Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat are returning to the Middle East amid heightened security after their failure to clinch a peace deal. Israeli and Palestinian security forces are bracing for possible violence today after the breakdown of the marathon Camp David talks. Hundreds of Palestinians marched in Gaza demanding a resumption of their uprising, or intifada, against Israel. The Islamic militant group Hamas urged Arafat to return to the armed struggle.
A products pipeline caught fire in Port Harcourt, Nigeria today near Nigeria’s main oil hub of Port Harcourt. Military troops have been called in. A resident of the area told Reuters two villagers had been badly burned but not killed and so far were the only known casualties of the blast at Eleme, outside the refinery town. Crude oil export facilities did not appear to be threatened. Hundreds of people were killed earlier this month in a spate of pipeline explosions in the oil-producing area around the refinery town of Warri. At least eighteen villagers were burned to death Monday in the latest blaze in the Warri area.
This news from Missouri, the NAACP in Springfield, Missouri is calling on the city council to consider making reparations to the black community for the 1906 lynchings of three black men on a downtown square. A group of citizens has tried to get the city council to recognize the lynchings with a plaque downtown; city leaders have refused. Earlier this year, an Oklahoma state commission recommended reparations for black survivors of a 1921 rampage by white mobs in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Historians say as many as 300 African Americans were killed. In 1994, $2 million in compensation was approved for nine survivors and dozens of descendants of the 1923 attack on blacks in Rosewood, Florida.
Air France said today the Concorde plane that crashed and killed 113 people during takeoff yesterday had been delayed for last-minute maintenance on one of its engines. Air France said the crash appeared to have been caused by a fire in one of the engines at the moment of takeoff. Experts said possible causes of the fire range from birds flying into the air intake to mechanical failure. The French Ministry of Transportation said the two flight data recorders were damaged but had been found. Air France already grounded all Concorde flights today. British Airways canceled its two Tuesday night flights, but resumed Concorde service today between New York and London after completing safety checks.
Hundreds of thousands of people marched through Havana early today demanding an end to the US blockade against Cuba. The march coincides with the forty-seventh anniversary of the attack on an army barracks by Fidel Castro and his comrades that launched the Cuban Revolution. The rebels seized power six years later on New Year’s Day in 1959. They overthrew the US-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
A report by the California Public Interest Research Group says children, parents and teachers are rarely notified when toxic pesticides are used at hundreds of California public schools. While some school districts have policies requiring notification, there’s no statewide policy requiring schools to inform people of pesticide use.
A week before Philadelphia stages the Republican National Convention, union leaders and Philadelphia Mayor John Street reached a labor agreement that prevented what could have been an embarrassing strike by sanitation workers. The workers secured pay raises and increased healthcare allowances.
The Clinton administration says health maintenance organizations will drop nearly one million older Americans from their coverage plans next year. Citing overregulation and insufficient coverage, many HMOs have abandoned Medicare, leaving an increasing number of elderly and disabled Americans off the once-heralded program. Congress and President Clinton have pledged to consider additional HMO funding.
The Chilean Supreme Court yesterday denied a request for special medical tests for General Augusto Pinochet before the high court rules on whether the former dictator can be stripped of his immunity from prosecution.