Rice says Bolton has "rough edges" but deserves confirmation
Posted 5/27/2005 6:42 PM
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged Friday that John Bolton has "rough edges" but said it was time for the Senate to approve his nomination to be U.N. ambassador so he can promote needed reform.
A day after Democrats forced the Republican-run Senate to delay a vote on Bolton until at least next month, Rice called him a "pretty tough person" but added, "There are many people who work for him who would walk through a wall for him."
Bolton has been accused of bullying intelligence officials whose analyses ran counter to his conservative views. His defenders have said he did not mistreat them and is entitled to disagree with intelligence estimates he receives.
Answering questions at the Commonwealth Club during a long weekend trip here, Rice cited the U.N. Human Rights Commission as a key example of why the world body needs an overhaul.
"When you have a commission on human rights and Sudan is on it, nobody can take it seriously," Rice said, referring to a country the Bush administration has accused of engaging in genocide.
"We need to send a strong voice for reform of the United Nations to the United Nations," Rice said.
Democrats have demanded that before the Senate votes on Bolton's nomination, the administration show lawmakers documents on his use of government intelligence on Syria. They also want documents about instances in which he requested names of U.S. officials whose communications were secretly picked up by an American spy agency.
Shortly after Rice started speaking, at least two protesters stood up, wearing what appeared to be black robes and black hoods, an apparent reference to U.S. abuse of detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. The crowd applauded as the protesters were taken from the hall.
Rice seemed undisturbed by the interruption.
"In Baghdad, Kabul and soon in Beirut, they too will be able to speak their minds," she said.
On Iraq, Rice said that country's democracy "is not going to look like the United States of America, but it's not going to look like Saddam's Iraq. And thank God for that, because it was time to get that monster out of the center of Baghdad."
She acknowledged that Iraq's fledging democratic government has had difficulties, and that it is not unusual for historical changes to result in violence. But she added that to date, the Baghdad leadership has not made a compromise "as bad as the one in 1789 that made my ancestors three-fifths of a man, so let's be humble about what they're going through."
Rice was referring to a constitutional compromise in which originally, three-fifths of a state's slaves were counted in deciding the state's representation in Congress and other issues.
Asked about the prospects for withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, she said President Bush believes that step can be taken only after success has been achieved.
"It would not be a good thing to leave before this job is finished," she said.
On Iran, Rice said it would be an "enormously dangerous" situation if Iran were to become a nuclear weapons state.
"We're going to do everything we can to prevent that outcome," she said, adding that Iran "is very much out of step" with trends in the region.
Iranian officials said this week that their country would not develop nuclear weapons and would continue a moratorium on uranium enrichment activities.
Rice has a long association with the San Francisco area, having served as provost at nearby Stanford University before joining the Bush administration in 2001.
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Rice says Bolton has "rough edges" but deserves confirmation
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 5/27/2005 08:54:00 PM
I just wanted to wish y'all a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. I have been very busy, getting acquainted with my new position at my day job. It brings a challenge every day, but I look forward to it. It is hard work, but somebody has to do it.
I have some articles to post that may be old; but, it is new of you have not heard about it. Enjoy the entries and the holiday. Also, do not forget those who have lost their lives in order to give us the freedom that we have today.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 5/27/2005 08:52:00 PM
Democrats Hope to Delay Vote on Bolton
By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer
Thu May 26, 1:03 PM ET
WASHINGTON - The White House is stiff-arming Democrats over classified information about President Bush's pick to be United Nations ambassador, and the Senate should put off a vote on the embattled nominee until next month, a Democratic opponent argued Thursday.
"We should delay this until we see that information; it's a matter of right and wrong," Sen. Barbara Boxer (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., maintained at the start of a second day of Senate debate over John R. Bolton's fitness and qualifications. "It is right for us to get that information, it is wrong for the administration to withhold it."
The Senate planned a procedural vote Thursday that Democrats hoped to win and force postponement of a confirmation vote until June. Democratic Sens. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and Joseph Biden of Delaware asked other senators in a letter Thursday to support a delay. If Republicans win the initial vote, the Senate was expected to quickly approve Bolton, whom President Bush says would reform the United Nations.
The material, which Democrats have sought for weeks, involves Bolton's use of government intelligence on Syria and instances in which he asked for names of fellow U.S. officials whose communications were secretly picked up by a spy agency.
Boxer read out a litany of allegations about Bolton that she said show he is ill-suited to be the nation's top representative at the world body. She also accused Bolton of misleading the Senate committee that wrangled over Bolton's nomination for weeks without offering him its endorsement.
"John Bolton did not tell the truth to the Foreign Relations Committee," on several points, Boxer alleged. "If nothing else I've said matters ... you ought to care about telling the truth to a committee of the United States Senate," Boxer told other senators. "We have it chapter and verse. We have it cold here."
Democrats said Wednesday they did not plan to mount a filibuster, or procedural delays, to indefinitely block the vote, and some of their leading voices seemed to acknowledge that time was running out.
"I would seriously hope that the president — and I really don't have much hope — but I wish the president had taken another look at this and found us someone" else, Biden said.
Republicans said it was time to vote after weeks of investigation into allegations that Bolton mistreated subordinates and misused government intelligence. This week's bipartisan agreement on judicial filibusters in the Senate and the approach of the Memorial Day recess, which starts at week's end, seemed to be sapping some of the strength from the effort by Bolton's opponents to erect further roadblocks.
"Where does legitimate due diligence turn into partisanship?" asked Sen. Richard Lugar (news, bio, voting record), R-Ind., chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. "Where does the desire for the truth turn into a competition over who wins and who loses?"
On Wednesday, the Republican leader of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Pat Roberts (news, bio, voting record) of Kansas, said he and his Democratic counterpart had been briefed on the matter and found that Bolton had done nothing improper when asking for the names.
Bolton is currently the undersecretary of state for arms control and one of Bush's most conservative foreign policy advisers. Bush nominated him in March to succeed John Danforth as U.N. ambassador, a plum diplomatic job despite the Bush administration's sometimes chilly attitude toward the world body.
Not all Republicans back Bolton. Sen. George Voinovich (news, bio, voting record), R-Ohio, said Bolton would set back the U.S. goal of reforming the United Nations and lacks the diplomatic touch for the sensitive job of ambassador.
Voinovich implored senators to think hard before voting to approve Bolton. His surprisingly strong opposition forced a delay of last month's planned Foreign Relations Committee vote on Bolton, and the panel subsequently denied Bolton its customary endorsement.
"The message will be lost because our enemies will do everything they can to use Mr. Bolton's baggage to drown his words," Voinovich said. "The issue will be the messenger, not the message."
Bill's Comment: Sounds like a filibuster to me. Besides, BB or Dingy Harry dave no
access to any of that information. Only the committee members do. Even those who do have access are not supposed to tell the world about it. That is the whole point of classified information.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 5/27/2005 08:47:00 PM
Bill's Pre-Comment: Should anyone be surprised?
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood Engaged
Thu May 26, 9:10 AM ET
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Garth Brooks stole the show Wednesday night when he got down on one knee in front of 7,000 fans and proposed to fellow country music star Trisha Yearwood.
She said yes — and the crowd went wild.
The occasion was the "Legends in Bronze" event at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace, where 10 larger-than-life bronze statues honoring country stars were unveiled, including one of Brooks.
After his big moment, Brooks popped the question.
The marriage will be the second for Brooks, who has three children, and the third for Yearwood, said Brooks' spokeswoman Nancy Seltzer.
Brooks, 43, is credited with widening the genre's appeal in the 1990s by merging traditional country with honky tonk, pop, folk and rock. His "Ropin' the Wind" album was the first such country recording to debut at the top of the pop music charts. His latest album, "Scarecrow," went triple platinum.
Yearwood, 40, was named the Country Music Awards female vocalist of the year in 1997 and 1998. Her latest album is "Jasper County."
Other musicians honored with bronze statues were Buck Owens, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, George Jones and George Strait.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 5/27/2005 08:44:00 PM
Bill's Pre-Comment: SHE DESERVED IT!
Runaway Bride Indicted for Phony Story
By DANIEL YEE, Associated Press Writer
Wed May 25, 7:16 PM ET
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - The bride-to-be who skipped town just days before her lavish wedding was indicted Wednesday on charges she told police a phony story about being kidnapped and sexually assaulted.
Jennifer Wilbanks, 32, was charged with making a false statement and making a false police report. She could get up to six years behind bars and $11,000 in fines if convicted.
She could also be ordered to reimburse authorities for the more than $50,000 cost of the search set off by her disappearance.
"At some point you just can't lie to the police," said District Attorney Danny Porter.
A warrant will be issued for Wilbanks' arrest within the next few days, and arrangements will probably be made for her to turn herself in, the district attorney said.
Wilbanks' family has said she checked into a medical facility after her return for treatment of "physical and mental issues." The have not said where.
Her attorney, Lydia Sartain, had no immediate comment, but said before the charges were announced: "The citizens of the county will be ill-served by an attempted prosecution."
Wilbanks, a nurse, disappeared from her Duluth home on April 26, four days before her 600-guest wedding. She took a bus to Las Vegas and then Albuquerque, N.M., where she called authorities with a story about having been abducted.
But under questioning, she recanted. She has since said she fled Georgia because of unspecified personal issues.
She returned to Georgia on April 30, the day she was to have been married in a ceremony with 14 bridesmaids and 14 groomsmen.
Several state and county agencies have already said they will not ask Wilbanks to reimburse them for $10,000 in search costs.
Wilbanks has offered to pay $13,250 to the city of Duluth to help offset the costs of its three-day search. Mayor Shirley Lassetter said the city is prepared to accept that offer if it is made in writing, and would write off the remaining $30,000 or so.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 5/27/2005 08:42:00 PM
Booze May Hit Women's Livers Harder
Wed May 18, 7:02 PM ET
WEDNESDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- A study in rats suggests that females metabolize alcohol differently in their bodies and may be more susceptible to alcohol-related liver damage than males, especially if they also consume a high-fat diet.
"Our research suggests that women should be cautious about the amount of alcohol they consume, since they're highly susceptible to more severe liver injury than men, and thus to potentially serious complications," study author Patricia Eagon, of the Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the Pittsburgh Veterans Affairs Medical Center, said in a prepared statement.
Her team used a rat model to analyze differences in liver damage suffered by females and males due to chronic alcohol ingestion.
The rats were divided into two groups and given either no alcohol or alcohol, and either a diet high in carbohydrates or a low-carb, high-fat diet for eight weeks. The high-carb diet contained a mixture of vegetable oils, while the high-fat diet contained fatty fish oils.
Researchers assessed the degree of the rats' liver injury and measured levels of bacteria in the lymph nodes, as well as blood levels of compounds called endotoxins.
Previous research found that endotoxins -- bacterial products that escape from the intestine -- appear to be a major factor in the development of alcohol-induced liver injury.
The study found that female rats given alcohol and fed the high-fat diet had much greater escape of bacteria from the gastrointestinal tract to abdominal lymph nodes, higher blood endotoxin levels, and more severe liver damage than male rats on the same diet or rats of either sex on the high-carb diet.
This suggests the intestines of the female rats became more permeable as a result of the combination of alcohol and high-fat fish oil, the researchers explained.
All the rats given alcohol showed some degree of fatty changes in their livers. However, liver inflammation was only evident in those females that were given alcohol and fed the high-fat fish oil diet.
The study shows "that in females, alcohol in the diet along with fish oil injures the intestine, which causes release of factors that contribute to liver injury," Eagon said.
The findings were presented Tuesday at the annual Digestive Disease Week 2005 meeting in Chicago.
The American Liver Foundation has more about alcohol and liver damage.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 5/27/2005 08:41:00 PM
Trump Sounds Off on World Trade Center
By VERENA DOBNIK, Associated Press Writer
Thu May 19, 7:37 AM ET
NEW YORK - To Donald Trump, the proposals for the replacement for the World Trade Center look like a junkyard. His solution? Rebuild the twin towers, more or less.
Standing in the lobby of his Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, the developer turned TV star on Wednesday presented a model of his own envisioned towers, reflecting the original shape of the skyscrapers that fell Sept. 11, 2001.
The towers he advocates would be 111 stories tall — one floor taller than the lost towers.
Plans for the site, to be dominated by a 1,776-foot Freedom Tower, have been stalled lately because of security concerns, though Gov. George Pataki assured New Yorkers last week that the project was not losing momentum.
"Failure to rebuild is not an option," the Republican governor said in a speech in downtown Manhattan.
But Trump had little use for the futuristic, angular Freedom Tower model.
The plan "looks like a junkyard, a series of broken-down angles that don't match each other. And we have to live with this for hundreds of years?" he said. "It is the worst pile of crap architecture I've ever seen in my life."
However, Trump said he was leaving it up to developer Larry Silverstein, who owns the lease on the World Trade Center site, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the land, to execute the design first introduced last year by engineer Ken Gardner.
"I only have the power of persuasion," Trump said. "It's a very simple power, but sometimes it can be very strong."
Speaking for Silverstein, Howard J. Rubenstein said Trump was a friend, but "Silverstein's only concern right now is designing a safe and spectacular Freedom Tower in keeping with the well-established master plan for the site."
Trump read from a letter sent to him by architect Daniel Libeskind, whose plan won an international design competition for the trade center project. Silverstein then brought in his own architect, David Childs, to redesign the signature Freedom Tower.
In the letter, Libeskind was "essentially complaining that the design is no good," Trump said.
He quoted Libeskind as saying the shape of the tower was "the product of David Childs," while he wanted a more slender, classical tower set back farther from the street.
Libeskind added in a statement Wednesday: "The site plan is not just about commercial buildings. The memorial is its crucial centerpiece. It is there for a reason."
Though it would be taller than the twin towers, the Freedom Tower would have much of its top one-third given over to airy latticework and a spire emitting light into the night. Only around 70 floors would be usable office space.
Trump described the existing design as "essentially a skeleton" at the top. "If we rebuild the World Trade Center in the form of a skeleton, the terrorists win."
Trump also left room for an alternative to his plan, if tenants can't be found for the new towers. "If for some reason, it can't be built, because there is a possibility that people do not want to be in any of the buildings on the site, then what we should do is ... build a great memorial park," he said.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 5/27/2005 08:37:00 PM
Two Bush Nominees Get Panel's Quick OK
By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer
Thu May 26, 7:10 PM ET
WASHINGTON - Two of President Bush's blocked judicial nominees, cleared for confirmation by this week's Senate compromise on filibusters, gained quick approval Thursday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The nominations of Richard Griffin and David McKeague for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati were approved by voice vote without debate. The nominees now move to the full Senate for confirmation votes.
Democrats had blocked Griffin and McKeague at the request of Michigan's two Democratic senators, Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow. But they agreed not to hold up the nominations anymore as part of the discussion over the use of judicial filibusters.
To avert a partisan showdown, seven Democrats and seven Republicans signed a pact Monday pledging not to filibuster judicial nominees except in extraordinary circumstances. At the same time, they agreed to oppose attempts by Republican leaders to change filibuster procedures.
The 14 signers, while a small minority of the Senate, hold enough leverage to stop future Democratic filibusters or block any attempt to impose new procedures to end judicial filibusters.
Democrats also agreed not to filibuster Priscilla Owen, who won confirmation Wednesday, and William Pryor and Janice Rogers Brown. Apart from the judicial nominees named in the agreement, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Democrats also would clear the way for votes on McKeague, Griffin and Susan Neilson.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said he expected the Senate to start the confirmation process on Brown and Pryor on June 7 after the Senate returns from its Memorial Day recess.
Democrats made no such agreement on a fourth Michigan nominee, Henry Saad. Reid has said Saad would likely be filibustered.
Neilson's nomination was not mentioned during the committee hearing.
Levin and Stabenow had blocked the nominations of Griffin and McKeague for years because they were upset that President Clinton's nominees to that court were never given a confirmation hearing by Republicans.
Votes on North Carolina judge Terrence Boyle and White House staff secretary Brett Kavanaugh, who also want lifetime seats on the U.S. Appeals Court, were delayed by the committee.
On the Net:
Senate Judiciary Committee: http://judiciary.senate.gov
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 5/27/2005 08:35:00 PM
CBS seeks younger viewers with new fall lineup
Wednesday May 18 12:27 PM ET
CBS, the most watched U.S. television network overall, on Wednesday unveiled a new lineup of crime dramas and supernatural thrillers to bolster its appeal to younger viewers.
In all, CBS said it was adding three new comedies and five fresh dramas to its prime-time lineup next season. The Viacom Inc.-owned network was set to present the shows to advertisers and affiliates later on Wednesday as part of the annual upfront marketplace to book commercial time in advance of the 2005-2006 broadcast season.
"Sci-fi by necessity gets a younger crowd," CBS Chairman and Viacom Co-President Les Moonves said ahead of the network's upfront presentation. "We're in a position now where we're younger -- we're certainly hipper.
"I can almost guarantee you we're going to be up in 18 to 49," he added, referring to the 18- to 49-year-old audience demographic coveted by advertisers. CBS is expected to finish the current season a close second behind Fox in the ratings race for young adults.
In keeping with trends already emerging from the upfront announcements of rival networks NBC and ABC, the new CBS slate is heavy on celebrities, shows with paranormal themes and stories told from a female perspective.
CBS has slated two supernatural series for next season -- "Ghost Whisperer," starring Jennifer Love Hewitt as a young newlywed who communicates with the dead, and "Threshold," about a team of scientists and military personnel who make contact with an alien life form.
Banking on the success of its many crime dramas, such as "CSI," CBS will add the drama "Close To Home" about a young woman prosecutor who tries criminal cases that take place in her suburban neighborhood. And "Criminal Minds" stars Mandy Patinkin in a crime drama about investigators at the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit.
Industry analysts say CBS could well steal upfront advertising dollars this year from NBC, long the network with the highest take, and outpace its rival with up to $2.5 billion in commercial commitments.
NBC dominated network ratings for nearly a decade, but slipped to fourth place this season after popular sitcoms "Friends" and "Frasier" went off the air.
"We think the (upfront) market is going to be up," Moonves said. "We think we're going to be up more than the market."
'FONZIE' AND 'DHARMA' IN NEW ROLES
On the comedy front, Henry Winkler, best known as the ulta-cool Fonzie from the ABC classic "Happy Days," will star as an elder doctor in the new sitcom "Out of Practice." Tony Award-winning actress Stockard Channing will co-star.
Jenna Elfman, the former co-star of another ABC hit comedy "Dharma & Greg," will star as a single woman juggling the men in her life in "Everything I Know About Men." The sitcom will debut midseason along with a drama called "The Unit" about special military operatives on undercover missions.
CBS's third comedy is "How I Met Your Mother," about a young man's search for love.
Another possibility for the CBS slate, Moonves said, is a comedy starring former "Seinfeld" cohort Julia Louis-Dreyfus, seeking to make her second stab at a sitcom of her own with a show titled "Old Christine."
Fellow "Seinfeld" alumnus Jason Alexander was cut from the CBS roster with the cancellation of his latest show "Listen Up." Other CBS shows that were dropped include "Judging Amy," "Joan of Arcadia" and the Wednesday night edition of "60 Minutes." The Sunday night edition of "60 Minutes," a stalwart in the CBS news portfolio, will remain.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 5/27/2005 08:33:00 PM
'Green Acres' Star Eddie Albert Dies at 99
By BOB THOMAS, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 33 minutes ago
LOS ANGELES - Eddie Albert, the actor best known as the constantly befuddled city slicker-turned-farmer in television's "Green Acres," has died. He was 99.
Albert died of pneumonia Thursday at his home in the Pacific Palisades area, in the presence of caregivers including his son Edward, who was holding his hand at the time.
"He died so beautifully and so gracefully that literally this morning I don't feel grief, I don't feel loss," Edward Albert told The Associated Press.
Albert achieved his greatest fame on "Green Acres" as Oliver Douglas, a New York lawyer who settles in a rural town with his glamorous wife, played by Eva Gabor, and finds himself perplexed by the antics of a host of eccentrics, including a pig named Arnold Ziffel.
He was nominated for Academy Awards as supporting actor in "Roman Holiday" (1953) and "The Heartbreak Kid" (1972).
The actor moved smoothly from the Broadway stage to movies to television. Besides the 1965-1971 run in "Green Acres," he costarred on TV with Robert Wagner in "Switch" from 1975 to 1978 and was a semi-regular on "Falcon Crest" in 1988.
He was a tireless conservationist, crusading for endangered species, healthful food, cleanup of Santa Monica Bay pollution and other causes.
Albert's mother was not married when he was born, in 1906. After marrying, she changed his birth certificate to read 1908, the younger Albert said.
Rarely the star of films, Albert often portrayed the wisecracking sidekick, fast-talking salesman or sympathetic father. His stardom came in television, especially with "Green Acres," in which, ironically, he played straight man. The show joined "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Petticoat Junction" and other high-rated CBS comedies of the 1960s and '70s.
"Some people think that because of the bucolic background `Green Acres' is corny," Albert told an interviewer in 1970. "But we get away with some of the most incredible lines on television."
His break in show business came during the '30s in the Broadway hit "Brother Rat," a comedy about life at Virginia Military Institute. Warner Bros. signed him to a contract and cast him in the 1938 film.
According to Hollywood gossip, he was caught in a dalliance with the wife of Jack L. Warner and the studio boss removed him from a film and allowed him to languish under contract.
The actor left Hollywood and appeared as a clown and trapeze artist in a one-ring Mexican circus. He escaped his studio contract by joining the Navy in World War II and served in combat in the South Pacific. He received a Bronze Star for his heroic rescue of wounded Marines at Tarawa, his son said.
Albert managed to rehabilitate his film career after the war, beginning with "Smash-up" with Susan Hayward in 1947.
Among his other films: "Carrie," "Oklahoma!" "The Teahouse of the August Moon," "The Sun Also Rises," "The Roots of Heaven," "The Longest Day," "Miracle of the White Stallions," "The Longest Yard" and "Escape to Witch Mountain."
Edward Albert Heimberger was born in Rock Island, Ill., grew up in Minneapolis and worked his way through two years at the University of Minnesota.
Amateur theater led to singing engagements in nightclubs and on radio. During that time he dropped his last name "because most people mispronounced it as 'Hamburger.'"
Moving to New York, Albert acted on radio and appeared in summer stock before he broke into Broadway and the movies.
"Green Acres" made Albert a rich man and allowed him to pursue his causes. He traveled the world for UNICEF. He continued acting into his 80s, often appearing in television movies.
"Acting was a tenth of his life. The majority of his life was committed to helping other people," said his son, also an actor. "This guy was, from the absolute depth of his soul, one of the true heroes of our world."
Edward Albert, 54, who became a prominent actor in "Butterflies Are Free," "40 Carats" and other films, said he put his career on hold for the past eight years to aid his father, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease.
On Friday, he remembered a moment several years ago in which the two sat in a garden together.
"I said to him 'You're my hero.' I saw him struggling to put together the words, and he looked at me and said: 'You're your hero's hero.' I'll take that to my ... grave."
Albert was married to the dancer-actress Margo for 40 years until her death in 1985. In addition to his son, Albert is survived by a daughter, Maria Albert Zucht, and two granddaughters.
A private funeral was planned.
Associated Press Writer Ryan Pearson contributed to this report.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 5/27/2005 08:30:00 PM
'The Riddler' Frank Gorshin Dies at 72
By JEFF WILSON, Associated Press Writer
Wed May 18, 1:54 PM ET
BURBANK, Calif. - Frank Gorshin, the impressionist with 100 faces best known for his Emmy-nominated role as the Riddler on the "Batman" TV series, has died. He was 72.
Gorshin's wife of 48 years, Christina, was at his side when he died Tuesday at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, his agent and longtime friend, Fred Wostbrock, said Wednesday.
"He put up a valiant fight with lung cancer, emphysema and pneumonia," Mrs. Gorshin said in a statement.
Despite dozens of TV and movie credits, Gorshin will be forever remembered for his role as the Riddler, Adam West's villainous foil in the question mark-pocked green suit and bowler hat on "Batman" from 1966 to '69.
"It really was a catalyst for me," Gorshin recalled in a 2002 Associated Press interview. "I was nobody. I had done some guest shots here and there. But after I did that, I became a headliner in Vegas, so I can't put it down."
West said the death of his longtime friend was a big loss.
"Frank will be missed," West said in a statement. "He was a friend and fascinating character."
Gorshin earned another Emmy nomination for one for a guest shot on "Star Trek," a 1969 episode called "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield."
In 2002, Gorshin portrayed George Burns on Broadway in the one-man show "Say Goodnight Gracie." He used only a little makeup and no prosthetics.
"I don't know how to explain it. It just comes," he said. "I wish I could say, `This is step A, B and C.' But I can't do that. I do it, you know. The ironic thing is I've done impressions all my life — I never did George Burns."
Gorshin's final performance will be broadcast on Thursday's CBS series "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."
Born in Pittsburgh, Gorshin broke into show business in New York. He did more than 40 impressions, including Al Jolson, Kirk Douglas, Bobby Darin, Dean Martin and James Cagney.
Later, he took his impressions to "The Ed Sullivan Show" on a memorable evening — the same night the Beatles were featured. He did impressions in Las Vegas showrooms, opening for Darin and paving the way for other impressionists like Rich Little.
Sammy Davis Jr. said it was Gorshin who taught him to do impressions, Wostbrock said.
"He said you had to look like them and walk like them. Once you get that down, the voice comes easy," he said.
Gorshin's movie roles included "Bells are Ringing" (1960) with his idol Dean Martin and a batch of fun B-movies such as "Hot Rod Girl" (1956), "Dragstrip Girl" (1957) and "Invasion of the Saucer Men" (1957).
"He was fun, fascinating, wild and always a class act," Wostbrock said. "Here's a guy who always wore great clothes, stood up when a woman walked into the room — he was a gentleman. We did all our deals with a handshake. There was never a signed contract."
His other TV credits included roles on "General Hospital, "The Edge of Night" and "The Munsters" as well as guest appearances on "Donny & Marie," "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," "Murder, She Wrote," "The Fall Guy," "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century," "Wonder Woman," "Charlie's Angels" and "Police Woman."
Besides his wife, Gorshin leaves his son Mitchell Gorshin of Orlando, Fla., and sister Dottie Roland of Pittsburgh.
Wostbrock said the funeral would be private and Gorshin would be buried in the family plot in Pittsburgh.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 5/27/2005 08:25:00 PM
Cellphones can now get AMBER Alerts
By Donna Leinwand, USA TODAY
Tue May 17, 6:27 AM ET
AMBER Alert, the public notification system that has helped return 201 abducted children safely since 1997, will be expanded today so that most people with a cell phone or other wireless device can get alerts in their area.
"The best way to find children who are at the greatest risk is to mobilize the eyes and ears of the public," says Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in Alexandria, Va., which worked with the wireless telephone industry to expand alerts to wireless customers.
More than 182 million people use cell phones or other wireless devices, such as BlackBerrys. About 90% of the users in the country, those who subscribe to big carriers, can get an alert on an abducted child free by signing up at www.wirelessamberalerts.org. They can select the areas for which they want notification.
Subscribers to smaller phone services will be able to sign up in about two months, says Steve Largent, president of CTIA-The Wireless Association.
The cell phone alert builds on the existing AMBER Alert system that broadcasts descriptions of the missing children and the suspects who may have taken them in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Under the system, law enforcement officials work with local radio and television broadcasters to issue emergency messages when a child is missing and thought to be in danger. Some states issue the alerts on electronic highway signs.
The highway text messages are similar to what cell phone users would receive. The missing child center will issue text messages when notified by law enforcement. The messages will be routed to participating carriers, such as Verizon or Sprint. The companies then send the messages to subscribers. The process can be completed in minutes, Allen says.
"Time is the enemy in the search for a missing child," Allen says. "You have to move fast." In 74% of abduction cases, Allen says, the child is killed within the first three hours.
AMBER stands for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. The alert system was created after Amber Hagerman, 9, was abducted in 1996 from her neighborhood in Arlington, Texas, and killed. Allen credits the system with the rescue of 201 children. Last year, the center tracked 252 alerts.
Last week, police issued a nationwide AMBER Alert for a New Mexico toddler reported missing on Mother's Day. The child was found unharmed Friday in Mexico.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 5/27/2005 08:24:00 PM
Source: Ill. Governor's Office Subpoenaed
By MAURA KELLY LANNAN, Associated Press Writer
Tue May 17, 7:46 AM ET
CHICAGO - Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office has received subpoenas from a grand jury investigating allegations that his chief fundraiser traded jobs for campaign contributions, a source close to the investigation said Monday.
The governor refused to say if he had been subpoenaed, insisting it would be illegal to discuss the matter while it is before a grand jury.
Subpoenas were also sent to Blagojevich's major fundraisers, his political committees and some agency heads, seeking records related to hiring, contracts and appointments, the source told The Associated Press, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
The list of people receiving subpoenas included the governor's chief fundraiser, Christopher Kelly, and a political committee of Chicago Alderman Richard Mell, Blagojevich's father-in-law, the source said.
Another source close to the governor's office confirmed that the office received a subpoena for documents such as e-mails and other correspondence related to hiring but said Blagojevich had not been asked to testify before a grand jury.
Blagojevich, speaking Monday at a news conference on education in Chicago, said it would be illegal to discuss whether he received a subpoena.
"As a former prosecutor, it's very clear that when there's a grand jury, you don't talk about any specifics of it, that it is a violation of the law," Blagojevich said. "We're going to cooperate, and we look forward to full vindication."
The investigation by Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Cook County State's Attorney Richard Devine was announced in January after Mell alleged that Kelly was trading jobs for contributions. He made the accusations following the governor's decision to shut down a landfill operated by a distant relative. Mell later retracted the allegations.
At the news conference, the governor was asked about the importance of the public knowing whether a governor has been subpoenaed, given the pending corruption case against former Gov. George Ryan. Blagojevich said he was not simply looking the other way when family members were involved.
Blagojevich said the investigation is "the result of me making a hard decision to protect the environment because my father-in-law was involved in a landfill that was operating illegally. Knowing the way he operates and what he's likely to do, I put my head down and did the right thing for the environment."
Mell has denied having a financial interest in the landfill.
Neither he nor Kelly returned phone calls seeking comment Monday.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 5/27/2005 08:22:00 PM
Fox, UPN Announce Fall Schedules
By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer
Thu May 19, 3:15 PM ET
NEW YORK - Fox is adding five new dramas and two comedies to a nearly reality-free schedule next fall, while UPN said Thursday it wants to start a new Thursday comedy tradition with Chris Rock.
They were the last of the broadcast networks to announce their fall schedules to advertisers this week.
Riding its annual "American Idol" high and benefiting from NBC's collapse, Fox will finish this season No. 1 among the 18-to-49-year-old viewers craved by advertisers for the first time in its 17-year-history.
"We have no doubt we have a big target on our back," said Fox Entertainment President Peter Liguori. "We don't know what it's like to be No. 1 but we know people will be gunning for us."
Fox is taking big chances with two of its most-praised shows. The medical drama "House" became a hit on Tuesdays this spring among viewers who stayed with Fox after "American Idol" and liked what they saw. Fox keeps it on Tuesday in the fall and moves it to Monday alongside "24" in January — testing the loyalty of those new viewers.
There was some question whether Fox would even renew the Emmy-winning comedy "Arrested Development," given that few viewers have made it a habit. Not only did Fox bring it back, it moved the show to Monday, alongside two new series.
"I recognize that putting it on at 8 o'clock is a bold, audacious move," Liguori said. "But we have confidence in the show."
When "Idol" begins again in January, Fox dramatically changes its lineup on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Fox traditionally has trouble establishing shows in the fall because its prime-time schedule is pre-empted for baseball much of October, but Liguori said he hoped to start a handful of shows early to give them a head start. He's also running some shows, like "24" and "Arrested Development," straight through without repeats.
Its new series feature a down-on-their-luck lawyer and chef, a forensic anthropologist and a San Francisco detective.
Except for the Saturday staples of "COPS" and "America's Most Wanted," the network that largely pioneered the reality genre had no reality on either its fall or spring schedules.
Liguori said it was a reflection of strong scripted series development and not resistance to the genre. He said new episodes of "Trading Spouses," "Nanny 911" and "The Simple Life" had been ordered; odds are in the television business that some of the new series will fail and Fox will need quick replacements.
There's no word on whether Nicole Richie, rumored to feuding with co-star Paris Hilton, will be back for another season of "The Simple Life." Both stars are under contract for two more seasons.
Fox has canceled "Life on a Stick" and "Quintuplets."
Fox's new fall series:
_ "Prison Break," a drama about a man on death row. His brother is convinced he's innocent and robs a bank to get in the same prison, where he comes armed with an elaborate escape plan.
_ "Bones," a sort of "CSI" for REALLY dead people, is a drama about a team of forensic anthropologists who study bones to solve crimes.
_ "Head Cases" stars Chris O'Donnell as a lawyer who gets kicked out by his wife and suffers a nervous breakdown. He meets Rachel Leigh Cook to help him get on his feet again.
_ "Reunion," sort of the inverse of "24," the series follows six friends over the course of 20 years. Each episode is set in a different year.
_ "The Gate," set in San Francisco, is a drama about a detective in the police department's deviant crime unit.
_ "The War at Home" is a comedy about once-rebellious parents of now-rebellious kids.
_ "Kitchen Confidential" is a comedy about a once-hot cook stuck slinging pasta at a restaurant chain because of his boozing lifestyle. He's given one chance at a job at a top restaurant but has 48 hours to impress 300 people — including the food critic at The New York Times, a jilted ex.
UPN, which already has a comedy based on the life of Will Smith, will add another based on the childhood of Rock. UPN is moving "WWE Smackdown!" to Friday nights to make way for "Everybody Hates Chris" and three other comedies.
"`Everybody Loves Raymond,' `Everybody Hates Chris,'" Rock said. "White man out, black man in. See how it works?"
UPN executives believe it can be a landmark series for the network. Obviously thinking little of NBC's "Joey," UPN President Dawn Ostroff said there's a void of television comedy on Thursday nights.
UPN is seeking an audience of teenage girls and young women on the nights it doesn't air wrestling, aggressively going after an audience its competitor the WB once owned. It continually flashed the slogan "Where the Girls Are" in a presentation to advertisers.
Its two other new series are "Sex, Lies & Secrets," with Denise Richards heading a group of twentysomething friends, and "Love, Inc., starring Shannen Doherty and Holly Robinson Peete as dating consultants.
The Taye Diggs drama "Kevin Hill" was canceled, as was "Second Time Around."
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 5/27/2005 08:17:00 PM
NBC Hopes for Rebound, Releases Schedule
By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer
Mon May 16, 1:59 PM ET
NEW YORK - Seeking to climb out of the ratings cellar, NBC will have Martha Stewart picking a protege and singer Amy Grant making wishes come true when the new season begins this fall.
NBC said Monday that it will introduce six new series in September, including only one comedy: "My Name is Earl," featuring Jason Lee ("Chasing Amy") as a downtrodden lottery winner.
NBC is canceling the fourth installment of the "Law & Order" series, "Trial By Jury," which lost star Jerry Orbach shortly after production began. The Mark Burnett/Sylvester Stallone boxing series "The Contender," "American Dreams" and "Third Watch" are also not returning.
Illustrating how television schedules are constantly in flux, NBC promised two other new comedies would come on the air sometime next season. Two shows not on the September schedule, "Scrubs" and "Fear Factor," will also return at some point, NBC said.
NBC is moving the political drama "The West Wing" to Sunday nights, with the campaign to replace Martin Sheen as the mythical president continuing.
All the broadcast networks release their fall schedules this week, and NBC was first in line. The network is finishing up a miserable season, slipping to fourth among the 18-to-49-year-old viewers its advertisers want. NBC failed to replace the departed "Friends" and "Frasier" with any new hits.
Despite losing ground to CBS on what was once its most popular night, NBC said it is returning its Thursday schedule intact: including the troubled "Friends" spinoff "Joey."
Stewart's starring role in "The Apprentice" will give NBC two versions of the boardroom game running this fall. The home improvement queen's show will air Wednesday night, with Donald Trump keeping his Thursday time slot.
Gospel singer Grant stars in "Three Wishes," a reality show where she travels across the country trying to transform lives by paying medical bills, making dreams come true and the like. It's a nod to the popularity of makeover shows like ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
NBC will air three new dramas: "E-Ring," a Jerry Bruckheimer production with Dennis Hopper and Benjamin Bratt, about life in the Pentagon; "Fathom," about a creepy new form of sea life; and "Inconceivable," a medical show set in a fertility clinic.
Posted by William N. Phillips, Jr. at 5/27/2005 08:13:00 PM
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
To view this item online, visit http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38992
Posted: June 17, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern
While Nancy Reagan is urging the Bush administration to reverse its opposition to federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research, a document has surfaced indicating President Reagan would not have supported his wife's campaign.
The issue has gathered more attention in the wake of Reagan's death June 5 after suffering for 10 years from Alzheimer's, a disease some researchers hope can be addressed through breakthroughs in the use of stem cells.
President Bush opposes government support of the embryonic research because it involves the destruction of human life, and a draft executive order Reagan worked on shortly before he left office indicates his policy would have been the same.
The order was to "continue and broaden the  moratorium on NIH [National Institute of Health] grants for certain types of fetal experimentation," according to Charles Colson, the former Nixon aide who now leads a Christian ministry, Prison Fellowship.
Colson, in his daily radio commentary, said he received the document from William Clark, Reagan's national security adviser and close personal friend.
"Reagan took a clear stand against research that would harm or destroy 'any living child in utero,' in all stages of development in which scientists were then able to experiment on them," Colson said.
Clark insists Reagan clearly was opposed to funding embryo research.
Writing recently in the New York Times, he said, "After the charter expired for the Departments of Health, Education and Welfare’s ethical advisory board – which in the 1970s supported destructive research on human embryos – [Reagan] began a de facto ban on federal financing of embryo research that he held to throughout his presidency."
The presidential adviser also noted Reagan, in his 1993 speech known for it's "evil empire" reference, "spoke strongly against the denegration of innocent human life."
"And [Reagan] favored bills in Congress that would have given every human being – at all stages of development – protection as a person under the 14th Amendment," Clark said.
Reagan also favored a Human Life Amendment defining life as beginning at conception.
In addition, Clark notes, Reagan "would have asked the marketplace question: If human embryonic research is so clearly promising as the researchers assert, why aren't private investors putting [their] money into it, as they are in adult stem-cell research?"
Researchers, according to an Insight magazine report published by WND, are engaged in a "stem-cell war," a deliberate effort to downplay the proven value of adult stem cells to attract more attention to the potential of embryonic stem cells.
Insight says while activists such as spinally injured actor Christopher Reeve argue that if not for Bush administration and congressional restrictions on embyonic stem-cell funding he might be walking in a few years, there are no approved treatments – and no human trials – involving embryonic stem cells.
Each of the promising therapies and experiments to date has involved adult stem cells, which include cells found in nonadult tissue such as umbilical cords, placentas and amniotic fluid.
Prior to Reagan's death, Colson notes, 58 U.S. senators signed a letter asking Bush to remove restrictions he implemented last year on federal funding of the embryo research. Now many, including Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah, are pointing to Reagan's long illness and death as justification. "It's certainly understandable that Nancy Reagan, after the terrible ordeal she's been through, might look with favor on any possibility of defeating Alzheimer’s," Colson said in his commentary.
"It's even understandable that others, misled by extravagant promises and blind to what's really going on, are grasping at the same straw," he continued. "But they ought to argue their case on its merits – what few merits it has – and not enlist in their cause the name of Ronald Reagan, who stood foursquare against the exploitation and destruction of human life in any stage.
"That is one legacy he would have never wanted to leave."
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 5/24/2005 05:27:00 PM
By WILLIAM P. CLARK
Published: June 11, 2004
ASO ROBLES, Calif.
Ronald Reagan had not passed from this life for 48 hours before proponents of human embryonic stem-cell research began to suggest that such ethically questionable scientific work should be promoted under his name. But this cannot honestly be done without ignoring President Reagan's own words and actions.
Ronald Reagan's record reveals that no issue was of greater importance to him than the dignity and sanctity of all human life. "My administration is dedicated to the preservation of America as a free land," he said in 1983. "And there is no cause more important for preserving that freedom than affirming the transcendent right to life of all human beings, the right without which no other rights have any meaning." One of the things he regretted most at the completion of his presidency in 1989, he told me, was that politics and circumstances had prevented him from making more progress in restoring protection for unborn human life.
Still, he did what he could. To criticize the Roe v. Wade decision on its 10th anniversary in 1983, he published his famous essay "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation" in The Human Life Review. "We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life — the unborn — without diminishing the value of all human life," he wrote. He went on to emphasize "the truth of human dignity under God" and "respect for the sacred value of human life." Because modern science has revealed the wonder of human development, and modern medicine treats "the developing human as a patient," he declared, "the real question today is not when human life begins, but, What is the value of human life?"
In that essay, he expressly encouraged continued support for the "sanctity of life ethic" and rejection of the "quality of life ethic." Writing about the value of all human life, he quoted the British writer Malcolm Muggeridge's statement that "however low it flickers or fiercely burns, it is still a divine flame which no man dare presume to put out, be his motives ever so humane and enlightened." And in the Roe v. Wade decision, he insisted, the Supreme Court "did not explicitly reject the traditional American idea of intrinsic worth and value in all human life; it simply dodged the issue."
Likewise, in his famous "Evil Empire" speech of March 1983 — which most recall as solely an indictment of the Soviet Union — Ronald Reagan spoke strongly against the denigration of innocent human life. "Abortion on demand now takes the lives of up to one and a half million unborn children a year," he said. "Unless and until it can be proven that the unborn child is not a living entity, then its right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must be protected."
His actions were as clear as his words. He supported the Human Life Amendment, which would have inscribed in the Constitution "the paramount right to life is vested in each human being from the moment of fertilization without regard to age, health or condition of dependency." And he favored bills in Congress that would have given every human being — at all stages of development — protection as a person under the 14th Amendment.
Aside from the moral principle, President Reagan would also have questioned picking the people's pocket to support commercial research. He understood the significance of putting the imprimatur of the nation, through public financing, behind questionable research.
He consistently opposed federal support for the destruction of innocent human life. After the charter expired for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare's ethical advisory board — which in the 1970's supported destructive research on human embryos — he began a de facto ban on federal financing of embryo research that he held to throughout his presidency.
As for today's debate, as a defender of free people and free markets, he would have asked the marketplace question: if human embryonic research is so clearly promising as the researchers assert, why aren't private investors putting money into it, as they are in adult stem cell research?
Mr. Reagan's suffering under Alzheimer's disease was tragic, and we should do everything we can that is ethically proper to help others afflicted with it. But I have no doubt that he would have urged our nation to look to adult stem cell research — which has yielded many clinical successes — and away from the destruction of developing human lives, which has yielded none. Those who would trade on Ronald Reagan's legacy should first consider his own words.
William P. Clark was national security adviser and secretary of the interior under President Ronald Reagan.
Fifty-Ninth General Assembly
82nd Meeting (AM)
GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION
ON HUMAN CLONING BY VOTE OF 84-34-37
The General Assembly this morning adopted the United Nations Declaration on Human Cloning, by which Member States were called on to adopt all measures necessary to prohibit all forms of human cloning inasmuch as they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life.
Acting on the recommendation of the Sixth Committee (Legal), contained in its report A/59/516/Add.1, the Assembly adopted the text by a vote of 84 in favour to 34 against, with 37 abstentions (See Annex).
By further terms of the Declaration, Member States were also called on to protect adequately human life in the application of life sciences; to prohibit the application of genetic engineering techniques that may be contrary to human dignity; to prevent the exploitation of women in the application of life sciences; and to adopt and implement national legislation in that connection.
The Declaration adopted today was the product of a Working Group established by the Assembly to finalize the text of a United Nations declaration on human cloning, which met in New York last month. Last November, the Sixth Committee averted a divisive vote on the question of an international convention against human reproductive cloning by deciding to take up the issue as a declaration.
Regretting the failure to achieve consensus, several delegations said they had voted against the text today because the reference to “human life” could be interpreted as a call for a total ban on all forms of human cloning. The Assembly had missed an opportunity to adopt a convention prohibiting reproductive cloning, said the United Kingdom representative, because of the intransigence of those who were not prepared to recognize that other sovereign States might decide to permit strictly controlled applications of therapeutic cloning. Echoing the views of a number of speakers, he said the Declaration was a non-binding political statement, which would not affect his country’s position on the issue.
Those in favour of the Declaration welcomed its adoption, saying it constituted an important step in the protection of human dignity and the promotion of human rights, as well as a stepping stone in the process towards a complete ban on human cloning. The text, noted Costa Rica’s representative, sought to advance science in a clear framework of ethical norms. The text, added Ethiopia’s representative, sent a clear message against unethical research which made human life the object of experimentation.
Also this morning, the Assembly conveyed its deepest condolences to the families of the nine United Nations peacekeepers from Bangladesh who were killed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Friday, 25 February.
In addition, the Assembly was informed that Afghanistan, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, Palau and the Solomon Islands had made the necessary payments to reduce their arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the Charter.
The next meeting of the Assembly will be announced in the Journal.
Explanations after Vote
The representative of Mexico, speaking in explanation of position after the vote, said that those negotiating the Declaration had had to take into account uncertainty over new scientific advances, as well as its ethical, cultural and religious implications. There was a dichotomy between reproductive and therapeutic cloning and, during the entire process,Mexico had focused on seeking a consensus, first on the negotiation of a mandate and subsequently on the text itself.
Regretfully, it had not been possible to achieve a consensus that would facilitate a universal norm, he said. Despite the fact that some delegations had decided not to yield in their original positions, many of their concerns had, in fact, been included in the final text just adopted. The text had the fundamental concern of guaranteeing human dignity and it reflected a realistic form of compromise. Hopefully, the National Parliament would take the necessary action, as the letter and spirit of the Declaration were in step with Mexican legislation and jurisprudence.
The representative of China, also speaking in explanation after the vote, said that different countries varied in their understanding of the text’s inherent moral, ethical and religious aspects, and it was regrettable that the Declaration failed to give effect to the concerns of those countries. The prohibitions contained in the text could be misunderstood as covering all forms of cloning. Having voted against the Declaration, the Chinese Government would continue to adhere to its position against reproductive human cloning, while maintaining strict controls over therapeutic cloning.
The representative of India expressed deep regret that the Sixth Committee had been unable to recommend to the plenary a text that was acceptable to all Member States on a matter of such paramount importance as an international convention against the reproductive cloning of human beings. India had voted against the political Declaration, as some of the provisions of the Declaration could be interpreted as a call for a total ban on all forms of human cloning.
India remained totally opposed to reproductive cloning owing to the doubtful nature of its safety, success, utility and ethical acceptability, he said. However, the merits of therapeutic cloning were considered on a case-by-case basis within the bioethical guidelines laid down with the approval of the National Bioethical Committee. The Declaration voted upon today was non-binding and did not reflect agreement among the wider membership of the General Assembly. India’s approach to therapeutic cloning, thus, remained unchanged.
Belgium’s representative regretted that it was not possible to find agreement on a Declaration that could have found consensus in the Assembly. Today’s vote reflected the wide divergence in the international community on the text. Rather than bringing States together, it had divided them. It was essential that reproductive human cloning be prohibited. However, it was reasonable to preserve, at the national level, the possibility of carrying out therapeutic cloning.
The representative of the United Kingdom said he voted against the Declaration, because the reference to “human life” could be interpreted as a call for a total ban on all forms of human cloning. He could not accept such an ambiguous Declaration, which might sow confusion about the acceptability of that important field of research. The Assembly had missed an opportunity to adopt a convention prohibiting reproductive cloning because of the intransigence of those who were not prepared to recognize that other sovereign States might decide to permit strictly controlled applications of therapeutic cloning. The Declaration voted on today was a weak, non-binding political statement that did not reflect anything approaching consensus within the Assembly, and would not affect the United Kingdom’s strong support of stem cell research.
Hungary’s representative said he voted in favour of the Declaration because it attached the utmost importance to sending a strong message that the birth of cloned human beings was not acceptable. Furthermore, during the conduct of life sciences, there was a need for a delicate balance between the freedom of research and the adequate protection of human life and dignity. Also, the Declaration was in line with the existing obligations of Hungary under international law. He hoped the Declaration was only one step in the consideration of human cloning, and not the final stage. Hungary was open for further discussions in the international community at the appropriate time.
The representative of the Republic of Korea said his country had voted against the political Declaration, which had not achieved a political consensus. It was not binding and would not affect the Republic of Korea’s future position on therapeutic cloning, which would reaffirm human dignity by relieving pain and suffering.
The representative Thailand expressed regret that the General Assembly and the Sixth Committee had been unable to adopt a consensus Declaration. The Declaration just adopted was not binding and the text was ambiguous. In light of that, Thailand had voted against the Declaration and felt that it should be left to Member States to use their own interpretation as to whether or not to prohibit therapeutic cloning.
The representative of Spain said that the term “human life” contained in the text was confusing and should be replaced by the term “human being” as used in scientific texts. The Declaration did not cover the well known fundamental differences between the two types of cloning. The fact that there had been no consensus on the issue after four years of discussion showed just how precarious the text was as adopted. Spain was opposed to reproductive cloning, but favoured therapeutic cloning, which was looked upon positively by the scientific community. The issue would now be passed on to the National Parliament.
Japan’s representative said he had voted against the resolution. The Declaration was difficult to interpret and did not respect the various views of Member States. The adopted text would not affect Japan’s domestic legislation on the issue.
The representative of Brazil regretted the lack of consensus on the text adopted, which highlighted the deep division in the international community on the issue. He also regretted that the Sixth Committee had deviated from its original mandate to elaborate an international convention on human cloning. He had voted against the text, which did not contain language consistent with his country’s position on the issue.
Singapore’s representative said he had voted against the resolution because it did not capture the diversity of views on the issue. Four years ago, the Assembly endorsed an initiative to begin work on an international convention on human cloning. There was still unanimity that reproductive cloning should be banned. It was unfortunate that that initiative was hijacked, and culminated today in the adoption of a text which sought to impose a single set of regulations on States regarding all forms of human cloning.
The representative of the United States, welcoming the adoption of the Declaration, recalled that his delegation had explained its position in the Sixth Committee and would not give a further explanation today. The full text of that explanation was on the web site of the Permanent Mission of the United States.
The representative of Poland said his delegation had voted in favour of the Declaration and unequivocally opposed the cloning of human embryos. Any use of human stem cells should be permitted only when the stem cells or stem cell lines were obtained from supernumerary cells, or when donors had expressed their willingness to permit it.
The representative of South Africa said his delegation had abstained from the vote and found that the language of the text was deliberately ambiguous so as not to infringe on the rights of those who wished to continue with research in their own jurisdictions. South Africa was against reproductive human cloning and would continue with the strict regulation of therapeutic cloning. South Africa considered therapeutic cloning to be aimed at protecting human life and, as such, it was not inconsistent with the Declaration just adopted.
The representative of Canada, emphasizing that his country’s position was clear, said reproductive cloning was illegal in Canada in whatever form. The ambiguity of the Declaration might give rise to certain political and other concerns.
Norway’s representative said that his Government opposed both reproductive human cloning and therapeutic cloning, as reflected in its domestic legislation. It had sought to contribute to the elaboration of an international convention on the issue. At the same time, it had been willing to go along with a declaration, as long as it enjoyed consensus. He had voted against the Declaration, since it did not reflect the views of all States and did not enjoy consensus.
The representative of Costa Rica said the adoption of the Declaration today constituted a historic step to promote human rights and guarantee human dignity in all circumstances. The text urged the scientific community to advance, bearing in mind the value of human dignity and human life. It was impossible to reach a consensus because a small group of States had rejected all reference to human life in the text. The Declaration sought to advance science in a clear framework of ethical norms. It was of concern that some delegations had undermined the value of the Declaration, which had received majority support.
France’s representative said she regretted the failure to find consensus. She was convinced that there was a clear consensus regarding the prohibition of reproductive human cloning. Also, given the threat of dangerous experimentation, it was essential to prohibit reproductive human cloning. However, she could not agree on prohibiting all forms of cloning. France had voted against the Declaration, and regretted the inability of the Assembly to send a universal message on such a vital issue.
The representative of Nigeria regretted that he was not in the room when the voting took place. He was fully in favour of the Declaration. His country supported the Declaration because there was no alternative to it, for the time being. Human life was sacrosanct, and there was no reason for its violation. It was an inconceivable paradox that proponents of therapeutic cloning would sacrifice the life of one in order to serve another. He stressed that human cloning was unethical and a direct assault on human dignity. Today’s Declaration was only a stepping stone in the process towards a convention on a complete ban on human cloning.
The representative of Mali said, had his delegation been present, it would have abstained from the vote, in accordance with the common position of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that the question involved complex scientific and ethical issues and that his country had always been in favour of consensus. Regrettably, there had been no consensus. But, the Russian Federation had voted in favour of the Declaration, in order to send a message to the international community about the impermissibility of reproductive human cloning.
The representative of Uganda said that her country had voted in favour of the Declaration because it opposed the destruction of human embryos and believed in the protection of human dignity. The Declaration was consistent with humanity’s responsibility to protect the sanctity of human life.
The representatives of the Netherlands said his country had opposed the Declaration because it could be interpreted as a total ban on all forms of cloning. There was a need for strict oversight, but not a total ban. The Declaration just adopted was not binding.
The representative of Ethiopia said he had voted in favour of the Declaration, which sent a clear message against unethical research, that made human life the object of experimentation. He hoped the funding for research into human cloning could be redirected towards research and development to find cures for those affected by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
The representative of Antigua and Barbuda said that, had she been in the room during the vote, she would have voted in favour of the text.
Kyrgyzstan’s representative also said that, had he been in the room, he would have voted in favour.
Libya’s representative congratulated the international community for adopting the Declaration, which was a step forward in the process towards a future convention to ban all forms of human cloning. The Declaration was a starting point in the protection of human dignity. He had voted in favour of the Declaration.
Vote on Declaration on Human Cloning
The United Nations Declaration on Human Cloning (document A/59/516/Add.1) was adopted by a recorded vote of 84 in favour to 34 against, with 37 abstentions, as follows:
In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Burundi, Chile, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Federated States of Micronesia, Monaco, Morocco, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Suriname, Switzerland, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uzbekistan, Zambia.
Against: Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, China, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Iceland, India, Jamaica, Japan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Tonga, United Kingdom.
Abstain: Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
Absent: Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bhutan, Botswana, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Dominica, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nauru, Niger, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russian Federation, Senegal, Seychelles, Swaziland, Togo, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam.
Posted by Joyce Kavitsky at 5/24/2005 04:55:00 PM