Hoping against hope
Some people played hooky from work to get an 80.1 million-to-1 chance at a slice of the Powerball jackpot that swelled last week to $250 million. Greedy pursuit of a winning ticket in the multistate lottery sparked large traffic jams and even caused some Powerball computers to crash. In Connecticut, state troopers were stationed to keep order in lines of 500 people waiting up to 10 hours. At one Greenwich exit near the state line, more than 150 people left their cars on the highway shoulder and grass to walk to a rest area lottery outlet. The state lottery commission reported that computers were handling more than 15,000 wagers a minute. Twenty states and the District of Columbia sell Powerball tickets, but because of its proximity to New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, Connecticut Powerball outlets led the nation in sales for the first two days of the week: more than $14 million. "I wonder if government feels really proud of itself watching people lining up and losing money," commented Methodist minister Tom Grey, executive director of the National Coalition against Gambling Expansion.
The interests of others
WORLD readers may remember this photo from our recent cover story on House Majority Whip Tom DeLay. In the background, as he was so often, is Capitol Hill policeman John Gibson. Mr. Gibson, along with fellow officer Jacob Chestnut, was fatally shot last week when Russell Weston tried to smuggle a gun into the Capitol. He was headed to Mr. DeLay's office. A DeLay staffer said the photo was "a sad reminder of how fleeting life can be, and yet perhaps symbolic of how much Gibson meant to DeLay and the rest of us." In a statement for WORLD, the whip's office called Mr. Gibson "a man of quiet dignity, integrity, and resolve." Citing the Apostle Paul's words in Philippians 2-"Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others"-the statement concluded that "John Gibson's life and final sacrifice personified this ethic and we are all humbly and eternally indebted to him."
Abercrombie & Fitch added some relevance to its latest catalog. The national retailer spiced up its usual round of preppy fashions with drinking games and recipes for hard-core cocktails like the "Woo-Woo" and the "Brain Hemorrhage." The two-page feature gave directions for "creative drinking" that students could substitute for the "standard beer binge." The head of Mothers Against Drunk Driving hit the roof, asking the company to apologize. "This catalog is an abomination," said MADD President Karolyn Nunnallee. Now the company admits it went too far. A&F spokesman Lonnie Fogel says the piece, titled "Drinking 101," should have been more balanced. He said the catalog "aims to be a chronicler of the American college experience today" and that experience, at least for some, includes alcohol.
Iran last week tested its first medium-range ballistic missile. Shehab-3, made from a North Korean design, could successfully reach U.S. allies, including Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, or Egypt. One week prior to the test, a bipartisan panel told Congress that ballistic missiles from rogue nations could strike the United States "with little or no warning." The commission, headed by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, cited North Korean-developed missiles in particular, which it said could travel over 6,000 miles, and reach as far inland as Wisconsin. Iranian missiles with similar range could reach Pennsylvania. The panel also cited an "erosion" of U.S. detection capabilities. It said North Korea, Iran and other countries are concealing their ballistic missile programs from U.S. spy satellites by using enormous underground laboratories and factories to build and test the weapons. Iran's test once again pitted arms-control advocates against conservatives who want to construct a national missile-defense system. Which prompted The Wall Street Journal to editorialize: "Is anyone seriously going to propose that the way to keep more Iranian Shehab-3s from being produced is to invite the ayatollahs for a stay at Geneva's finest hotels and a long meeting of the minds across a green baize table?"
World in brief
No school, no children
The death toll from three tidal waves that destroyed Papua New Guinea's northwest coast stood at nearly 2,500 ten days after the tsunami struck; the exact number may never be known. Rescuers also worked to seal off a corpse-clogged lagoon and mangrove swamps that had become badly contaminated by decomposing bodies. Indonesian fishermen said they located about 200 bodies floating near nearby Irian Jaya. One mission worker told villagers there would be no school, because "there are no children." Kosovo toll
UN officials say fighting in Kosovo has displaced 107,000 persons. The fighting began last February after four Serb policemen were shot dead. At that time, Albanians outnumbered Serbs 9-1 in the region, which has been dominated by the Serb government. Hussein has cancer
King Hussein of Jordan, the longest-ruling head of state in the Middle East, announced he is receiving treatment for cancer. The 62-year-old leader confirmed a much-rumored diagnosis July 28 in an interview with Jordan Television. He said the cancer, which appears to be lymphatic, could be cured; he underwent surgery for the disease in 1992. "I'm not over and done with," he said. But Jordanians will increasingly look to the king's younger brother, 51-year-old Crown Prince Hassan, for leadership while the king seeks treatment in the United States. Prince Hassan, who has taken on increasing diplomatic tasks in recent years, is considered more intellectual and less charismatic than his older brother. Biker strikers
Bicyclists halted racing along the Tour de France course to protest drug testing by event officials. Early on, the tour's top-ranked team, Festina, was expelled from the Tour for using a hormone drug. A Dutch team, TVM, was questioned about supplying the drug, and police took some of its members for testing. Police also seized suspect medication belonging to a third team at a French-Swiss border crossing. The bicyclists, who forced cancellation of one stage of the Tour de France, said they could not race under the cloud of suspicion. "We will restart when we have some guarantees from the police that we would be treated well," race leader Marco Pantani said.
"We want to be treated like athletes and not as delinquents." Cambodian vote fraud?
After July 26 polling, Cambodians proudly displayed fingers covered with indelible ink. In the first elections since last year's coup by Cambodian People's Party leaders, however, that flush of pride changed to anger and charges of vote fraud. Party leader Hun Sen remained the controversial front-runner, taking 67 out of 122 parliamentary seats. Opposition leaders Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Sam Rainsy said they would boycott a newly elected parliament unless investigations into voting fraud were launched. Observers from the European Union called the election "credible and acceptable," but the U.S. State Department said allegations of fraud and intimidation should be investigated. Five murders and seven attempted murders in the week prior to the poll have been linked to the Cambodian People's Party. Human Rights Watch said opposition parties were denied access to television and prohibited from campaigning in some areas.
Clinton isn't the only one on trial
Linda Tripp was so nervous that even the wisps of her hair shivered as she spoke. "This investigation has never been, quote, 'just about sex.' It has been about telling the truth," Ms. Tripp said in a quavering voice, facing television cameras, still photographers, journalists, and a live audience on CNN. She spoke outside the federal courthouse in the intense Washington, D.C., heat last week after completing her eighth and final day of grand jury testimony in the independent counsel's White House sex-and-perjury probe. That same day, the calm, cool target of the investigation, President Clinton, had his men hard at work devising strategies, spinning reporters, and cutting deals with special prosecutor Kenneth Starr. The day before, Mr. Clinton through his spokesman let his pleasure be known that "things were working out" so well for Monica Lewinsky, who earlier had made a deal of her own with Mr. Starr: her testimony, plus any physical evidence, in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Mr. Clinton's agreement with the independent counsel was for his testimony, by videotape, in the White House, with lawyers present, on August 17. The day of the deal was historic in the sense that it marked the first official acknowledgment that the president had even been served a subpoena to testify in a criminal matter that might result in his impeachment. The agreement for "voluntary" testimony made the subpoena go away, and thus, no more futile court challenges and delays. Now the stage is set. At issue is more than whether the married president engaged in sex acts with a then-21-year-old White House intern. It is more than whether he lied about it under oath in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case, and coached others to do the same. It is even more than whether he may compound perjury charges by lying to Mr. Starr's grand jury. On trial in this case are the American people. Polls show that our countrymen (to their credit) are skeptical of the president's denials about sex with Ms. Lewinsky but (to their shame) could care less. On trial also are President Clinton's evangelical spiritual advisers, such as Tony Campolo, who told WORLD last year that if Mr. Clinton were engaged in adultery while in the White House, "that would upset me to no end" ("Faith in the White House," April 5, 1997). The pursuit of truth has just begun.
With the House voting to override President Clinton's veto on partial-birth abortion, the Media Research Center has posted on its home page "Roe Warriors: The Media's Pro-Abortion Bias," a special report on abortion coverage by the networks. "In a broad overview of five years of studies, a team of MRC media analysts has documented five ways in which the media tilt the abortion story." Those five: 1. The pro-life side is presented as ideological; the other is not.
2. The abortion issue is a divisive matter in only one political party, the GOP.
3. Reporters have shown little interest in the facts behind partial-birth abortion.
4. Pro-life protests and activities are not news.
5. Pro-abortion violence is not news. To read the full report by the MRC's Tim Graham and Clay Waters, go to:
Winning isn't everything
Moderation is all the rage in Republican circles these days. Political movers and shakers are doing everything possible to make sure their social views move in closer lockstep with the Democrats. Leading the charge are New Yorkers Rudolph Giuliani, the mayor, and George Pataki, the governor. They're pro-abortion, pro-gay rights, and they want to break out onto the national scene. "There's room in the Republican Party for everybody," Mr. Giuliani told delegates to the Republican National Committee's summer meeting. The New York City mayor brought a simple message to the delegates: Winning is everything, values are up for grabs. All's fair as long as a Republican gets the White House. "It may mean that I have to sacrifice one viewpoint that I have, because that one viewpoint is not represented by the candidate or candidates, but five others are," he said. "Or you have to sacrifice one, or all of us have to do some kind of mutual sacrifice of one principle here or one principle there." On those sticky issues like abortion, Mr. Giuliani called for an open debate without "writing people out of the party." Now the GOP's left wing is armed with a poll that says the Republican Party could lose its House majority this fall if candidates focus too closely on moral issues. Abortion and homosexuality are out and the economy, education, and crime are in, according to the Republican Leadership Council. This group commissioned a survey of 800 likely voters in the 77 congressional districts where Republicans won or lost in 1996 by 10 percentage points or less. "If Republicans focus on moral issues, there is a real chance we will lose the House of Representatives," says pollster Kieran Mahoney. The poll concluded that voters primarily concerned with moral issues are unlikely to desert the GOP even if those issues are not the centerpiece of campaigns. Therefore these people can be taken for granted if Republicans ignore them after the elections. Indeed, 83 percent of such voters say they will probably or definitely vote for the Republican candidate, the poll indicated. Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council says this trend is a recipe for defeat. "It's a bad poll and it's bad advice," he says. Mr. Bauer predicts conservatives will skip the election if Republican candidates show no interest in their issues, handing victory to the Democrats.
Y2K, the storm
One of the millennium bug's greatest challenges is that nobody knows how bad its bite will be. Will stocks trade? Will planes fly? Will the utilities stay on? These questions are what officials in government and industry are scrambling to figure out. Michael Gent, president of the North American Electric Reliability Council, told reporters at the National Press Club that he's optimistic power will still flow. "If it were to happen today," he said, "the lights would stay on most places." He compared potential Year 2000 problems to that of fierce weather, such as an ice storm or a hurricane. The group is preparing contingency plans to help keep power flowing to as many customers as possible. It is also surveying major utilities about their preparations and helping them share information with one another. The glitch could wreak havoc on all kinds of businesses, from securities firms to hospitals to trucking firms. Many computer programs that recognize only the last two digits of a year are expected to fail as Jan. 1, 2000, approaches. Elizabeth Moler, acting secretary of energy, said that problems at utility companies could be grave. "Electric power is perhaps the most important part of our infrastructure," she said. "And widespread Year 2000-related failures in this area could create serious disruptions in services the American people depend upon." Meanwhile, White House Y2K czar John Koskinen wants America to stay optimistic and work hard to make important repairs. "We've got people all around the country focused on this problem," he said. "And I think it's too early to say that in fact there are going to be major disruptions." Mr. Koskinen admitted that not everything will be fixed and that his goal is to keep disruptions down to a manageable level. Some of the worst problems will be international, however. Mr. Koskinen said he wants the State Department to issue travel advisories warning citizens about countries that will be badly hurt by the bug.
Nation in brief
Hitting the brakes
After seven weeks of lost wages for striking workers and $2.2 billion in costs to the company, union negotiators and General Motors executives settled a labor dispute last week and GM laborers went back to work. But problems between the company and the United Auto Workers union remain unresolved. Living in sin
In 1960, fewer than a half-million couples lived together without benefit of marriage; last week, the Census Bureau reported the number had topped 4 million for the first time. As laid out in Census Bureau estimates over the years, the phenomenon closely reflects the sexual revolution of the last quarter-century. In Washington, meanwhile, Congress inched closer to repealing the tax penalty on married couples. The Republican-led initiative gave procedural approval to legislation repealing the so-called marriage penalty. Then they withdrew the bill because tax legislation must originate in the House. The bill would let married people use the rates and deductions that apply to couples or let them divide their total income in half and file as two single individuals, whichever was more beneficial.