U.S. Urges Turkey To Negotiate on Cyprus

Citing a rare thaw in relations, President Clinton yesterday urged Turkey to support a diplomatic initiative aimed at resolving its 25-year standoff with Greece over the island of Cyprus.

"What we've been working for all along is the resumption of the U.N.-sponsored talks without preconditions," Clinton said after meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.

Ecevit accepted Clinton's offer to send a special envoy, Al Moses, to Turkey as early as next week. But U.S. officials failed this week to persuade the leaders of Cypriot Greek and Turkish communities to participate in intensive talks at West Point, N.Y.

Turkish-Greek relations have improved because of mutual efforts to help earthquake victims.

Welfare Rolls Tapped For Census Workers

The Clinton administration plans to hire as many as 10,000 people from the nation's welfare rolls to help compile the 2000 census.

The Labor and Commerce Departments announced yesterday the award of a $20 million welfare-to-work grant to Goodwill Industries International Inc. to help recruit and train census workers.

Most of the jobs will entail distributing census forms to people who cannot be reached by the Postal Service or making door-to-door calls to count people who don't return census forms.

Most of the census jobs will last two to three months and will pay about $8 to $20 an hour.

House GOP Proposes Health Care Tax Cuts

A package of tax cuts intended to improve access to health coverage for 44 million uninsured Americans was introduced yesterday by House Republican leaders. They hope to combine it with Democratic-driven bills giving people rights to sue managed care health plans.

Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) said the GOP measure stresses health insurance access and affordability, important pieces he said were missing from other bills focused mainly on giving health maintenance organization patients new legal rights.

The GOP measure, which includes tax breaks costing $40 billion to $50 billion over 10 years paid for out of projected budget surpluses, is expected to be debated in the House next week.

It is an attempt to put a Republican stamp on one of several popular HMO measures aimed at increasing patient rights through lawsuits or independent appeal boards.

Clinton-Riady Overseas 'Encounter' Confirmed

The White House acknowledged yesterday that Clinton had a very brief encounter in New Zealand with James Riady, the Indonesian businessman who has been sought for questioning since 1997 about campaign fund-raising.

Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, inquired about a Wall Street Journal report that Riady used the economic summit meeting in New Zealand this month to chat with Clinton.

At a meeting of corporate executive officers with 350 people in the room, Clinton and Riady encountered each other "very briefly along a rope line," said White House spokesman Jim Kennedy. Burton "spent more time typing the letter than this brief rope-line encounter took," Kennedy added.