Leaving a capital that is bracing for the arrival of rebel forces trying to topple him, Mobutu Sese Seko flew to neighboring Gabon today on an official visit that many Zairians saw as his final departure from the country he has ruled for nearly 32 years. We’ll have more on Zaire-Congo later in the show.
And this news from the United States: The Senate voted 89 to 11 to postpone the cutoff of benefits to legal immigrants. The action would only delay the scheduled August cutoffs until the end of September. But it marked the first backtracking from last year’s overhaul of the nation’s welfare programs, and the size of the vote indicates the issue has become a sensitive one for Republicans. The recent budget pact with the White House promises an additional $10 billion to maintain the benefits over five years, but the cost threatens to provoke a GOP backlash.
During negotiations to end a lengthy strike by workers at an engine plant, Chrysler Corporation insisted it would not relinquish its right to farm out production jobs to an independent supplier. Chrysler apparently got what it wanted, but at a hefty price. Industry analysts estimate a 28-day walkout by the United Auto Workers will cost the company about $300 million in lost production.
This news from Charleston, South Carolina: Three men pleaded guilty to enslaving migrant farmworkers, admitting to a conspiracy in which the workers were beaten and threatened if they protested their conditions. All three admitted to recruiting Guatemalans and Mexicans from Chandler Heights, Arizona. According to the Justice Department, prosecutors said the undocumented workers were driven to Manning, South Carolina, about 60 miles southeast of Columbia, without being allowed to eat or use the restroom. The workers were paid little. It was virtually impossible for them to pay off the high fees for housing, essential goods and for transporting them across the country.
This news from Oklahoma: A 22-year-old man who asked a court to schedule his execution was killed by injection early today, the youngest person to be put to death since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. Scott Dawn Carpenter, who pleaded no contest to stabbing a store clerk to death, apologized in a letter to the victim’s family and left a statement. He said, “I tell the young and old, do not stray onto the wrong path in life as I did. I speak from experience when I say it’s a long and bumpy road, with a lot of regret and few second chances.”
Two years after the Million Man March in Washington, a group called on 1 million Black women to attend a similar rally in Philadelphia this fall. The national organizing committee for the Million Woman March said the October 25th rally was designed to raise awareness of several issues: education and healthcare in Black communities and the difficult transition after prison for Black women. The march also would be in support of a probe led by Congressmember Maxine Waters of California into published reports of links between the CIA and crack cocaine suppliers in California.
Two weeks after the end of the hostage crisis, 24 Peruvian miners who dug the tunnels used by government commandos to rescue 71 people from the Japanese ambassador’s residence and kill all the rebels have not returned home, this according to their union. The union sent a letter to the government-owned Centromín mining company, which hired the miners and engineers, asking it to say where the men are and to let them return to their family. News reports have said that two of the miners were killed or injured building the tunnels. And the secretive nature of the operation has led families to fear for their safety. Centromín would not comment on the miners’ whereabouts. The miners spent several weeks digging a network of tunnels under the residence where the rebels held the hostages. The military used the tunnels to stage the April 26 rescue, in which one hostage and two soldiers died. The 14 rebels who seized the hostages also were killed, it is believed a number of them executed. The union said the company began recruiting miners for the job on January 5th, offering to pay them $2,000 each. So far, the miners’ families have only received $1,000, and they have not received the miners back.