WORLD

World NOTES

November 17 1997
WORLD

World NOTES

November 17 1997

World NOTES

WORLD

YELTSIN SACKS TYCOON

President Boris Yeltsin fired one of the world’s richest men from his post on Russia’s Security Council. The ouster of Boris Berezovsky, a billionaire who epitomizes success under Russian capitalism, was immediately welcomed by reformers and Communists alike. Many suggested that he had taken advantage of his position to gain his estimated $4-billion net worth.

DISSIDENT RELEASED

A prominent Chinese dissident, Bao Ge, who was recently released from a labor camp, arrived in Washington. He said he planned to work with human rights organizations and return to China as soon as possible. Ge said President Jiang Zemin’s visit to the United States had created a brief climate of tolerance, allowing him to leave China.

BORDER CHAOS BILL

Michigan Senator Spencer Abraham introduced a bill to block a provision in a new immigration law that could lead to traffic chaos on the U.S.-Canadian border. Ottawa has protested a clause that requires the U.S. Immigration Service to record the names of everyone departing and arriving at all points of entry, starting next October. Abraham’s bill would eliminate land crossings.

GIULIANrS BIG WIN

In a series of elections across the United States, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was returned in a landslide while prominent Republican Christine Todd Whitman squeaked back as governor of New Jersey with a one-percent margin. Washington state voters rejected a measure to make gun owners use trigger locks. And Oregon residents backed the state’s assisted-suicide law in a 60 to 40 split. The three-year-old law has never been implemented due to legal challenges.

ONASSIS HEIR 'PIOT

A Geneva judge issued international arrest warrants for seven Israelis in connection with an alleged plot to kidnap 12-year-old Athina Roussel-sole surviving heir to the $4-billion fortune of Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. The judge said the suspects, several of whom were former Israeli army officers, had prepared for an abduction by photographing Roussel and her security entourage in Switzerland. Her mother, Christina, died in 1988.

A BAD RAIN IN SPAIN! Residents of the Spanish town of Badajoz

comb through the wreckage following violent fall storms that wrought havoc across southern Spain and Portugal, killing at least 31 people, smashing homes and destroying crops.The heaviest rains in memory hit the southwest corner of the Iberian peninsula, causing rivers to overflow and sending mud spilling through towns and villages. Officials in both countries said they expected the toll could rise, with at least six people still unaccounted for. “It was a night of madness, a nightmare— there was water everywhere,” said Manuel Afonso, a resident of the village of Saboia in southern Portugal. “Nobody can remember anything like it.”

Tensions mount over Iraq

The United States and Iraq were on a collision course despite diplomatic efforts to head off another confrontation. The United Nations sent a three-member team to Baghdad to try to convince Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein, to allow American members of a UN weapons monitoring mission to continue their inspections of Iraqi military sites. But the envoys left at week’s end with Iraq’s government continuing to prevent the UN inspectors from working. That prompted UN and American officials to warn that the crisis was fast escalating—and that Iraq could face a military strike.

American U-2 surveillance planes were due to resume their missions over Iraq on behalf of the United Nations on Nov. 10, and Iraq threatened to shoot them down. U.S. officials said any attack on a UN plane would amount to “an act of war.” The United States has an aircraft carrier, two cruisers and four destroyers in the Persian Gulf, and could use them to launch cruise missiles at Iraqi targets. Washington has hit Iraq with missiles several times since the 1991 Gulf War. The UN says inspection is essential to make sure Iraq complies with orders to destroy long-range missiles and so-called weapons of mass destruction, such as poisonous gas.

Targeting Nichols in the Oklahoma bombing

As the second Oklahoma City bombing trial got under way, a witness said defendant Terry Nichols rented sheds that were used to store explosives ingredients. Prosecutors said the sheds hid tons of fertilizer used by Nichols and convicted mastermind Timothy McVeigh to build the bomb that destroyed the city’s federal building in 1995, killing 168 people. Prosecutors argue that the pair plotted the bombing to avenge the 1993 attack by federal agents on the Branch Davidian religious compound in Waco, Texas, in which 80 died. Nichols’ lawyers maintain that while the two were business partners, their client knew nothing about McVeigh’s bombing plans.