December

Fear of Cuba

During the Vietnam War era, President Richard Nixon worried about his country becoming a “pitiful, helpless giant.” Now, with the world’s only superpower over-reacting to fears, that possibility seems to have resurfaced. Two recent U.S. measures relating to Cuba hint at weak knees.

Wheres the humanity in immigration enforcement?

When human beings are called “illegal” and “alien” by elected officials and law enforcement agencies and in the media, what kind of message are we spreading?

Just the tip of the iceberg

With the just completed Bali conference, the presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, special reports in many newspapers and magazines, demonstrations in 50 countries on global warming, the new Australian government signing on to the Kyoto Accord, and many other events, the focus of the world’s attention is shifting to the need to decrease carbon dioxide emissions.

Chiquita in the dock for murder

For lawyer Terry Collingwood, capital punishment has its place, especially if it means “the death of a truly evil corporation.” The reference was to Ohio-based Chiquita Corp., which last March pleaded guilty to making 100 payments over seven years totaling $1.7 million to the right-wing, paramilitary Colombian Self Defense Units — AUC in Spanish. The payoffs began in 1997. Observers say the aim was to suppress labor activism, bar left-wing insurgents and control territory.

Scofflaw UnitedHealth pushes UK privatization

UnitedHealth, the discredited scofflaw U.S. health insurance company, just paid $12 million in fines to 37 state governments for its illegal administrative practices. The settlement followed years of legal problems. This hasn’t stopped UnitedHealth from seeking to expand its profiteering in the United Kingdom.

Australia signs Kyoto pact on gas emissions

As one of his very first official actions Dec. 3, Kevin Rudd, Australia’s newly sworn-in prime minister, signed the instrument of ratification for the Kyoto Protocol limiting greenhouse gas emissions. The ratification will come into force in 90 days.

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Medical students rally for World AIDS Day

CHICAGO — Wearing white lab coats and red armbands, dozens of American Medical Student Association members from schools across the Midwest rallied here Nov. 30, urging presidential candidates to back expanded, comprehensive programs to fight AIDS and reject President Bush’s abstinence-only focus. Nationwide rallies took place in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., on Dec. 1.

After elections, Venezuelans vow to press ahead

The campaign to reshape Venezuela’s 1999 constitution toward a socialist future ended Dec. 2 in a narrow defeat for the government of President Hugo Chavez.