This Week

"This Week" Continued...

Issue: "Follow the Greenback Road," Jan. 25, 1997

Back in business

In Michigan, new Oakland County prosecutor David Gorcyca dropped all charges against Jack Kevorkian related to 10 assisted suicides. The charges had been filed last fall by then-prosecutor Richard Thompson, whom Mr. Gorcyca defeated in an election. Mr. Gorcyca, who said that prosecuting Mr. Kevorkian under existing statutes would be &quotwasting a lot of taxpayer money," has called on the Michigan legislature to pass a &quotclearly enforceable" law on assisted suicide. Mr. Kevorkian has never been convicted.

Winter wonderland

Ice and snow made travel difficult--if not impossible--all the way from the mountains of Southern California to the northern part of Alabama. While nearly 200,000 utility customers went without power in Texas, drifting snow in Utah shut down almost 140 miles of Interstate highway. North Dakota was whipped with 90-below wind chills and 15-foot snow drifts. Wind chills of 50 to 75 below were common in much of the upper Midwest.

Hebron handover

After months of negotiations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat struck a deal Jan. 15 that turns most of the West Bank city of Hebron over to Palestinian rule. Initialed between 2 and 3 a.m. at an outpost on the Israeli-Gaza border, the agreement commits Israel to transfer land and limited governing power to the Palestinian Authority. Eighty percent of Hebron--the place where David was anointed king--was transferred almost immediately. Other parts of the West Bank are to be handed over next year. The accord was not well received by some members of Mr. Netanyahu's cabinet, who saw it as violating both his campaign promises and the longstanding Israeli nationalist concept that Israeli lands must never be given away. After a tumultuous 12-hour meeting filled with heated exchanges, a bitterly divided cabinet signed off on the deal 11 to 7. Opposition in the Israeli parliament was much more subdued. There, the Hebron agreement passed handily, 87 to 17. While many Israelis seethed over the Hebron deal, so did members of the militant Islamic organization, Hamas, which maintains a strong presence in Hebron. In a statement published in Arabic-language newspapers, Hamas said the partial Israeli pullout was unacceptable because it meant &quotthe last and highest word remains in the hands of the Israeli army."

Mail bombings

The Saudi-owned Arabic-language paper, Al-Hayat, was the target of multiple letter bombs discovered Jan. 13--four at the paper's London office, four more at the U.N. building in New York, en route to the newspaper's office there. One of the London bombs exploded, seriously wounding a mail clerk. Investigators say the eight booby-trapped greeting cards were the latest in a series of 18 such letter-bombs discovered this month, most of them sent to Al-Hayat. All the envelopes were postmarked Dec. 21 in Alexandria, Egypt.

Needed: a mediator

In Peru, the standoff between hostage takers and the Peruvian government entered its second month, with Marxist rebels still holding 74 captives in the residence of the Japanese ambassador. On Jan. 15, rebel forces accepted a government proposal to form a commission to mediate the situation. Three American missionaries kidnapped four years ago by guerrillas in Colombia were reported to be alive. According to the ALC News Service, Costa Rican Vice Chancellor Roderigo Carreras told an evangelism conference in Panama that guerrilla leaders have assured him the three--David Mankins, Mark Rich, and Rick Tenefoff--are still living. Costa Rica has been trying to win their release. The three men, on assignment with New Tribes Mission, were kidnapped in 1993.


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