President-Elect Ricardo Lagos says private enterprise shouldn’t worry that a socialist has been chosen president for the first time since Salvador Allende was toppled in a bloody 1973 coup in Chile. Lagos emerged in the 1980s as a leading opponent of Pinochet, was briefly imprisoned for his activities, and repeated his promises now "to work for the unity among Chileans," because he said the country often reflects the deep political divisions stemming from the Pinochet 1973-1990 dictatorship.
This news from Florida: Two black lawmakers have staged a sit-in at the State Capitol in Tallahassee to protest Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s executive order repealing affirmative action for state contracts and university admissions. The sit-in began yesterday afternoon and continued into today. In Florida, Lieutenant Governor Frank Brogan’s office, Florida State Senator Kendrick Meek of Miami, and Congress member Tony Hill of Jacksonville spent the night there with nine reporters, who were told if they left, they wouldn’t be allowed to return. A Florida law enforcement agent sat at Brogan’s desk throughout the night. Jeb Bush announced the sit-in and vowed it would not change his position on affirmative action.
Microsoft says it "respectfully disagrees” with a judge’s ruling that the company is an abusive monopoly. In court papers filed yesterday, the company lawyers wrote, "Having an extremely popular product does not make the company a monopolist.” The Justice Department, meanwhile, says Microsoft’s legal filing ignores the court’s findings of fact and distorts key legal precedents. Even as Microsoft lawyers were arguing, it is not the industry titan described by the government. The company announced its second quarter profits soared 22 percent to nearly two-and-a-half billion dollars.
Warner-Lambert has held talks with Procter & Gamble to gauge interest in a possible three-way deal that would involve P&G buying both the drug maker and American Home Products, this according to the Wall Street Journal. Warner-Lambert also makes Certs and Breath Mints. American Home Product makes Advil, Anacin and Preparation H. Among P&G’s products are Tide Laundry Detergent, Tampax Tampons and Folger’s Coffee. Acquiring Warner-Lambert, American Home or both could make the consumer products company P&G a force in prescription drugs, as well.
The Supreme Court takes a new look at the free speech rights of anti-abortion demonstrators today. The case being argued involves a Colorado law that requires protesters to stay at least eight feet away from people entering healthcare clinics, unless someone agrees to closer contact to talk or take a leaflet. Clinton administration in eighteen states are backing Colorado. Justice Department lawyers say the law aims to ensure safe access to healthcare facilities.
Suspected rightist militias killed at least seven unarmed villagers in northern Colombia, and officials fear dozens more are dead. Yesterday’s killings followed bombings of electrical towers and bloody weekend clashes between government troops and guerrillas. Also yesterday, two hand grenades apparently thrown at a small police post in capital Bogota killed a girl and wounded five people at an adjacent school. An upsurge in Colombia’s fighting had been expected following the expiration last week of a temporary year-end truce. Meanwhile, the Clinton administration is talking about giving more than $1.6 billion to Colombia to support the military, well known for its human rights abuses in Colombia.
Nelson Mandela is bringing Burundi’s civil war to the United Nations spotlight as part of a new effort to revive peace talks and end a conflict that has left more than 200,000 people dead and tens of thousands in dire humanitarian straights. Mandela is the featured speaker at an open meeting today of the Security Council, which is expected to adopt a resolution condemning a recent surge of violence in the small central African nation that threatens to explode. Burundi’s civil war has been raging for six years, but it’s not received the international attention of other conflicts, even those in Africa. Donor nations have provided only 17 percent of the more that $83 million requested last year by UN agencies to provide basic humanitarian aid to Burundians.
This news from Argentina: The government yesterday restored the pension for the widow of the German industrialist featured in the film Schindler’s’ List. Emily Schindler will receive $900 a month to help ease her economic plight, said the interior minister of Argentina. Change of government in December had disrupted the payment, ordered last year by former president Carlos Menem. German industrialist Oskar Schindler is credited with saving nearly 1,300 Polish Jews from Nazi concentration camps by drawing up lists of fictitious jobs to convince German authorities they were essential to the war effort.