Ok, before we all get all fired up and alarmist, lets keep in mind that this is just one persons opinion. When I first received this I was surprised and went to the Sunday Times of London Web site to see if I could find it myself. Sure enough there it was.
Also of note is the fact that the US IRS's Y2K Expert, QUIT his job 2 months ago in absolute frustration word has it. He is said to have have said, FORGET ABOUT IT, there is no way I can fix the US IRS's Y2K problems in 21 months. Have not heard if he has been replaced, but of note is that US Senator John Glenn is reportedly reconsidering his space shuttle flight due to concern over Y2K Govco computer "problems"
Is this all alarmist claptrap and propaganda? Not sure, but I do know that I will hopefully not be flying in a plane, nor riding in an elevator, nor electronically possessing equities in that time frame. This may well be a Hegelian Opportunity of a Lifetime for the overlords, this much is true.
Without further aduie, here is the SUNDAY TIMES of LONDON article and a method of retrieving it yourself for all you justifiably skeptical people out there.
A SENIOR executive at Barclays [bank] has warned people to sell their homes, stockpile their cash and buy gold in case of a global economic collapse caused by the millennium computer bug.
This extraordinary warning is echoed by other bank managers who fear a run on deposits. When computers click over from the year 99 to 00 experts say many applications will crash and create indecipherable data. Under this "doomsday scenario" global markets and economies may fail to cope with millions of computers crashing at once. It is feared currencies and stock exchanges could go into free fall, slashing the value of savings.
The scenario is now being treated seriously because European banks are struggling to change systems in time for the single currency. Many have not even begun to tackle the millennium bug. From next year insurance policies, bank accounts and other financial products must incorporate the year 2000 in many of next year's transactions.
Experts are unsure how computers will cope: they may produce huge bills and interest calculations, shut down completely, or carry on as usual.
"The average man or woman does not appreciate what is going to happen," said the Barclays executive, who wishes to remain anonymous. "I'm going to plan for the absolute worst - I am talking about the need to start buying candles, tinned food and bottled water from mid-1999 onwards. People think that I am mad, but a company director I met last week is intending to set up a commune and buy a shotgun because the potential for looting is also quite high."
Although many may see this view as far-fetched, a senior Midland executive was also pessimistic: "Gold wouldn't be a bad thing to get into". Tony Blair will tomorrow make his first public statement on the millennium bug, although many computer experts feel it is a case of too little, too late. Even the government-backed agency dealing with the problem is now concentrating on maintaining essential services.
Gwynneth Flowers, director of Action 2000, said: "At present we are making sure that the fabric of society as we know it can continue, by making emergency contingency plans with the government. I am now confident that essential services will work, but every man, woman and child will still be affected."
Most experts agree with the government's stance - that the millennium bug will not prove catastrophic, just inconvenient. " We are expecting that organisations will now prioritise and avoid doomsday scenarios," said John Cotterell, director of Year 2000 services at Cap Gemini, Europe's largest computer consultancy. However, most companies are still making contingency plans in case of disaster. Last Tuesday, the government met with Britain's largest companies and utilities to discuss an emergency plan. The bank holiday on December 31, 1999, is expected to be cancelled, so that the expected problems can be tackled.
Such is the lack of confidence that London Electricity is planning to issue engineers with bicycles in case traffic lights are not working; and Fidelity has increased the size of its generators and stockpiled enough fuel for a month, should the electricity supply fail.
However, both regulators and other industry bodies are confident that their systems will be "year 2000 friendly", and are strongly urging people not to take drastic action, which could cause a banking crisis.
"There is no debate within the scientific community over whether evolution has occurred, and there is no evidence that evolution has not occurred," the National Academy of Sciences asserted in a guidebook aimed at keeping the subject from being watered down or eliminated from the classroom.
It says that understanding evolutionary change is essential to understanding vital processes, such as how bacteria become resistant to antibiotics.
How to go about teaching evolution has plagued education in this country since the 1920s, when John Scopes was convicted of violating a Tennessee law against teaching any account of the creation except the biblical version. The Supreme Court ruled in 1987 that schools cannot teach creationism.
"Many students receive little or no exposure to the most important concept in modern biology," said the National Academy of Sciences guidebook, intended for teachers, parents, school administrators and policy makers.
Just to show how touchy the issue is, the Arizona Board of Education dropped the word "evolution" from its 1996 science standards, although they call for students to learn "how organisms change over time in terms of biological adaptation and genetics." Scientists protested the omission, and a committee will study the question this year.
The North Carolina House last year passed a bill requiring that evolution be presented as theory, not fact. And a Christian publisher in Richardson, Texas, Jon Buell, says he's been getting plenty of orders for a biology textbook, "Of Pandas and People," presenting the view that the world is the way it is by design - a term that critics say is a code word for creationism.
Moreover, a number of university scholars, including law professor Phillip E. Johnson of the University of California at Berkeley and biochemist Michael Behe of Lehigh University, have published books and articles challenging evolution. Critics suggest that creation is so complex, starting with the molecular structure of cells, that there had to have been a purpose.
"Our contention is that there is reasonable evidence of intelligent design," said Raymond G. Bohlin, who holds a doctorate in molecular biology and heads the Probe Ministries, based in Richardson, Texas.
But the panel says that the "scientific "consensus" around evolution is overwhelming." Without mentioning names, it says opponents of teaching evolution quote prominent scientists out of context to claim that scientists do not support evolution.
Among the points raised in the guidebook:
"People can still believe in God and accept evolution. "Religion and science answer different questions about the world," it says."
Less than one-half of American adults believe humans evolved from earlier species, according to one survey. Another found that more than half wanted creationism taught. "But there are thousands of different ideas about creation among the world's people" and the study of comparative religions does not belong in a science class, the book says.
Children should not be penalized for not believing in evolution, but they should be graded on their understanding of the basic ideas of evolution. "it is quite possible to comprehend things that are not believed," the guidebook says.
And, to set the record straight, "Humans did not evolve from modern apes, but humans and modern apes shared a common ancestor, a species that no longer exists."
The guidebook also explains that theory in the scientific sense - an explanation that has been well-substantiated - is different from the everyday explanation - a guess or hunch.
But that helps get some teachers off the hook.
"Just this year a parent asked me if I was teaching evolution as a theory or as a fact," said Elizabeth Carvellas, a biology teacher in Essex Junction, Vt. "I explained that I taught it as theory. That seemed to settle that problem."
Members of a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington expressed skepticism April 8 over the pleadings of a lawyer representing a dozen media companies.
Attorney Theodore Boutrous Jr. argued that hearings in the court of U.S. District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson, concerning President Bill Clinton's expansive new claims to executive privilege, should be open to the press and public.
As Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr pursues his investigation into whether the president had an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, and whether the president then proceeded to urge her and others to lie under oath about his Oval Office Tilt-A-Whirl, Mr. Clinton six weeks ago went to court and sought sweeping new "executive privilege" immunity from answering such questions.
In the past, such claims, even from the White House of Richard Nixon, were at least based on assertions that national security was at stake -- that public exposure might compromise the identity of some secret agent overseas, or something of the sort. Yet even when Richard Nixon made his pleadings for "executive privilege" during Watergate, those hearings were, themselves, conducted in the fresh air of an open courtroom.
Not so the current Clinton pleadings.
"For the first time, a judge is considering extending this claim of being above the criminal law beyond the President himself, to his wife and everybody on his staff -- in secret," wrote syndicated New York Times columnist William Safire on Thursday. "And the legal arguments protesting the closure of hearings surrounding this change in the public access to the official operations of our government have been filed and answered -- in secret," Mr. Safire continues.
"Here we have a great constitutional issue involving the usurpation of power. It deserves scholarly debate and a thorough airing. But Federal Judge Norma Holloway Johnson -- a Carter appointee insecure about public scrutiny of her peremptory rulings on the most profound matters affecting our system of government -- has sealed the constitutional pleadings and, in the President's delighted interpretation, sealed all lips."
And what is Judge Holloway Johnson's rationale for this unprecedented blackout of press coverage and public debate about the not-unsubstantial question of whether we shall continue as a republic of laws, or instead awaken to discover our "sovereign" now has the same power to corrupt justice unchallenged as was once the prerogative of Ferdinand the Fifth, his co-regent Isabella, and their loyal factotum, Tomas de Torquemada?
Why, Judge Holloway Johnson simpers that admitting reporters for hearings on legal arguments, and then clearing the courtroom any time a grand jury matter should arise, would be "too disruptive."
"What more can she say?" asked U.S. Circuit Judge David Tatel on Wednesday, apparently in full agreement with his subaltern. "She said it would be too disruptive," scolded Circuit Judge Judith Rogers: "What more do you want the district judge to do?"
Oh, I don't know. Preserve our 300-year tradition of open courtrooms, where the public can see which of their safeguards against tyranny are now being proffered up to the shredder, perhaps? After all, as Mr. Safire points out, "The last President to claim executive privilege did it in open court. All the briefs were on the record. Judge John Sirica polled the grand jury in open court without 'disruption,' and the media reported the decision instantly."
Mr. Clinton's decision to thrust his wife -- never elected to any office -- into a position of substantial power may have turned out to be unwise, but the president is free to elevate such advisors and assistants as he will.
However, for him now to claim that neither she nor any other White House plumber, fixer, fund-raiser or bagman can be questioned about substantive allegations of outright felonies, is not only another attempt to change the rules halfway through the game -- it is an outright assertion of the powers of monarchy.
The court would entertain such a claim, and then not even let the public hear the arguments pro and con (except in "edited transcripts," to be released at some future date), tossing away our most precious First Amendment right for the mere "convenience" of the court?
Pesky commoners! Your betters will tell you what's been decided, if and when they determine you have a "need to know." Now, get back to your plowing and planting, or there'll be no cider for you at the manor house, come Sunday.
The oldest bastion of student smoking, boys' and girls' restrooms, is increasingly being targeted by school officials across the country.
Students were locked out of the Manchester-by-the-Sea High School restrooms during class periods for three weeks last month. Students protested and health officials ordered the toilets reopened.
"What it was doing was punishing 400 students for the actions of about 10 students," said Bre Quinn, 18, president of the Student Council.
Similar battles are being waged in states such as Arkansas, where the Hartford high school principal began locking bathroom doors last month. Schools in Glen Burnie, Md., have had doorless bathroom stalls for six years to prevent smokers from hiding.
In Hawaii, the Department of Health told complaining students that it can't force schools to keep bathrooms open all the time. And in New Jersey, administrators in one district have won a partial victory in their fight to control the lavatories.
The debates are flaring up as states spend millions to get young people to kick the habit, while federal studies show more are smoking than ever.
Forty-three percent of the nation's high school students either smoke cigarettes or cigars or chew tobacco, according to a report released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The findings, based on a 1997 survey of 16,000 students, indicate the percentage of high school students smoking was 36.4 percent, up from 34.8 percent in 1995.
Manchester-by-the-Sea vice principal Paul Murphy said his 450-student school, about 20 miles northeast of Boston, used to have only a small number of student smokers.
Now, he said, all groups of students are smoking, including an increasing number of girls.
"Smoking is out of control," Murphy said. "It's out of control all over the country."
In Florence, N.J., administrators tried a plan that required students who had to go to the bathroom during class to sign out of the classroom, in and out of the bathroom, and back into class.
"I really believe we have a moral obligation to keep them (students) safe," said Florence Superintendent Diane DeGiacomo.
An uproar over the policy sidelined the efforts, but Administrators were not deterred.
DeGiacomo said the Department of Community Affairs recently ruled that schools can limit access to bathrooms as long as students don't have to wait too long in lines.
So when students return from spring break next week, they will find a less severe crackdown, with only the second-floor bathrooms locked.
School officials said they have smoking cessation and educational programs for their students, but need penalties as well. Many schools impose fines, detention and suspension.
DeGiacomo said Florence students caught smoking three times go to court. So far two students have been sentenced to 30 hours of community service, she said.
Manchester-by-the-Sea voters last week approved a bylaw that says anyone caught smoking on school grounds will be subject to a $50 fine, starting next year.
Ms. Quinn, the Student Council president, said the law is better than having administrators stand by as students rush to use the bathrooms in between classes.
At least 26 communities and the state of Massachusetts have imposed sanctions on companies that deal with repressive governments in Nigeria, China, Cuba or Myanmar.
Other cities and states are considering similar action, including several targeting Switzerland because of its dealings with Nazi gold.
"Resort to unilateral sanctions has become almost a fad," said Clayton Yeutter, who was U.S. trade representative in the Reagan administration.
The State Department says such state and local actions can do more harm than good, however well intentioned.
"Sanctions may impair the president's ability to send a clear and unified message to the rest of the world," Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Marchick told Maryland legislators. "They can impede ... conduct of foreign policy. They can create conflicts with our allies with whom we need to work to achieve common goals."
Marchick is one of several U.S. diplomats who have had to embark recently on unusual domestic missions to lobby against such laws. European representatives also have found themselves dealing directly with state legislators and city council members.
U.S. companies such as Apple Computer, Eastman Kodak and Hewlett Packard pulled out of Myanmar, also known as Burma, when Massachusetts enacted a law in 1996 imposing penalties on bidders for state contracts if the company also does business with the Asian country.
State Rep. Byron Rushing, who wrote the Massachusetts bill, said it helped pave the way for President Clinton to impose federal sanctions against Myanmar last year.
"We showed there was support at the grass-roots level for action against Burma to influence our own government as well as Burma to advance the cause of human rights," Rushing said.
Europeans and Canadians are angry over U.S. government sanctions against companies doing business in Cuba and Iran. Now they face the prospect of diplomatic confrontations with individual states and cities.
While trying not to tell state and local governments to ignore human rights and other emotional issues relating to other countries, the State Department wants them to word any measures in ways that will not cause trade problems with allies.
Congress also is looking into the impact of federal sanctions on U.S. businesses and jobs. The State Department has established a sanctions team that is expected to report soon to Capitol Hill.
The National Trade Council, which represents about 550 corporations, says it plans to file a lawsuit later this month contending that state and local sanctions violate the Constitution.
The Constitution gives the federal government the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations and prohibits states from entering into agreements or engaging in war with foreign powers.
"Only the federal government has responsibility over foreign relations and foreign commerce," said Dan O'Flaherty, a trade council vice president. "State legislators and city councilmen may be pleased, but these laws are a threat to the national interest."
Corporations are concerned that free-lance foreign policy pronouncements by state and local governments could limit opportunities for exports and investment abroad.
Business groups also argue that local and federal sanctions are ineffective, damage relationships with allies and make U.S. companies less competitive.
Todd Malan, executive director of the Organization for International Investment, which represents 60 U.S. subsidiaries of companies based abroad, said such sanctions "threaten investment by foreign-owned companies that create jobs for Americans."
City councils in Oakland and Berkeley, Calif., and Amherst, Mass., have targeted Nigeria.
New York City is one of more than 40 municipalities that have passed resolutions against religious discrimination in Northern Ireland. The actions do not impose sanctions but require contractors to sign pledges to hire both Catholics and Protestants if they do business in Northern Ireland.
Last month, city and state officials in New York decided to delay planned sanctions against Swiss banks after the banks announced they would negotiate a global settlement with Holocaust victims over gold stolen by the Nazis.
Most of the state and local sanctions put on the books since 1995 are modeled on economic measures taken by various local governments against South Africa's racist policies in the mid-1980s.
Alan Larson, assistant secretary of state for economic affairs, said the South African measures may have had an important effect in speeding the downfall of apartheid.
But, he said, they "were swimming with the tide of public opinion, not cutting across trading rights or political rights of our major partners. We do know it's possible for sanctions to be introduced in a way that hits the intended target rather than distracting attention with trading disputes."
Since the 1980s, the United States has signed treaties that bar sanction laws and give other nations the right to demand compensation if their companies are affected.
The European Union warned last month that failure to resolve a dispute over Massachusetts' sanction law would result in bringing a case before the World Trade Organization.
The State Department would have to defend Massachusetts before the WTO. Individual states have no standing before the world body.
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