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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 3, 1996)
Students peacefully protest Serbian leader
Election results spur
ever against Slobodan
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP)—
Defying a government warning, thou
sands of students demonstrated against
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic
Monday and said they’ll face down his
police if necessary.
About 10,000 students marched in
downtown Belgrade despite heavj
snow and said they planned a largei
demonstration through the capital latei
in the day.
The protests—the largest and most
sustained ever against the Serbiar
leader — have become daily events
since a court two weeks ago annulled
opposition victories in local elections
Although the protests started be
cause of the elections, demands have
quickly increased to include
Some 100,000 people turned out
Sunday in a mix of rain and snow to
march through the capital. A crowd of
150,000 marched Saturday.
Authorities have tolerated the dem
onstrations. But the speaker of the
Serbian parliament said Sunday that a
crackdown may be coming against the
protests, which he called a “pro-fascist
Monday’s protest featured students
carrying signs saying “We are not fas
As a sign that Milosevic has plans
to curb the proteste, a local court sen
tenced five opposition activists to un
specified prison terms, said the oppo
sition coalition Zajedno, or Together.
The coalition said the five were
brought to trial for throwing eggs at
government buildings. But it accused
authorities of ignoring legal procedures
by not informing anyone how long the
1 jail sentences were, or where the five
1 would be held.
Opposition leader Vuk Draskovic
said government foes should'not be
afraid of police warnings.
There was no visible police pres
ence around Monday’s rally. But wit
nesses said busloads of police appar
ently arriving from other parts of Serbia
were being deployed in Belgrade sub
They said that policemen with por
table radios took up positions on house
roofs or in entrances.
“If Belgrade shows that it is not
afraid, the victory will be ours,’”
Draskovic told the independent Index
radio station. “We are half a step away
from our victory.” * He said the dem
onstrations should be peaceful. “We’ll
beat violence with non-violence,”
The protesting students sent an
open letter to the police saying “we
don’t want violence. Words are our
Opposition leader Zoran Djindjic,
at a rally in Nis, Serbia’s second-larg
est city, told Index radio that the dem
We don’t want violence. Words are our
onstrations would spread “to another
six or seven towns. The network of
protest and civil disobedience is tak
There were unconfirmed indica
tions of compromise, however:
—One independent radio station
reported that Western diplomats were
trying to mediate between Milosevic
and the opposition.
—Belgrade’s independent BETA
news agency quoted sources close to
the leadership of Milosevic’s Socialist
Party as saying he was preparing to fire
some party hard-liners, including the
leader in Nis. The source, who was not
identified, said Milosevic was in a
“blind alley” because he could not
undo the election results but also rec
ognized how much they had damaged
Belgrade long has been an opposi
tion stronghold. Nis was a Milosevic
bastion until it turned against him be
cause of economic woes.
The economy is suffering from mis
management, corruption and 3'A years
of economic sanctions'imposed be
cause Milosevic instigated wars in
Croatia and Bosnia as the old Yugoslav
federation broke up.
About half of Serbia’s workers are
unemployed, and low wages have
driven many into poverty.
iwin stars may nave caused dinosaurs7 demise
JERUSALEM (AP) —Israeli sci
entists have a new theory on why the
dinosaurs became extinct: cosmic ra
diation that bombarded the Earth fol
lowing the collision of two neutron
Physicists from the Space Research
Institute at the Technion University in
Haifa theorize that the mass extinction
65 million years ago was caused by the
merging of twin stars near the Earth
inside die Milky Way galaxy.
This collision created a deadly
wave of cosmic radiation that de
stroyed the protective layers of the
Earth’s atmosphere, frying vegetation
and obliterating most animal life, the
researchers say. *
“The study is actually an attempt
to solve the biggest murder case in the
history of life on Earth*” said Amon
Dar, a physics professor at the
Technion* who with coHeagues Ktr
Shaviv and Ari Lior is submitting the
theory for publication in a scientific
There have been several theories
that astral radiation caused mass ex
David N. Schramm, an astrophysi
cist at the University of Chicago, sug
gested last year that exploding stars
called supernovas could have caused
another mass extinction that killed 95
percent of all life 225 million years ago.
Dar said supernovas could not have
caused all six mass extinctions that
swept over the Earth in the last 650
“The rate of supernova explosion
is not great enough to explain the 100
million year extinctions,” Dar said.
“But the merging of neutron stars could
; twin starsmejge.eyery day some
where in the universe, producing ra
diation in the form of gamma and cos
mic rays that strike the Earth’s atmo
sphere. Usually, the stars are too far
away to do any damage and the radia
tion is harmlessly absorbed by the
Occasionally twin or-binary stars
collide close to Earth, producing dev
Dar’s theory is “a credible idea,”
Schramm said. “We do know there is
at least one known pair of neutron stars
(near Earth) that are spiraling closer
together and will indeed collide.”
That collision, he said, is at least
100,000 years away.
The dinosaurs’ demise has been the
subject of hot debate in scientific
circles. Dar discounts the prevailing
theory — supported by Schramm —
that an asteroid strike in Chicxulub in
Mexkp’st Yucatan was to *>fcune. d
Chicxulub is home to a crater more
The study is actually an attempt to solve
the biggest murder case in the history of
life on Earth.”
than 100 miles wide that could have
been formed by a blast with the explo
sive power of 100 to 300 megatons of
TNT. The theory holds that the aster
oid crash created a huge explosion that
cast enough dust and rock into the at
mosphere to block out the sun, turning
the Earth cold and inhospitable to all
but the hardiest organisms.
• Par said this theory does not ex
plain the great leap in biodiversity fol
lowing the mass extinctions. He con
tends the vast amount of radiation pro
duced by a neutron star collision ex
plains why the number of animal and
plant species increased so quickly af
ter mass extinctions.
Dar is now trying to determine
which twin stars in the Earth’s vicinity
are likely to collide and potentially
bring on the next mass extinction.
• * . .. .
httpfo^.herff>jones.com HERFF JONES*
Lower Level Nebraska Union December 2&3
Leader undergoes lung surgery
Doctors remove tumor from Czech Republic president
PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP)—Doctors
removed a malignant tumor and half of Presi
dent Vaclav Havel’s right lung Monday and gave
the chain-smoking former dissident good
chances for recovery.
Havel regained consciousness soon after the
operation and was in intensive care, doctors said.
Chief surgeon Pavel Pafko told reporters a
malignant tumor of about 15 millimeters, or half
an inch, was taken out during the 314-hour sur
gery, which he described as “very radical.”
“The prognosis should be good,” he said.
Pafko said Havel, 60, probably would remain
hospitalized for at least a week and should re
cover fully in about six weeks. He did not specify
what treatment Havel would undergo after sur
Presidential spokesman Ladislav Spacek told
the state-run CTK news agency that the
president’s condition after the operation “cor
responds with the surgery he underwent.”
Premier Vaclav Klaus, in Lisbon, Portugal,
for a summit, also told reporters the prognosis
was “positive” and that Havel likely would be
back at work within weeks.
Havel stopped smoking in front of television
cameras years ago but has kept up the habit in
private despite a history of respiratory problems.
He was hospitalized in 1983 for a bad case
of pneumonia, contracted while in jail as an anti
Communist dissident. In October 1989, on the
eve of the anti-Communist revolution that
brought him to power, he was hospitalized with
a bronchial infection.
Havel sought to reassure the nation ahead of
the surgery, saying Sunday in his regular weekly
radio address that the tumor was small and pre
Havel made only limited concessions to his
approaching operation, cutting his consumption
to four cigarettes a day. Pafko said one of the
last cigarettes Havel had was with Health Min
ister Jan Strasky.
While anti-smoking campaigns have had an
effect in western Europe, they have hardly
dented ingrained smoking habits in the former
Soviet bloc countries.
Havel’s seeming equanimity ahead of the
surgery was in keeping with the courage he dem
onstrated as his country’s most prominent anti
Communist dissident. That courage has earned
him widespread affection, with about 75 per
cent of citizens steadily considering him first
choice for president in his seven years of office.
Havel became widely known after the 1968
Soviet-led invasion that crushed the Prague
Spring reforms attempted by Alexander Dubcek
and other Communists in what was then Czecho
Tip British writers witness book transfer
LONDON (AP)—Playwright Harold Pinter
was toe. So was the mystery writer P.D. James.
And they weren’t just on the shelves.
Some of Britain’s top literary names showed
up Monday as the British Library began trans
ferring 12 million books from their present home
at the British Museum to the library’s new build
The nation’s priceless collection of books,
which is scattered across a score of buildings in
London, includes a copy of the Magna Carta,
Britain’s 13th century constitutional charter, and
a biWe printed in the 15th century by the Ger
man Johann Gutenberg. v*. • .
The largest item to be moved will be the
Klencke Atlas, which is more than six feet tall;
the smallest item will be a thumb-sized edition
of the New Testament. ,
It will take three years to move all the vol
umes onto 190 miles of shelves in the library’s
new home near London’s St. Pancras Station.
‘Themove will take seme time and isa com
plex process—it’s not like stacking the shelves
of a supermarket,” said Brian Lang, the British
Library’s chief executive.
The new building, which will provide more
reading rooms, has generated controversy over
its design, expense and construction problems.
Created by architect Colin St. John Wilson,
the modem red-brick building with a six-story
glass tower will be fully open by June 1999—
six years behind schedule.
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