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Tuesday, December 29, 1998

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  • Civil Active — the Environmental Story Behind the Film

    "A Civil Action" is the name of a new movie starring John Travolta, which premiered in New York and Los Angeles on Christmas Day, and will open nationwide on January 8th. Based on the book by Jonathan Harr, the film tells the story of how two of the nation’s largest corporations–WR Grace and Beatrice Foods–stood accused of contaminating the water supply of Woburn, Massachusetts. Some thirty residents alleged a range of medical disorders, including cancer. Several children died as a result of the contamination. Ultimately, a jury cleared Beatrice of the accusation, while WR Grace reached a settlement to pay the families eight million dollars. But the film "A Civil Action" is not only about Woburn, Massachusetts. It’s also about dozens of other communities across the country where large corporations may be contaminating the environment, with devastating consequences for the residents, especially children.

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    Yesterday seven people were arrested at the Pentagon as they threw blood and oil in a new tunnel that was just opened there. Today, the protesters head to the White House. Among them is veteran peace activist Bill Frankel-Straight, who works with the Catholic Worker. He talks about the action from a church in Washington D.C..

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    Twenty-five people were arraigned yesterday in Minneapolis on various charges ranging from trespassing to resisting arrest. They’re part of a larger movement that is resisting the redirection of a state highway to the largest mall in the U.S., the Mall of America. The proposed rerouting would take the road through sacred land and one of the last remaining wild areas in Minneapolis. Solstice, is one of dozens of people who had been occupying a row of houses in southern Minneapolis, which they call "Mini-Haha" free state.

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