New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 9, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
HerakJ-Zeitung G Sunday, July 9,1995 □ 3 A
U.S. considers better relations with Vietnam
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Clinton administration is praising Vietnam’s cooperation in identifying the whereabouts of missing American servicemen, rejecting claims by MIA advocates that Hanoi is holding back.
The debate over Vietnam’s cooperation is intensifying as President Clinton nears a decision on whether to re-establish full diplomatic relations with the former communist adversary after a 20-year lapse.
State Department spokesman Nicholas Bums appeared on Friday to foreshadow a decision by Clinton to take that step.
“I think a lot of people in our government believe that we have reached a new level of cooperation with the Vietnamese on the issue of POWs and MIAs,” Burns told reporters.
He also stressed Vietnam’s political and economic importance in Southeast Asia.
“Vietnam is a country of emerging importance in Southeast Asia — certainly an important country economically for the United States and other countries,” he said.
He also said Vietnam plays a key role in regional security and will soon join the six-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a group that long has had close ties to the
But veterans and family groups are arguing against diplomatic recognition on grounds that Vietnam has not lived up to the demands for an accounting that Clinton had set as a condition for normal relations.
These groups have been increasingly active since word spread last month that Secretary of State Warren Christopher had recommended to Clinton that, after 20 years, the time for normal relations had arrived.
The National Alliance of Families, based in Washington state, admonished its members last week to “Call, telegraph or write the president now! We must stop normalization. If you already have called and written, do it again and again.”
The National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, based in Washington, also is active in the campaign.
Asked about her plans, Ann Mills Griffith, the league’s executive director, said Friday: “Truth. We’ve got the facts.”
She said group members will be taking their case to Congress. John Sommer, executive director of the Washington office of the American Legion, said his group plans a similar strategy.
More than 2,200 Americans
remain unaccounted for from the Indochina war. Griffith said only eight Americans have been accounted for in the past 17 months.
lf Clinton decided to establish normal ties with Vietnam, Republicans likely will make it a campaign issue.
House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., told CNN on Friday, “This is not the time to be cozying up to dictators.” Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., said at a news conference in St. Paul, Minn., “I don’t share President Clinton’s views on normalizing relations with Vietnam.”
However, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a former Vietnam war prisoner, favors normal ties, as do U.S. business groups.
And not all veterans groups are opposed. The Veterans of Foreign Wars, for instance, said in a resolution approved last month that it would go along with normalization if it furthers the fullest possible accounting of the missing servicemen.
The administration lifted a trade embargo against Vietnam in February 1994, contending at the time that the step would enhance Hanoi’s cooperation. The two countries also established low-level diplomatic liaison offices.
Gingrich must answer ethics charges
WASHINGTON (AP) — Called to appear before the House ethics committee, Speaker Newt Gingrich and publisher Rupert Murdoch say they welcome the chance to set the record straight on a controversial book contract.
In a statement released Friday, Gingrich, the subject of a series of ethics complaints filed by Democrats, said he had “gone out of my way to comply with the letter and spirit of all House rules.”
And Murdoch stressed he was appearing voluntarily, after earlier providing other information to the panel.
In an unusual development, both men announced their own appearances, leaving it to the committee to respond.
“The members of the house ethics committee look forward to hearing Mr. Gingrich’s testimony before the committee,” said Rep. Nancy Johnson, R-Conn., the panel’s chairwoman.
The planned testimony marks a new phase in the politically charged investigation. The panel has been split along partisan lines on appointment of an outside counsel to investigate Gingrich, R-Ga. Democrats have recently accused Republicans of dragging their heels in investigating the first GOP speaker in 40 years.
The ethics committee has been investigating a series of complaints against Gingrich filed by Democrats, alleging violations of House rules in
connection with the contract for the book as well as a college course the speaker taught last winter.
Gingrich announced his own planned appearance on a day in which he signed copies of his newly published book, “To Renew America,” at a bookstore a few blocks from the Capitol. The book deal has been controversial for months, in part because Gingrich initially agreed to a deal under which he would receive a $4.5 million advance on royalties from Harper-Collins publishers for writing the volume. In the resulting furor, he backtracked, saying he would take a $1
advance, supplemented by a percentage of the sales.
There was further controversy when it was disclosed last winter that Gingrich and Murdoch, owner of Harper-Collins, had met briefly in the Capitol and — as the speaker belatedly acknowledged — had talked about pending legislation. Murdoch owns numerous media properties, and has an interest in telecommunications legislation pending in Congress.
While Gingrich submitted the contract for the committee’s approval, he signed the deal before receiving a response back from the panel.
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HOUSTON (AP) — Years of cutbacks and belt-tightening have apparently paid off for a once-bloated Texas legal industry.
The state’s 25 largest firms saw profits jump 4.6 percent in 1994, according to a survey by Texas Lawyer magazine.
Of those, 19 reported increased revenue. Efficiency is apparently up, too, as the report indicated the amount of revenue per lawyer is up 6.3 percent.
“After quite a few years of downsizing — getting the corporate religion — the cuts started showing up at the bottom line,” said Joseph Calve, editor of the Dallas-based publication.
He said it was the best year for Texas law firms since 1990.
The oil boom and subsequent bust that loaded dockets with bankruptcy cases were the glory years for the Texas legal profession. Many firms became oversized and sloth-like, making cutbacks inevitable.
Another boost of efficiency has been improved technology. Firms such as Houston’s Fulbright & Jaworski, the largest in Texas, have boosted their reliance on the PC.
“Six years ago, very few lawyers in our firm used computers,” administrative partner Jack Vaughan told the Houston Chronicle. “Now almost all of our lawyers use computers.”
He said only two of the firm’s 620 lawyers use computers regularly.
Prior to the electronic revolution, lawyers relied on another staffer who took dictation, typed the document and hand-delivered it. Attorneys now type their own material into computers and transmit it to their clients over the phone lines.
The downsizing trend has been great
for lawyers but tough on young attorneys entering the profession.
“Law schools are full, churning out
graduates, and it’s harder and harder for those graduates to find jobs,” Calve said.
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