Clinton Forms Council To Push Use of Waste

Aiming to reduce U.S. oil demand and protect the environment, President Clinton created an interagency council yesterday to promote technologies that turn trees, plants and even animal waste into energy.

Clinton cast the initiative as both a security issue and a crucial stroke against global warming.

"If we can make the raw material of tomorrow's economy living, renewable resources instead of fossil fuels, which pollute the atmosphere and warm the planet, the future of our children and our grandchildren, the likelihood that there will be more prosperity and peace -- all that will be far greater," he said.

Supporting the initiative are two key farm-state senators -- Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) -- who have their own legislation promoting "biomass" development.

The biomass industry is dedicated to finding more efficient ways of using trees, plants and other renewable sources -- chicken droppings, for example -- to fuel cars, light homes and propel planes.

Advances in this area could reduce emissions that are hazardous to the environment as well as provide a multibillion-dollar industry for loggers, chemical companies and farmers. Vice President Gore unveiled the plan in Iowa, where he has been campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination.

More Refugees Allowed Entry Into the U.S.

President Clinton has increased the number of refugees to be allowed legal entry into the United States to 90,000, including those who fled Kosovo during the recent conflict.

In a memo, Clinton authorized entry of up to 90,000 refugees during fiscal 2000, up from 78,000 this year.

Admissions are based on country-by-country allocations made each year by the State Department. Applicants must prove valid fears of persecution based on race, religion, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.

Under the new authorization, 47,000 refugees would be allowed in from Europe, 8,000 each from East and South Asia, and 18,000 from Africa. An additional 6,000 slots were not allocated.

The allocation for Europe includes 27,000 from the former Yugoslavia and 20,000 from newly independent and Balkan states.

Child Safety Forum

Spotlights Parents

While politicians have focused on Hollywood and Washington to make schools safer, a national education forum broadcast by satellite from Arlington last night put the spotlight on parents.

"Parents listen to their children frequently and carefully when they are young; we urge all parents to talk with their children just as much or more when they are high school students," said Education Secretary Richard W. Riley.

Answering viewer calls, Riley and Attorney General Janet Reno also put forth recommended policy changes they said would enhance the safety of children.

But the national forum in the wake of the April shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., was intended to focus on parents. President Clinton echoed the theme, saying in videotaped remarks that "no influence on a child is more important" than parents.

"We have to take a position and begin to parent again," said Virginia Markell, president of the National PTA.