Dispatches > The Buzz

The Buzz

"The Buzz" Continued...

Issue: "The Sudan crisis," June 10, 2000
  • Peru may face international sanctions because President Alberto Fujimori insisted on holding controversial elections last week. The two-term president pushed through balloting and was elected to a third term. That is not allowed under Peru's constitution; furthermore, Mr. Fujimori's principal opponent pulled out of the race, charging vote fraud. The U.S. State Department initially took a hard line against Mr. Fujimori, even though he is a strong anti-drug ally, issuing a statement that read, "No president emerging from such a flawed electoral process can claim legitimacy."
  • The British government has issued a booklet urging teachers to ban musical chairs because the game is too aggressive. "A little bit of competition is fine, but with musical chairs the competition is not fair because it is always the biggest and strongest children who win," author Sue Finch said, according to the Times of London.
  • Two Florida teenagers last week turned in their mother to the police, saying she forced them to help her burglarize a neighbor's house. Police say Linda Diane Faulkner broke the doorknob off a house in Fort White, Fla., and swiped dishes, pots, pans, sheets, a television, bathroom accessories, and a bed. The two kids, a 13-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, told investigators that she made them cart the loot away. Police arrested Ms. Faulkner on charges of burglary, grand theft, and contributing to the delinquency of a child.
  • Arathi Jayaram, a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, last week ran onto the stage at a government nutrition summit in Washington and lobbed a cream pie at the U.S. secretary of agriculture, hitting him on the jacket. "Shame on you, Dan Glickman, for pushing meat and promoting animal cruelty," she yelled before police took her into custody. PETA's beef, said spokeswoman Dawn Carr, is that Mr. Glickman, a former congressman from Kansas, won't "acknowledge that a meat-based diet is killing people."
  • A New York court last week sentenced Dr. Allan Zarkin to probation for carving his initials into a patient's abdomen after performing a Caesarean section. Dr. Zarkin, dubbed "Dr. Zorro" by the press, pleaded guilty in April to first-degree assault charges. The state Health Department had already revoked his medical license, and his victim had settled her lawsuit against him for $1.75 million. His lawyer, Barry Fallick, claimed that a brain disorder known as Pick's disease left Dr. Zarkin with impaired judgment. Israel withdraws from territory
    Morning in Lebanon?
    Israel late last month completed its unilateral withdrawal from occupied territories in south Lebanon. The long-planned military pullback, code-named "Operation Morning Twilight" and originally scheduled to be completed July 7, was hastily put into action May 24 after pro-Israeli South Lebanon Army troops-under attack by Muslim extremist Hezbollah fighters-failed to provide security for Israeli forces in the contested border sectors. The scene reminded more than one commentator of a chaotic U.S. evacuation from Saigon 25 years ago. Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 and set up a buffer zone inside Lebanese territory after Palestinian guerrillas launched attacks on Israel from south Lebanon. The occupation has been marked by ceasefires, human-rights abuses, and civilian casualties on both sides. Those casualties include Americans; Hezbollah is widely held responsible for the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241. Muslims kill Christians in Indonesia
    Blood and spices
    Violence against Christians took another bloody turn in Indonesia last week when armed assailants overran two villages in the Malukus, historically known as the Spice Islands. The assault left 44 Christians dead and hundreds wounded on the island of Halmahera. Tensions have been fueled recently by the arrival of more than 2,000 hard-line Muslim paramilitaries, who traveled by sea to the Malukus after training in a camp in Java. The paramilitaries have vowed a jihad, or holy war, in the region. The attack followed a near-identical raid in the same area a week before. In that raid, 34 civilians died. Muslim-Christian clashes have dominated Halmahera, with 800 people dying in similar clashes during the last year (see WORLD, Jan. 29, 2000). comic goes blue for democratic audience
    A fitting tribute?
    Comedian Robin Williams gave an earful to those attending last month's "Tribute to President Clinton," a Democratic fundraiser in Washington that set a record for money raised. Mr. Williams, the event's main attraction, repeatedly used foul language as he cracked jokes about George W. Bush, Dan Quayle, and the National Rifle Association. "Hello, there's a child in the front row," Mr. Williams said at one point. "We've learned some new words, haven't we?" He then continued with obscene instruction. The New York Daily News reported that "Clinton spinmeisters assured the event's straighter fat cats that the Prez had no advance knowledge" of Mr. Williams's vulgar routine. "All the same, jeans-clad President Clinton and Vice President Gore roared with laughter." Republican National Committee press secretary Mike Collins told The Washington Post, "What we need is a president with the kind of dignity that no entertainer would use that talk in his presence." Despite such coverage in the Daily News and the Post, most of the rest of the media didn't consider a major party fundraising event laced with obscenities to be newsworthy. According to the Media Research Center, Fox was the only network to mention the vulgarity of Mr. Williams's act, and Time and Newsweek also kept their readers in the dark. Said Fox News Sunday panelist Fred Barnes, after viewing a clip of Mr. Williams's act with some words bleeped out: "I don't think that enhances the Democratic Party's image unless it wants to be known as the permissive party." INS official found guilty
    Cuba's man in Miami
    A jury last week found a U.S. immigration official guilty of espionage. In February an FBI sting operation caught Mariano Faget, acting deputy district director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Miami, passing classified information to a Cuban business partner. As part of the sting, the FBI gave him a made-up name of a man who was supposedly preparing to defect from Cuba. Within minutes, Mr. Faget called Pedro Font, his partner in America Cuba Inc., and passed him the information. Mr. Faget, a 54-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen who came from Cuba as a teenager, helped form America Cuba Inc. to pursue business in Cuba if the U.S. trade embargo against the island is ever lifted. He supplied the information "in order to gain economic advantage in his business dealings with Cuba," federal prosecutor Richard Gregorie said. "They were hoping to get in on the ground floor." For his part, Mr. Faget testified that he "made a mistake" when he called his lifelong friend to pass along the information. Mr. Faget had access to secrets about real Cuban defectors and dissidents, and federal agents are reviewing classified documents to determine whether he leaked anything else. Faces
  • David Glattstein, 18, raked in $20,000 in the stock market boom. So did he buy a new car or a trip around the world? No, the Boston teenager endowed an annual $1,000 scholarship at his high school. The first will be awarded to a member of Swampscott High School's class of 2000. Mr. Glattstein set up the Matthew J. Kamin Rainbow Scholarship to honor a boyhood friend who died of leukemia at age 6.
  • Seven-year-old Shari Marie Herold became the youngest recipient of the Ohio American Legion's "Red, White and Blue Award" this month for her "patriotic example." Shari Marie joined 59 other flag-waving grade-schoolers for the Indian Hill Primary School spring concert. When it came time for the grand finale and students were told to tip their hats and put their flags on the floor, 59 went down. But Shari Marie's did not. "It shows disrespect for the flag," she said later. the anti-virus game keeps getting more complex, with the latest bug disguised as a job seeker
    A resumé to die for
    Do you have a "Killer Resumé?" If so, you might want to get rid of it. It's one of the latest computer viruses unleashed through e-mail all over the world. These little bugs usually create the most havoc in corporate environments, especially those with the Microsoft Outlook product, since it is most popular. Killer Resumé sends around e-mail with the subject line, "Resume-Janet Simons," a query from a fake job seeker. When a boss or human resources executive clicks on an attached document, the virus starts deleting files on the victim's computer. Then it spreads itself to others. These viruses are increasingly common, and more and more people receive dangerous e-mails. A previous pest, the "Love Bug" virus, left experts calculating damage ranging up to $10 billion last month, mostly in lost work time. The most frequently mentioned way to protect against e-mail viruses is simply not to open an attached file unless the sender is someone familiar and you know what the e-mail message is supposed to be. Viruses disguise themselves as love letters or resumés or other innocuous documents to allay people's suspicions. One virus even changes the e-mail's subject line to reflect recent files on the computer that forwards the bug, sending messages like "Birthday party plans for Bob" or "Information about Motorola" to victims. Then there's anti-virus software, which isn't too expensive, but all the checking and searching can slow down a computer a bit. In addition, users must constantly update such software to protect against the latest viruses-and hope that the developers have found the latest bug before it gets sent to you. This endless game keeps getting more complex. -Chris Stamper man knows not his time
    Lady Cartland dies
    Barbara Cartland could really crank them out. She wrote 723 books before passing away last month at age 98. She sold over a billion copies, making her the world's top-selling author. Her romance titles like Call of the Heart, Escape from Passion, and We Danced All Night may not be memorable prose, but they sure did sell. What Ms. Cartland lacked in quality, she made up for in speed. She dictated 6,000 to 7,000 words in an afternoon and cranked out kitsch classics like The Wings of Ecstasy and The Taming of Lady Lorinda in seven days. As an unnamed critic at the British comedy site "Cool Stuff" notes, her books are repetitive. "The hero is always terribly dashing (probably an army chap)," he writes. "The heroine is a simpering idiot and the villain is a complete bounder with a pencil thin black moustache." But the archetypes of romance struck a deep chord with millions of readers-nearly all of whom are women. As her success shows, there is no exhausting the appeal of traditional male/female roles, falling in love, the ups and downs of courtship, ending with marriage and living happily ever after. young pop stars take over the music world, again
    Bubbly Britney briefly reigns
    Britney Spears. The Backstreet Boys. 'N Sync. The talents of these teen idols are questionable and their public images are as choreographed as their dance steps, but they ring in the cash. Miss Spears' second album sold 1.3 million copies in a week, setting a one-week sales record for a female artist. That still pales before an 'N Snyc album that hit the 2.4 million record this spring. What gives? The grown-up market is diversified, so the teen market-especially the part of it not mature enough to know a cliché-becomes the best opportunity for a quick score. Bubble-gum music of this sort peaks and pales quickly-Frankie Avalon, Fabian, and Bobby Rydell in the late 1950s; Leif Garrett, Shaun Cassidy, and Bobby Sherman in the 1970s; New Kids on the Block, Debbie Gibson, New Edition, and Tiffany in the 1980s-they all move quickly from "where it's at" to "where are they now?"

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