January 18, 1998 in Nation/World

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

Compiled By News Editor Kevin Gr
 

HEALTH

Smoking gun

For decades, the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. marketed cigarettes to children as young as 13, according to previously secret company documents released Wednesday.

One memo from 1987, stamped “RJR secret,” describes a plan to develop a new wide Camel cigarette targeted at “younger adult male smokers,” primarily the 13-24 age group, then smoking Marlboro, Philip Morris’ leading brand. RJR subsequently brought Camel Wides to market.

An August 1988 memo states that outdoor advertisements should be placed wherever young people congregate, with the ideal locations being sites near fast food restaurants, convenience stores, urban basketball courts, video game arcades and record stores.

The documents, made public by Henry Waxman, D-Calif., a tobacco industry critic, appear to contradict sworn statements made by company executives to Congress and to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in which they denied that they sought to sell cigarettes to those under 18.

BUSINESS

Second opinion

Under intense international pressure, Indonesian President Suharto agreed Thursday to a broad program of austerity measures aimed at halting the steep slide of his country’s economy.

The package is designed to accomplish what a $43 billion bailout of Indonesia, launched by the International Monetary Fund, couldn’t - stem a massive flight of capital from the world’s fourth-most-populous country.

The IMF’s new prescription for Indonesia came as controversy flared over whether the cure is worse than the disease. An internal IMF report surfaced last week that suggests the fund may have contributed to Indonesia’s crisis by forcing the abrupt closure of 16 ailing banks, causing depositors to pull their money out of sound banks and thereby making it impossible for many otherwise healthy companies to obtain capital.

Consumers get a break

The Labor Department released its consumer price index Tuesday, showing inflation is at its lowest rate in 11 years, largely due to lower prices for food and energy.

Prices for consumers rose a scant 1.7 percent in 1997 and because the dollar is gaining in value against Asian currencies, such items as imported cars, computers, toys and clothing all should be relative bargains in coming months.

U.S. workers are making up some of the ground lost in the late 1980s and early 1990s, because wage increases are outpacing prices. Average hourly earnings rose about 3.7 percent last year. That’s 2 percent higher than the inflation rate.

“The good news is we are seeing increases, but we have a long way to go to make up lost ground” because wages, adjusted for inflation, still lag behind 1989 levels, said Dean Baker of the Economic Policy Institute.

NATION

Senator in space

John Glenn is going back.

NASA has decided to let the, 76-year-old astronaut-turned-senator from Ohio hitch a ride on the space shuttle Discovery.

At least one other former astronaut thinks it’s a great idea.

“John is a wonderful candidate because he has a high visibility, he’s in great shape and he was the first American in orbit,” said Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon. Aldrin turns 68 this week.

Now if we could just get the Russians to take the rest of the Senate on Mir.

WORLD

Same story, new twist

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein made good on his promise to block arms inspections by a U.N. team led by an American, a step President Clinton described as a “clear and serious” breach of the Gulf War cease-fire.

The U.N. Security Council condemned the latest obstruction and called on Saddam to halt the confrontation, which comes as U.N.

intelligence information indicates Iraq may have conducted chemical warfare experiments on human prisoners.

The United Nations’ chief weapons inspector, Richard Butler, told the council in closed session Wednesday that Iraq’s new restrictions on U.N. teams are preventing his subordinates from investigating those allegations.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 photos

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Compiled by news editor Kevin Graman from staff and wire reports.


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