June 1, 1997 in Nation/World

Week In Review A Look Back At The Top Stories From The Last Week

 
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COURTS

Deal with it

Paula Jones and Bill Clinton, as far as the law is concerned, are equals. And whether she’s “trailer trash” or an innocent victim of an abusive man in a position of power, “she has a right to an orderly disposition of her claims.”

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Jones’ attorneys may proceed with her sexual harassment suit against the president of the United States.

Overnight, the court’s decision revived the possibility that Clinton may have to give a deposition under oath and answer questions about his relationship with Jones, and perhaps face a civil trial before his term expires in early 2001. Jones alleges, and Clinton denies, that he lewdly propositioned her in a Little Rock hotel room in May 1991 when he was the governor of Arkansas and she was a state employee. She filed the suit in 1994, seeking $700,000 in damages.

Bombing trial goes to jury

The case against Timothy J. McVeigh drew to a dramatic climax Thursday, with a government prosecutor calling the Oklahoma City bombing defendant a “domestic terrorist” guilty of “a crime of ghastly proportions,” and the defense portraying him as the unwitting victim of an overzealous federal investigation and the treachery of his friends.

The contrasting views of McVeigh, a 29-year-old decorated veteran of the Persian Gulf War, came as government prosecutors and defense lawyers presented their closing arguments in a case that began with jury selection just nine weeks ago. McVeigh could face the death penalty if found guilty of the conspiracy and murder charges to which he has pleaded not guilty. The jury got the case Friday.

An Internet end run

While the attorneys general of a lot of states thought they had the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s national lottery languishing in federal court, the Indians were busy putting the game on the Internet.

“We’d be the first Indian tribe, and we’d be the first anybody, to do this,” David Matheson, Coeur d’Alene tribal gambling CEO, said Wednesday.

Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon was not amused when the Indians’ “USLottery” opened to limited playing last week. He filed suit immediately.

“We totally anticipated this happening,” Matheson said. “We didn’t know who it would be first, but the fact that it happened to be Missouri is neither here nor there. It’s Missouri and there will be more, and we’ll fight them as they come.”

SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT

The ultimate ‘I told you so’

In a stunning turnaround, once-skeptical scientists accept the theory that thousands of small comets bombard Earth’s upper air daily, perhaps explaining the origins of the oceans.

Scientists changed their minds Wednesday because of startling new images from a NASA satellite. A decade ago, these scientists laughed at space physicist Louis Frank of the University of Iowa when he said the oceans have been brought to Earth over millions of years by small water-rich comets.

“This looks like a real case of, ‘They all laughed at Christopher Columbus,”’ said one former skeptic, Stephen Maran, a space scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and spokesman for the American Astronomical Association. “This guy (Frank) has been out in the hinterland for almost 11 years, and you rarely have such obvious vindication in your lifetime.”

Chaotic response

There has just been an explosion at one of the most environmentally challenged places on earth, releasing plumes of oxides of nitrogen and nitric acid.

So what do you do if you’re a boss at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation on May 14?

Why, order a crew of workers to return to the main building, sending them into the path of the toxic release, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Wednesday.

After four hours without medical attention, the workers drove themselves to an emergency room, where the doctors “basically … just gave us a cup of water and told us everything was OK,” said Paul Kramar, one of eight construction workers who complained of breathing problems, skin irritations, severe headaches and bouts of inexplicable rage.

Rage may have been the most explicable part of the whole incident. “The emergency room doctor … said we were suffering from group hysteria,” said Kramar.

Energy Department investigators have acknowledged mismanagement of the 35 gallons of chemicals in the 400-gallon tank inside a plutonium finishing plant, allowing the chemicals to evaporate to the point they exploded.

Now, DOE and independent investigators from the state Department of Ecology are also focusing on the chaotic response to the blast.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos

MEMO: Week in Review is compiled by News Editor Kevin Graman. For more information on these stories, see Virtually Northwest, The Spokesman-Review’s online publication, at www.virtuallynorthwest.com.

Week in Review is compiled by News Editor Kevin Graman. For more information on these stories, see Virtually Northwest, The Spokesman-Review’s online publication, at www.virtuallynorthwest.com.


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