Dispatches > The Buzz

The Buzz

Issue: "Bob Geldof: Whose jubilee?," June 25, 2005

Pop Culture If the string-bikini revival, tattered hip-huggers, and Sophia Loren shades aren't enough hippie redux for you, try on some outdoor utopian poverty fighting this summer. Pink Floyd will return to Hyde Park, along with present-day hit bands like U2, for a benefit bash to "make poverty history." Despite the logic of leading economists, the activists insist canceling Africa's debt and doubling government aid to the continent will fix life for the poor.
What's different, then to now, about the bleeding-heart gigs of the aging rockers? Now they have their own personal wealth and fame to put behind their causes. Funny thing is, they are still asking taxpayers to put up the money. (see "Whose jubilee?")

Terri Schiavo Pinellas County (Fla.) medical examiner Jon Thogmartin on June 15 released long-awaited autopsy results for Terri Schiavo, finding that she was severely brain damaged and blind, and that treatment would not have improved her condition. Dr. Thogmartin also said he found no evidence that her collapse in 1990 was caused by abuse or by an eating disorder. "The only diagnosis that I know for sure is that her brain went without oxygen," he said. "Why? That is undetermined." The report also found that she died of "marked dehydration" instead of starvation.
Schiavo's family disputed the report, especially the finding that Schiavo was blind. They noted videotaped footage of Schiavo's eyes following the path of a balloon. "We knew all along that Terri was profoundly brain damaged," said Schiavo's brother, Bobby Schindler. "We simply wanted to bring her home and care for her." The family's priest, Paul O'Donnell, said the results do not change the fact that it was wrong to remove her feeding tube. "I think it's a matter of semantics to say whether she died of dehydration or starvation. Both are cruel and we're still killing a human being," he told LifeNews.com. "It was bogus to say Terri didn't suffer."

Iran A series of blasts-the first in more than a decade-exploded around Iran less than a week before presidential elections. One bombing, in the southwestern city of Ahvaz on June 12, killed at least six people and injured 80. Iran's ruling Shiites tried to blame Iraqi insurgents, but many Iranians blame the government itself. They say it wanted to intimidate democracy activists before the election. But Iranians are increasingly swept up in anti-government demonstrations. "This is all they're talking about these days," explained Abe Ghaffari, president of Iranian Christians International, a Colorado-based ministry. "The Iranian people no longer support the government . . . there is a great sense of anticipation that people are going to show their will." (see "Size matters.")

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Iraq The Iraqi army, acting on a tip and with backing from U.S. forces, raided a home in the volatile Baghdad suburb of Ghazalia and freed Australian hostage Douglas Wood on June 15. Mr. Wood, a 64-year-old engineer who lived in California, had been held 47 days. He appeared haggard and tired, and U.S. troops had to support him as he was led to an armored personnel carrier. But he smiled broadly and gave cameras a thumbs-up during a medical checkup at a U.S. military facility.

Baylor Former Baylor University basketball player Carlton Dotson, 23, was sentenced to 35 years in prison, a week after pleading guilty to murdering his teammate Patrick Dennehy in 2003. The body of Dennehy, 21, was found in a quarry near campus in July 2003, shot twice in the head, after he had been missing for about six weeks.
Meanwhile, the legacy of departing Baylor president Robert Sloan came under fire from insiders and faculty members who claim his effort to return the university to its Christian roots amounts to "fundamentalism." (see "Waco warning.")

AIDS For the first time since the height of the AIDS epidemic two decades ago, more than 1 million Americans are believed to be living with the virus that causes the disease. The latest Centers for Disease Control estimate reflects good and bad news: Improved drugs are keeping more victims alive, but government health experts have failed to "break the back" of the epidemic by 2005 as promised.

Aruba Island tourists point out that prostitution, made legal under Dutch authorities, promotes a "culture of vice" that could have led to the abduction of American teenager Natalee Holloway. The 18-year-old disappeared on May 30 during a post-graduation trip with friends. Three men, including the son of a high-ranking judicial official, are in police custody in connection with the case. Miami-Dade police and FBI agents have joined islanders and volunteer tourists in the ongoing search.

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