“My Name Is Rachel Corrie” Finds New York Home
And a play based on the writings of the late peace activist Rachel Corrie has finally found a theatre in New York. “My Name Is Rachel Corrie” will open at the Minetta Lane Theater in October. Based on Corrie’s diaries, e-mails and letters, the play was originally supposed to open at the New York Theatre Workshop in March – just days after the three-year anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s death under an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza. But the workshop’s directors indefinitely postponed the production following concerns over its political content.
In privacy news, AT&T has introduced a new policy that says the company owns customers’ account information and can share it with government agencies. Under the new policy, AT&T will collect customers' user names, passwords, charges, payments, and online purchases. It will also track their activity while on sites that AT&T operates in a partnership with Yahoo. The changes come as AT&T is embroiled in a lawsuit brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation over the company’s involvement in the NSA spy program.
Global Warming Accounts For Half of Hurricane-Inducing Water Warmth
Meanwhile, a new study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research has found global warming accounted for close to half of the extra warmth found in the tropical North Atlantic waters that fueled hurricanes last year. The study said natural cycles were only a minor factor, contradicting claims that natural cycles are responsible for the recent increase in Atlantic hurricane activity.
UN Warns ’06 Hurricanes Could Further Devastate Haiti
Meanwhile the UN is warning this year’s hurricane season could lead to another major disaster in Haiti. More than 1500 people were killed and thousands of homes were destroyed when Hurricane Jeanne struck Haiti in September of 2004.
- Erdem Ergin of the UN Developmental Program: "Our main problem, I would say, is not the preparedness and response capacity of the country. It is the high state of vulnerability of the country. Haiti now has such a depletion of natural resources that we don't really need a major hurricane to wreak havoc, normal rain can cause a lot of damage. So this is the threshold for a disaster to happen, is very low in Haiti."
Study: Recent Climate Change Unprecedented
In environmental news, the National Academy of Sciences has released a study showing that the recent surges in global temperatures are unprecedented for at least the last 400 years and potentially the last several millennia. Keeping in mind natural factors such as volcanic eruptions and solar radiation, the study nonetheless concludes that available evidence supports the argument that human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming.
US Presses To Bar Venezuela From Security Council
At the United Nations, the Bush administration pressed on Thursday with its campaign to prevent Venezuela from securing an open seat on the Security Council. Under UN rules, Latin American governments are entitled to pick a country from the region to fill the rotating seat that comes open next year. Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay and several Caribbean nations have already backed Venezuela. The U.S. is lobbying for Guatemala to get the seat.
- UN Ambassador John Bolton: "Our view is that Venezuela would not be a constructive member of the Security Council. We've made that clear in a number of diplomatic efforts and that that's our position which I think we've expressed quite strongly and quite clearly."
Senate Rejects Iraq Withdrawal
Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, the Senate rejected two separate measures calling for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
- Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist: "None of us know for sure exactly how the democratic reform in Iraq will turn out as we stay committed. But, we do know it will fail if it is abandoned prematurely by the United States. Withdrawal is not an option. Surrender is not a solution."
Both measures were proposed by Democrats. A proposal calling for a withdrawal without a firm deadline was defeated 60 to 39. Another measure calling for a troop withdrawal by July of next year was defeated by an even wider margin -- 89 to 13. The measure was introduced by Massachusets Senator John Kerry. Speaking on the Senate floor, Kerry argued that a firm timetable is necessary.
- Senator John Kerry: "Why on earth would senators come to the floor and argue 'Let's just stay the course and do the same old thing' when our own generals have told us the same old thing is part of the part of the problem? The same old thing is attracting terrorists. The same old thing is losing us allies. The same old thing is costing us unbelievable sums of money and lives unnecessarily."