O'LEARY CALLS FOR VICTIM COMPENSATION Victims of US government radiation tests during the 1950s should be compensated, Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary said Dec. 28. Ms. O'Leary, in an interview on CNN, said ``... we ought to go forward and explain to the Congress what has happened and let the Congress of the United States and the American public determine what would be appropriate compensation.'' O'Leary said at least 600 to 800 people were subjected to government experiments in which they were exposed to potentially harmful amounts of radiation, some apparently without their informed consent. The US government recently acknowledged conducting nuclear tests in the 1950s over populated areas of the western United States. The Boston Globe reported that mentally retarded teenagers were fed cereal laced with radioactive substances as part of a medical experiment performed at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Consumer confidence up
The Conference Board reported Dec. 28 that its US consumer confidence index jumped in December to 80.2 from a revised 71.9 in November. The private agency report indicates consumers are now somewhat more positive in their assessment of prevailing conditions and markedly more optimistic in their expectations for the next six months. US-Japan chip controversy
The US accused Japan Dec. 27 of reneging on its obligations under a 1991 treaty designed to increase Tokyo's use of imported computer chips and demanded immediate talks. The trade dispute comes amid promises by Japanese leaders to provide more access to Japanese markets for a variety of US products from rice and satellite technology to finished lumber. BCCI claims settled
A former Saudi bank executive and his assistant will pay $225 million to settle charges in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International case. Sheik Khalid bin Mahfouz was accused of trying to defraud BCCI depositors of $300 million. The settlement announced Dec. 27 drops all criminal charges. It brings to $880 million the total amount recovered in the BCCI case through fines and seizures. Most of that will be used to pay back depositors. Guns for toys success
New Yorkers are trading guns for $100 gift certificates at Toys ``R'' Us. The program has been so successful that it is being extended in one of the city's most violent neighborhoods. A congressman and the leader of the NAACP hope to expand it nationally. From Dec. 22 to Dec. 27 more than 375 guns were turned in to the privately sponsored program. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and businessman Fernando Mateo announced the program would be extended until Jan. 6. Philippines bombings
Grenades exploded almost simultaneously at two mosques Dec. 28 in Davao City in the Philippines, two days after a grenade attack killed seven people at the city's Roman Catholic cathedral, police and witnesses said. On Dec. 27, two rifle grenades were fired at another Davao mosque but caused no injuries. It appeared the mosque attacks were in retaliation for the Dec. 26 bombing which killed seven and injured 140. Moslem and Christian leaders appealed for calm. Packwood takes Fifth
Sen. Bob Packwood (R) of Oregon said he will exercise his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in his battle against career-threatening sexual misconduct allegations and possible criminal charges. He said that his diaries, now being held by the court, should not be used against him in the case, which involves sexual harassment charges brought by staffers. Dave Beck, Teamster leader
Dave Beck, a laundry-truck driver who used bare-knuckle tactics to build the Teamsters into the world's largest union and ultimately went to prison for corruption, died Dec. 26. The Teamsters had little more than 76,000 members when Beck started organizing in 1926. When he stepped down in 1957, it had grown to 1.6 million.