement laws
by taking a minor to another state for an
abortion stalled yesterday in the Senate
and its Republican sponsor conceded that
the issue is probably dead for the year.*
Given the crush of business pending
before the Senate's Oct. 9 adjournment
target, "the likelihood that we will be able
to continue with respect to this legislation
during this Senate session seems very
unlikely," said Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-
Mich.) the sponsor.
ihe 54-45 procedural vote handed
abortion opponents their second defeat in
less than a week.
Mayo Clinic & Hospitals
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these - -inL-.l--
Georges rips into
SANTO -DOMINGO, Dominican
Republic --- After plowing through
the northern Caribbean, Hurricane
Georges carved into the Dominican
Republic yesterday, uprooting trees
and churning the sea as Dominicans
and tourists alike fled to shelter.
The mammoth storm was on a tra-
jectory that could send it crashing into
the Florida Keys by late tomorrow or
early Friday. Authorities urged tourists
to leave the island chain, as residents
began boarding up windows in antici-
pation of Georges' fury.
The storm caught the Dominican
capital of Santo Domingo almost
entirely unprepared yesterday.
Forecasters had expected it to hit only
the northern coast, but Georges, which
killed at least 10 people in its furious
march across the Caribbean, changed
course and headed straight for the
tropical capital of 3 million people.
Even more than in Puerto Rico,
where Georges exploded shop and car
windows, flipped small airplanes and
whisked away satellitetdishes, the
damage was expected to be exten-
In this poor country where the min-
imun wage is about $140 a month, *
wooden houses that line riverbeds and
hillsides would be no match for the
storm's 110 mph winds.
South Africa sends
troops into Lesotho
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -
South Africa sent troops yesterday i
the kingdom of Lesotho, a tiny indep-
dent state surrounded by South Africa, to
try to stop a violent rebellion.
The South African contingent, which
included armored personnel carriers,
attack helicopters and mortar units; met
strong resistance, authorities said. Ten
South African soldiers and five civilians
were killed and nine soldiers were injured
in and around Maseru, Lesotho's capital,
in gun battles with supporters of the
country's political opposition and m
nous soldiers of Lesotho's armed forc.
-- Compiledfion Daily wire reports.
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