This Week

Issue: "Debunking Darwinism," Nov. 22, 1997

Sudden death

Terrorists in Karachi, Pakistan, jumped from their car in rush hour traffic and fired at nearly point-blank range into a station wagon containing four American oil company workers. After riddling the wagon with bullets, the gunmen fled, leaving the Americans and their Pakistani driver dead. Police speculated that the attack was in retaliation for the recent conviction of a Pakistani in the 1993 killing of two CIA employees.

Blood money

Several parties who hoped to make a killing-financially-with the abortion-inducing drug RU-486 settled their lawsuits against each other. On Nov. 12, businessman Joseph Pike and a Los Angeles investment firm known as the Giant Group worked out their differences. Giant had sued Mr. Pike for fraud, accusing him of mishandling $13 million he had raised for RU-486 investment. Mr. Pike, in turn, had sued Giant for defamation. Giant also settled a suit against the Population Council, the nonprofit that holds the U.S. patent to RU-486. Despite settlement of the suits, which put the drug a step closer to U.S. distribution, some investors in RU-486 still aren't happy. One man who's put $500,000 in the enterprise said no one will tell him what's happening with his investment. "This was supposed be a wonderful drug for American women," he told The New York Times. "Now I think it's just people smelling a lot of money."

In brief

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A Muslim militant who said he "wanted to make Americans feel terror" was found guilty of masterminding the 1993 bombing of New York's World Trade Center. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, captured in Pakistan in 1995, faces a life term. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said Mr. Yousef intended the parking garage blast to topple one of the center's 110-story twin towers and kill as many as 250,000 people. The jury also convicted Mr. Yousef's accomplice. In California, jury selection began in the trial of Theodore Kaczynski, the academic-turned-hermit accused of being the Unabomber. He faces three charges of murder. Prospective jurors were questioned closely about their views on the death penalty. FBI agents captured Mr. Kaczynski last year after a 17-year manhunt. Saying there was"absolutely no evidence" that a criminal act brought down TWA Flight 800, FBI officials suspended their investigation.

The money trail

In a swank Georgetown home, President Clinton schmoozed about 20 contributors (who paid $20,000 per couple for the privilege) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee, which is $15 million in debt. The Q Street mansion-which features marble pillars, tile floors, an exercise room, and an indoor pool-is home to Reynolds tobacco heir Smith Bagley. It was the first stop in a five-fundraiser, six-day tour from which the DNC expects to take $2 million. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported another FBI misstep in the government's probe into Chinese attempts to buy political influence in Washington. Investigative reporter Bob Woodward quoted "senior U.S. government sources" saying that the FBI "acknowledged overlooking key intelligence information" pointing more clearly to an organized effort by communist officials to buy their way into U.S. politics. Mr. Woodward's story says Attorney General Janet Reno learned of the overlooked intelligence and was "livid" about it. She and FBI director Louis Freeh, the Post reported, apologized to the chairman of the Senate investigation, Fred Thompson, whose hearings ended Oct. 31. Earlier in the week, the President and Vice President answered FBI questions about their fundraising practices. The questioning took place Nov. 11 but was not disclosed until the next day, three weeks before Ms. Reno must decide whether to seek an independent counsel to look into and prosecute if necessary illegal fundraising by Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gore. Mr. Clinton's attorneys also dished it out. In Little Rock, Paula Jones faced two days of questioning. Parties to the case are barred by judicial order from discussing the matter publicly, but Mrs. Jones's friend and adviser Susan Carpenter-McMillan said she expected the questioning to be "grueling." The attorney general on Nov. 13 expanded her inquiry into Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and whether he was illegally swayed by political influence when his department refused to allow a Wisconsin Indian tribe to open a casino. As with the preliminary inquiries about the president and vice president, Ms. Reno's investigation of Mr. Babbitt could lead to the appointment of an independent counsel. At issue in the Babbitt probe is whether the Interior Department's rejection of the casino was conditioned in any way on a subsequent $270,000 donation to the Democratic National Committee by a group of Indian tribes that opposed the new casino. The tribes hired Democratic fundraiser Patrick O'Connor to lobby President Clinton against the casino; the two discussed the matter briefly at a Minneapolis function.


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