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September 17, 1998 – BBC World Service – Newsdesk – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
September 17, 1998 – The view from London – the ongoing drama of the Clinton/Lewinsky Affair was reaching a new chapter when the House Judiciary Committee was slated to meet over when to release the video tape of President Clinton’s Gand Jury Testimony. Clinton’s testimony capped a four-year probe by an independent counsel, Kenneth Starr, who had been named to investigate allegations against the president and his wife, Hillary Clinton, stemming from the Whitewater real estate venture in Arkansas, as well as suspected cronyism in the firing of White House travel agency personnel.
In also examining allegations of sexual harassment against the president, Starr uncovered an affair between Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern.
Clinton denied under oath that he had engaged in sexual relations with Lewinsky. That testimony led Starr to accuse the president of perjury and obstruction of justice, which in turn prompted his grand jury appearance.
When Clinton testified, he knew Lewinsky was talking to Starr’s prosecutors, and he knew his DNA could match a semen stain on her blue dress. Faced with those facts, the president could have invoked the Fifth Amendment, refusing to incriminate himself before the grand jury.
In other news – Tensions between Iran and neighboring Afghanistan were threatening to boil over when Iranian Army forces massed along the Afghan border, in retaliation to the murder of nine diplomats by Afghan officials. Iran vowed revenge against the militant Taliban movement that controls most of neighboring Afghanistan, with the Revolutionary Guards saying that the Taliban should be given ”what they so richly deserve” for killing at least nine Iranian diplomats.
In a statement on Iranian television, the elite force added: ”The Taliban and the main agents responsible for this horrific crime must know that they shall never be immune to the tumultuous anger of the Islamic corps.”
And Iran’s former President, Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is still a key official, said today during prayer services at Teheran University: ”I offer condolences to the martyrs’ families and promise them that we will get revenge for their blood.”
The gathering was punctuated by chants of ”Death to the Taliban!”
The fierce new round of threats followed an admission by the Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, on Thursday that Taliban soldiers had ”either intentionally or unintentionally” killed the diplomats last month during the capture of the northern Afghan town of Mazar-i-Sharif. Omar added any invasion of Afghanistan by Iran would result in a war that would last for decades.
And unemployment in Hong Kong had reached its highest level in over 15 years.
All that, and so much more for this September 17, 1998 as reported by the BBC World Service, Newsdesk program.