This Week

Issue: "Lyons thrown to Baptists," Sept. 20, 1997

Symbol of "selflessness"

From around the world, government dignitaries and religious leaders flocked to Calcutta to honor the memory of Mother Teresa, the diminutive Roman Catholic nun who won international fame and a Nobel Peace Prize by doing good works. Her funeral, with full state honors in a 12,000-seat stadium, also attracted the poor and destitute, the very kind of people to whom she devoted her life. The Washington Post described Mother Teresa as "an enduring symbol of the idea of selflessness in a society that seems to be in a crazed spirit of self-obsession." American pro-lifers praised "the saint of the gutters" for her unwavering and vocal support of the unborn, recalling her 1994 address at the National Prayer Breakfast, in which she bluntly told President Clinton and other abortion supporters in attendance that abortion is the "direct killing of [an] innocent child." Mother Teresa's theology, however, remains a matter of question. Although she carried out her work in overwhelmingly Hindu India, Mother Teresa did not try to convert people, her biographer told the Reuter news agency. "I once asked her bluntly, 'Do you convert?'" said Naveen Chawla. "She said, 'Of course I convert. I convert you to be a better Hindu or a better Muslim or a better Protestant. Once you have found God, it's up to you to decide how to worship him.'"

Drunk and then some

Additional blood tests confirmed that Henri Paul, driver of the car that crashed killing Princess Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, was drunk. Mr. Paul, who died instantly in the Aug. 31 Paris accident, also had two drugs in his bloodstream: the antidepressant Prozac and another drug commonly prescribed for recovering alcoholics. Medical experts said the two drugs, combined with alcohol, would enhance a feeling of euphoria, impair vision, and reduce physical reaction time. Meanwhile, the French newspaper Le Parisien quoted an emergency doctor who treated Diana at the crash scene as saying there were photographers all around the dying princess, "machine-gunning her" with camera shots. "They were just a few centimeters from her face," he said.

Beam us out, Scotty

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Drinking Scotch and dancing reels, many Scots celebrated landslide approval of a British Labor Party plan that will give Scotland its own parliament, after nearly 300 years of rule from London. British conservatives, who lost to Labor earlier this year, warned that the "yes" vote would lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom.

Timeout for bad boys

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, trying to pour oil on troubled Israeli/Palestinian waters, had stern words for both sides. In the wake of two deadly bombings by Palestinian militants, she echoed Israeli demands by warning Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat to crack down on terrorists. Mr. Arafat, who only weeks ago was seen publicly embracing militant leaders, promised full cooperation. Ms. Albright then urged Israel to stop unilateral acts that "Palestinians perceive as ... provocative," including the expansion of Jewish settlements. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed her settlement "timeout" demand, saying Israelis have a right to build neighborhoods on their own land. Another Israeli official, responding to Ms. Albright, pointed out that avoiding provocation of Palestinians is a subjective standard: "What will they think is provocative tomorrow?" he asked, quoted by The New York Times.


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