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World Briefs II

Bond Reappoints Controversial Lawyer to NAACP Executive Panel

The Baltimore Sun

Hours after Julian Bond was elected national board chairman of the NAACP Saturday night, he reappointed to the executive committee a lawyer jailed for stealing from a client's estate - a move that has incensed some board members.

Bond named James E. Ghee, 52, of Farmville, Va., to the leadership role in the venerable civil rights organization just after telling the media one of his top priorities was to "restore integrity and civility" to the Baltimore-based organization. Ghee had actively worked for Bond's candidacy and was perceived as his informal "campaign manager," several board members said.

Board members and NAACP activists said Sunday they fear the appointment could damage the organization's reputation at a time when its finances and membership are rebounding.

"To have a convicted embezzler on the executive board - it's a disgrace," said board member Marc Stepp, a United Auto Workers official from Detroit. "I'm very concerned. The board of the NAACP will not be clean morally until we take care of this."

Bond defended his choice of Ghee Sunday to fill one of 17 seats on the executive committee, which runs the NAACP between quarterly meetings of the full 64-member board. He noted that a vote to oust Ghee from the board last May fell short of the two-thirds majority necessary to remove him.

"The board looked into Mr. Ghee's fitness, but the majority decision was that Mr. Ghee should remain on the board. That settles it for me," said Bond, 58, a prominent civil rights leader and former Georgia state legislator. He acknowledged that Ghee had strongly backed his candidacy but denied that the appointment was a payoff.

Antarctic Ice Shelves Retreat

The Washington Post

For years, Antarctic scientists have kept a nervous watch on what some have called the Big Thaw: the breakup of giant floating ice shelves on the continent's Antarctic Peninsula. Warmer temperatures in recent years have forced a retreat in the ice that could eventually alter global sea levels.

The significance for U.S. coastal cities remains far from clear, but a new report predicts that the melting will continue. Antarctic researchers who studied the sudden collapse of one 500-square-mile ice shelf three years ago have discovered signs of strain in a larger ice sheet nearby.

"Unless the situation changes dramatically and ice-front retreat ceases almost immediately, it seems fairly certain that another ice shelf will disappear, perhaps even this century," writes Christopher S.M. Doake of the British Antarctic Survey in the Feb. 19 edition of Nature.

The earlier breakup in 1995 turned the peninsula's "Larsen A" shelf into thousands of icebergs over the course of a few days. After reconstructing the event using computer models, Doake and his colleagues conclude that melting steadily increases pressure on the ice until a critical threshold is reached and the structure disintegrates.

The model predicts that the now-stable "Larsen B" ice shelf will also begin an "irreversible retreat" if trends continue. The two shelves combined once covered 33,000 square miles of ocean.