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Week In Review A Look Back At The Top Stories From The Last Week


Tax-and-save Democrat

Declaring an end to “an era of exploding deficits,” President Clinton unveiled Monday the first balanced budget proposal in 30 years, sending Congress a $1.7 trillion federal spending plan that projects a decade’s worth of budget surpluses.

As he did in his State of the Union address, the president warned Congress not to use up the projected surpluses - on tax cuts or massive new spending programs - until lawmakers can decide how to overhaul the financially troubled Social Security program.

However, he also proposed more than $113.5 billion worth of spending initiatives over the next five years - from funds to hire more teachers to increased subsidies for child care - to be financed in part by a fee that would boost cigarette prices by $1.24 a pack over five years, a move he said would raise $65.5 billion.

Starr’s chamber

In the face of recurring leaks about the Monica Lewinsky investigation, the White House mounted a fierce counterattack Friday, accusing the Whitewater prosecutor of illegally divulging false and misleading information to the news media.

Lawyers for President Clinton said they would seek criminal contempt charges against prosecutors for leaking information that is protected by grand jury secrecy laws.

Independent counsel Kenneth Starr said he was “very concerned” by the leaks and vowed to find out whether his staff acted unprofessionally.

Let God sort it out

Karla Faye Tucker, a pickax killer turned Christian, was executed Tuesday, spending her last minutes apologizing to her victims and expressing love for her family.

“I love all of you very much. I will see you all when you get there. I will wait for you,” were Tucker’s final words.

Tucker, the first woman executed in Texas since the Civil War, had found religion in prison, but was denied clemency by Republican Gov. George W. Bush despite pleas from Pat Robertson and Pope John Paul II.

You mean I didn’t win?

You may already have won a $300 billion fine, Florida’s top law enforcer informed Ed McMahon, Dick Clark and American Family Publishers Monday. The company’s promotional letters - which prompted an 88-year-old California man to fly to the firm’s Tampa address last week to claim what he thought was his sweepstakes prize - have triggered a lawsuit from Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth.

The civil complaint, filed Monday in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, alleges a whole mailbag of tricks: Falsely suggesting more than one person received a winning sweepstakes number, but only the fastest response could win; and misleading consumers that ordering magazine subscriptions was necessary or helpful in winning a prize.

“They have clearly stepped over the line from advertising hype to unlawful deception,” Butterworth said.


AIDS detective story

A frozen blood sample collected in 1959 from a man in what was then the Belgian Congo has yielded the earliest evidence of the AIDS virus in humans.

Scientists who reported the discovery Tuesday say it pushes the origins of the AIDS epidemic to the late 1940s or early 1950s, a decade or two earlier than many experts had thought. From those obscure beginnings the virus erupted into a recognized epidemic in 1981 and has spread to 31 million people worldwide today, causing 16,000 new infections a day and 2.3 million deaths a year.

Because the newly found virus appears to be the ancestor of two of the most prevalent modern subtypes - including the one that predominates in North America and Europe - one expert said that makes it more likely the virus’s fateful leap from monkeys to humans was a rare, one-time event.


Victim of desire

The former Seattle grade school teacher who had sex with a 13-year-old boy and gave birth to his child was sent back to prison for nearly 7-1/2 years Friday after they were caught apparently trying to run away together.

Mary Kay LeTourneau, 35, and the teenager were found Tuesday in a parked car with the windows steamed up. Prosecutors said they had $6,200 in cash, men’s and infant’s clothing and her passport.

LeTourneau had gotten out of jail just a month earlier, on the condition that she stay away from the boy, now 14.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Compiled by news editor Kevin Graman from staff and wire reports.