Overture

BELFAST BURNING

July 23 2001
Overture

BELFAST BURNING

July 23 2001

BELFAST BURNING

Overture

THE WEEK THAT WAS

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Canadian-German

team of filmmakers and

undersea explorers working off Haiti said a shipwreck first sighted two years ago is the Merchant Jamaica, which belonged to legendary Welsh-born buccaneer Captain Henry Morgan. The team is working with the Haitian government to create a tourist attraction around the 30-cannon oak ship, which may have aided the 17thcentury privateer in his exploits.

Rioting in Belfast left more than 110 police officers injured. The

violence broke out after members of the Protestant Orange Order passed by a predominantly Catholic neighbourhood following a parade commemorating the Protestant victory over Catholic forces at the Battle of the Boyne three centuries ago. Police used water cannon on the rioters for the first time in 20 years.

Financial time bomb

Global financial markets shuddered as Argentina wrestled with a debt crisis that could lead to a $ 192-billion default. Even the Canadian dollar briefly fell by a full U.S. cent as analysts worried about a repeat of the 1998 Asia crisis in emerging markets.

No double-dipping

In a decision with far-reaching implications for couples divorcing late in life, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Willis Boston could reduce monthly support payments to his former wife, Shirley, from $3,200 to $950.

When they divorced in 1995 after 40 years of marriage, the couple’s assets were divided evenly, with Willis Boston’s portion consisting largely of his still-unused and hefty pensions. Upon his retirement in 1997, he started drawing those pensions as his sole source of income and asked to have the support payments reduced. The Supreme Court

ruled in his favour, stating that it was “unfair to allow the payee spouse to reap the benefit of the pension both as an asset and then again as a source of income.”

Surviving Jaws

Jessie Arbogast, 8, of Ocean Springs, Miss., showed signs of neurological recovery in spite of losing almost all of his

blood in a July 6 shark attack at Pensacola Beach, Fla. Surgeons reattached his right arm, which was bitten off during the incident. Fie had been playing in knee-deep surf with other family members when the 2.1-metre bull shark attacked. The boys uncle wresded the shark to shore, where a ranger shot it four times with a 9 mm pistol. Its jaws were pried open and a firefighter used a clamp to pull the arm out of the sharks gullet.

Blood and tanks

Israelis and Palestinians waged a heavy gun batde in the divided West Bank city of Hebron after a Jewish setder was killed and three others injured in road ambushes. In retaliation, Israeli tanks shelled three Palestinian police posts, wounding 23. The increased violence came amid Israeli threats to forcibly remove Yasser Arafat.

The real thing

The family of a Bishops University student who died while trying to shake a can of pop out of a vending machine sued Coca-Cola, the university in Lennoxville, Que., and the machines manufacturer and operator. Kevin Mackle, 19, who had been celebrating the end of exams in 1998, was crushed when the Coke machine fell on him. According to the lawsuit, a design flaw in the machines made them likely to tip over.

Unfriendly fire

A United Nations conference in New York City aimed at controlling the proliferation of small arms ran into withering fire from the United States on its opening day. In a statement echoing the position of the National Rifle Association—

The case of the the missing intern and the philandering

politician continued to grip Washington. The investigation into what role, if any. California congressman Gary Condit played in the April 30 disappearance of Chandra Levy. 24, intensified when investigators scoured Condit’s apartment for clues, while federal authorities launched an inquiry into whether the congressman obstructed justice or encouraged perjury. Condit, 53, initially denied having an affair with her, but finally acknowledged the relationship on July 6 after Levy’s aunt stated publicly that her niece told her she had been intimate with him.

Police removed several items from Condit’s apartment and discovered traces of blood that were turned over to a crime lab. Police are now negotiating to set conditions under which the California Democrat—who is married and has two grown children-would submit to a lie-detector test. The FBI is also investigating a claim by Anne Marie Smith, a 39-yearold flight attendant, that Condit urged her to sign a statement denying a 10-month affair she alleges they had. Condit’s reputation was further damaged when Pentecostal minister Otis Thomas, who resides in Condit’s district, claimed the congressman had an affair with his 18-year-old daughter, Jennifer.

a major Bush campaign contributor—the United States announced it would not support the draft agreement because it threatened legitimate arms manufacturers and infringed on citizens’ rights to bear arms. The United Nations estimates there are up to

300 million small arms illicit-

ly owned worldwide.

'Partial dementia’

In what looks to be the last chapter in Augusto Pinochet s three-year international battle with the law, a Chilean appeals court ruled the former tyrant unfit to stand trial by reason of “partial dementia.” Arrested in 1998 in Britain at the request of a crusading Spanish judge, Pinochet languished in detention there for a year and a half amid a diplomatic furore. Upon release, the 8 5-year-old returned to

Chile, only to be charged with complicity in the murders of political opponents after his 1973 coup.

A general and his men

The Marquis de Montcalm, the French general who died in the battle of the Plains of Abraham, may finally be buried with his troops. Efforts are under way to move Montcalm’s remains to a graveyard near the old Quebec General Fiospital. The cemetery contains the graves of more than 1,000 French and British soldiers who died in the battle. But Montcalm was buried in a crypt with the Ursulines of Quebec.

Adoption and the law

A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge ruled that a provincial law allowing adoption only by married couples is unconstitu-

tional. The case was launched by a lesbian couple who already have children but claim they were being discriminated against because the province did not recognize both women as legal custodians.

Air wars

With Ottawa’s help, aircraft maker Bombardier Inc. scored a $2.6-billion deal to sell 75 regional jets to Northwest Airlines Corp. The feds essentially matched a low-cost loan offer to Northwest by Brazil in support of a bid by fierce rival Embraer. The deal is likely to escalate long-running trade tensions between Canada and Brazil. In April, Bombardier closed another Ottawa-backed jet deal with Air Wisconsin Airlines Corp. worth $2.35 billion, which Brazil has challenged at the World Trade Organization.

GANG WARFARE IN PARADISE

Tourists went snorkelling whIle musIcians strolled

the white sand beaches playing to a reggae beat. And then there was the other Jamaica: soldiers, backed by helicopter gunships, patrolling streets that had been turned red with blood after four days of gun battles between police and residents of the slums of West Kingston. As many as 27 people died in the fighting, which began on July 7 after soldiers entered a neighbourhood loyal to Edward Seaga, leader of the opposition Jamaica Labour Party. According to the People’s National Party government of Prime Minister P. J. Patterson, the soldiers were sent In to seize weapons and help curtail fighting between opposing gangs that had left 17 people dead since April. But according to Seaga, the move was a provocation in-

tended to reduce his lead In the polls in advance of next year’s general election by undermining his popularity In the riot-torn areas.

Violence has been a political fact of life in Jamaica since the 1970s, when both of the main political parties began arming criminals to intimidate voters. That encouraged

the rise of a political gang culture. Now, observers expect more fighting as the election nears. Experts also fear that if the violence spreads it will threaten the country’s $2-blllion tourist industry. That would be disastrous for Jamaica, where nearly a third of the island’s 2.6 million people live in poverty.