For Democrats and Republicans alike, today is a defining day in the race for the White House. Super Tuesday is the busiest day yet of the primary season with voting in almost every region of the nation. Republicans vote in 13 states with 613 delegates at stake. Voters in 15 states will award 1,315 Democratic delegates. Both parties will award more than half the delegates necessary to secure a nomination. While Republican John McCain and Democrat Bill Bradley are hoping for upset victories, front runners Al Gore and George W. Bush hope decisive victories will gain them their respective party’s nomination.
An unknown hacker vandalized the internet site for the Gallop Organization just before today’s presidential primary elections but didn’t change survey data from one of the nation’s oldest polling companies. Gallop said none of its poll data was compromised, because its vandalized website at www.gallop.com won’t be connected to internal computers that store polling results until September 1st. That’s when Gallop plans to make available through its website 65 years of data. Gallop results are relied upon heavily by campaigns and political journalists.
In other internet news, the French Ministry of Finance has announced it’s banned from official French civil service use many common English language business words such as “startup” and “email.” The goal, according to a detailed ministry statement issued yesterday, is to limit the spread of the English language throughout the internet. The ministry disclosed that government documents and civil servants have been directed to use the phrase a “_jeune pousse_,” or a young plant, for “startup” and use the phrase “_courrier électronique_” for “email” in all official government communications. The announcement comes as two French newspapers, Libération and Le Monde_, noted last week that French President Chirac often used Anglo computer terms. Last week he referred to some companies as “_les startups_” and to their managers as “_les startupistes.”
Three days after General Augusto Pinochet returned home after his house arrest in Britain, a judge asked a Chilean court to strip the former dictator of his congressional immunity so he could stand trial. Yesterday’s request by Judge Juan Guzmán was a step toward putting Pinochet on trial for the killing and disappearance of 72 dissidents in the days following his 1973 coup. Guzmán has already indicted several other military officers including two generals in the same case. The 22-member Santiago Court of Appeals would be the first to rule on Pinochet’s immunity, after which either side can appeal to the Supreme Court. The process may take weeks, even months. Some have expressed concern that the military, which still strongly supports their former leader, may apply pressure to abort any trial.
The commander of the U.S. military relief effort to flood-ravaged Mozambique denied today that the United States has been slow to respond to the catastrophe. The floodwaters that swept across the southeast African nation one month ago, and surged again two weeks ago, have receded, leaving at least 400 confirmed dead and one million people either homeless or in desperate need of help. Aid agency officials expect the death toll to rise into the thousands. Scores of international relief organizations in at least 16 Western and African governments have provided an estimated $103 million in aid, but questions persist about the delay of the international response.
The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled 4-1 yesterday that a condemned child murderer and rapist is mentally competent for execution, which would be Tennessee’s first since 1960. Robert Glen Coe is scheduled to die March 23. Last week Coe’s attorneys argued before the Supreme Court that the states process for determining mental competency is flawed and that Coe was denied his constitutional rights during a January competency hearing. The justices ruled Coe got a fair hearing and that he has the mental capacity to understand his impending execution and reason for it.
Three white officers wept and cursed after a racially mixed jury found them guilty of trying to cover up the sodomy torture of a Haitian immigrant in a police precinct bathroom in Brooklyn, New York. Ex-Patrolman Charles Schwarz and Officers Thomas Weise and Thomas Bruder were convicted yesterday of trying to conceal Schwarz’s role in the 1997 attack on Abner Louima. A jury had found Schwarz guilty last year of holding down the handcuffed Louima while another officer, Justin Volpe, sodomized him with a broken broomstick. Meanwhile, federal prosecutors will put two more New York police officers on trial for allegedly lying about the torture of Louima.