Archive for Sunday, April 28, 2002

Nation Briefs

April 28, 2002


Mississippi: Black mayors honor equal-pay activist

More than a half-century has passed since Gladys Noel Bates successfully challenged racial discrimination in a struggle for equal pay for black teachers in Mississippi.

Friday, Bates was honored for her fight when she and five others received the President's Award at the National Conference of Black Mayors in Jackson.

Bates, a former teacher, filed the civil lawsuit in a segregated Mississippi in 1948 and won the case four years later. The suit led to the Teacher Pay Equalization Act .

Other conference honorees were attorney Johnnie Cochran, Col. Charles Edward McGee, a veteran of three wars and member of the Tuskegee Airmen, Postmaster General John Potter, and William Burrus, president of the AFL-CIO.

Colorado: Snow aids in battle of 2,500-acre wildfire

A dusting of snow and cooler temperatures Saturday helped crews battling a 2,500-acre wildfire that has threatened homes and forced residents to evacuate.

The fire about 35 miles southwest of Denver was 50 percent contained, officials said, while about 150 homes remained off-limits to residents. Containment was expected today if favorable weather continued.

Texas: Bush asks Yugoslavia's cooperation with U.N.

President Bush said Saturday that Yugoslavia President Vojislav Kostunica should cooperate more fully with the U.N. war crimes tribunal and said such help is critical to the country's integration with Europe.

Bush praised recent steps by Yugoslavia "to meet its international obligations" but appealed for Kostunica, a moderate nationalist who opposes the tribunal, to do more.

Some 24 Serbs are wanted by the U.N. court for alleged Balkan war crimes.

California: Hundreds mark WWII detainment

Five hundred people many former detainees descended Saturday on the Manzanar National Historic Site, the former internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II.

The group mark the 60th anniversary of Executive Order No. 9066, which empowered federal agents to detain those deemed subversive during the war.

Some 120,000 Japanese-Americans were detained at 10 camps nationwide after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. At Manzanar, 10,000 people were interned for several years behind barbed wire.

WASHINGTON: Smithsonian exhibit is no Whistler's Mother

Americans remember James McNeill Whistler for the painting of his heavily gowned, elderly mother. A new show at the world's biggest collection of his art, the Smithsonian Institution's Freer Gallery, celebrates his interest in young female nudes.

In Victorian days painters did nudes warily, often using historical or exotic themes as a kind of excuse. Not Whistler, who was known for his brash and combative style. Most of his nudes are just pictures of paid models in his studio.

"The realism of Whistler's nudes was a new phenomenon, expressing the emergence of new attitudes toward public nudity, art, the female form and gender," said Kenneth Myers, curator of the show.

WASHINGTON: Democrats blast Bush about Social Security

In the Democratic Party radio address aired Saturday, Sen. Jon Corzine, D-N.J., said Democrats have obligation to defend and strengthen Social Security.

"In recent months, President Bush and congressional Republicans have again pushed for raids on Social Security to finance tax breaks for large corporations, including incredibly a $250 million tax break for Enron," Corzine said.

Corzine voiced his criticism after acknowledging that Democrats "stand with the president in the war on terrorism."

But he accused Republicans of wanting to "privatize Social Security, taking trillions of dollars from the fund to finance private accounts, and forcing deep cuts in guaranteed benefits."

The Senate and House have yet to debate any legislation seeking to overhaul the Social Security system.

Connecticut: 'Confession' tape focus of Skakel trial

Prosecutors in the murder trial of Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel say a videotape the defense claims implicates the defendant's former live-in tutor as the killer of Skakel's neighbor was taken out of context.

The tape, made during a 1992 psychiatric interview of Kenneth Littleton, was played Friday during a hearing on defense lawyer Michael Sherman's request to use the tape and other evidence suggesting Littleton, and not Skakel, was the killer.

Prosecutors say Littleton never confessed on the tape and was actually referring to a "bizarre" incident in which investigators asked his former wife to try to convince him he confessed to her during a blackout.

Superior Court Judge John F. Kavanewsky Jr. delayed a decision on whether the tape would be admissible.

Skakel is accused of beating Martha Moxley to death in 1975.

LOS ANGELES: Barbie creator dead at age 85

Ruth Handler, the entrepreneur and marketing genius who co-founded Mattel and created the Barbie doll, one of the world's most enduring and popular toys, died Saturday.

Handler was 85 and died at a Los Angeles hospital of complications following colon surgery about three months ago, said her husband, Elliot.

The longtime Southern California resident defied prevailing trends in the toy industry of the late 1950s when she proposed an alternative to the flat-chested baby dolls then marketed to girls.

Barbie, a teen-age doll with a tiny waist, slender hips and impressive bust, became not only a best-selling toy with more than 1 billion sold in 150 countries, but a cultural icon analyzed by scholars, attacked by feminists and showcased in the Smithsonian Institution.

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