World Notes

April 24 2000

World Notes

April 24 2000

World Notes

An angry showdown over Elián González

Jubilant crowds chanting “Elián won’t go” jammed the streets surrounding the home of six-year-old Elián González’s relatives to celebrate a court victory over embattled U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno. She was forced to fly to Miami last Wednesday to personally intervene in the case, which has plagued her since Nov. 25, when Elián was rescued after his mother drowned in a shipwreck while trying to escape with the boy to the United States from Cuba. As Eliáns Cuban father, Juan Miguel González, waited in Washington to claim his son, Reno tried to convince Eliáns Miami relatives to turn him over to immigration authorities by 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 13. But the boy’s great-uncle, Lazaro González, refused, saying: “We will not be the deportation officers.”

Instead, on Thursday, a U.S. court

granted Lazaro a temporary injunction preventing the boy’s removal from the United States. Lawyers for the government then asked the court to order the return of the boy to his father, setting the stage for a dramatic showdown with Eliáns relatives. And Reno promised not to back down. “I want to be clear,” she said. “If we are compelled to force our order, we will do so.”

Sex and money in a Will Street drama

Two U.S. businessmen and Kathryn Gannon, 30, a Canadian-born porn actress who had affairs with both men, are at the centre of a sex-filled court drama in Manhattan. Prosecutors claim that Wall Street investment banker James McDermott Jr., 48, passed insider stock trading tips to Gannon, who then passed them to Anthony Pomponio, 45, a New Jersey businessman. Together, Pomponio and Gannon are alleged to have made $170,000. Gannon, who starred in X-rated movies as Marylin Star, is in Vancouver fighting extradition.

Banking on trouble

Thousands of protesters descended on Washington to disrupt the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank scheduled for last Sunday and Monday. Police, who feared a repeat of the violence that flared up during protests at last year’s World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle, made arrests throughout the week, while on Saturday authori-

ties closed a warehouse being used as a headquarters by the Mobilization for Global Justice, an anti-IMF coalition. A police spokesman cited fire violations as the reason for the evacuation, saying they had also found a Molotov cocktail. But the protesters rejected those explanations, claiming that police had used the flimsy excuse of fire violations to close them down and saying that the Molotov cocktail was not real—and had been planted.

A new start

New Russian President Vladimir Putin shepherded the Start II arms reduction treaty through the Russian Duma, where legislators passed it by a vote of 228 to 131. The treaty, which was negotiated seven years ago, calls for U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals to be reduced by half. But Putin said Russia would not honour the treaty if the United States decided to proceed with an anti-missile system, in contravention of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Washington has been trying to get Russia to alter that agreement.

Anti-Semitic and racist’

British historian and Holocaust-denier David Irving lost a libel case after a judge declared that he was in fact “antiSemitic and racist and that he associates with right-wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism.” Irving, the author of more than 30 books, sued U.S. professor Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin Books, for critical assertions about him in her 1993 book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory. Irving, who represented himself, is now responsible for the more than $4 million in legal costs incurred by the defendants. He plans to appeal the ruling.

A question of innocence

Forty-six years after a Cleveland jury convicted Dr. Sam Sheppard of murdering his pregnant wife, Marilyn, another Cleveland jury rejected a wrongful imprisonment suit brought against the state of Ohio in his name by his son, Sam Reese Sheppard. Sheppard was originally convicted in 1954 and served 10 years in prison, but in 1966 he was acquitted—only to die four years later. Sheppards story would later become the basis for the acclaimed television series The Fugitive.

Rally in Belgrade

A crowd estimated at more than 100,000 people gathered in Belgrade to appeal to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic for an early general election. The rally was marked by a joint, albeit unenthusiastic appearance by two feuding opposition leaders, Zoran Djindjic and Vuk Draskovic.

Lowering the flag

Yielding to the pressure of protest marches and a growing national boycott, the South Carolina Senate voted 36 to 7 in favour of removing the Confederate batde flag from the Statehouse dome and placing a smaller, similar flag behind an existing monument to Confederate soldiers on Statehouse grounds. Senators conceded that the mounting financial toll of a fourmonth economic boycott led by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had become unbearable. Officials estimate that the state has lost $ 10 million from the cancellation of conventions alone. The Republican-controlled ETouse of Representatives must also vote on removing the flag, but observers believe the measure will pass.

Peruvian run-off

President Alberto Fujimori fell just shy of reaching the required 50-percent plus one vote majority in the first round of the Peruvian presidential election and will now face a run-off in late May against Alejandro Toledo, his leading opponent. Toledo, who won 40.3 per cent, accused Fujimori’s supporters of election fraud. A university professor who is of native heritage, he mounted a surprisingly effective campaign that received strong support among lower-class Peruvians. Fujimori, who is of Japanese descent, has been president of the impoverished South American nation for a decade.

\ashin frozen out

The National Hockey League said Alexei Yashin cannot play for the Russian national team at the upcoming world championships. Yashin, who is currently under suspension by the Ottawa Senators because of a contract dispute over money, had hoped to play in the tournament, which starts on April 29, if the Senators are eliminated from the NHL playoffs. But the league says Yashin’s suspension will mn until the end of June, and the International Hockey Federation has pledged to honour NHL rules.