Archive for Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Briefly

January 21, 2004

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Washington, D.C.

Salvation Army to get $1.5 billion from heiress

The charity famous for its red Christmas kettles is getting a record donation from the woman behind the golden arches.

The estate of Joan Kroc, the McDonald's heiress, said Tuesday it was giving an estimated $1.5 billion to the Salvation Army to build community centers across the country. It's the largest single donation ever given to a charitable organization.

The Salvation Army, which promises "soup, soap and salvation," was a favorite of her husband, Ray Kroc, who died in 1984. He was a bell-ringer for the charity in the 1950s and '60s.

Iraq

Coalition officials bargain on handing over power

If an influential Shiite cleric sticks to his demand for early legislative elections, then the coalition may turn sovereignty over to the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, coalition and Iraqi officials said Tuesday.

One top Iraqi official said the cleric would accept a transfer of power to the Governing Council as a way out of the standoff.

Transferring power to the Governing Council was among options under study if the United Nations fails to convince Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani that early elections are not feasible, coalition officials told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Publicly, coalition officials have insisted the best way to choose the transitional legislature is by 18 regional caucuses.

Washington, D.C.

Democrats to stop delay on contentious spending bill

Senate Democrats said Tuesday they would stop stalling an overdue $373 billion spending bill over food labeling rules and other issues, bowing to pressure to accept the measure's boosts for veterans and other popular programs.

In its first roll call of the election year, the Senate failed to end Democratic procedural delays that have bogged the measure down since December. The 48-45 vote fell 12 short of the 60 votes needed to free the bill, which would finance education, law enforcement and most federal domestic programs.

But Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., removed any drama by predicting the Senate would approve the bill by next week, regardless of whether the problems were resolved. Majority Republicans had said repeatedly they would not alter the food labeling or other provisions Democrats opposed.

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