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number 91  02.18.07
source : American Community
Survey
interpreting the constitution
News
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More than half of the world’s known
languages are in danger of dying out
within the next few decades,
according to participants in an
international symposium on language
extinction held over the weekend in
San Francisco. Conferees heard
anthropologists and  linguists argue
that the death of the languages
would mean the loss of an
incalculable amount of cultural and
scientific knowledge. The panel was
part of the annual meeting of the
American Association for the
Advancement of Science.

Participants warned that over half of
the estimated 7, 600 human
languages are threatened with
extinction. Most of these are totally
oral dialects that have never been
recorded or studied by modern
linguists, and fluent native speakers
are a dwindling, aging
population. Without an active effort to
preserve and in some cases recover
the languages, they will disappear
within two generations, according to
experts. United Nations figures
released this week show that 96
percent of known languages are
spoken by just four percent of the
world’s people.

Swarthmore College linguist K. David
Harrison addressed the conference,
urging international action to
maintain and protect native
languages. “There is a compelling
social reason to preserve them”,
Harrison told the
San Francisco
Chronicle
,  “for their disappearance
is an erosion of human knowledge.”
On Monday, UNESCO Director
General Koichiro Matsuura called for
"national and regional language
strategies to build a harmonious
environment for all the world's
languages."                
it's all true
A UNICEF survey of conditions in
21 industrialized nations ranks the
United States and Britain last in
child welfare. The Netherlands
was ranked at the top by the
study, which examined a wide
range of economic and social
statistics, followed by Sweden,
Denmark, and Finland. US
officials criticized the methodology
of the UNICEF researchers.

The survey measured over 40
different indicators in six
categories: material wealth, health
and safety, education, behaviors
and risks, peer and family
relationships, and personal sense
of well-being.  The study showed
no direct correlation between
general child welfare and GDP,
with Spain and the Czech
Republic outranking many
wealthier countries.

Professor Jonathan Bradshaw of
York University, one of the
authors of the report, told the
Associated Press that the US
and UK, “have in common very
high levels of inequality, very high
levels of child poverty, ...And, in
rather different ways, poorly
developed services to families
with children.”      
it's all true
0                  20k                40k
Median Earnings for Female
Full-Time, Year-Round
Workers
selected states, 2004
MT
SC
AZ
CA
NJ
A state legislator from
Tennessee has proposed that
the state issue death
certificates for all aborted
fetuses.  Rep. Stacey
Campbell’s (R-Knoxville) bill
would require hospitals that
perform the legal procedure to
report the “induced
termination” to state
authorities within ten days.  

Campbell said that the
measure would “give
consistency to when and what
is a life” under Tennessee
law.   Under the law,Campbell
asserts, Tennesseeans will
“treat (life) with the respect it
deserves and not based on
whims of fancy.”

Currently, the state keeps
track of the number of
abortions performed as a
matter of law, but this reporting
does not include information
about the patient.  State law
requires reporting the number
of abortions and fetus deaths
that occur after 22 weeks.

Opponents of the legislation
say that, should the bill
become law, the privacy of
women who seek legal
abortions in the state will be
jeopardized.  Opponents also
say that the requirement does
nothing to reduce the incidents
of abortion in the state and
serves only to demonize the
procedure.

The head of the House
Judiciary Committee, Rob
Briley (D-Nashville) said that
Campbell’s proposal “is the
most preposterous bill” he has
seen in his legislative career.

Campbell’s bill does not
require issuing death
certificates in cases of
miscarriages.          
it's all true
The diplomatic leaders of three of the
world's most populated countries met
for trilateral discussions last week in
Delhi that focused on energy
security, trade, and strategies to
build a more democratic “multi-polar
world”.  The United States was not a
participant.

Responding to the hegemonic threat
of the United States, the foreign
ministers of Russia, India and China
met last week to “promote
international harmony and
understanding.”

The meeting followed an agreement
by Russian President Vladimir Putin
and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh to establish a trilateral forum
between the three nations last month.

Ministers Sergi Lavrov, Pranab
Mukherjee and Li Zhao Xing stressed
that the
tripartite alliance was not formed
specifically to counter the foreign
policy of the US.  Mr. Mukherjee said,
however, that the three countries
decided as a group “that cooperation
rather than confrontation should
govern approaches to regional and
global affairs.”

Last week’s meeting was the second
formal meeting between the ministers
and follows several informal meetings
between the leaders of the three
nations over the past two years.

The agenda for the conference
covered a broad range of issues that
included the occupation of Iraq by
the US, the stability and future of
Afghanistan and the stand-off
between Iran and the US regarding
nuclear proliferation.  Although the
group’s joint statement did not
mention the US/Iranian stalemate,
the three countries have been
firm in their position that Iran’s
pursuit of nuclear technologies for
energy and military purposes
should be overseen by the
International Atomic Energy
Agency.  All three of the countries
are opposed to US military
intervention in Iran.

The diplomats also discussed
their opposition to external
interference into the separatist
campaigns in Chechnya, Xinjiang
and the northern border regions
of India.

The group released a joint
communique that "expressed their
conviction that democratisation of
international relations is the key to
building an increasingly multi-
polar world order."                  
it's
all true
verbatim                                                                                  number 17.6
"I say relative
peace because if
it's, like, zero car
bombings, it never
will happen that
way...
...it's hard for me, you
know, living in this
beautiful White House, to
give you a first-hand
assessment."
      Washington DC  02.14.07  
As a second carrier battle group
heads to the Persian gulf and the US
military discloses what it says is
evidence that Iran has armed
insurgents in occupied Iraq, a
recently revealed memorandum
written by the Swiss ambassador to
Iran from 2003 indicates that Iran
attempted to initiate diplomatic
negotiations with the Bush
administration but was rebuffed.  

The memorandum was faxed to the
State Department and a member of
congress reportedly gave a copy to
Karl Rove, but Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice told a
congressional committee that she
had no knowledge of the diplomatic
proposal.
The diplomatic overture was
approved by Iran’s religious leader,
the President of Iran and it’s Foreign
Minister.  A cover letter written by
Swiss ambassador Tim Guldimann
stressed, “there is a strong will of the
regime to tackle the problem with the
US now and to try it with this
initiative.”

The proposal said that Iran sought
the end of international sanctions,
cooperation in the development of
peaceful nuclear technologies under
international scrutiny, and
recognition of Iran’s “legitimate
security interests”.  In return Iran said
that it was willing to cease its support
of anti-Israel militias and would
accept Israel’s right to exist.
In recent testimony before
congress, Condoleezza Rice said
that she was not aware of the
proposal.  Ms. Rice testified, “I
think I would have noticed if the
Iranians said, ‘We’re ready to
recognize Israel’, I just don’t
remember.”  Rice went on to
chastise a member of her staff for
not bringing the important offer to
her attention.

The staffer, Flynt Leverett, said
that both Rice and then Secretary
of State Colin Powell were aware
of the proposal but, “the
administration rejected the offer.”  
Leverett said "Rice is misleading
Congress about the Iranian
Proposal."       
it's all true
The federal Information Security
Oversight Office has petitioned
Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to
order that the Office of the Vice
President disclose statistics on its
document classification activity, to
comply with the terms of an existing
Executive Order. ISOO director J.
William Leonard referred the matter
to the Justice Department after the
Vice President’s office refused to
provide the required information for
the fourth straight year . Vice
President Cheney, asserting that the
reporting requirements do not apply
to his office, stopped forwarding the
data to the ISOO in 2003, after
complying with the rule in previous
years.

The ISOO is seeking enforcement of
Executive Order 13292, signed by
President Bush, which states that
ISOO directives will be binding upon
executive branch agencies and ”any
other entity within the executive
branch that comes into the
possession of classified
information.”  Leonard argues that
the disclosure requirements clearly
apply to the Office of the Vice
President, telling
US News and
World Report
, “I have my
understanding of what the executive
order requires, and I’m going to the
attorney general to ascertain if my
reading of the executive order is
correct.”  Observers say the action is
an
unusual challenge from within the
government to the extraordinary
authority assumed by the OVP under
Cheney.

Spokesmen for the vice president
have repeatedly stated that after
reviewing the executive order, they
have determined that it does not
apply to the OVP, because the office
“has both executive and legislative
functions.”  There is no explicit
exemption under the terms of the
order for such a situation, and
Cheney’s administration has declined
to further explain its unique
interpretation of the regulation, or its
original routine compliance with the
ISOO directive. The rule mandates
only the disclosure of statistical data
relating to each agency’s document
classification and declassification
activities; no classified information is
sought under the directive.

The Federation of American
Scientists wrote to the ISOO director
in May 2006 to insist that the OVP be
required to comply with the
disclosure requirements. “No secrets
would be revealed, only statistics,”
Steven Aftergood of FAS told
US
News
, “But the office of the vice
president is resisting even that
minimal level of
accountability.”                    
it's all true
Vice President's Office Out of Order
US Children
Left Behind
Loss of Languages Defies
Description
Summit on International Cooperation Sidelines United
States
Diehards Debate
Death Certificates
Rove Reportedly Rebuffed Inopportune Iranian
Initiative
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