News & Reviews

"News & Reviews" Continued...

Issue: "Is McCain able?," Aug. 21, 1999
  • Defense Secretary William Cohen helped pin the Defense Department's Medal for Distinguished Public Service on the chest of filmmaker Steven Spielberg for his war movie Saving Private Ryan. Mr. Cohen called Mr. Spielberg's graphic Academy Award winner an "emotional catharsis" for all who saw it, particularly World War II veterans.
  • Even as tragedies like the Columbine High killings in Littleton, Colo., bring more attention to school shootings, federal officials say fewer students are being expelled for bringing guns to campus. Only 3,930 students were expelled for firearms violations during the 1997-98 school year, down from 5,724 weapons-related expulsions in 1996-97. Education Secretary Richard Riley said this means fewer guns were taken into classrooms.
  • A Rhode Island Boy Scout council now says that a Scout can be a homosexual-as long as he doesn't advertise it. The "don't ask, don't tell" policy was issued by the Narragansett Council, which said the Scouts' national organization signed off on it.
  • Former First Lady Nancy Reagan denied rumors that her husband Ronald Reagan is near death. The two-term president, who announced in 1994 that his health is slowly declining from Alzheimer's disease, still makes weekly appearances at his office in Century City, Calif. While his health is in slow decline, "there has been no dramatic change in his condition," Mrs. Reagan said.
  • District of Columbia police intend to start enforcing a local curfew to help reduce crime after an appeals court overturned an injunction against it. Youngsters 16 or younger must be off the streets by 11 p.m. on most nights and by midnight on Friday and Saturday. The ACLU and other curfew opponents are still fighting the curfew, saying it discriminates against minors and violates their constitutional rights. Jayhawkers remove evolution from tests
    Evolving standards
    In a victory for religious conservatives, the Kansas Board of Education last week approved education standards that make no reference to the theory of evolution. The 6-4 decision allows local schools to decide whether to teach the theory, but keeps it off statewide science assessment tests. "We're going back to the 1880s," complained Charlie Pierce of Hutchinson High School, who has taught biology for 18 years. "It does make us look to the people in the rest of the country that we're a bunch of hicks." But Tom Wills, director of the Creation Science Association for Mid-America, said teaching evolution is deceptive. "You can't go into the laboratory or the field and make the first fish," he told MSNBC. "When you tell students that science has determined [evolution to be true], you're deceiving them." Other states, such as Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Texas, have considered but rejected eliminating evolution from state standards. Bills pending in the Georgia and Ohio legislatures would require biology educators teaching evolution to also present evidence inconsistent with the theory. Will senator breathe life into party?
    Smith finds new home
    A month after leaving the GOP, U.S. Sen. Bob Smith of New Hampshire has joined another party. The lawmaker announced last week that he plans to run for president as the candidate of the U.S. Taxpayers Party. Mr. Smith said he will be the candidate for those who "believe in the right to life, the Second Amendment, and a strong constitutional government going to our constitutional rights." Conservative activist Howard Phillips founded the Taxpayers Party-its platform calls for repealing the income tax, abolishing welfare, and appointing judges who "acknowledge the legal personhood of the unborn child"-seven years ago. Mr. Phillips was the party's presidential candidate in 1996, but drew only 180,000 votes. He and other party officials have said he was a "placeholder" for the party, which had hoped to attract a candidate with a higher national profile. Mr. Smith will try to fill that role. Yeltsin picks new prime minister, again
    Fading to gray
    Russian President Boris Yeltsin picked a former KGB operative nicknamed "Gray Cardinal" to become his fourth prime minister in 17 months. Vladimir Putin, 47, replaced former interior minister Sergei Stepashin, who was sacked as head of Russia's government after just three months in office. The latest shakeup in the Kremlin is seen as a desperation move on the part of Mr. Yeltsin, who is increasingly isolated and reliant upon a diminishing circle of loyalists. Mr. Putin was based in Germany as a Soviet spy for many years. After the fall of communism, he became a city planner in St. Petersburg and rose within the ranks of Russia's pseudo-democracy to become head of the Federal Security Service, the KGB successor agency, in 1998. Oddly, Mr. Putin may not be able to command loyalty from security forces that are increasingly influenced by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, the popular opposition figure to Mr. Yeltsin and a likely opponent to Mr. Putin should he run for president at the end of Mr. Yeltsin's term next year. World in brief
    church tells milosevic to go
    Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic should resign, said an Aug. 11 statement by Serbia's Orthodox Church bishops. The open appeal, the second by the church in two months, blamed Mr. Milosevic for the "tragic state into which our people have been brought" by war in Kosovo and the three-month NATO bombing campaign. It called for "urgent and thorough change" and, specifically, the creation of a provisional government and new elections. The statement bolstered pro-democracy groups in the days prior to planned Aug. 19 demonstrations against Mr. Milosevic. Asians, Europeans experience eclipse
    Dilberts and Druids alike left the weekday grind for a few minutes of wonder as a total solar eclipse marched across Europe and Asia. The streets of Belgrade were as deserted as at any time during NATO air raids, after government officials suspended public transportation and warned residents to stay indoors (which did not keep street vendors from doing a brisk trade in "Ray Charles Protective Glasses"). In Pakistan and Iran, Muslims poured into mosques for special afternoon prayers commemorating the once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. During two minutes of noontime darkness in southwest England, American author Ken Kesey, who wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, was knighted a Druid over an ancient stone altar. A Druid calling himself "King Arthur Pendragon" led the pagan worship service. North korea missile threat?
    Nuclear summer
    South Korea's national intelligence chief warned that North Korea has completed a new long-range ballistic missile, and appears to be readying it for an August test launch. The new Taepodong II missile is rumored to have a range of up to 4,163 miles, putting Alaska and Hawaii within its reach. North Korean officials have publicly hinted at a test launch, one year after the communist government tested a first-generation long-range missile over the Sea of Japan. Pentagon officials, who failed to publicly forecast either last year's test or nuclear tests in both India and Pakistan, are downplaying the likelihood of a missile launch. While North Korea risks sanctions from the West if it goes the distance with Taepodong II, a successful launch would be a hit with those Middle East and South Asian countries that are shopping for similar hardware.


You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading


    Troubling ties

    Under the Clinton State Department, influence from big money…