November 9, 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

COURTS

Negative action

The Supreme Court refused to hear a legal challenge to California’s ban on affirmative action programs Monday.

The court’s refusal to consider a challenge to Proposition 209 is expected to encourage states throughout the country to follow California’s lead in abolishing affirmative action programs by government agencies. Similar measures have been proposed in about 25 states, including Washington.

Proposition 209 was approved by 54 percent of the state’s voters a year ago. It prohibits state and local government agencies from continuing to give “preferential treatment” to racial minorities and women in public employment, education and contracting.

“It’s the first time in the nation’s history state and local governments have been stripped of their authority to attack race and gender discrimination,” said Mark Rosenbaum, who directed the constitutional attack on Proposition 209 in California on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union and several civil rights groups.

ELECTIONS

The ‘nays’ have it

“No” was the big winner Tuesday as Washington state voters rejected all five citizen proposals for big, big changes.

“No” also ruled the day in Spokane where perennial naysayer John Talbott edged out the chief advocate of the status quo, Mayor Jack Geraghty.

With many absentee ballots to be counted, Talbott had 50.5 percent of the vote to Geraghty’s 49.5 percent. Geraghty held out little hope that the absentee ballots would turn things around.

“No” is nothing new to Coeur d’Alene, where Steve Judy narrowly defeated Al Hassell, who had attempted to become only the second person in the history of the city to capture a second term as mayor.

Washington state Halloween-season scare ads - about gun confiscations, runaway health-care costs, potentially inept dental hygienists, “special rights” for gays and use of heroin for aches and pains - all hit their mark as five initiatives were voted down.

“We were swept away by the politics of no,” said Cathy Allen, a veteran Seattle political consultant who ran the campaign for dental hygienists seeking to operate free of dentists’ supervision.

WORLD

Dancing the Saddam shuffle

If he didn’t control so much oil, the world could just ignore Saddam Hussein.

But Iraq has the second largest proven oil reserves in the Persian Gulf, and both Russia and France, America’s un-ally, would like to tap into the 100 billion barrels of crude buried under U.N. sanctions.

So, by keeping American arms inspectors out of Iraq, Saddam can boost his popularity at home while driving a wedge into the fraying U.N. coalition.

That’s what he was doing all last week in “clear violation” of the 1991 cease-fire that ended the Persian Gulf War. Meanwhile, Iraqis were taking advantage of a two-week forced halt in weapons inspections to disable surveillance cameras and hide key equipment at suspected arms sites.

“I don’t think there’s much mystery to his motivations. As long as he’s there, he’ll be challenging us,” said Phebe Marr, a professor at the government’s National Defense University at Fort Leslie J. McNair in Washington. “He wants a revision to the status quo, an end to the sanctions - and he wants them on his own terms.”

SCIENCE

The brave little rover

Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Tuesday bid farewell to the Pathfinder mission and its cute little Sojourner, bleating away on Mars for its dead mother ship.

Despite the best efforts of engineers to re-establish communications, Pathfinder has not called home since Sept. 27. Since the spacecraft’s electronic systems haven’t been turning on to warm up the instruments, mission managers fear the Pathfinder has been frozen silent.

Without instructions from the Pathfinder, the rover continues to follow its built-in contingency plan, which directs Sojourner to head straight toward the center of the mother ship.

The rover can’t actually reach the lander, however, because its programmed instructions also tell it never to come nearer than about 10 feet from the center. So it stops, moves around the lander for some distance, then tries to reach the center again the following day.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 photos

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


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