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U.S. News Briefs

September 24, 1995
Web posted at: 10:35 a.m. EDT

Ronald Reagan saying 'a long good-bye'

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Nancy Reagan tells Newsweek magazine that Ronald Reagan's mind is giving way to Alzheimer's disease but that his once-estranged family has come together again. The former First Lady describes the situation as "a long good-bye." In an article largely based on a letter written by her, Newsweek says the former president still goes to his office every day and has short meetings with friends. It says some political acquaintances have stopped visiting because of the pain of seeing how far he has slipped. But the article says Reagan's once-rebellious children have renewed their relationships with their parents. "I think any illness brings a family close," Nancy Reagan said.

Wal-Mart admits mistake in pulling feminist T-shirt

BENTONVILLE, Arkansas (CNN) -- Wal-Mart admits it over- reacted by removing a T-shirt with a pro-woman message from shelves in a Florida store after two customers complained.

The shirt carries the words "Someday a Woman will be President" and a picture of Margaret, a character in the "Dennis the Menace" cartoon. It was designed by psychologist Ann Ruben to boost the self-esteem of girls.

Wal-Mart spokesman Jay Allen said the Bentonville-based company is apologizing and may resume selling the shirt.

Allen said the manager of the store in the Miami suburb of Miramar pulled the shirt last month after two customers complained that the message was politically offensive. "Intentionally, we over-react to customers," Allen said. "That's why we've been so successful. If a customer tells us something, we not only react to it, but over-react to it. In this case, over-reacting was wrong."

Women's groups had threatened to boycott the retail chain, and Allen said Wal-Mart was swamped Saturday with phone calls protesting removal of the shirt. Sales reportedly were brisk before the shirt was pulled. Allen said the remaining shirts would be given away at Miramar, and other stores would carry them if demand warrants.

Laundress-turned-benefactor wins presidential medal

Oseola McCarty

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- For 75 years, Oseola McCarty of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, did other peoples' laundry, managing to save $150,000. What she did with that money earned her the nation's second-highest civilian honor.

McCarty, 87, donated it to the University of Southern Mississippi to provide scholarships for needy students.

At the White House Saturday night, McCarty received the Presidential Citizens Medal. Later, accompanied by President Clinton, she received two standing ovations at a dinner given by the Congressional Black Caucus.

Report: Spy agency hoarded unspent funds

National Reconnaissance 

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The secret government agency that manages the U.S. spy satellite program reportedly has piled up between $1 billion and $1.7 billion in unspent funds.

According to the Washington Post, the National Reconnaissance Organization hoarded the money without informing Congress or even NRO supervisors at the Pentagon and CIA.


Unidentified Capitol Hill sources told the paper the NRO's ability to put away so much money from its classified multi- billion dollar budget reaffirms concerns that intelligence agencies may use their secret status to avoid accountability.

The Post says the money was found after the NRO began building a new $300 million headquarters in Virginia without specific approval from Congress. CIA Director John Deutch said an inquiry found nothing illegal about the money-handling but he told the Post a new chief financial operator has been appointed at the NRO.

Cutting the wait at the Washington Monument

Washington monument

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The National Park Service plans an experiment to help tourists avoid long waits at the Washington Monument.

Starting October 17, visitors will be able to pick up the free tour tickets handed out at the monument in advance, for scheduled tours later in the day. Also, people will be able to buy advance tour ticket by phone from Ticketmaster for $2.

The two-month experiment will determine if the advance ticket system will be used in the summer, the monument's busiest season.

Welsh-Americans upset by president's remark

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Welsh-Americans are demanding an apology from President Clinton for a remark he made. On Friday, in response to a reporter's question on raising the federal debt limit, Clinton said "We don't welsh on our debts." Rees Lloyd, general counsel for the Welsh-American Legal Defense, Education and Development Fund called the remark "awful' and "insensitive." He faxed a letter to the White House, demanding an apology. About two million Americans are of Welsh descent.

U.S. Air Force to rename library

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The U.S. Air Force will rename a library at its School of Aerospace Medicine in Texas, named after Dr. Hubertus Strughold, who is hailed as "the father of U.S. space medicine." Strughold, a German scientist, came to the U.S. after World War II and helped develop pressure suits used by U.S. astronauts, and the U.S. space capsule. The World Jewish Congress said the Air Force has decided to remove his name from the library because documents from the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal named him as a participant in medical experiments in which inmates from Dachau concentration camp were tortured and killed. Strughold, who died in 1986, denied approving any such experiments.


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