The Week/the Spin

Ayatollahed You So

{{Iranian Student#31965}} Security forces quelled student protests in Iran. Young people in 18 cities had staged protests, thrown stones, and set police vehicles on fire. Pro-government conservatives rallied right back. “{{International Papers#31989}}” compares the uprising to civil war and the fall of the Iron Curtain, but the Iranian newspaper Neshat argues that revolution is “neither possible nor desirable.”

Peace talks broke down in Northern Ireland. Protestant unionists rejected a plan to implement last year’s peace accord on the grounds that the plan requires sharing power with the political wing of the still-armed Irish Republican Army. {{International Papers#32152}} describes the clamor for negotiators to return the Nobel Peace Prize they won last year. The BBC reports that the post-breakdown {{finger-pointing#2:}} is drowning out both sides’ {{weary vows#2:}} to continue the process.

{{Arafat Barak#31910}} Ehud Barak pledged to renew the peace process. President Clinton said he looked forward to Barak’s first U.S. visit like “a kid with a new toy,” but CNN predicted that Clinton would {{refrain from pressuring#2:}} Barak into immediate action. At his first official meeting with Yasser Arafat, Barak promised to implement former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s still-unrealized diplomatic agreements, while Arafat repeated calls to curb West Bank settlements. Both meetings were deemed key steps toward rebuilding relationships Netanyahu had soured. Click {{here#32060}} to read Slate’s David Plotz puncture the Barak euphoria.

Taiwan asserted its autonomy from China. The island abandoned its “one China” policy, which implied China’s sovereignty over and eventual reunification with Taiwan. “Don’t underestimate the Chinese government’s firm determination to uphold national sovereignty, dignity, and territorial integrity,” warned the Chinese Foreign Ministry in response. The Wall Street Journal says the move “alarmed even Taiwan’s friends,” including the United States, which quickly affirmed the one China policy. But Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post{{reports#2:}} that the Taiwanese are ready to call what they think is China’s bluff.

Pakistan and India will end their standoff in Kashmir. Pakistani-backed Islamic militants withdrew from their Himalayan stronghold after weekend talks between Indian and Pakistani officials. One Islamic military group still refuses to budge. The Pakistanis spun their pullback as a mutual cease-fire, but as “{{International Papers#31860}}” notes, India bragged of “a total military rout.” The rest of the world sighed with relief at what the New York Times{{called#2:}} “an end to the latest confrontation between the world’s newest nuclear powers.” A Washington Post editorial credits President Clinton with {{quietly brokering#2:}} the deal but warns that America may now be drawn into the conflict.

Serbian opposition leader Vuk Draskovic will try to oust Slobodan Milosevic. The hitherto-silent Draskovic called for “massive rallies” to topple the regime. The Washington Post{{cautions#2:}} that the effort may be sabotaged by a crackdown from Milosevic or by internecine quarrelling among opposition leaders.

Rafael Resendez-Ramirez surrendered. The Mexican national who topped the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list and is suspected of killings in three states turned himself in under a plan brokered by his sister. He had been apprehended in June by INS agents for trying to enter the U.S. illegally, but had then been released, allegedly because the agents had no information on his record or his warrants.

The Senate passed compromise patients’ rights legislation. Republicans defeated a plan to let patients sue their HMOs but approved more access to emergency care and specialists. Democrats protested that the reforms would apply to fewer than one-third of the 161 million Americans with private insurance. The Washington Post awards the GOP “{{a clean win#2:}} on an issue of prime importance to the American public” but foresees an election-time brawl. “Today we saw what ‘compassionate conservativism’ pretends to be,” harrumphed Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. New York Times columnist Bob Herbert asserts that managed care has {{bought Republican votes#2:}} and that patients will die as a result.

George W. Bush will forgo federal matching campaign funds. He explained that being unconstrained by spending limits will give him “strategic flexibility.” “There’s a chance I’ll be running against somebody who will be able to jump in a government airplane and travel the country making promises,” he said.

Rep. John Kasich dropped his presidential bid. He endorsed George W. Bush. USA Today’s Walter Shapiro {{eulogized#2:}} Kasich as “one of the most refreshingly outspoken figures in his party” and concluded that “another voice in the struggle to define the party’s agenda is stilled.” Other analyses agreed that Kasich was intimidated by Bush’s haul of money and endorsements, and wondered who might drop out next.

Sen. Bob Smith quit the GOP and will run for president as an independent. He castigated Republicans for going soft on gun control and abortion. The Washington Post says that Republicans will {{encourage unity#2:}} by allowing Smith to retain his committee chairmanship and caucus membership. But Pat Buchanan opined on Face the Nation that “the Republican establishment is doing its best right now to almost force a fracture in the GOP.”

Republicans unveiled rival tax-cut plans. Senate Finance Committee Chairman William Roth, R-Del., suggested slicing taxes by $792 billion over 10 years, while House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer, R-Texas, floated a $850 billion reduction. The White House called the cuts “a huge risk for the country,” and Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., called the Archer proposal “a Christmas tree that’s supposed to appeal to every Republican.” In the Washington Post, Archer accuses Democrats of supporting “{{big governmentonautopilot#2:}}” and argues that the cuts epitomize compassionate conservatism. But deficit-hawk ex-Sens. Sam Nunn and Warren Rudman assert in the same pages that the surplus should be used to {{pay down the deficit#2:}}.

The Vatican barred an American priest and nun from ministering to gays. The decree accused Sister Jeannine Gramick and Rev. Robert Nugent of an “erroneous and dangerous” failure to affirm the “intrinsic evil of homosexual acts.” The Washington Post reports that the decree “{{effectively ends the careers#2:}} of two of the most prominent gay rights advocates within the Catholic Church.”

A jury ordered General Motors to pay $4.9 billion to six victims burned by an exploded {{Left Ad#31909}} Chevrolet fuel tank. It is one of the largest product liability awards ever. The plaintiffs’ lawyers had produced documents demonstrating that GM execs resisted fireproofing fuel systems because it would cost an extra $8.59 per vehicle. GM’s lawyers, who had fought to conceal the memos, called the argument “absurd.” The Los Angeles Times clucks that “public trust in product liability cases tried by juries might well be going down the drain with these {{excessive awards#2:}}.”

Florida charged an airplane maintenance firm with murder in the Valujet crash. The indictment blamed the deaths of the plane’s 110 passengers on the company’s negligence. This is the first time criminal charges have been brought over an accidental airplane crash in the United States.

An inexpensive drug will help prevent AIDS transmission from mothers to children. Health advocates at the {{National Institutes of Health#2:}}, which sponsored the trial, predicted that the inexpensive medicine, Nevirapine, will curb infection rates in poor countries.

The NAACP is planning to sue the gun and TV industries. The group will file {{suits against handgun makers, importers, and distributors#2:}} to force gun companies to market their products more carefully. It may also sue TV networks for failing to depict minority characters in their shows. NAACP President Kweisi Mfume told the Los Angeles Times that the networks are violating the {{1934 Federal Communications Act#2:}}, which specifies that the airwaves belong to the public.

The U.S. Air Force dropped medical supplies to a South Pole researcher who found a lump in her breast. Weather conditions will delay her evacuation until at least October.

Carnival Cruise Lines disclosed rape charges against its staff. Crew members have been accused of sexual assault 62 times in a five-year span ending last summer. The admission was ordered by a judge presiding over a lawsuit by a former employee alleging that the company tried to cover up her rape.

Apple’s quarterly profits doubled. Its stock subsequently jumped to an all-time peak. Formerly skeptical analysts raved about the popular iMacs and predicted more good news with next week’s introduction of iMac laptops.

{{us soccer#31908}} The United States defeated China for the Women’s World Cup soccer title. The game was scoreless and ended in a penalty shootout. More celebrated was the 90,000-strong crowd, the largest ever for a women’s sporting event. Former Sen. Patricia Schroeder exults in the Los Angeles Times that the team “buries some of the {{Barbie doll influence#2:}},” and Newsweek’s jubilant cover story shouts that the team is “{{taking women’s sports to the next level#2:}},” but NewYorkTimes columnist George Vecsey wonders whether the {{momentum to build a professional league#2:}} can be sustained. Slate’s William Saletan explains the feminist implications of {{Brandi Chastain’s bared torso#32039}}.

Jesse “The Body” Ventura will return to the wrestling ring. He will be a referee at the World Wrestling Federation’s Aug. 22 “SummerSlam” event. “It’s business that is separate from his gubernatorial duties,” said an aide.

The Beatles will play their first concert in 30 years. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison will commemorate the rerelease of the film Yellow Submarine by playing a concert on a yellow submarine while floating down a river in Liverpool.