Dispatches > The Buzz
- Fifteen days of peace summitry at Camp David broke up without an agreement between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Mr. Arafat returned to the Middle East a hero for holding to territorial demands. Mr. Barak returned to Israel a villain, having conceded territory in the West Bank and control over parts of sites in Jerusalem that Israelites consider holy. Jerusalem Post writer Saul Singer said the prime minister made concessions "as if immune to the lack of political oxygen at the altitudes he had reached." Mr. Barak faces a vote of no confidence and possible early elections at home. Without an agreement, Mr. Arafat has said he will declare a Palestinian state Sept. 13.
- Demonstrators at an animal genetics conference in Minnesota left behind canisters containing traces of cyanide. A note left at a McDonald's, where some of the chemicals spilled on the floor, linked the incident to the protests, according to the FBI. Tests revealed the presence of the poison, which is lethal when inhaled or digested. No one was hurt.
- The slogan "In God We Trust" may get more attention soon. A non-binding measure passed by the House encourages the display of the national motto in public buildings. Currently the phrase appears over the entrance to the Senate chamber and above the Speaker's dais in the House. Only one congressman-Rep. Robert Scott (D-Va.)-voted against the measure in the voice vote. The slogan goes back to 1864 when Abraham Lincoln signed a law putting the motto on all American currency. President Eisenhower in 1956 made it the official national motto.
- The city council of Palos Heights, Ill., voted last month to offer the Al Salam Mosque Foundation $200,000 to drop its plans to buy the building of the Reformed Church of Palos Heights and turn it into a mosque for the city's 450 Muslim families. Mayor Dean Koldenhoven last week vetoed the offer, calling it an insult to Muslims. "Government has no place in this issue," he said. Meanwhile, in Wichita, Kan., residents of one neighborhood tried to stop construction of a Hindu temple, citing parking concerns.