World

NOTES

November 2 1998
World

NOTES

November 2 1998

NOTES

World

DANGEROUS TOYS

Parents should immediately remove the batteries from their children’s Power Wheels cars and trucks because faulty wiring can cause them to erupt in flame, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In one of the biggest toy recalls ever, FisherPrice, the toys’ manufacturer, promised to make free repairs on up to 10 million Barbie Jeeps, Big Jakes, Extreme Machines and other models sold in the past 14 years. Flawed electrical systems have sparked 150 fires and burned nine children.

ITALY'S LEFT TURN

Former Communist Massimo D'Alema, 49, took over as Italy’s new prime minister, heading a Social Democratdominated government formed after centrist premier Romano Prodi lost a confidence vote. In a historic turnabout, Oliviero Diliberto and Katia Bellillo became the first Marxists to serve in cabinet since a government of national unity folded in 1947.

PIPELINE FIRE SNUFFED

Firefighters using a chemical foam finally doused a pipeline fire in Nigeria that raged for nearly seven days and killed more than 700 people. As many as 1,000 were trying to collect gasoline spilling from the damaged government-owned pipeline when it exploded. Hundreds of people were injured, but many refused care, fearing they would be arrested.

ECO-TERROR IN COLORADO

A group known as the Earth Liberation Front claims that it deliberately started a fire that caused $18 million in damage to the Vail, Colo., ski resort-one of the most popular facilities in the United States. The complex is undergoing a massive expansion on terrain that environmentalists say is vital for réintroduction of lynx into Colorado.

SETBACK FOR SCHRODER

Germany’s new Social Democrat chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, suffered a blow when his choice for economics minister refused the job. Jost Stollmann, a private businessman whose support of free markets had attracted many voters, said he had deep reservations over the direction of the government. He was also at loggerheads with future finance minister Oskar Lafontaine, a left-winger.

JOY IN GOTHAM:

New York Yankees catcher Joe Girardi hugs relief pitcher Mariano Rivera after their team swept the San Diego Padres in four straight games to win baseball’s World Series.

The Yankees finished the regular season with an American League record of I 14 victories. But while Yankees fans were ecstatic, the victory proved to be a television-ratings disaster; only Oakland’s earthquakeinterrupted sweep of San Francisco in 1989 drew fewer viewers. As a result, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Network, which broadcast the games, lost an estimated $23 million because it promised advertisers a larger audience. Murdoch’s New York-area television partner has reportedly offered Yankees owner George Steinbrenner as much as $ 1.2 billion for the team.

Tensions run high in Kosovo

With a NATO deadline for Serbian troop withdrawals from Kosovo looming, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic still had not fully complied with Western demands to bring peace to the anguished province. European and U.S. observers, who inspected trouble spots in Kosovo last week, said they found conditions essentially unchanged. Large numbers of troops and police remained in place, and clashes with ethnic Albanian rebels persisted despite the threat of punishing NATO air strikes against Serbian military targets. Still, NATO officials said the deadline might be extended if progress seemed possible.

As part of the agreement with Milosevic,

Albanian refugees were to be allowed to return to their homes and nearly 2,000 independent foreign observers would be sent to Kosovo to monitor an agreement worked out on Oct. 12. But as nearly 100 unarmed Canadian peacekeepers prepared to join the international contingent, hostilities continued unabated. Gunners with the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army exchanged fire with Serbian forces and some Albanians who returned to their home villages fled when Serbian police fired gunshots into the air. Despite the tension, there was some respite for isolated villagers and refugees. Aid convoys delivered relief supplies unchallenged by Serbian authorities.

A U.S. envoy’s Quebec memoir raises a fuss

Former U.S. ambassador James Blanchard triggered an uproar in Canada with a new book detailing his close relations with leading Canadian politicians during the Quebec referendum in 1995. In Behind the Embassy Door: Canada, Clinton and Quebec, Blanchard says Prime Minister Jean Chrétien phoned him late in the campaign to say that opinion polls had turned in favor of Canada. “It struck me as incredible,” writes Blanchard, “that he could be so serene with the country on the line.” He also said Reform Leader Preston Manning feared Ottawa would lose and would need U.S. help to figure out how to carve up the national debt between Quebec and Canada.