By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
Keeping Poor Nations on the Dole
Washington is about to mangle any hope that desperately poor nations will be forgiven their debts. The administration is preparing to sign on to a bill by House banking chair Jim Leach to relieve the debt of nations that accept the IMF's structural adjustment programs: mendacious schemes that force the curbing of social welfare programs and cuts in public employment, along with movement toward market economies. This leads to increased sales of raw commodities in the world market at lower prices, which benefits multinationals and industrial importers.
An alternative plan proposed by a coalition headed by liberal Democrat Dennis Kucinich and conservative Jim Saxton would require the IMF to eliminate the debt of poor countries, while also restricting the agency's ability to impose structural adjustments on them. Failure to do so would result in the withholding of U.S. funds for IMF operations and a ban on the agency's plans to sell off part of its gold reserves.
Onward Christian Assassins
Against the background of a Columbine teenager's threat last week to "finish the job started by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold," The Arizona Republic reported that a game called Assassinswhich involves stalking fellow students, then surprising them, and opening fire on themhas become extremely popular at Grand Canyon University, a small Christian school west of Phoenix. Nerf dart guns are used, and the activity is viewed as good clean fun and "community building." But it worries some, since Grand Canyon alum Sydney Browning was one of seven people killed by a gunman at a Fort Worth church recently.
The game was started last year by a Bible studies major. Participants are divided into three-person teams. Each player gets a card with the names of three opposing members. The object is to "tag" them with a dart. Players are also encouraged to hug the people they shoot. Senior Kevin Bell, who played Assassins last year, reflected that it was fun. "It gets people involved," he said, adding that it breaks down barriers between Christians and non-Christians.
"I'm very upset by this," said sophomore Shauna Talboys. "A Christian school encouraging the Assassins game? It's ironic, isn't it?" However, other members of the 1400-person student body say critics should lighten up. "It's not like we're using real guns," freshman Sara Hudson said. "People who are against it are uptight." However, when Assassins made news, college officials called a press conference and announced that they were canceling the game.
Baptists to the Rescue
Hope for Hindus
Evangelical Christians continue to do their damnedest to save souls worldwide. The controversial conservative Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, is publishing 30,000 booklets aimed at the conversion of Hindus, who are currently celebrating their Festival of Lights. The texts lament "those who worship gods which are not God" and are "lost in the hopeless darkness of Hinduism." Previously, the Southern Baptists have angered Jews and Muslims by publishing booklets aimed at their conversions. Umaa Mysorekar, president of a Hindu temple in Flushing, New York, and secretary-treasurer of the Council of Hindu Temples, said the timing of the publication is insulting, and added that the thoughts conveyed are "not only absurd but also ignorant. I don't think Jesus himself would have said not to respect other religions."
Additional reporting: Kate Cortesi