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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 17, 1997)
NU women’s golfer Hanne Nyquist is a big fan of
snow and golf. For Nyquist, the two have been a
perfect fit this season. PAGE 10
Bobby McFenin, the one-man vocal band who
sang “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” performs tonight
at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. PAGE 12
April 17, 1997
A Glimmer Of Hope
Sunny, breezy, high 65. Clear tonight, low 43.
VOL. 96 COVERING THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN SINCE 1901 " NO. 140
Tobacco conpaales any snuff Icons
NEW YORK (AP) — Abandoning their all
out defense of cigarettes, the nation’s two big
gest tobacco companies now seem willing to cut
their legal losses for up to $300 billion and re
tire Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man if the gov
ernment backs off its threat to regulate nicotine.
RJR Nabisco and Philip Morris are in early
talks with the attorneys general of eight states
in hopes of winning blanket protection from law
suits over smoking-related health problems.
In return, the cigarette companies would pay
hundreds of billions of dollars and agree to cut
back on ads, especially ones like Joe Camel that
appeal to children and those that depict people,
such as the Marlboro Man.
The cigarette companies’ willingness to even
consider such concessions marks a startling turn
around. For decades, the tobacco industry has
fought a no-retreat battle on all fronts.
In the past few years, however, the industry
has been barraged with lawsuits filed by 22 states
Decision could seal fate of
Marlboro Man, Joe Camel
and countless individuals, and the litigation is
hurting stock prices and taking management’s
attention away from the business of selling ciga
“I think the tobacco industry is in big trouble
and they know it, so they are finally beginning
to come to the table,” Minnesota Attorney Gen
eral Hubert H. Humphrey El said. “I think then
proposals still fall short of what we’d be inter
A sticking point is whether the Food and
Drug Administration would get the right to regu
late the nicotine levels in cigarettes to make them
The tobacco companies adamantly oppose
such regulation for fear that once the FDA gets
the power to regulate tobacco, it will try to ban
News of the talks, first reported Wednesday
by The Wall Street Journal, sent cigarette com
pany stocks up 10 percent, reflecting investor
hopes that an industrywide settlement of tobacco
lawsuits would lift a cloud hanging over com
Industry analysts have said that tobacco com
panies, which had revenue of about $45 billion
last year, could finance a big settlement simply
by raising cigarette prices.
“A resolution of this issue is important to
our shareholders, our customers and our coun
try,” RJR Nabisco Chairman Steven Goldstone
said at a stockholder meeting Wednesday in Win
ston-Salem, N.C. “But it has to be fair and it has
to be reasonable.”
The amount of a settlement also is among
the sticking points.
“The industry is in the low twos and the plain
tiffs are in the upper threes. There is no consen
sus on the money,” said an anonymous source
close to the negotiations.
Also under discussion is the establishment
of a fund from which smokers could seek pay
ments. They would be banned from suing the.
Protection from lawsuits would require an
act of Congress, and that’s another one of the
unresolved issues that is said could still sink the
Please see TOBACCO on 2
LOBBYIST BILL WYUE, left, talks wtth attorney Ted Frazier outside the legislative chamber Wednesday
afternoon. Wylie was a state senator from 1965-1969.
Nelson: Spring floods no reason for panic
By Erin Schulte
While the drip, drip of melting snow
may be music to frostbitten ears, it
might sound like money gurgling down
the drain for Nebraska farmers.
Gov. Ben Nelson said Wednesday
that parts of Nebraska should brace for
spring flooding, but not panic.
“There is a fine line between being
prepared and the state crying wolf and
scaring people unnecessarily,” he said.
Snow melting from western mountains
and die plains is flooding low-lying areas
around Rulo, where some farmers have
decided not to plant their crops, Nelson
said Near Rulo, die Missouri River is al
ready a few feet above flood level.
Another problem, Nelson said, is that
reservoirs are already full. During the
1993 floods, Nebraska escaped poten
tial flood damage because die rains came
after years of drought. Now,'the U.S,
Army Corps of Engineers has to release
water from the reservoirs to make room
for spring flooding, Nelson said.
Cooler temperatures and more pre
cipitation is predicted for this spring
and summer, which also adds to the
problem, he said.
Other areas expected to be hit hard
are towns around the Niobrara River,
he said. Two years ago, roads around
the Niobrara had to be raised to avoid
floodwaters, or residents would have
had to fravel 100 miles for basic ser
“We’re going to meet with local
officials and tell them what to expect,”
One bright spot is Nebraska’s ex
cellent flood control, he said, which
consists of six dams along the Missouri
River. The dams, which cost about
$1.2 billion to build, have saved the
state billions in past years; and will save
more in the future.
“Through last year’s flooding, it
prevented $10.5 billion in damage and
untold grief along the way,” Nelson
said. “Without it, Eppley (Airfield)
would be underwater.”
Senators to receive
on education finance
By Brian Carlson
Supporters of increased federal
funding for higher education will seek
to gain the attention of U.S. senators
in an online presentation Thursday at
An Internet petition signed by thou
sands of financial aid supporters demand
ing increased federal funding will be pre
sented to senators by the U.S. Public
Interest Research Group, Rock the Vote,
and the U.S. Students Association.
Several Democratic senators, in
cluding Senate Minority Leader Tom
Daschle of South Dakota, Sen. Ted
Kennedy of Massachusetts and Sen.
Barbara Boxer of California will attend.
The petition effort, sponsored by
the Democratic Technology & Com
munications Committee (DTTC), pro
motes Democratic plans for easing fi
nancial burdens for college students.
Current initiatives call for increased Pell
Grants, tax deductions for low- and
middle-income families and lower fees
and interest rates for student loans.
Jim Papa, DTTC press secretary,
said the Internet petition plays to stu
dents’ political strengths.
“Students are known for not having as
much influence as the numbers indicate
they should,” he said. “But one of the ad
vantages students have is web savvy.”
Currently, students are often pre
vented from attending the colleges of
their choice or face years of debt be
cause of rising college costs, Papa said.
He said greater access to higher
education would be essential for main
taining the United States’ status as an
economic world power.
Although federal budget constraints
are a concern, higher education de
serves special consideration by Con
gress this year, Papa said.
“It’s a matter of whether or not
It's a matter of
whether or not we're
going to make
higher education a
DTTC press secretary
we’re going to make higher education
a priority,” he said.
Press officials for Daschle said they
were hopeful that Democratic propos
als for easing college students’ finan
cial burden would be passed into law.
However, they also said Republicans
had shown little inclination toward sup
porting their proposals.
Deb Fiddelke, press secretary for
Nebraska’s Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel
said Hagel’s office had not been contacted
with regard to the petition drive.
She said Hagel would support Re
publican efforts to make college more
affordable. Those efforts include the
Safe and Affordable School Act, which
would provide $7 billion in tax relief
over the next seven years for parents
faced with college expenses.
An Intranet home page for the peti
tion drive was recently constructed and
can be accessed at <www.pirg.org/stu
dent/aid/petition>. The site includes the
petition, which can be sent via e-mail.
Organizers said everyone affected
by college costs is welcome to sign the
petition, which concludes, “A college
education is the best investment in
America’s future. Support student aid
and stop the doors of college from clos
ing on America’s future.”
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