Monday, October 31, 2005
US to close embassy in Grenada. Evidently Grenada isn’t important after all.
Head of It. Northern League to be tried for corruption
Cigarette labeling on tar & nicotine bears no relation to reality
Farrakhan says whites won’t stop black violence because use them for organ transplanting
Ger Fed Const Court legalizes personal-use possession of marijuana, hashish under equal protection clause (equal, that is, with users of other intoxicants)
GAO investigation of Clinton’s early firings at White House travel office says Hillary asked for them
NOW wants boycott of Calvin Klein – its models are too thin
(Soviet) Georgian MPs ordered to leave guns in cloak room – the regular scuffles might turn really nasty
Clinton wants air traffic control to be a Gov corp – it is now the world’s largest user of vacuum tubes
Cost of BA at Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford etc passes $100,000
Congress removes cap on arms sales to Taiwan, ending a 12-yr commitment to reduced sales
Though gov said plea bargain w/mole Aldrich Ames & his wife left them penniless, actually left them their Colombian ranch & 2 apts
Clinton has hired a priv lawyer in case a woman sues him for sexual advances
AMA wants employer mandates for health insurance only for comps over 100, excluding... most doctors, 1/3 of whom don’t provide health benefits
E Ger birth rate down to 5.1/1,000 1st 6 mos 1993, 50% below 1989, ½ W Ger. And that’s w/40% fewer abortions 1992 over 1989. Marriage rate 1992 62% below 1989
– WW2 Berlin only dropped 30%.
-Also birth rate fell 20% Poland 1989–1st ½ 1993, 25% Bulgaria, 30% Romania & Estonia, 35% Russia
-For E Ger women 25-45, death rates up 20% 1989->91, men 25-45 40%, girls 10-14 70%. Only dropped for babies & old. Death rate Russia up 30% 1989-93, male life expectancy dropped from 62 to 59 just between 1992 & 1993 – Pakistan’s level
Ch. executed 1,400-2,500 last yr, way up. Many for non-violent crimes in new anti-corruption campaign
New Jap. gov’s new Justice Minister is 1st general in Cabinet since WW2. He says Rape of Nanking a fabrication & says Japan was liberating Asian countries from W. colonial powers
(Update: he is fired, but it took a couple of days)
ANC says there was wide-scale Inkatha election-rigging. Also, someone broke into the vote-counting computer
House bans 19 semi-auto assault weapons 294-213 (existing ones can be kept, and sold w/out paperwork)
Singapore cans a US teenager who vandalized cars. A cause celebre, talk show call-ins want caning here. Singapore, which may have beaten & lied a confession out of him, caned him (only 4X, out of deference to Clinton) at a time when no one can see him
Arena presidential candidate won El Salvadoran run-off
An article on Nixon’s death quotes high school students saying he did nothing every other president didn’t. The irony is that this cynicism is Nixon’s great pol legacy
UN extends embargo on Haiti to almost everything
Mandela picks Thabo Mbeki as exec depy president. His cabinet 17 male, 1 female, retaining old Min Finance. CP head Joe Slovo gets Housing. Min Defense Joe Modise, head of Spear of the Nation.
-ANC got 62.7% of votes & 252 seats of 400, Nats 20.4% & 82, Inkatha 10.5% & 43, Pan Africanists 1.2% & 5 seats, Dem Party 1.7% & 7 seats. Inkatha barely won KwaZulu/Natal provincial lege
UN envoy to Yugoslavia lets 5 tanks into Sarajevo exclusion zone in exchange for hostages. After Serbs reneged on deal to be escorted by UN troops, a 5th tank let through when force threatened. So much for principle
Paula Jones sues Clinton for $700,000 for dropping his pants under a Civil War anti-KKK law about civil rights
90% sentenced under fed mandatory sentences are non-violent 1st-time offenders. 93% sentenced for fed crack offences 1992 are black – for simple possession, 100%. 5 yrs mandatory for 1/5 ounce of crack of distrib of over 500g. Powder cocaine,... Add 5 yrs if w/in 1,000 ft of a school, even if it’s inside your own house. Under these guidelines, ave fed drug sentence up from 23.1 mos to 84.2 mos 1991 & prison pop doubled. Since enforcement depends on informants, those highest up get the lightest sentences. It’s not entirely mandatory, since bargaining is now not over charges, but which facts to ignore – all power is in prosecution, w/judge unable to refuse a deal. 1988 crack possession of 5g increased to 5 yrs, where 5g powder cocaine – really the same thing – gets probation. 1992 3% sentenced for crack distrib white
Fr businessmen wandering around Sarajevo in fake UN uniforms trying to get reconstruction contracts
Br junior whip resigns for violating the (newly-reconfirmed) homosexual age of consent (w/a 20-yr old)
Clinton changes Haitian refugee policy again, will now give asylum hearings... at sea
Br local elections: Tories lose 429 of 1,317 seats they held, 18 of their 33 councils. John Carlisle says he’ll run against Major in fall if no one else does. Labour 41% of vote, Lib Dems 27, Tories 27. (see also 6/4/94)
Paula Jones’s lawyers tried to get Clinton to admit ( ) & promise not to make further statements, while she could say whatever she liked. Unlike Anita Hill, who fascists are comparing her to, she 1st made the charge at the Conserv Pol Action Conf, prompted by Reed Irvine
Under “don’t ask, don’t tell,” 125 have been dismissed from military for homosexuality since Feb. 28 (most wanted to leave). Commanders have more discretion, so are misusing it, and presumption that a gay person is guilty of homosexual acts hard to rebut
Panama has 1st elections since US invasion. A banker wins, beating a salsa singer who lives in US
Hungarian ex-communists return to power w/30% of vote in 1st round, the relig righty coalition 12%. It’s been 4 yrs
Texas jury awards $1m punitive damages from Operation Rescue, Rescue America, and their leaders, to a Planned Parenthood clinic disrupted
Florida votes to try juveniles of whatever age as adults when commit 3 felonies. Texas ends bail for sex offenders & violent criminals. NC allows 13-yr olds to be tried as adults, mandatory for murder
States trying to undermine Motor Voter bill by making registration almost automatic in DMV offices, combining the forms, but making welfare recipients ask & fill our separate forms (GA, Mass, Fla, CA)
Winnie Mandela is a new MP. Nelson kept looking the opposite direction from her at his inauguration
Metuchen NJ stops reappointment of a muni judge for failing to make enough profit out of fines. NJ’s muni courts make ave 93% return, his only 31%
After 1½ mos, Berlusconi finally names his gov. The “post-fascists” get 5 of 25 portfolios, inc Cultural Affairs (they reach for their revolvers, I guess) & Transport (make the trains...) Northern League gets Interior Min, inc police. The president insisted all cabinet members support a “one and indivisible” Italy, support freedom & legality
Insurers now increasingly check medical bills & refuse to pay 8-10%. Insurers insist on shorter hospitalizations, so patients need home nursing which they have to pay higher % of
Haiti’s rump legislators try to name a new, 80-yr old president
State Farm denies insurance (life & health) to battered women “for their own protection”. So keep it secret, ladies.
Mandela gives Buthelezi Ministry of Home Affairs & Winnie M. deputy min arts, culture, science & technology
John Smith, head of Labour, dies at 55. Uh oh
Lake Cty, Fla’s Christian-dominated school board votes to implement state-mandated program on teaching about other cultures by also teaching that American values are the best
Economist 5/7/94 says in addition to Matrix Churchill, huge amounts of Br arms illegally went to Iraq through 3rd countries, esp Jordan, inc a 42-car trainload of anti-tank missiles & shells sent after Iraq invaded Kuwait (Sep90), despite an FO report that Iraq systematically used Jordan as cover – as did Saudis, Gulf states, Cyprus... Alan Clark, the suddenly-honest ex-defense minister says trickier items were sent to Jordan. Many ammunition orders went to countries like Jordan that didn’t have the artillery the shells were for, and huge #s of them as well. Iraq also bought chem-weapon ingredients & tank spares via Jordan. These comps reported to gov
Exxon Valdez’s Capt. Hazelwood, in new civil trial, says Exxon knew he was a drunk
Tobacco comps patented a method of making safer cigarettes by heating rather than burning tobacco – in 1966 & another ready for mkt 1979. Seems to have been dropped because they didn’t want to admit what it was safer than.
Wall St Journal says Clinton should renew Ch’s MFN status, but can save his honor by playing a round of golf w/the president of Taiwan & HK legislator Martin Lee. That’ll show ‘em. Abe Rosenthal says he called them, and yes, they’re serious.
Senate votes 50-49 to lift arms embargo on Bosnia – Russian Parl resolution that if so, should lift embargo on Serbia
Palestinian police replace Israeli soldiers Jericho
Clinton (finally) nominates Stephen Breyer to Sup Court. Orrin Hatch & Ted Kennedy support him. The right & westerners wanted anyone but environmentalist Bruce Babbitt. Worst ruling, so far, is role in creating Fed mandatory sentences. Clinton as ever unwilling to fight for Babbitt.
Eur Commission’s highest level is 30 directors-gen – 1 ♀. Of 17 chefs de cabinet, 1 ♀. Below that 200 directors, 3 women, none in policy-making
Here’s the universe’s stupidest civil war: among Iraqi Kurds
Philip Morris trying to get an anti-smoking initiative on CA ballot – weaker than existing ones in LA, SF, etc
Actually, US will keep embassy in Grenada
Clinton hasn’t actually started the new policy of having hearings for Haitian refugees, and has returned 618 in the last week w/out hearings, as many as all previous 1994.
-The new “president” says he’ll also be PM & rule by decree
The Fr comp finally does what it said it would do 1 yr ago, and will give patent for RU-486 to nonprofit Population Council. Should be available 1996
Reports say CIA helped Yeltsin break 1991 coup against Gorbachev, breaking codes of coup leaders
Some Br cops to carry guns
H R Haldeman’s diaries being published, Nixon said Jews controlled the media 1971. Haldeman talked to him about getting Ted Kennedy in a compromising position. And Nixon threatened to reveal that LBJ bugged his campaign plane 1968, to get him to get Senate to stop Watergate inquiry
A homeless “serial diner” in NY getting his 31st sentence for not paying for meals. His current 90-dy sentence for a $51.31 check will cost NY $14,580. $¼m over last 5 yrs
Br gov secretly blocked a Labour bill to ban discrim against the handicapped
Clinton says he might use force in Haiti because “it’s in our backyard.” How Reaganesque.
For Clinton’s Nixonesque mode: Justice Dept to tell Fed Judge in the sexual harassment suit it should be dismissed (or delayed until he is no longer president) because he is too busy a person to bother with lawsuits. Even Nixon never said sitting presidents immune from lawsuits, esp for actions taken before he was president; this position is unique.
Elections Malawi end Banda’s career as president since 1964. He is age 142. Or something. He banned bell bottoms, but on the other hand he also banned miniskirts.
CA Sup Court says assault on pregnant woman that kills the fetus can be prosecuted as murder, even if fetus not viable. ½ states do so, some requiring viability, some quickening
Memos from Brown & Wilkinson Tobacco Comp show it spent $1m over 4 yrs to get cigarettes placed in movies. Sounds more like bribery than business, since it went in form of jewelry & a car & a horse for Sylvester Stallone, for ex., & cash to a property master. Also bribed were Sean Connery, Paul Newman. Films inc Godfather III, Rambo, The Tempest, Sudden Impace
Br trying to privatize post office. The queen granted permission for her face to cont. being used
Yemen has been in civil war for 2 weeks. S Yemen now wants to break away, after 4 yrs’ reunification
Israel, still trying to get back an Israeli navigator lost in Lebanon 1986, kidnaps someone else in Lebanon, Sheik Obeid, kidnapped 1989, still being held. Now they kidnap another leader, to torture info out of him
INS no longer has a fingerprint service, so aliens seeking naturalization must provide their own. So criminals buy fingerprints.
US to give loan guarantees for Westinghouse to complete Soviet-designed nuclear reactors in Czech R. Gore was pushing for it
-9 US nuclear corps say they won’t make safety improvements on Soviet-design reactors unless gov protects them from liability. The next Chernobyl is ours.
Crimean Parl votes to restore 1992 const for sovereignty, Ukraine gives them 10 dys to rescind
Rwandan civil war going well. 40,000 bodies tossed in rivers have floated into Lake Victoria in Uganda. Last week another ½m refugees found, but some may be earlier Burundian refugees. Attempts at UN force entirely of Afs stalled in UN by US
Sup Court allows discrim in jury selection for religion
Miss. sues tobacco comps for reimbursement for medical programs. Fla. to do same – easier because state, unlike indivs, can use statistics instead of dir proof
DeKlerk’s last act as president was to secretly transfer 3m acres to the Zulu king, removing it from the new gov. This is as distinct from the now “abolished” homelands. That’s most of KwaZulu & had been owned by the homeland gov
Indicted for taking bribes: former heads of Italian Socialists (Craxi), Christ Dems (Forlani), Repub, Lib, Soc Dems, N League
Arafat calls on courts in Gaza & Jericho to ignore Israeli law & revert to pre-1967. This isn’t quite up to the agreement
Ch. plans to celebrate Clinton’s inevitable cave-in on MFN by detonating a nuke
Br gov officials lie, then admit, that 80+ killer amends to bill against discrim against handicapped, were ordered drafted by civil service. One Tory MP who said her amends were her own is called a liar by the speaker
Whaling commission bans whaling in Antarctica even if overall ban lifted
Money triumphs over principles again, and Clinton gives Ch. MFN w/no conditions & w/no progress in the goals Clinton laid down a yr ago for renewal now. And Clinton says we will never use this weapon on Ch. again. At the intersection in Tiananmen where a dissident stopped that row of tanks, is the world’s biggest McDonald’s
New Croatian currency that of the WW2 puppet state
John Major says there is no need to beg, so beggars should be arrested, and people should call the police. Says they’re an eyesore
Since 1990, 89 Senate filibusters. Ave 1/yr 1917-67, 10 1968-89
Indonesia’s reach is wide. John Pilger says the domination of Australian media by Rupert Murdoch, who wants to extend satellite to Indonesia, means he (Pilger) gets attacked whenever he mentions E Timor. And it blackmailed Philippines into crippling a conference on E Timor, inc barring all foreigners, inc Mitterrand’s wife & expel an Irish Nobel Prize winner
The commission investigating assassination of Mexican heir to presidency Colosio disbands, saying gov not cooperating
Pope rules out even debate or through about ♀ priests, saying Church had no authority to ordain & everyone is obligated to agree w/him. He is trying to preclude future popes on the issue
Hungarian Socialists (ex-CP won 15-seat majority w/35% of vote). New PM served as auxiliary policeman 1956