The war of words between American and Iraqi officials continues. This morning, for a ninth time, Iraq barred U.S. inspectors from taking part in UNSCOM, the U.N. inspection team aimed at preventing Iraq from developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Iraq says the Americans are trying to prolong economic sanctions imposed after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz says, with so many Americans dominating the U.N. team, the deck is stacked against Iraq.
Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz: “Are they going to tell me, to assure me, that UNSCOM will act as a United Nations organ or to continue to act as an organ whose end user, the end user of its work, is either the Pentagon or the CIA or the State Department of the United States? I didn’t get any satisfactory answer to that.”
Today the U.N. Security Council is scheduled to vote on a new resolution imposing further restrictions on Iraq until it complies fully with U.N. inspections. Same sanctions were imposed three weeks ago by France and Russia, both Security Council members. Both countries also oppose the use of U.S. military force, should Iraq continue to defy the U.N.
American Catholic bishops are split over whether to issue a statement today condemning the United Nations sanctions against Iraq. The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, holding its annual meeting in Washington, will debate the issue as President Clinton tries to rally allies around his call for imposing tougher sanctions on Iraq. This week, Detroit auxiliary bishop Thomas Gumbleton said, “There is no disputing the fact that over one million people have died since 1990, when the blockade was imposed, all of them innocent, defenseless civilians and over 600,000 of them children.” The question Democracy Now! asks our listeners is, who will protect the children? Often, in custody cases, a guardian ad litem is appointed, who is there just for the child, to ensure the child’s best interests. Well, who will represent the children of Iraq?
Calling his nomination dead, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch has promised to vote against Bill Lann Lee, President Clinton’s nominee to the nation’s top civil rights job. Yesterday civil rights activist Jesse Jackson joined members of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York protesting conservative opposition to Lee, who they say is immensely qualified. Margaret Fung is the executive director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Margaret Fung: “As Asian Americans, we are dismayed and angered by the conservative campaign to derail Bill Lee’s nomination and by Senator Orrin Hatch’s sudden turnaround and announcement that the nomination was dead. We don’t accept this, and we are urging the Asian-American community to unite behind Bill and to urge Republican senators to join New York’s own Senator D’Amato in voting for Bill’s confirmation.”
The Senate is expected to vote on the appointment on Thursday. John Dunne, the assistant attorney general for civil rights under President Bush, has told Hatch that it is unfair to use Lee’s support for affirmative action as justification to deny his confirmation.
Soldiers shot and killed a protester on the first day of a massive strike in the Dominican Republic yesterday, as schools were closed and police placed on alert. Activists were protesting the failure of President Leonel Fernández to stem poverty since taking office 15 months ago. The strike was called to protest low wages and frequent power outages, closed schools and businesses.
Here in the United States, the Eastman Kodak Company, which has spent more than a decade reducing its workforce, said yesterday it will cut another 10,000 jobs, the biggest layoff announcement this year by any American company. Kodak was once known as the “great yellow father” in its hometown of Rochester, New York, because of its paternalistic employment practices. But it has been forced to shrink drastically as competition with Fuji of Japan has hurt its biggest business—film—while futuristic photographic products have not caught on as the company had hoped. The measures are the most drastic yet by George M.C. Fisher, Kodak’s chief executive who, when he was hired in 1993, was praised as a corporate visionary with a plan to restore the company’s growth, but has instead seen profits languish.
Doctors in Oregon are being warned by the Drug Enforcement Administration that they risk losing their licenses to prescribe drugs if they help terminally ill patients kill themselves. Voters last week reaffirmed a law, which has survived all court challenges, permitting physicians to assist in suicides.
And in a decision that could affect affirmative action programs in all 15 European countries, the European Court of Justice ruled in favor of a law passed in the German state.