|W O R L D||
Wednesday, December 30, 1998
China to form group on
Parties fix May 17 for
restaurants face tough time
precedes scalpel to avoid surgical gaffes
China to form group on political stability
BEIJING, Dec 29 (PTI) A new high-level group to maintain social and political stability and combat infiltration by some foreign countries is in the offing in China with President Jiang Zemin to head it, media reports said today.
The move comes after the ruling Communist Partys Central Committee had established a temporary leading group on rectifying national affairs, South China Morning Post, a leading newspaper from Hong Kong, said.
The group had been given the task of upholding social stability and combating infiltration by foreign countries, it said.
Jiang has indicated the party needs to use a combination of police control, economic measures and diplomatic initiatives to maintain order in the sensitive year of 1999, the paper said quoting a diplomatic source.
Beijing will serve warning on Western countries not to maintain ties with dissident organisations in China, the report said.
As head of the partys leading group on foreign affairs, Jiang had the final say over the extent of pressure to be applied on foreign countries to stop the infiltration of the mainland, the papers Political Editor, Willy-Wo-Lap Lam, said.
Security sources in Beijing said the authorities had also asked banks to keep closer tabs on the movement of funds that might benefit dissidents.
They said the police suspected that funds, including aid from organisations in unnamed foreign countries, were first transferred to the accounts of private companies having links with dissident groups.
China last week sentenced four dissidents to 10 to 13 years in prison for trying to oppose the 49-year-long rule of the Communist Party of China.
The last dissident to be jailed for 10 years was a labour activist, Zhang Shanguang. Last week three founders of a banned opposition party were also jailed.
Several international human rights organisations and Western governments, including those of the USA Germany and France, have denounced the latest Chinese crackdown on dissidents.
However, China has
rejected their criticism by pointing out that the jailed
persons were criminals and Beijing would not tolerate
attempts by foreign countries to interfere in the
countrys internal affairs.
Parties fix May 17 for Israeli poll
TEL AVIV, Dec 29 (AP) Israels major parties have set May 17 as an election date, a sign that a Palestinian threat to declare a state before then has receded and will not influence the campaign.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had wanted to set the elections before May 4 Palestinian leader Yasser Arafats deadline for Independence in order to maximise the threat of Palestinian statehood in his hard-line campaign.
We agreed on the 17th of
May, said Mr Meir Shetreet, a senior government
legislator, yesterday after a day of negotiations with
the Opposition Labor Party. It must pass the Law
Committee and the Knesset next week, but there is wide
support, so theres no reason why it shouldnt.
No deal making on impeachment
WASHINGTON, Dec 29 (AP) With the impeachment debate squarely in his court. Senate majority leader Trent Lott faces his toughest challenge yet as the senate prepares to consider President Bill Clintons fate.
Mr Lott, a Republican from the southern state of Mississippi, has been largely silent on the shape of the Senates impeachment proceedings next month, but he is getting plenty of public advice from his colleagues.
The Senate is to hold proceedings on two articles of impeachment passed by the House of Representatives. But the White House, along with many Senate Democrats, are seeking a compromise punishment for Mr Clinton that would avoid a formal Senate trial.
Mr Lott, according to some who know him, already may have made up his mind. He has said, for example, that the Constitution requires the senate to at least convene a trial, and he excluded any "deal making" before such proceedings begin.
"He listens a lot but I think that he usually has a pretty clear idea to start with about where he wants to go," said Mr Mickey Edwards, former Republican Congressman from Oklahoma who worked closely with Mr Lott while both served in the House.
Senators close to Mr Lott widely believe the movement to oust Mr Clinton lacks the 67 votes to succeed.
Fellow Mississippi Senator
Thad Cochran said he hasnt talked to Mr Lott in
weeks. "But its not as if this kind of thing
is new to him, Mr Cochran said yesterday. He
noted that Mr Lott served on the House Judiciary
Committee during the Watergate proceedings, which forced
President Richard Nixon to resign in 1974 before a formal
impeachment vote was held in the House.
Theme restaurants face tough time
NEW YORK, Dec 29 (AP) The Everything Must Go sign in the window of Television City, the theme restaurant that offers TV junkies a place to eat and watch football, news and classic movies all at the same time says it all.
Once considered investment darlings because of a public insatiable in its quest for brushes with celebrity, theme restaurants now face an uncertain future.
It costs so much to develop. You have to charge higher prices to make money ... and nobody wants to pay those prices, Television City founder David Liederman said on Sunday. Its just not worth it.
The closure of Television City in Rockefeller Centre comes on the heels of a tough year for theme restaurants. Stock prices have tumbled while owners and developers have been forced to sell or scale back their operations.
The restaurants have had a particularly tough time in New York despite the presence of throngs of tourists.
The glitzy Fashion Cafe, partly owned by supermodels Naomi Campbell and Elle Macpherson, suffered a series of financial setbacks after another owner was accused of mismanaging millions of dollars.
Magic Underground, David Copperfields multimillion dollar restaurant under construction in Times Square, has been stalled. Three other proposed New York restaurants RKO Pictures, Marvel Comics Marvel Mania and Chefs of the World never got off the ground.
Meanwhile, Planet Hollywood, the restaurant founded in 1992 by actors Bruce Willis, Demi Moore and Arnold Schwarzenegger announced earlier this month it would sell its New Orlando, Florida, headquarters and a New York restaurant in Times Square to pay creditors. Its stock has plunged from trading in the low $30 range in 1996 to $2.62 1/2 on the New York Stock Exchange as of last Thursday.
But not everyone is pulling in the reins.
A second ESPN Zone restaurant, which features televised games and a constant parade of sports stars, is scheduled to open in Times Square next year, as Disney hopes to follow up on the success of its Baltimore location.
A group of investors led by David Hasselhoff, star of the syndicated smash Baywatch, has announced plans to develop a chain of restaurants and nightclubs next year based on the show. And the World Wrestling Federation, saying it wants to move into the gaming and themed-restaurant business, has purchased the bankrupt Debbie Reynolds Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
The restaurants also seem to remain popular with the younger set.
Petra Forbes, (14), of Montego Bay, Jamaica, had fun at the all-star cafe in Times Square during her trip to New York, on Sunday. She and a group of friends dined on barbecue ribs.
The food was good. There were all these things on the walls. I liked it, she said. I want to go to Planet Hollywood next. I would like to meet some movie stars, like Leonardo Dicaprio.
But an industry analyst said it doesnt matter how good the food is if theme restaurants fail to pull in repeat customers.
They are not the
best restaurants and not the best places to go for
entertainment. You go there once, twice, maybe three
times to show a friend. Thats it, said
Ron Paul, a Chicago restaurant analyst.
Pen precedes scalpel to avoid surgical gaffes
NEW YORK Dec 29 (AP) The patient in surgeon Michael Schafers Chicago operating room scrawled a note on his arm in felt-tip marker. It said, I hurt here, with an arrow pointing to his elbow.
In New York, Dr Andrew Rokitos patient wrote yes on one leg and no on the other. Nearby, Dr. Steven Stuchins patient lay with a pink ribbon she tied around her injured leg.
The message was clear: following surgical gaffes in which doctors amputated the wrong foot, removed the wrong kidney and opened the wrong side of a womans brain, patients were frightened and mistrustful.
Now hundreds of surgeons are getting the message and putting their John Hancocks on every Tom, Dick and Harriet who comes under the knife.
The trend toward autographing patients bodies marks a low-tech effort to avoid what doctors call wrong-site surgery.
The 17,000-member National Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons urged surgeons last March to sign their names on the spot to be cut.
In recent months, hospitals across the nation have adopted the practice to try to curb lawsuits and spare patients undue agony. Among them, the orthopedic surgery departments at New York University, Chicagos North-western University Medical Centre and Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.
For all the science and technology and out-and-out hardware, which is worth millions of dollars in any operating room, the most important thing that patients and doctors do is talk to each other, said Stuchin, Director of orthopedic surgery at NYUs hospital for joint diseases. The $1.50 pen is part of the communications process.
Wrong-site surgery is common enough that the practice has its own euphemisms, such as bilateral confusion and symmetry failure.
From 1985 to 1995 the Physicians Insurers Association of America counted 225 claims for wrong-site surgery by its 110,000 doctors. Willie King won $1.2 million after a Tampa, Fla., surgeon amputated the wrong foot in 1995.
Perhaps most alarming to surgeons, patients win monetary settlements 84 per cent of the time, according to the piaa.
In other words, if you operated on the wrong leg, they were going to pay off, said Dr. S. Terry Canale, who led the surgeon associations national campaign and operates at the Campbell clinic in Memphis, where surgeons now sign their patients.
Orthopedic surgeons, who specialise in skeletal operations, saw another alarming statistic, one in four of them will operate on the wrong organ in a 30-year career, according to the insurance group.
A number of things can go wrong. In the Tampa case, doctors said both the patients feet showed signs of gangrene. Dr. Joseph Zuckerman, director of orthopedic surgery at NYU, has walked into the or to find a patient prepared for surgery on the wrong knee. The X-ray had been labelled backwards.
This is an uncommon problem, Dr Zuckerman said, But its indefensible.
Some victims of wrong-site surgery experience only inconvenience and an unneeded scar. Others pay a hefty price.
Harry Jordan visited the hospital often after doctors removed the wrong kidney in 1983. The Long Beach, Calif., insurance broker was left with one kidney at one-fifth its normal size. He died 13 years after the operation after winning $250,000 in damages.
Rajeswari Ayyappan underwent a second traumatic operation to remove a brain tumor after a surgeon at New Yorks prestigious Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Centre operated on the wrong side.
|Adrift fishermen eat clothes
MANILA: Two fishermen who had been adrift in the South China sea for five days after their boat sank, survived by eating their own clothes and drank sea water before they were rescued by a Philippine Navy patrol boat. According to a military report, Ramos Boklat (17), and Joel Atsas Ecol (23) were dehydrated, pale and sunburnt all over when they were flashed out from the shark-infested water off the Jackson atoll in the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) by sailors on December 17. The Philippines Air Force (PAF) aircraft were on a routine0 patrol when they saw two men waving at sea. PNA
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