May 4, 1997 in Nation/World

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

Compiled By News Editor Kevin Gr
 
Tags:column

VOLUNTEERISM

What you can do for your country

The week began with President Clinton’s pledge to inaugurate a new era of community service as he kicked off the President’s Summit for America’s Future in Philadelphia.

“I am here because I want to redefine the meaning of citizenship in America,” Clinton told a T-shirt-clad crowd of 5,000 volunteers at the summit’s opening ceremony.

“It is not enough to simply do your job and pay your taxes,” Clinton said. “You have to serve in your community to help make it a better place.”

Showing up to assist Clinton was retired Army Gen. Colin Powell, whose enthusiasm for volunteerism did not extend to running for president in 1996. Also in attendance were former Presidents George Bush, the honorary co-chairman, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, as well as Vice President Al Gore.

Flooded with kindness

The spirit of volunteerism appeared in flood-ravaged Grand Forks, N.D., on Tuesday in the form of an anonymous benefactor.

“We’ve all prayed so hard together,” said Mayor Pat Owens. “God has answered our prayers. He’s sent a person as an anonymous donor.”

The benefactor has pledged to give $2,000 to every household in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks that’s been affected by the flood. Owens figured 5,000 to 6,000 of the most needy households would benefit from the philanthropy.

COURTS

Sex in the trenches

Also Tuesday, Army Staff Sgt. Delmar G. Simpson was found guilty of 18 counts of rape against six women trainees at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds.

The court-martial was the cornerstone case of the military’s sexual-misconduct scandal. Since the Aberdeen charges surfaced, the Army has opened more than 300 criminal investigations into sexual abuse at bases around the world.

Simpson faces a maximum of life in prison for each rape count.

Prosecution drops bombshell

In other court news, the wife of a former Army buddy of Timothy McVeigh provided the most damning testimony yet in the bombing trial going on in Denver.

Lori Fortier testified Tuesday about the autumn day in 1994 when McVeigh sat in her living room and announced that he planned to blow up the federal building in Oklahoma City.

“Tim specified that the building he was planning on bombing was the federal building in Oklahoma City,” said Fortier. “He diagrammed circles inside the truck, representing the barrels. He was thinking about using racing fuel and ammonium nitrate” as the explosive.

The next day, McVeigh’s defense team tried to discredit Fortier as a drug-abusing liar.

Bars and ballots

In Washington state, a former prison inmate sued over state laws taking away a felon’s right to vote.

Muhammad Shabazz Farrakhan, a 39-year-old Bellevue export business owner who chairs the National Young Black Republicans, claims in a suit filed in U.S. District Court in Spokane that the laws are unconstitutional and weaken the voting strength of African Americans, including those never convicted of crimes.

Farrakhan, released from the state penitentiary in Walla Walla on March 31 after completing a three-year term for theft by deception, said taking away felons’ voting rights makes them disenfranchised and disinterested in the government, and leads to recidivism.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Blair rocks Britain

In Britain, Tony Blair became the first prime minister elected from the Labor Party in a generation, defeating Conservative John Major with an impressive majority.

Labor finished with 419 seats in the House of Commons, the Conservatives wound up with 165, while the Liberal Democrats, buoyed by a tide of anti-Conservative voting, doubled their seats to 46.

“I am part of the rock-and-roll generation,” Blair declared. “The Beatles. Color TV. That’s the generation I come from.” And with Blair’s move Friday to the prime minister’s official residence at No. 10 Downing St., along with his successful lawyer-wife and their three children, that is now the generation governing Britain.

Where’s Mobutu?

With rebel forces closing in fast on the Zairian capital of Kinshasa, a U.S. mediator announced Wednesday that President Mobutu Sese Seko agreed to his first face-to-face negotiations with insurgent leader Laurent Kabila.

The talks appeared to be a coup of sorts for Bill Richardson, the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, until Mobutu turned out to be a no-show on Thursday. When mediators finally got Mobutu aboard a ship for peace talks Friday, Kabila refused to join him, saying he wanted more safety guarantees.

Complicating the peace efforts was a report in the New York Times that France has been conducting a covert military operation to prop up the ailing dictator.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

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.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Compiled by News Editor Kevin Graman

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.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Compiled by News Editor Kevin Graman

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