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For The Record    




Politics & Policy


By Syed M.Aslam
Aug 20 - 26 , 2001

*** "IF YOU WERE SO SENILE and you didn't know your name and you were under guardianship, you could still vote."

(US Federal Judge in Maine, George Signal, striking down a state law that prohibits mentally ill people from voting)

*** "WE WELCOME the brother, the friend, the revolutionary soldier who has been an example of dignity for this entire continent, for the heavens and the sea."

(Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez welcoming his Cuban counterpart Fidel Castro on his sixth visit to country, third since charismatic Chavez took office in February 1999. Castro celebrated his 75th birthday on August 13)

*** "THEY HAVE had a scorched-earth policy since the 1950s. They have unlimited funds and resources."

(Michael Piuze, the lawyer of a smoker dying from lung cancer who won a reduced $ 100 million reward in a tobacco suit against world's largest tobacco company Philip Morris, expecting the company to appeal the Superior Court's verdict 'as far they can appeal it')


(The longest surviving US recipient of artificial heart, Pete Kenyon, recalling turning down requests to turn off the mechanical sound 'Novacor' makes as it vibrates in his chest. He has been living with artificial heart since August 11, 1998)

*** "IT SEEMS that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and the authors have allowed themselves to over interpret their interesting results. I hope that this will not be used to give encouragement to those who wish to clone humans."

(The creator of the world's first cloned animal 'Dolly the sheep', Ian Wilmut, calling the conclusions of human cloning as faulty)

*** "MOST OF THE UNPAID dues were owned by five countries: the United States almost 298 million dollars, Japan 152.3 million, Brazil 17.6 million, Argentina 11.5 million and China 7.3 million."

(UN spokesman Manoel De Almeida e Silva highlighting precarious cash flow due mainly to unpaid contributions of $ 513 million by member states including the ones mentioned above)

*** "WE BELIEVE that the caste issue is not linked to the main subject of this conference, which is racism. You cannot equate casteism with racism."

(Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, Omar Abdullah, rejecting to discuss caste discrimination in his country at UN's conference on racism. Indian Dalits Hindi equivalent of 'oppresseds' which comprise a large portion of population are subjected to torture including rape, arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial executions)

*** "SINCE ITS INCEPTION in 1945, it has only served as a debt collector for the developed (industrialized) countries."

(Senegalese expert on UN's Subcommission on Human Rights, El-Hadji Guissi, criticizing IMF role. An IMF spokesman rejected the allegation prior to the conclusion of the three-week Subcommission's sessions that 'IMF neither has a mandate to promote human rights nor it is bound by various human rights declarations and conventions')

*** "Butterflies released at funerals can be very therapeutic to the mourning process."

(A Florida butterfly farmer commenting on the growing craze of using live butterflies at funerals or weddings. A minimum order of 50 butterflies costs $ 200 in the US and orders are received a month in advance to allow a consignment to be hatched and ready for shipment as adults)

*** "... 100 goldleaf chandeliers, 200 tonnes of finest Burmese teak, thousands of items from the London-jeweller Asprey... The privileged, can examine a Comanche attack helicopter, a Formula One simulator, an Airbus A340 simulator, two Mercedes fire engines ..."

(Items worth millions of pounds belonging to bankrupted younger brother of the Sultan of Brunei, Jefri Bolkiah, which were offered for auction last week)

*** "MY DREAM FOR AMERICA is to usher in a period of personal responsibility a culture that rejects the old times that said 'if it feels good, do it, if you've got a problem blame somebody else."

(US President George W. Bush addressing his fellow Republicans during his two-state swing of Colorado and New Mexico)

*** "THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAWS do not grant corporations the right to control all artistic speech concerning the role of products and corporations in our society."

(US District Court Judge Ronald Lew ruling that the free speech rights of an Utah artist sued by world's top toymaker Mattel for parodying its famous Barbie doll outweigh the company's trademarks and intellectual property rights)