Richard Gephardt, left-leaning leader of the Democratic minority in the U.S. House of Representatives, said he would not run for president in 2000. Gephardt was seen as the strongest challenger to Vice-President AI Gore for the Democratic nomination, and left only Senator Bill Bradley, a former basketball star, in the race for now. Gephardt said he wanted to concentrate on winning back Democratic control of the House and becoming its Speaker.
AIDS FROM CHIMPS
An international team of AIDS researchers said they had confirmed the deadly virus originated with a subspecies of chimpanzee in west and central Africa. The scientists told a Chicago conference that the chimp version was closely related to HIV-1, the predominant strain in humans, and was probably transmitted through bites and hunters’ exposure to chimp blood.
Inmates lit candles in protest after hearing news of the first execution in the Philippines in 23 years. Leo Echegaray, 38, who died by lethal injection, had been found guilty of raping his 10-year-old stepdaughter. His case set off an emotional debate over the resumption of capital punishment. More than 900 people have been sentenced to death since the penalty was reintroduced in 1994.
NEW BLOOD FEAR
A Utah hunter whose donated blood was contained in products exported to Canada and other countries may have died of a form of mad-cow disease that infects deer. Some consumer groups want the blood products quarantined, but Health Canada said there is no proof the disease can be transferred to humans.
District of Columbia’s black mayor, Anthony Williams, rehired a white aide whose use of the word “niggardly” triggered an uproar. Discussing money, aide David Howard made accurate use of the word, an Old Norse derivation meaning miserly, but it cost him his job when a fellow employee complained he had used a racial slur. Williams then came under fire for letting Howard go.
A PARTING HURRAH
South African President Nelson Mandela, accompanied by his wife, Graca Machel, waves to the crowd at the opening of Parliament in Cape Town last Friday. Mandela plans to step down after allrace elections, which he indicated would be held in May. “The prize of a better life has yet to be won,” he said in his last major address to the legislators. He also vowed that the nation would overcome its high rate of crime.That issue was underscored the night before, when an intruder attacked Canadian High Commissioner James Bartleman with a stun gun, tied him up and robbed him at a Cape Town hotel. Bartleman, who fought his assailant, suffered a fractured nose and a bruised foot.
Tough talking over Kosovo
The meeting’s setting was grand, an 18thcentury brick castle near Paris, but its chances for success were clouded. If the international delegates at the 30-bedroom château in Rambouillet failed to solve the impasse over the Serbian province of Kosovo, the region would once again plunge into violence. The gathering was designed to bring together the leaders of Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority and the Serbian government to agree on Kosovo once and for all. But a last-minute dispute showed how difficult it would be to find a compromise. The peace conference was jeopardized when Serbian authorities refused to let three ethnic Albanian guerrillas travel
with the Kosovan delegates. After intense pressure from France and Britain, who are chairing the talks, Serbia finally let the Kosovo Liberation Army members leave. Belgrade considers Kosovo to be the ancient seat of Serbian culture and vows it will not be carved out of its territory. The KLA insists on independence for the Albanians, who comprise 90 per cent of Kosovo’s population. Western powers have proposed autonomy and have given the two sides 14 days to break the deadlock. If a deal is struck, soldiers from the United States, Canada and other countries will be sent in to keep the peace. If there is no deal, NATO warplanes could pound Serbian military targets.
Abortion doctors battle Internet militants
Militant anti-abortion activists were ordered to pay $107 million (U.S.) in damages for using a Web site to target abortion doctors, some of whom were murdered. A Portland, Ore., jury decided that constitutional guarantees of free speech did not apply to the so-called Nuremberg Files Web site, in which doctors’ names were shown crossed off after they died
although no specific threats were made. The activists, sued by Planned Parenthood and some of the 260 listed physicians, also displayed “wanted” posters of so-called baby butchers at rallies. Four Canadian doctors were listed on the Web site, including Montreal’s Dr. Henry Morgentaler and three wounded in sniper attacks over the past four years.
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