Dispatches > The Buzz

The Buzz

Issue: "Iraq: Terror without end," Oct. 2, 2004

IRAQ Prime Minister Iyad Allawi addressed a joint session of Congress, telling lawmakers "the overwhelming majority of Iraqis are grateful" for U.S. sacrifices in Iraq. "I have come here to thank you, and to promise you that your sacrifices are not in vain." Mr. Allawi pledged to hold elections in January, as scheduled, in spite of steady violence. Terrorists beheaded two Americans and two Italian aid workers-the first females to face that horror. Middle Eastern organizations representing 8 million American Muslims are calling for an end to terror in their name, and asking President Bush to speak at their first convention. "Whether anyone supports the war is a moot point now," said event organizer Kamal Nawash. "What's important now is that Iraq has to succeed. We cannot afford to have Iraq fail."

LAW The Florida Supreme Court struck down a law passed last fall to keep severely brain-damaged Terri Schiavo hooked up to a feeding tube. The unanimous ruling could clear the way for removal of the tube ostensibly keeping her alive, in compliance with the wishes or her estranged husband Michael-who litigated for its removal-but against those of her parents, who have battled to keep their 40-year-old daughter alive.

MEDIA Dan Rather can't be happy to find his name associated with Jayson Blair, the former New York Times reporter forced out of his job for fabricating sources and stories. But in addition to high-profile scandals, both newsmen are now linked by the same investigator, virtually ensuring that the CBS controversy will go down as one of the great journalistic embarrassments of all time. On Sept. 22, CBS News appointed Louis D. Boccardi, the retired president of the Associated Press, to get to the bottom of Rathergate. Mr. Boccardi also served on the panel that ripped The New York Times for its ethics and management in the Jayson Blair affair. He'll be joined by Dick Thornburgh, a high-profile Republican who served as attorney -general under George H.W. Bush. Mr. Thornburgh's appointment was seen as tacit acknowledgment of the scandal's political overtones after it was revealed that a CBS producer asked a top Kerry adviser to call the source of the forged Bush memos.

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WEATJER Already war-scarred and mired in poverty, the people of Haiti last week writhed in a new nightmare: digging out after Tropical Storm Jeanne. The storm, which later achieved hurricane force and churned toward the United States, -decimated the island nation on Sept. 18-leaving at least 1,070 dead and more than 1,250 missing, feared washed out to sea. Ashore, hundreds of dead bodies moldered in waterlogged fields, some still submerged five days after the storm hit. "We're demanding they come and take the bodies from our fields. Dogs are eating them," said Jean Lebrun, a 35-year-old farmer. "We can only drink the water people died in." By Sept. 22, residents were growing restless after days without food, shelter, or clean water. UN peacekeepers fired guns into the air to quell rioting as aid workers handed out food.

RUSSIA Vladimir Putin is endangering democracy with proposed reforms arising from the terrorist attack on schoolchildren in Beslan. The Russian president is running out of options with Chechnya, now increasingly desperate and unstable following two wars with Russia in the last decade. Solutions that might have worked five or 10 years ago are more likely to deliver Chechnya into the hands of Islamic jihadists.

TERRORISM Popularized for hits such as "Morning Has Broken" and "Wild World," '70s legend Cat Stevens was deported from the United States Sept. 22 because his name appeared on a terror watch list. Homeland Security officials diverted his Washington-bound plane to Bangor, Maine, before sending him back to London. After becoming a Muslim in 1977, the singer-songwriter changed his name to Yusuf Islam. In 2000 Israel also barred him from entering, saying he sent tens of thousands of dollars to Palestinian -terrorist group Hamas.

EMMYs The broadcast television networks, already suffering from cable TV ratings and credibility victories, took another poke in the eye when pay television raked in nearly all of the major Emmy Awards. HBO was the biggest winner, with the mafia soap opera The Sopranos taking best drama. HBO's adaptation of the AIDS-and-spirituality play Angels in America took all seven mini-series awards. Other HBO shows, such as Deadwood and Sex and the City, were also honored.

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