Dispatches > The Buzz

The Buzz

"The Buzz" Continued...

Issue: "Home again," July 12, 2008

Double jeopardy

As flood recovery efforts grind on in Iowa, reports of people who lost everything continue to surface. But Charles and Rosemary Harvey of Cedar Rapids lost two everythings. Lilly Printing, their family business on 2nd Avenue, is a waterlogged wreck. Fifteen blocks away, their home is also under water. The Harveys, an older Christian couple known for loving their neighbors, are among a growing list of "friends and co-workers who lost homes and businesses," said Cedar Rapids resident Karla Underwood. "My list is getting longer and longer."

Underwood, who works for General Mills, is a volunteer with Serve the City, a coalition of 37 evangelical congregations and seven para-church ministries that is coordinating volunteer efforts in the area. Volunteers do everything from clearing debris to diapering infants at a pair of free church-run daycare centers. That helps parents coping with the logistics of loss.

Underwood said the scene in Cedar Rapids, now reeking of mildew and piled high with junk, is both overwhelming and hopeful: "We see pictures all the time of horrible things that take place in other parts of the world, but to be in it and smell it and be part of it is a totally different experience."

Stripped

The long and occasionally dramatic fight of cyclist Floyd Landis appears over. A three-person panel at the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld a previous panel's ruling that Landis used performance-enhancing substances to capture the 2006 Tour de France crown. The U.S. rider is the first Tour champion to have his title stripped for a doping violation. Tests revealed that Landis used synthetic testosterone to fuel his most unlikely comeback victory.

The panel's decision vindicates the two-year ban from cycling placed on Landis in early 2007 and makes the 32-year-old's future in the sport uncertain.

Sudan then and now

Eight years ago when WORLD did its first cover story from South Sudan, tens of thousands of war victims were on the run from their villages, gathering in makeshift camps where parents watched their children die as 30,000 tons of U.S. grain sat in Port Sudan, blocked by the Islamic government and complicit UN agents. The young girl we photographed for that June 10, 2000, cover died about 24 hours later.

Hardship is by no means over in South Sudan, but a three-year-old peace agreement has eased everyday security and living conditions-so much that 80,000 Sudanese in the South plan to return to their homes this year.

Gunning

The National Rifle Association (NRA) took only hours after the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms to launch five initial lawsuits attempting to strike down handgun bans in cities across the nation with ordinances similar to the one struck down by the high court in Washington, D.C.

Who moved?

North Korea sanctions and President Bush

By Mark Bergin

In a move meant to encourage Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program, President George W. Bush has removed North Korea from the U.S. blacklist of terrorism sponsors and lifted trade sanctions that prevented the country from securing low-interest loans from international banks. The softened stance toward a nation once dubbed part of the world's "Axis of Evil" stems from North Korea's apparent cooperation in providing detailed records of its plutonium production to Chinese officials.

Bush called the development "the first step" in getting the totalitarian regime to give up its nuclear weapons. "I'm under no illusions," he said. "This isn't the end of the process. It is the beginning of the process." Bush added that the lifted sanctions will not significantly lessen the financial isolation of North Korea, which "will remain one of the most heavily sanctioned nations in the world." For example, international penalties for human-rights violations and nuclear proliferation activities remain in place.

Critics wonder whether the Bush administration's action is justified given that Pyongyang has lied about its nuclear program before, and this accounting skips detailed information on uranium enrichment. The 60-page document also provides no answers as to North Korea's alleged involvement in the construction of a Syrian nuclear reactor, which Israeli jets bombed last September.

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton called Bush's decision "very unfortunate" and told ABC News that North Korea's "record of deception and duplicity over the years is such that any deal with them would have to have extensive verification mechanisms, and we don't really have that here." The United States will seek to verify the information in the report over the next month and could rescind its removal of sanctions. But Bolton is sharply critical of his former boss: "I think really it's the beginning of the Obama presidency, or maybe it's the continuation of the Clinton presidency, certainly not the Bush presidency that I remember."

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