Refugee Numbers

Double From 2003

The number of refugees admitted to the United States nearly doubled over the past year, primarily because of more efficient screening procedures, the State Department said yesterday.

There were 52,875 refugee admission in the 2004 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. That was 86 percent higher than the previous fiscal year, when, 28,422 were admitted.

One of the biggest increases was from Africa, which accounted for 29,125 refugees in the 2004 fiscal year, nearly four times higher than the 7,737 admitted the previous year. The African countries providing the most refugees were Somalia, Liberia, Sudan and Ethiopia.

Thurmond Adviser Urged

Dropping Racist Stance

In a never-disclosed 1970 memo, an adviser warned Sen. Strom Thurmond that racist appeals would no longer win South Carolina elections.

Within weeks, Thurmond, a hard-line segregationist for 22 years, began to reinvent himself as a racial moderate, according to a report in the State newspaper of Columbia, S.C. It was the turning point in Thurmond's political career.

The Nov. 6, 1970, memo from adviser Dolly Hamby to Thurmond offers, for the first time, insight into the thinking of the longtime senator's camp at the time.

"Strom, South Carolina is much more moderate than many think," wrote the late Hamby, a longtime adviser. "An appeal to race is no longer a vote-getter."

Hamby's four-page memo was written Nov. 6, 1970, two days after a Thurmond protege, Republican Albert Watson, lost an openly racist campaign for South Carolina governor to John C. West. "The 'racist' charge REALLY hurt!" Hamby wrote of Watson's campaign.

Thurmond played a key role in that campaign, endorsing Watson and lending advisers. A month before Watson's loss, Thurmond publicly boasted, "I'm not going to bend my philosophy just to get elected."

But after Watson's defeat, Thurmond changed course.

Within 10 weeks, Thurmond hired his first high-level black staffer, began softening his public statements on race and stopped opposing blacks' efforts to gain equal rights.

Government to Hit

Debt Ceiling This Month

The government should hit the national debt's $7.4 trillion ceiling this month, and the Bush administration told Congress again yesterday that it should raise the limit.

That would be a politically sticky move before the Nov. 2 elections.

Treasury Department spokesman Rob Nichols said the government is on track to reach the limit in early October. He could not provide a more specific date but said the forecast is made "on a day-to-day basis," and Congress would be notified.

The government can juggle accounts to stay under the limit through mid-November to avoid default, as it has in the past. But the Bush administration is urging Congress, which expects to adjourn Friday, to raise the ceiling.

"We've been calling on Congress to act now for months, and we think it's important that they do so," Nichols said.

-- From News Services