News Briefs, part 2
Malval Determined to Bring Democracy to Haiti
At first glance, Robert Malval seems miscast for the role that has been thrust on him. Despite living with the daily danger of assassination, he conducts business from his fortress-like mansion, where he tries to knit a government out of the threads of violence that cross the island.
"We are still the constitutional government," he said at his home, where metal shields protect the yard from prying eyes and armed soldiers patrol the grounds. Malval says he know that his people only control a third of the state apparatus, but "we have enough power to prevent others from acting" to take the reins of government.
Malval said he is still looking for something more, a victory. His mission for the next two weeks is clear: to prepare the way for the return of exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the priest-politician whose restoration to power the international community has been trying to bring about for two years. He says he is hopeful.
Malval said Thursday he was getting ready for a possible meeting with Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, the Haitian army chief whom Aristide accused of leading the Sept. 30, 1991, coup against him and whom the United Nations holds responsible for the disorder that has been unleashed on the country since that time.
Malval and Cedras must try to circumvent the legislative impasse that has been blocking fulfillment of the Governors Island agreement. Malval said Thursday he is willing to go along with Cedras' demand that the Haitian Parliament decree an amnesty for crimes related to the coup. But Malval said he would insist that before any amnesty is passed by the legislature, it must first create a new civilian-controlled police force.
U.N. Issues First Report On Arms Exports
The Washington Post
The United States was the world's largest exporter of combat aircraft and major land-based weaponry such as tanks, armored vehicles and artillery in 1992, according to data released Wednesday by the United Nations.
Germany led all other nations in exports of missiles and missile launchers, while Russia, France, Britain and China followed both nations in major arms exports, the U.N. data indicated. The major importing regions were Europe, Asia and the Near East.
The data represent the U.N.'s first annual depiction of global trade in conventional armaments since the General Assembly agreed in December 1991 to call for voluntary disclosures from all members. Arms control groups had pushed for the disclosures after the 1991 Persian Gulf War against Iraq made clear that sophisticated weapons were being sold by developed countries to unstable regions.
The U.S. declaration shows that two historic antagonists -- Greece and Turkey -- were the principal buyers of U.S. tanks, roughly dividing a total of 1,069. More than 660 U.S. armored vehicles went to Saudi Arabia, Greece, Turkey and Bahrain, in that order, while 113 U.S. combat aircraft were sold to Israel, Turkey, Kuwait and Egypt.
"The U.S. exported 61 percent of all combat aircraft" reported to the U.N., according to a summary of the data published Wednesday by the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. The sales occurred against a backdrop of steeply declining sales of conventional arms around the globe since the Cold War ended.
Russia to Stop Dumping Radioactive Waste in Japan Sea
Los Angeles Times
Yielding to protests from Japan and the United States, Russia agreed Thursday to stop dumping liquid radioactive waste into the Sea of Japan but warned that it would resume the practice unless richer countries help it process the waste for underground burial.
In return, Japan agreed to an urgent meeting of Russian and Japanese atomic experts in Tokyo Friday to consider building waste disposal facilities on land in eastern Russia. They would be financed with part of the $100 million that the Japanese have promised to help Russia dismantle nuclear weapons.
Russia caused an uproar when its navy barges pumped 900 metric tons of waste through a hose Sunday into waters 330 miles west of the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The waste, residue from cleaning and deactivating nuclear-powered submarines of Russia's Pacific Fleet, had a low level of radioactivity but caused concern in Japan over possible fish contamination.
The Japanese were outraged that Russia not only violated a 1983 international moratorium on such dumping but acted within a week after Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin's goodwill visit to Tokyo and did not inform their government in advance. The environmental group Greenpeace first disclosed the incident after one of its ships trailed the Russian barges to the dump site.
Beavis and Butt-head Under Fire
Never mind prime-time television or the cover of Rolling Stone. Where Beavis and Butt-head really belong is cartoon jail.
Since their debut last May and the inevitable sounding of the media alarms -- in national magazines, network news shows, afternoon talk shows -- these fly-weight uglies, their creator and their network parents have taken an enormous amount of flak lately. Earlier this month a 2-year-old Ohio girl died in a mobile-home fire set by her 5-year-old brother; their mother said the boy was inspired to play with fire because Beavis and Butt-head think fire is cool, and they flick lighters in the show. In response to the pressure from parents, watchdog groups and critics who've come out of the woodwork, the network has agreed to delete all references to fire and this week eliminated the 7 p.m. airing of "Beavis and Butt-head," although a kinder, gentler version of the show is being considered by MTV for the 7 o'clock slot. The two half-hour shows now run back to back, starting at 10:30 p.m. weeknights.