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Ambassador of the United States, Inc.

Jan. 21, 2000

Gunboat diplomacy may have gone out of fashion, but US corporations battling for foreign contracts in the Third World can still count on ground support from the local embassy. According to the ASSOCIATED PRESS, a survey released this week shows that US diplomats are especially prone to throwing their weight around to help strong-arm a deal for their countrymen. The survey was commissioned by Transparency International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting corruption worldwide. Most of the over 700 business executives from developing nations who were interviewed thought the US was the most likely of 19 nations to use unfair diplomatic pressure to win deals for its home corporations. France came in a distant second with 34 percent of the vote. A US Chamber of Commerce official said the foreign execs were just bitter about losing business to US firms.


Fidel fever gives Miami the blues

Jan. 20, 2000

The new Miami-Dade County ordinance boycotting businesses that transact with Cuba has hit South Florida in its pocket and its musical pride, reports the MIAMI HERALD.

Recording industry officials announced they would move the first Latin Grammy Awards celebration to Los Angeles. The reason? Because the mere possibility that a Cuban artist would be nominated for a Grammy prompted the county to pull all of its support for the awards show.

National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences President Michael Greene said, “It was a surprise to us that the arts are not viewed as a cultural bridge down there. That it’s much more important to keep the politics of hatred and division flourishing because it’s big business.”


The media made me do it

Jan. 19, 2000

No wonder people hate journalists so much; when they’re not obsessing over elected officials extra-marital affairs or shoving microphones into trauma victims’ faces, they’re inciting husbands to kill their ex-wives.

Such, at least, is the defense being offered by a Fort Lauderdale, Fla. man accused of shooting his ex-wife to death while a TV camera recorded the event for posterity, the NANDO TIMES reports. Seems a reporter for the Spanish language network Telemundo was interviewing one Emilio Nunez at the gravesite of his 15-year-old daughter, who had recently committed suicide.

As the tape rolled, the girl’s mother showed up unexpectedly, sparking a bitter argument between the couple. As the Telemundo reporter peppered them with questions, Nunez pulled a gun and shot his ex-wife a dozen times. His lawyer is now trying to get the charges reduced to manslaughter, saying Nunez was driven into a rage by the reporter’s impertinent inquiries.…


Who killed Hoosier fish?

Jan. 18, 2000

If you’re traveling to Indiana’s White River, it shouldn’t be difficult to find — just follow the stench of rotting fish.

Environmental officials are investigating the cause of contamination that killed 80 tons of fish in Anderson, Ind. in mid-December, THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR reports. The toxic spill ultimately affected three counties, and though it has not posed a widespread threat to drinking water, it has left a 50-mile trail of destruction in the river, making it one of the state’s worst environmental catastrophes.

The Guide Corp. automotive plant in Anderson, Ind has emerged as a prime suspect. Guide bought the plant from General Motors in 1998. GM still maintains the wastewater treatment facility at the site. GM’s record of hazardous waste violations at the plant’s facilities was long and storied even before the recent incident.

On the plus side, the river’s fish will never again complain about sodium-dimethyldithiocarbamate or cyanide shortages.…



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