The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 06, 2000, Page 2, Image 2
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. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 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 life.” 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 pendently ' 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 surgery. TV debates cause conflict, for ABC, CBS THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 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. Bush. 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 viewership. 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." -wr UN SECURITY CHECK PONT UR LD CARDS \ * RE0URS) Spencer Platt/ Newsmakers 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 Commissioner Bernard Kerik, and goes through Friday. Communist leaders to use summit as anti-U.S.forum ■ 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. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS UNITED NATIONS - Secretary 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 States. 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 jung. 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 tries. 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 plans. 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 treaties. 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 ZtatfyNebraskan Edit-&i: Mans^irm Editoi: A uoaiate New* Edit *i: Adjonate NesYi EdUoi: -Opinion Edi*oi: -SpoitiEdi'oi: AitiEdi'oi: <4*7 t>ejk Co-Chief: <4*7 Jk Co-Chief: Ni«W Chief: Aitbire<*oi: bedijn Chief: WebEditoi: Adjutant Web Edi'oi: CL. 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NC2 vVM<C W Teachers authorize strike after pay negotiations fail THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ' 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 out Union spokeswoman Barbara X 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. World/Nation 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 deep. 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 services. 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 lines. 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 School. 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 authorities. 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 66. ■ 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 coup. Tension has risen in the army since Guei’s takeover - the first in the former French colony’s history.