The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 06, 2000, Page 2, Image 2

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    News Digest
Judges, doctors argue over twins7 fate
■The fate of Siamese twins has been
set in the hands of God by their parents.
While the judge in London asks how
important one twin's life is, a lawyer
says the cause is futile.
LONDON - Jodie may live, but only if
Mary dies. Doctors want to operate, but
the parents prefer to trust the will of God.
Thus, the fate of Siamese twins from
Eastern Europe is in the hands of doctors
and appeals court judges, who are strug
gling with the ethical issues.
Speaking of Mary, the twin whose less
developed body depends on her sister for
oxygenated blood, Lord Justice Henry
Brooke asked Tuesday: “What is this crea
ture in the eyes of the law?”
A lawyer appointed to represent Jodie
argued that “there are no best interests in
preserving what is unfortunately a futile
Jodie and Mary - false names used by
the court to preserve the girls' privacy -
were bom Aug. 8 at St. Mary’s Hospital in
Manchester and are joined at their lower/'
abdomens. Mary's brain and body are less
developed than Jodie’s, and the
Manchester medical team says it is highly
probable that if left unseparated, both
twins will die within six months as Jodie’s
heart fails.
The parents, who have not been iden
tified, are appealing the Aug. 25 decision
by a High Court judge to allow surgeons to
separate the twins.
The girls' fate is in the hands of English
law because the parents came here for the
birth to give their daughters “the very best
chance in the very best place,” said their
attorney, Simon Taylor.
Despite the compelling ethical issues,
it has been a subdued case - one with no
faces. The parents have not been pho
tographed or interviewed, their home
country has not been disclosed and the
public has not seen pictures of the twins.
The appeals court, which has asked
two specialists from London to travel to
Manchester to review the case, granted
permission Tuesday for additional scans if
needed. The specialists are to report back
at the end of the week.
The court, however, already is deep
into the ethical conundrums of the case.
Judith Parker, a barrister appointed to
represent Jodie’s interests, said Jodie
would have a good quality of life and the
possibility of a normal life expectancy if
she were severed from Mary.
“Jodie is expected to haye a normal
brain and is of normal intelligence,” Parker
said. “She might be able to go home two to
three months after separation.”
The doctor in charge of the twins was
identified in court only as Dr. B. He said in
court Monday that Mary, who once had
been completely passive, now opens her
right eye occasionally and had begun to
suck, although she could not feed. Her
brain was "extremely primitive,” he said.
The hospital said it has been bombard
ed with protests from the public because
of the doctors’ determination to operate.
Taylor said the parents, who are
Roman Catholics, had decided that they
could not kill one daughter to allow the
other to live.
“We came to England to give our
babies the very best chance for fife in the
very best place,” the parents said in a state
ment read in court Monday.
“Now things have gone very badly
wrong and we find ourselves in this very
difficult situation. ...We believe that nature
should take its course. If it’s God’s will that
both our children should not survive, then
so be it.”
The parents fear Jodie would suffer
and require continuing special care that is
not readily available to them, and they are
concerned about local attitudes toward
disability, their lawyer said.
The judges asked whether Jodie and
Mary should be regarded as “one life” in
the legal sense - a concept that could clear
the way for surgery to save Jodie. Taylor
argued that the staff at St. Mary’s consid
ered the twins as separate individuals.
Lord Justice Alan Ward asked whether
the child could be described as “a person
in being,” since she could not live inde
' He suggested the parents could
arguably be guilty of the manslaughter of
Jodie if they did nothing - or guilty of the
manslaughter of Mary if they consented to
TV debates
cause conflict,
for ABC, CBS
NEW YORK - Executives at ABC and CBS said
Tuesday they would not broadcast presidential
debates organized by rival networks CNN and NBC,
as proposed by Republican candidate George W.
Instead of agreeing to three 90-minute, national
ly televised debates in October, as proposed by the
Commission on Presidential Debates, Bush has said
he would participate in one of those debates and
two others suggested by NBC and CNN.
One would match the two contenders in a
prime-time version of NBC's Sunday morning talk
show, “Meet the Press,” moderated by Tim Russert.
The other would be an edition of Larry King's talk
show on CNN. «
The Gore campaign has said it will not agree to
Bush’s plan unless Bush also commits to all three
commission debates with their potentially wide
The Dole-Clinton debates in 1996 drew televi
sion audiences of 46 million and 36 million, accord
. | ing to the commission. One of the Bush-Clinton
debates in 1992 drew 97 million viewers and one of
the Dukakis-Bush debates in 1988 had 67 million
| viewers. I
Debates on a single network, especially on cable,
would be expected to draw smaller audiences.
“We will not carry another network’s program
ming," said Paul Friedman, executive vice president
of ABC News. “We’re not in the business of carrying
the efforts of another network, where we have no
control over the format or the questions asked.”
CBS, which has proposed a debate for its Sunday
morning show, “Face the Nation,” also would not
carry a “Meet the Press” or Larry King debate,
spokeswoman Sandy Genelius said.
“It’s their talk show, why would we put it on our
air?” she said. “It would boil down to incredible pro
motion for a competitor's broadcast.”
ABC has also invited Gore and Bush for a debate.
Friedman said the squabble was “all part of the
game” and Bush apparendy was proposing debate
formats that he was most comfortable with.
“Our job is to try not to get involved in being
used by the A1 Gore and George Bush campaigns,”
he said. “I think now that CNN and NBC are in dan
ger of that."
\ * RE0URS)
Spencer Platt/
Police security is
tight outside
the United
Nations building
Tuesday in New
York City. The
summit is the
largest gather
ing of world
leaders ever in
one city, accord
ing to New York
Gty Police
Bernard Kerik,
and goes
through Friday.
Communist leaders to use
summit as
■ Leaders from Cuba, Russia and
North Korea, as well as more U.S.- -
friendly countries, may use the time
to give the states an earful.
General Kofi Annan on Tuesday urged
the kings, generals and presidents
descending on New York for the U.N.
Millennium Summit to use the
unprecedented meeting to forge peace
and end poverty in the 21st century.
But some heads of state are expect
ed to use the three days of speeches, dis
cussions and meetings beginning today
to push their own agendas - including
those that are critical of the United
m a ia3ic ui wiiai limy Luine, lNimii
Korea denounced the United States as a
“rogue state’ Tuesday, saying the gov
ernment was responsible for allegedly
ordering the strip search of members of
the delegation as they switched planes
in Germany.
The incident prompted Pyongyang
to call off the summit trip by its No. 2
leader, who had been scheduled to
meet South Korean President Kim Dae
North Korea’s U.N. Ambassador Li
Hyong Choi warned that the humiliat
ing security check could prove “quite
expensive” for U.S.-North Korean rela
tions, even though the State
Department quickly said it deeply
regretted the incident
Washington is also expected to
come under fire from Cuban President
Fidel Castro, who came to New York on
Tuesday for the first time in five years.
He is expected to speak out against
American domination of the United
Nations in his five minutes on the podi
um today.
Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque
told a press conference in Havana last
week that Cuba would lambast “the
growing tendency of a small and power
ful group of countries” to violate the
U.N. Charter and intervene militarily in
member countries without Security
Council approval - a reference to the
U.S.-led NATO bombing ofYugoslavia.
The United States also can expect to
get an earful from more friendly coun
missian rrime Minisier viaaimir
Putin and Chinese President Jiang
Zemin are likely to use the gathering to
continue rallying international support
against U.S. national missile defense
President Clinton’s announcement
last week that he would leave it to the
next administration to decide whether
and when to deploy such a system will
certainly be welcomed by many leaders
who have criticized the U.S. plans as a
threat to 30 years of arms control
But analysts have predicted that
Jiang will use the summit - and a one
on-one meeting with Clinton - to pres
sure the United States to cancel the mis
sile defense proposal altogether. Beijing
fears that the anti-missile shields will
render useless its growing arsenal of
missiles and force China into a costly
arms race.
Jiang, however, will have his own
controversies to deal with as members
of the Falun Gong spiritual movement
stage continuous demonstrations
against the Chinese leader for Beijing's
crackdown on the sect - part of the 91
demonstrations planned this week.
About 400 Falun Gong members,
some of them wearing T-shirts that read
“Stop persecuting Falun Gong” held
their meditation exercises Tuesday
morning outside the Waldorf-Astoria
hotel, where Jiang was hosting a break
fast meeting with American media
executives. — ■
We re trying to rally Americans to
try to do something to help us,” protest
er Gail Rachlin said.
Other protests have been leveled
against Iranian President Mohammad
Khatami, including a demonstration
Tiiesday outside Iran’s U.N. mission by a
coalition of Jewish groups protesting
the prison sentences handed down to
10 Iranian Jews convicted of espionage.
Khatami, who has tried to reach out
to the Iranian-Jewish community here,
presided Tuesday over a pre-summit
roundtable discussion attended by
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
and other heads of state on forging a
“dialogue among civilizations" to pro
mote world peace
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Teachers authorize strike
after pay negotiations fail
' 0 ’ -
PHILADELPHIA-Thousands of teach
ers in the nation’s sixth-largest school dis
trict voted Tliesday to authorize their first
strike since 1981, following a Labor Day
breakdown in contract negotiations.
Members of the Philadelphia
Federation of Teachers voted unanimously
in favor of the walkout during a morning
executive meeting, union officials said.
However, classes were still scheduled
to begin Thursday for the district’s 200,000
students and 256 schools because union
president Ted Kirsch did not immediately
call a strike. State law requires the union to
give the district 48 hours’ notice of a walk
Union spokeswoman Barbara
Goodman would not say when Kirsch
might call a walkout.
Mayor John F. Street, who hand-picked
the school board, on Monday tried to reas
sure the teachers of the city’s intentions.
The 21,000-member union has reject
ed the district’s proposals to extend the
school day and school year, increase co
payments for health insurance, institute a
pay scale based on teacher performance
rather than years of experience and level of
education, and give principals more say in
teacher job assignments.
The union wants smaller classes,
stronger early childhood education, a new
reading program and enhanced school
security. Its teachers in 1997-1998 earned
between $28,600 and $57,200, according to
the union.
The Associated Press
■New Mexico
Pipeline explosion survivor
dies in Texas hospital
CARLSBAD - The only sur
vivor of a pipeline explosion
that killed 11 members of her
extended family died Tuesday.
Amanda Smith, 25, lost her
husband and two children in
the fiery blast that engulfed the
family’s campsite near Carlsbad
on Aug. 19.
She never regained con
sciousness and died at a
Lubbock, Texas, hospital.
The victims were camping
along the Pecos River in New
Mexico when the pipeline
erupted in a fireball and gener
ated heat so intense it melted
sleeping bags and tents. It left a
crater 86 feet long and 20 feet
A family member filed a fed
eral lawsuit Aug. 30 in
Albuquerque, alleging El Paso
Natural Gas failed to comply
with state and federal rules and
did not properly inspect and
maintain the line.
■ Washington, D.C.
AOL, Time Warner merger
causes doubts among FTC
Antitrust regulators are
seeking assurances that the
proposed merger between
titans America Online and Time
Warner won’t hinder how con
sumers get the next generation
of Internet and entertainment
The Federal Trade
Commission, one of the agen
cies reviewing the $129 billion
deal, has raised red flags about
the combined company’s distri
bution of fast online services
over Time Warner’s expansive
cable systems - the second
largest in the country. The
merger would allow AOL to pro
vide its services over Time
Warner’s high-speed cable
But federal officials are con
cerned that AOL rivals would be
unable to get access to Time
Warner’s cable systems to offer
consumers other choices for
Internet service. FTC attorneys
are prepared to block the pro
posed merger unless the com
panies agree to let competing
services use their high-speed
cable lines, according to
' sources.
■ Ohio
Two killed in murder-sukide
at elementary school
BIDWELL - A man shot his
estranged wife to death in the
parking lot of the elementary
school where she worked and
then went home and killed him
self, authorities said.
Classes were canceled for
the day after the shooting at
Bidwell Porter Elementary
Linda Shoemaker, 52, a cook
at the school, was shot several
times by her husband, Frank, at
about 6:30 a.m. while she was
still in her car, Gallia County
Coroner Dr. Daniel Whiteley
said. A coworker summoned
Frank Shoemaker’s body
was found about 30 minutes
later in a lawn chair in his front
yard about eight miles from the
school, Whiteley said. He was
■ Ivory Coast
Soldiers questioned about
alleged plot against leader
ABIDJAN - Ivorian security
officials are holding seven sol
diers in connection with an
alleged plot to overthrow the
nation’s junta leader, a security
official said Monday.
The seven were arrested
Friday and are being held at a
camp for the country’s paramili
tary police, said the official, who
spoke on condition of anonymi
ty. He gave no further details.
A spokesman at the Abidjan
camp where the men were taken
declined to comment.
Reports in Ivorian newspa
pers Monday said the soldiers
are being held for questioning
about their possible involve
ment in an attempt to over
throw Gen. Robert Guei, who
came to power in a December
Tension has risen in the
army since Guei’s takeover - the
first in the former French
colony’s history.