Senate Votes to Make Terms Similar for Selling Cocaine, Crack

The Senate voted yesterday to stiffen the penalty for the sale of powder cocaine, bringing the penalty closer to that prescribed for selling crack cocaine.

The measure also would increase penalties for sales of all illegal drugs to minors and for selling them near schools and other places where young people congregate.

The 50-to-49 vote responds to complaints that a 1996 law making the penalties for selling crack cocaine more stringent than for the sale of powder cocaine has unfairly resulted in more severe sentences for blacks than whites.

The provision was attached to a major bill pending in the Senate to overhaul bankruptcy laws.

Bill Aims to Promote Fatherhood

The House sought to promote fatherhood in low-income families by expanding job training and employment opportunities and supporting programs that help men meet their responsibilities as husbands.

Passage of the "Fathers Count Act" came after a lengthy debate over the separation of church and state and defeat of an amendment that would have barred federal funds from the bill from going directly to churches and other houses of worship.

The bill, which passed 328-to-93, sets aside $150 million over six years in grants to nonprofit groups, including religious ones, and state agencies with programs providing educational, economic or employment aid to young parents.

Ohio Man Accused of Nazi Role

The Justice Department charged that a retired Ohio factory worker served as an armed guard at a Nazi slave labor camp during World War II and moved to strip him of his U.S. citizenship.

Wasyl Krysa, 74, of Brooklyn, Ohio, served as an armed guard of civilian prisoners at the Nazi SS Labor Camp Poniatowa in Nazi-occupied Poland from July to November 1943, the department's Office of Special Investigations alleged in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.

White House Urges Aid to Colombia

President Clinton will ask Congress early next year to boost economic and anti-narcotics assistance to Colombia and will urge other countries to also lend support, the White House said.

"We'll need to work closely in a bipartisan way with Congress when they return in January to work on an additional assistance package," White House spokesman Joe Lockhart told reporters.

The money would support a three-year, $7.5 billion recovery proposal drawn up by Colombian President Andres Pastrana and endorsed by the United States.

The plan envisions some $1.5 billion in U.S. assistance, but Pastrana has not specified an amount.