The battle over a Cuban boy

April 17 2000

The battle over a Cuban boy

April 17 2000

The battle over a Cuban boy

World Notes

Elián González’s father arrived in Washington from Cuba to claim his six-year-old son, rescued off the Florida coast on Nov. 25 after his mother drowned during a shipwreck while trying to escape to the United States. Juan Miguel Gonzalez, accompanied by his new wife and six-month-old baby, blasted the Miami relatives who have been caring for the boy because, he said, Elián has been put “on display in public rallies, with the intention of gaining political advantage.”

And González said he hopes “very soon to embrace my son.”

Easier said than done. González did meet with U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, who recently won a federal district court ruling that Elián be returned to his father. But talks

aimed at bringing about a peaceful handover broke off with Elián’s great s uncle Lazaro Gon| zález, who has had I temporary custody % of him—while antiFidel Castro protesters continued to surround the González house in Miami’s Little FFavana. At week’s end, authorities said they hoped for a resolution by the middle of this week.

Hard landing for frisky flyers

Two former British executives who were strangers but shed clothing and fondled each other during a flight from Dallas to Manchester, England, last October were fined for being drunk on an airplane. Amanda Holt, 37, a Nortel Networks manager, and David Machin, 40, a Hallmark Card executive, drank excessively before snuggling under a blanket and proceeding to grope each other. British Judge Harold Singer agreed to drop a charge of outraging public decency, noting that the two, both married, had lost their jobs and had suffered enough.

Japan’s new leader

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party picked Yoshiro Mori as prime minister after an April 2 stroke left former leader Keizo Obuchi in a coma. Mori, a one-time rugby player described by his critics as “an elephant with a fleas heart” because of his 220lb. frame and reputation for indecisiveness, pledged to carry on with Obuchi’s policies of revitalization for

Japan. The world’s second-largest economy has been wracked by recession for a decade. The leadership crisis again focused attention on the secrecy and backroom dealings of the LDP, which imposed a 22-hour blackout on news of Obuchi’s medical condition. Opposition politicians, anticipating national elections as early as June, said the choice of Mori as prime minister showed that the LDP has reached a “dead end.”

Conviction in Pakistan

Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif, ousted in a military coup, was convicted of hijacking a commercial airliner, sentenced to life in prison and ordered to forfeit all his personal belongings. The twiceelected, twice-deposed 52-year-old businessman prevented an aircraft carrying 198 passengers from landing on Oct. 12 after he had been deposed.

Suspending Russia

The Russian delegation to the Council of Europe staged a dramatic walkout after being stripped of its voting rights for alleged gross abuses by Russian troops in Chechnya. The council called for an immediate ceasefire in the region and appealed for member states to take Moscow to the European human rights court. Russia, which joined the 41-nation council in 1996, is the only country to be suspended in the organizations 51-year history.

Bounty on a terrorist

The U.S. state department is offering up to $5 million (U.S.) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Algerian-born Abdelmajid Dahoumane. The 33-year-old was indicted in January in a Washington state federal court on terrorism charges. Dahoumane, who came to Canada in 1995 seeking refugee status but had his request rejected, disappeared from Montreal in December and is alleged to be an accomplice of Ahmed Ressam, another Algerian-born former Montreal resident, who was caught allegedly entering the United States with explosives in December.

Land wars in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s parliament voted to make the country’s former colonial master, Britain, liable for compensating white owners of farms to be seized for redistribution to blacks. The constitutional amendment was voted into law with the minimum 100 votes barely 24 hours after the 76-year-old president, Robert Mugabe, threatened to go to war with Britain over his resettlement plan. Whites, who constitute two per cent of the country’s 12.5 million people, own 70 per cent of the best farmland. Britain rejected the plan.