Dispatches > The Buzz

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Issue: "The narrow runway," Oct. 14, 2000
  • Rape suspects may soon have to take an HIV test if their accuser demands one. The House last week passed a bill requiring the tests, inspired by new drugs that may block infection if taken soon enough. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the drugs are not useful if taken weeks or even days later. Civil libertarians contend that the bill violates the presumption that a suspect is innocent before trial, and that nothing in the bill would stop the accuser from publicizing test results.
  • Former high-school place-kicker Heather Sue Mercer sued Duke University because she didn't make the school's football team in 1994. Her grievance invokes the Title IX amendment, which prohibits sex discrimination in sports at schools receiving federal funds. Activists have used the law at many universities to build women's sports programs at the expense of men's. Duke contends that its coaching staff cut Ms. Mercer because she didn't have the range of skills of other kickers.
  • The news director of an Italian public TV station last week resigned after the station broadcast graphic images of child pornography to over 7 million people. Gad Lerner quit after RAI-TV ran the footage as part of a news report about a Russian-run crime ring that sold its wares online. Mr. Lerner admitted he didn't know what would be on the news that night and said that he quit because he had failed to supervise the broadcast.
  • Congress last week passed new national standards for drunken driving. They would force states to adopt 0.08 blood alcohol content as the legal level for drunken driving by 2004 or risk losing millions of dollars in federal highway funds. Supporters say the legislation, approved in a House-Senate conference committee, should save 500 lives a year. The American Beverage Institute, an association of restaurant operators, claims that under the new standards a 120-pound woman would be legally drunk by drinking just two six-ounce glasses of wine over two hours.
  • The Netherlands expanded its legalized prostitution to include full-fledged brothels. This helps the semi-socialist regime by putting the already unionized trade under its employment regulations and forcing sex workers to pay their full share of taxes. The Dutch sex industry generates billions of dollars each year, drawing millions of visitors to Amsterdam.

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