Moseley-Braun Hearings Possible

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee said last night that confirmation hearings on the ambassadorial nomination of former senator Carol Moseley-Braun (D-Ill.) were possible as early as Friday if the White House submits additional documents demanded by the committee.

Administration officials submitted papers dealing with questions about her personal and campaign finances but left out "some essential documents," the committee said. The officials agreed "in principle" to submit the rest, and, if they do so, a hearing will be held, according to a committee spokesman.

The committee approved Adm. Joseph Prueher to be ambassador to China, and his nomination goes to the Senate for final approval.

The 58-year-old admiral was commander of the unified U.S. armed forces in the Pacific from 1996 until earlier this year and has forged high-level contacts in China, including links with senior officers in the People's Liberation Army.

Tax Credit for Independent Films Dropped

A tax credit for independent film productions was dropped from tax packages drafted to accompany a House minimum wage bill because of concern it could unintentionally benefit makers of X-rated movies.

The credit aimed to give U.S. productions an incentive not to move to Canada, where they can get generous tax breaks. That problem is a top concern of the Screen Actors Guild, some directors and officials in cities frequently used to film movies.

But aides to top Republican and Democratic lawmakers said that because the original version was limited to independent films with budgets of $10 million and under, there was concern that it could wind up being a boon to pornographers.

Envoy Says U.S. Must Pay Up to U.N.

U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke told a Senate panel yesterday that the United States has no chance of reducing its annual dues to the world body unless it pays the nearly $2 billion it owes.

When asked about the chances for cutting the U.S. share from 25 percent to 20 percent, Holbrooke recounted a line from a movie about a sports agent named Jerry Maguire. "I hate to quote Jerry Maguire, but they're saying, 'Show me the money,' " Holbrooke said.

Hill Study Warns of N. Korean Arms

North Korea's development of weapons of mass destruction is posing an increasing threat to the United States and its allies, according to a congressional study.

In addition to chemical and biological weapons, there is "significant evidence" that North Korea is continuing to develop nuclear weapons despite a commitment five years ago to remain nuclear-free, the report found.

Also, a dramatic improvement in North Korea's missile capabilities now permits the country to reach U.S. territory with a "high explosive chemical, biological, or possibly nuclear weapon," according to the report. "Currently, the United States is unable to defend against this threat."