World Notes

August 16 1999

World Notes

August 16 1999

World Notes

America dries up

Maryland and New Jersey brought in strict controls on water use amid the worst drought in the United States since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Four East Coast states are experiencing their driest spells on record, while another four are undergoing the second worst. Weeks of stifling heat and no rain have withered crops, fed forest fires and dried up waterways. Climatologists, blaming the so-called La Niña effect in the Pacific, see little relief until winter.

Sierra Leone hostages

Robert Gravelle, a 51-year-old former Canadian peacekeeper and seasoned UN political officer, was among about 40 people abducted by rebel-allied soldiers in the West African country last week. The Orléans, Ont., resident, a senior political adviser for the UN Observer Mission in Sierra Leone, was kidnapped along with a group of mosdy UN observers while attempting to secure the release of about 150 women and children captured during the country’s civil war.

Kurd ceasefire

Kurdish rebels said they would honour a ceasefire order by their imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan. Facing the death penalty, he told them to stop fighting and withdraw outside Turkey’s borders by Sept. 1 “for the sake of peace.”

India hits a billion

The population of India will cross the one billion mark this week, according to UN demographers. Expanding at 1.6 per cent a year, India is expected in the next 40 years to overtake slowergrowing China, with 1.2 billion.

The price of history

Arbitrators ordered the U.S. government to pay $16 million (U.S.) for 26 seconds of grisly images of the assassination of president John F. Kennedy captured by Abraham Zapruder on Nov. 22, 1963. Zapruder, a former Dallas dressmaker, died in 1970. The government had offered Zapruder’s family $ 1 million as compensation for expropriating the film, but they had sought $30 million.

The Stateman/AP

A terrible toll in an Indian train wreck

Rescue workers haul away a body amid the wreckage of a head-on train crash in the northeast Indian city of Gaisal that killed at least 287 people. More than 140, too disfigured for identification, were cremated in a mass service. Railways Minister Nitish Kumar resigned over the disaster, blamed on staff negligence.

Hillary blames childhood ‘abuse’

Just when Americans thought they had heard everything—nr much more than—they wanted to know about President Bill Clinton’s sex life, his wife reopened the whole issue by suggesting that the sexual indiscretions that led to his impeachment were triggered by “abuse” he suffered as a young boy. “There was a terrible conflict between his mother and his grandmother,” Hillary Clinton said in an interview in the much-buzzed-about inaugural edition of New York City-based Talk magazine. “A psychologist once told

me that for a boy being in the middle of a conflict between two women is the worst possible situation.” She also said the President is responsible for his own behaviour, that he had been “working on himself very hard in the last year,” and that “we have love.” Many analysts saw her assertions as a calculated attempt to put questions about her marriage behind her as she prepares to formally launch her bid for a Senate seat in New York. While White House aides emphasized that she was not talking about physical abuse, the President agreed that his childhood was “no bed of roses.” But neither he nor Hillary, he added, were making excuses for his “inexcusable” infidelity.

Is TV bad for very young brains?

Watching even kid-friendly shows like Sesame Street and Barney may hurt young children, according to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It maintains that children under 2 should not watch any television at all, because they need direct interaction with their parents and others to stimulate their social and intellectual development. In an upcoming report, the Canadian Pediatric Society agrees with much of the U.S. thinking, but suggests it is OK for tots to watch 30 minutes of quality television a day under parental supervision.