Dispatches > The Buzz
- America's toughest outdoor smoking restriction is coming to Montgomery County, Maryland. People who smoke or toss away a cigarette in public in Friendship Heights Village will have to pay a $100 fine on the second offense. The county council approved the proposal by a 5-4 vote. Friendship Heights Mayor Al Muller, a physician, told the council that the issue is a matter of public health for allergy and asthma sufferers.
- Bill Gates showed his dedication to population control with an $8.8 million donation to the International Planned Parenthood Federation. The move was announced just days after Mr. Gates met with billionaire Warren Buffett for a high-profile card game at the Omaha Bridge Club. Mr. Buffett has poured millions toward abortion and birth control, and the Microsoft co-founder has followed.
- A federal judge last week upheld the University of Michigan's affirmative action program for admissions. U.S. District Judge Patrick Duggan said that "solid evidence" suggests a racially diverse campus is good for education. Colleges and universities have watched the case closely-it could affect affirmative action policies nationwide-and expect it to go before the Supreme Court.
- The local police chief called the scene a war zone. About 30 women and girls clashed with security guards, police, and each other in a riot at a Drums, Pa., vocational school dormitory. Things turned ugly when two students argued after a false fire alarm. Police arrested four women and seven teenage girls on various charges. The Department of Labor set up the center as a job training facility for 16- to 24-year-olds.
- This is not your father's Oldsmobile. In fact, the venerable brand is being retired. General Motors said the 2002 Bravada sport-utility vehicle will be the last new Olds model. Company executives said they couldn't fix an image once linked with American success and soundness, now stodgy and boring. Oldsmobile production will end as part of a restructuring program that includes next year's elimination of 13,700 jobs in North America and Europe. This will be the last year GM sponsors the annual LPGA Oldsmobile Classic. The Oldsmobile engine that has powered the last four Indianapolis 500 winners will probably disappear.