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Federal File: Ambassador Kunin?; Fighting violence

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Deputy Secretary of Education Madeleine M. Kunin, who was born in Switzerland, is reportedly a candidate to become the next U.S. ambassador to that country.

The Washington Post reported recently that she is "one highly regarded contender" for the post.

A Department of Education spokeswoman declined to comment on the newspaper's report.

Ms. Kunin, a former governor of Vermont, has taken charge of departmental management issues and the implementation and expansion of the direct-student-loan program.

The Department of Justice has a new "youth-violence czar."

Kent Markus, who was named to the new post last month, has been a high-ranking official in the agency since 1994. Most recently, he served as the acting assistant attorney general for legislative and intergovernmental affairs.

Attorney General Janet Reno has called Mr. Markus her "counselor for youth violence." As a member of the attorney general's personal staff, he will oversee the department's policy on combating violent crime by juveniles.

Mr. Markus will also coordinate efforts with Shay Bilchick, the administrator of the department's office of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention.

"They will complement each other," a department spokeswoman said. "This is just one more way to address the problem of youth violence."

Before joining the Justice Department, Mr. Markus, a Cleveland native, served as the chief of staff at the Democratic National Committee.

Mr. Markus' biography also states that he won a limbo contest last year in Aruba, which could bode well for his on-the-job flexibility.

Meanwhile, President Clinton last week canceled an appearance at the Justice Department to discuss programs to combat gang recruitment and gang violence.

On the day of the scheduled discussion, April 3, White House officials learned that the plane of Secretary of Commerce Ronald H. Brown had crashed in Croatia after a trade mission to Bosnia. It was later announced that no one survived the crash.

The anti-gang event had not been rescheduled as of late last week.

--Mark Pitsch
& Robert C. Johnston

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