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Global warming swallows island

Feb. 18, 2000

While scientists continue to wrangle over whether or not global warming is a reality, the inhabitants of Tuvalu — a tiny island nation in the South Pacific — think that the skeptics are all wet. Meteorologists are predicting that a good portion of the country will be under water this weekend due to record high tides caused by global warming.

As the globe heats up, the polar ice caps melt and the ocean expands, so sea-level rises. Though spring flooding is an annual occurrence in Tuvalu, the AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE reports that the tides have been getting progressively higher for the past several years. The highest point on the country’s main island, which has 11,000 inhabitants, is 15 feet. This weekend’s record tide is predicted to crest at 11 feet. Looks like that’s gonna be one crowded speed bump.

Read the AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE story here.


FAIR on flirting

Feb. 17, 2000

Are women smashing corporate glass ceilings with coy comments and strategically displayed body parts? Media watchdog group FAIR (FAIRNESS AND ACCURACY IN REPORTING) slams the Wall Street Journal for saying so. A recent page-one Journal article says today’s typical young businesswoman is using everything she can to get ahead — including “unabashed flirting” — to the detriment of her male colleagues’ careers. FAIR reminds readers that women still make just 75 cents on the male dollar, and female CEOs represent just three of the Fortune 500 companies. The article, says FAIR, “implies young women are succeeding not based on their intelligence but on their willingness to exploit their sexuality — even when there is no evidence for this claim.”

Read the FAIR story here.


Just say no guests

Feb. 16, 2000

Now you can be evicted from public housing not only for bad behavior, but for your friends’ behavior. A federal appeals court reversed a lower court decision and upheld a Housing and Urban Development policy which allows tenants to be evicted from public housing for drug use by their visitors on or near the premises, even if the tenant doesn’t know about it.

REUTERS reports that in the test case, four elderly tenants face eviction by the Oakland Housing Authority for drug use by family members or, in one case, the caretaker of a 75-year old disabled tenant. Lighting up or snorting didn’t even have to take place in the apartment to qualify: The daughter of one tenant allegedly had cocaine three blocks away.

Read the REUTERS story here.


Gas guzzlers: Good for you?

Feb. 15, 2000

Those who think they’re helping the environment by scrapping their old gas guzzler for a new fuel-efficient Volkswagen may want to think twice, the NEW SCIENTIST reports. New cars tend to produce more carbon dioxide — a greenhouse gas — than do older models, according to a new study by Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

Many countries have introduced tax incentives and other policies to encourage people to get rid of their old cars and replace them with more efficient modern cars. Environmentalists believe newer cars reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. But what they have not considered , according to researchers, is that new cars are heavier and more powerful than older ones. Also, common assumptions about switching to newer cars fail to account for the emissions resulting from scrapping or even recycling old cars and from producing new ones.

Read the NEW SCIENTIST story here.


Fetal victims’ rights

Feb. 14, 2000

If Colorado passes a bill currently under debate, assaulting a pregnant woman could become two crimes in one: an assault against the mother, and a second, separate assault against the fetus.

The CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR reports that Colorado is just one of a growing list of states moving to increase legal protection for fetuses, a trend that has abortion rights’ advocates worried. Supporters say their aim is to protect pregnant women, and to acknowledge and punish the loss when violence causes fetal injury or miscarriage. But by assigning explicit legal rights to a fetus, the bill opens a door that pro-choicers would rather keep closed.




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