The Washington Post and New York Times lead with Republican Congressman Rick Lazio’s announcement that he will run against Hillary Clinton for New York’s contested Senate seat. Mudslinging from both camps ensued. The NYT off-leads broad support among influential Chinese for their nation’s entrance into the World Trade Organization. The Los Angeles Times estimates in its lead story that decreased population growth in the 1990s will prevent California from increasing its number of U.S. representatives by more than one. The state, which currently claims 52 seats in the House, grew by 3.3 million people in the last decade, according to census estimates. After the 1980s, the state gained seven seats to represent 6.1 million new Californians.
Chinese professionals, businessmen, lawyers, and artists have rallied around the possibility of permanent normal trade relations with the United States, the NYT reports. They believe that China’s admittance into the WTO would stimulate economic reforms and encourage the authorities to show greater respect for civil rights and the law. A denial would intensify the anti-Americanism that emerged last year after the U.S. bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. One thing’s for sure: Many Chinese find themselves agreeing with political leaders for the first time.
Drug sales in Africa make up just 1 percent of the world pharmaceutical market, while the U.S., Japan, and Western Europe command 80 percent, according to a NYT investigation. This consumer distribution discourages companies from producing drugs to combat tropical diseases. Novaris, for example, developed a treatment for separation anxiety in dogs. Meanwhile, more than 300,000 people a year contract sleeping sickness, a protozoan carried by the tsetse fly that eventually causes hallucinations, coma, and death.
In the midst of an AIDS crisis in South Africa, Vice President Al Gore last year warned then-Deputy President Thabo Mbeki that importing generic drugs could put the two countries’ trade relations at risk, the Post reports. A new law had allowed the import of the generics, threatening U.S. pharmaceutical companies with potentially astronomical losses. Virulent protests by AIDS activists prompted the Clinton administration to reverse its two-year campaign when Gore launched his presidential campaign last June.
Haiti goes to the polls today to elect a new bicameral parliament and local governments, though democracy there has become lost in a campaign of terror and violence, according to LAT and WP front-pagers. Haiti, the poorest country in the hemisphere, has had 10 governments and three coups in the last 14 years. Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristede’s party is blamed for extreme violence: Targeted by death threats, Marie-Denise Claude dropped her Senate bid–before her campaign manager was killed; someone threatened her with the fate of her father, who was “tortured, burned alive, then eaten by his enemies nearly a decade ago,” the LAT reports. National politics are not at stake, Claude said: “It’s a game for the absolute control of drug trafficking.”
Television networks’ announcement of 27 new shows in their fall lineups provoked the ire of some minority groups, who see the one Hispanic and three black men who landed starring roles in fall series as under-representing America’s TV audience, according to a Post front-pager. The NAACP spearheaded a protest last year when 26 new shows were introduced without a black, Latino, or Asian lead. An NAACP official did not comment, saying that the organization had yet to review the new shows.
A NYT “Metro” story shows how politics, patents, and profits filter down to a local level. Columbia University has tapped an alumnus in the U.S. Senate to sponsor an extension on its patent for a drug technology that brings in $100 million a year for new research. Critics of the provision say any such extension would inflate drug prices and that the consumers (read: taxpayers) originally funded the research in the form of a federal grant. The piece reads like a follow-up to a previous investigation.
In the Post’s “Outlook,” Michael Dobbs takes readers on a reporter’s-eye-view tour of the 1950 No Gun Ri massacre, in which U.S. soldiers are believed to have fired on hundreds of defenseless Korean civilians. Dobbs candidly tackles questions fundamental to any reporter’s daily grind, but particularly acute in his circumstance: How do you evaluate sources and how do you put the pieces together when oral and written sources are untrustworthy or contradict each other?
Heh, heh, he said /kham: South Africa has a new coat of arms, complete with a motto taken from /Xam, an extinct local language of the clicking variety, the LAT reports. /Xam, critics point out, much to officials’ chagrin, is a homophone of the current slang /kham, which means “to relieve oneself.” This means that if you do not understand the motto on the new South African seal, it’s probably because it is written in “Urine.”
A college professor who also works as an online journalist writes in the NYT “Money & Business” section that a Gallup poll released last fall ranking professions by honesty threw him into a small ethical quandary. College teacher ranked as 10th most honest out of 45, but online journalist finished 40th, between congressmen and insurance salesmen, five pegs above the lowly car salesman. Is it ethical to hide from people that he publishes online? The short answer: People can generally be trusted not to identify each other exclusively by profession. Another option: Find a way to evaluate your career other than nationwide polls.