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Table of Contents

Leonard Peltier Suffering, Faces Medical Crisis

by Nicholas Wilson Leonard Peltier, Native American activist and America's best known political prisoner, is telling friends that prison red tape prevents him from getting urgently needed medical help for complications that developed after unsuccessful jaw surgery in a prison hospital. Now in the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas, he is in constantly increasing pain and can't open his jaws to eat or chew. He must take in food through a gap left by missing teeth, then mash his food with his tongue before swallowing because prison authorities refuse to run his meals through a blender

Pentagon Wants Veto Power Over War Crimes Court

by Farhan Haq The U.S. Defense Department has made no secret of its opposition to the idea of global court to try war crimes -- but its campaign against an International Criminal Court is having unintended effects. As diplomats meet in Rome this week to kick off their monthlong meeting to create the Court, some human rights officials and ICC supporters are worried that the Pentagon's efforts could sidetrack the Court -- and even may work against the goals of Clinton and the U.S. delegation at Rome

Hard Times, Suharto Overthrow Have Radicalized Indonesia

by Andreas Harsono A disciplined, student-led movement managed to occupy the Indonesian parliament building and to force Suharto to step down on May 21. The ashen-faced Suharto announced in a nationally-broadcast television report that he could not govern the country anymore. With a three-minute statement, he ended a 33-year, iron-fisted rule. People rejoiced. A glorious victory at last? "No," say many political analysts, economists, politicians and diplomats. Suharto has basically left behind a country with no uncorrupted big businesses or strong political institutions. The iron man is gone, but his corrupt regime remains behind. Worse still, he left a country on the brink of total chaos

Army Suspected of Gang Rapes, Ethnic Attacks During Riots

by Andreas Harsono About 100 Chinese women gang raped during the riots and others describe a consistent pattern of "well-built men with [a] crew-cut hairstyle" generally starting the violence by coming to a street in a truck or a bus and attacking only one house on the street, encouraging other people in the area to join them in attacking the other Chinese-owned houses in the vicinity and then looting their contents. Rumors circulated widely here that some high-ranking army officers were involved in the riots which targeted the Chinese

Indonesians Shocked by Sudden Firing of Attorney General

by Andreas Harsono Indonesian President Habibie swore in a new attorney general Wednesday amid speculation the move is intended to stop an investigation of the ill-gotten wealth of former President Suharto. The announcement shocked the public here -- especially those who had earlier hoped that the Attorney General's Office, long thought of as a Suharto tool to prosecute pro-democracy activists would turn into a more independent force in Indonesia

Like Marcos, Dictator Suharto Might Keep Billions

by Johanna Son and Kafil Yamin Impatient calls are rising for an inquiry into the wealth of President Suharto and his kin, but the Philippine experience shows that going after a dictator's business empire is bound to be a slow, political and legal maze

Unions Cheer Defeat of Prop 226

by Jim Lobe California's Proposition 226, which enjoyed the avid backing of the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, and outgoing California governor and presidential aspirant Pete Wilson, was originally launched by a right-wing candidate for a local school board who was angered by the role played by the local teachers' union in his defeat. The proposition quickly claimed the national spotlight after Wilson endorsed it and Grover Norquist, a Gingrich adviser and head of Americans for Tax Reform, raised enough money to get the 750,000 signatures needed to put the initiative on the ballot. To the right, the referendum offered a "no-lose" proposition. "It divides labor union members from labor bosses," Norquist said

U.S. Oil Subsidies Fuel Global Warming, Say Analysts

by Danielle Knight Despite stated commitments to halt global warming , the U.S. government continued to subsidize the nation's oil industry, with between $15.7 and $35.2 billion in subsidies in 1995. The report, "Fueling Global Warming," charged that prices do not even reflect the direct costs of petroleum production

Error 404: Information Missing From Your Daily News

Media attacks on Dr. Spock and Matt Drudge, a victory for the U'wa people, and the hidden economic news of Japan

U.S. Drug War Endangers Latin America Democracy

by Daniel Gatti The anti-drug drive by the United States in Latin America is generating serious internal conflicts in countries south of the U.S. border. At the heart of the problem is Washington's insistence that the military in various nations be involved in operations which has led to an unprecedented military buildup in nations often ruled by army dictators

Another Phony Clinton "Scandal"

by Randolph T. Holhut You can tell how desperate the Republicans are heading into the 1998 elections by how far they will go in coming up with new ways to smear President Clinton. Take the latest charge -- that in exchange for $1 million in campaign contributions, Loral Corp. persuaded President Clinton to let China obtain the technology that would enable them to improve the accuracy of their nuclear missiles. There's just one small problem. The story is a lie

Ward Valley Showdown Approaches

by Dan Hamburg The federal Interior Department backs off, but a mid-June court appearance will likely decide the future of this land

Mexicans File Complaint Against U.S. Apple Growers

by Jim Lobe A coalition of Mexican trade unions and farmworkers say that the mainly Mexican migrant workers, who labor in Washington State's abundant apple orchards, are denied rights to organize, collective bargaining, minimum labor standards, non-discrimination in employment, job safety and health, workers' compensation, and migrant worker protection

Australians, But Not Government, Apologize to Natives

by Sumegha Agarwal Their prime minister refused to do it, but more than a million Australians apparently found it so important and necessary that they did it themselves -- apologize to their country's indigenous people in a national 'Sorry Day'

Public Policies Often Shun Science, Famed Researcher Says

by Tim Lucas When politics and science clash, science -- and ultimately, society -- are the losers, says Dr. JoAnn Burkholder, whose pioneering research on a fish-killing toxic was one of 1997's top science stories and also fodder for one of the year's most contentious public debates about the role science should play in shaping environmental policy. "Yet in some of the areas hardest hit by Pfiesteria, environmental managers refuse to recognize them," Burkholder says. "It's clearly a case of science being held hostage by economic fears and political interests. Our rivers and estuaries are in decline, and Nero is fiddling"

Development and Urban Watershed Pollution Linked

by Heidi Koehler A USGS study of urban watersheds across the United States reveals a link between a class of organic contaminants and urbanization, despite stringent emissions controls and attempts to control urban runoff

Honduras Could Lose All Forest in 20 Years

by Thelma Mejia Deforestation is ravaging the environment to such an extent that Honduras could end up without any significant wooded areas within the next two decades. About 250,000 acres of forestlands disappeared every year and, due to the absence of policy to promote sustainibility and conserve natural resources, the environment faced a bleak future, according to a new study

Elephants at Risk as Ivory Trade Picks Up

by Tansa Musa About half a ton of ivory has been seized at a Cameroon port in the last six months, probably a fraction of what has slipped past customs official, and there are indications it may be increasing significantly

Crime Eyewitness Easily Swayed by Cops, Study Finds

by Doug Fizel Fingerprints, DNA matches and fibers may be more reliably objective indicators that a suspect committed a crime, but studies have found that most jurors trust the testimony of an eyewitness, even when the eyewitness is completely wrong. Now a new study provides even further evidence that eyewitness testimony may not deserve the confidence that many jurors have in it

Lebanon Housing Built on Toxic Waste Sites

by Michel Chevallier Lebanon has the sorry distinction of being a master in the art of concealing waste disposal behind real estate development and disguising toxic waste as raw materials. Over the past 15 years, a few people have made huge profits out of importing toxic waste into the country, but for most of the population, though, it has brought only ill-health and misery

Hospitals are Major Source of Toxic Pollutants

by Danielle Knight A medical waste management survey of 50 major U.S. hospitals, has found that many medical facilities are the source for dioxins and mercury emissions -- two known toxic chemicals

Demands for $$ to Shutdown Chernobyl Called Blackmail

by Sergei Blagov and Andrei Ivanov Ukraine says it wants $1.2 billion to shutdown reactor said to be in "very bad condition"

U.S. Financing Corrupt and Unstable Moscow

by Eric Margolis Unable to come up with a better alternative, the U.S. and the West keep financing this rotten, mafia-ridden kleptocracy. In a terrible blot on America's honor, the Clinton Administration even funded Russia's brutal war against tiny Chechnya, that killed 100,000 civilians and left that country in ruins

Remembering Dr. Spock: The baby doctor who helped shaped a generation of peace activists

by Roldo Bartimole The potential effects of fallout -- a 1950s' word -- upon children turned Dr. Spock from the nation's Baby Doctor into a peacenik, a 1960s word. Once he understood that the children he was nurturing with his advice to mothers were being damaged by nuclear testing, his ethical grounding made it imperative -- though uncomfortable -- to act as vigorously as the peace marchers who helped bring down a president

Enviros Demand Clinton Take Quick Action to Help Ocean

by Danielle Knight More than 100 environmental groups demanded on May 27 that President Bill Clinton increase U.S. efforts to protect ocean waters and wildlife from overfishing, coastal development, and pollution. According to the EPA, 40 percent of the country's waters remain too polluted for fishing, swimming and other recreation, including tourism. Despite these alarming statistics, environmental groups said that the United States "has no national 'plan' to manage the oceans" and has taken a back-seat to international efforts to protect marine ecosystems

Senate Opens Door to Email Spam

by Mark Taylor On its face, this law may seem like a rational compromise between the anti-spam and pro-spam factions. But hold on to your hats, folks, because all is not exactly as it appears. The bill would be a boon for spammers and allow them to send junk email with impunity. You will need to request removal from each mailing list that sends you spam. The law is a giant step backwards on the Internet and is obviously a gift to spammers

"Gore Tax" Was More GOP Propaganda

by Andy Oram For a brief period, the Clinton Administration embraced a digital future. Gore ran his vice presidential campaign on a promise that everyone would have access to digital information and online civic participation. It's no surprise that Republican supporters have boisterously labeled the school/library fund "the Gore tax." In doing so, they have tipped their hand

"Content" Magazine is no Independent Voice

by Norman Solomon The premiere issue of Brill's Content is hot off the press. The magazine calls itself "the Independent Voice of the Information Age" and pledges to scrutinize news coverage without fear or favor. But along with Steven Brill, the other investors behind the magazine are media magnate Barry Diller, real estate tycoon Howard Milstein and financier Lester Pollack. What is the size of their investments? Other than declaring that Brill is the "majority owner," spokespeople for Brill's Content remain tight-lipped. Will the magazine probe the media empire of co-owner Diller, whose network airs a lot of TV programs, including "The Jerry Springer Show"

How Many Dollars Per Vote?

by Norman Solomon Although California's primary was the most expensive election in any state's history, the media spin was reassuring about the results. Standards have sunk so low that the triumph of a candidate's $12 million campaign is supposed to be a victory for the little guy

MacArthur "Genius" Grants Reach Too Few

by Joyce Marcel Although we live in a world seemingly made and run by and for fools and idiots ("Buy low and sell high" -- well, duh!) we put a high price on genius. The problem is, we don't want to pay it. Lately, we seem to be willing to let the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation give large amounts of money to people who have demonstrated "exceptional creativity." While I can't fault the Foundation for what it does with its $4 billion, after going down the list of winners this year, I can't find more than a handful who aren't already gainfully employed


Leonard Peltier, California primary, Indonesia, Frank Sinatra, Bill Gates

The Drug War

by Alexander Cockburn Why does the drug war grind on, decade after decade, immune to reason, often grotesque in its hypocrisy? The answer is plain enough, particularly if one takes a look at the history of drug wars over the past 150 years. These drug wars are either openly avowed or tacit enterprises that expand the drug trade, or they are pretexts for social and political repression. In either case, the aim of halting the production, shipment and consumption of drugs is not on the agenda

Media's New Resident Expert

by Alexander Cockburn Is there a day, an hour, a minute when Todd Gitlin isn't handing out quotes? Gitlin, in case by some miracle you've missed his unending appearances in the press, is a professor of culture, journalism and sociology at New York University and the latest fashion among reporters looking for an authoritative quote with which to bulk out their stories

The Capitalist Manifesto

by Alexander Cockburn In the 1950s, "law enforcement" was primarily the local police and the FBI. Today, law enforcement has expanded into every government agency. The army is being used domestically in drug enforcement and border control. Five vast new federal prisons are in the process of construction. We have over 3,000 on Death Row, ever-expanding police powers, ever-diminishing civil liberties, roadblocks and random searches with dogs of one's person, surveillance from helicopters, infra-red imagers and kindred snooping. Urine and blood samples are required for menial jobs. McCarthyism at its peak could not begin to match the far-reaching state fascism that is everyday America now.

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