News Summary



China agrees to meet with Tibetan envoys

Under international pressure to improve its image before this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing, China agreed to meet with envoys from Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama last week, but provided few substantive details on what kind of talks would take place.

The situation between China and Tibet has been particularly tense since anti-Chinese riots in the Tibetan capitol of Lhasa in March. Dissent within Tibet has grown in the subsequent weeks, as the Chinese government built up security forces.

The Chinese government has blamed the Dalai Lama for orchestrating the protests, but he denies any connection.

Pro-Tibetan protestors have plagued the route of the Olympic torch in cities across the world. The torch is scheduled to pass through Tibet on its way to Mount Everest next month.

China has been under pressure from President Bush and many European leaders to re-engage in talks with the Dalai Lama, who has been attempting to restablish the dialogue for several months.


Middle East

White House disapproves of Carter’s Mid-East trip

Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State for the Bush administration, said last Tuesday that former President Jimmy Carter’s trip to the Middle East was unhelpful and that she had advocated against it.

Carter’s trip to the Middle East two weeks ago included high-level meetings with leaders of the Palestinian group Hamas in Egypt, Syria and the West Bank. The United States government classified Hamas as a terrorist organization.

“We counseled President Carter against going to the region and particularly against having contacts with Hamas,” Rice stated on her own tour of the Middle East.

Carter has long been a vocal critic of the Bush administration’s Middle East policy.

Carter said that his envoy had made significant headway in the negotiations with Hamas.

He said that leaders had conceded to establish a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, so long as their decision was approved through a vote by Palestinians.

All information collected from The New York Times and the Burlington Free Press


News Summary



High heating costs leave Americans needing aid

As a result of elevated heating costs through the winter, millions of Americans are behind on electric and gas bills and a record number of families could have their energy completely shut-off over the next few months.

In the Northeast, namely New Hampshire, applicants for fuel subsidies have received grants that only cover 35 percent of this winter’s heating costs, while in the past, they covered 60 percent. The state will have given nearly 34,500 people aid by the end of this month. The number of shut-offs in Rhode Island is expected to exceed a record of 30,000, which was set last year. At least 5.8 million households will have received grants from the federal aid program by the end of this fiscal year; this is the highest number in 16 years.

Those who owe large sums of money to oil vendors will not be able to get deliveries in the fall and some who have experienced shut-offs will lose electric and gas services.


South Carolina

High schooler arrested for massive suicide attempt

Ryan Schallenberger, 18, of Ruby, S.C. was arrested April 19 on charges of communicating bomb threats after authorities found a tape explaining his motives to blow up his high school.

His parents found a journal that Schallenberger had kept for over a year with detailed plans, including a map of the school and a list of supplies to make bombs for a suicide attack. They also discovered that he had ordered 10 pounds of ammonium nitrate, an explosive white powdered fertilizer.

Jay E. Hodge, the prosecutor of the case, said he intended to charge Schallenberger with possession of incendiary materials, a felony and other charges that may unravel as the investigation continues.

Schallenberger’s high school, Chesterfield High, was inspected by authorities over the weekend; nothing was found, but only one-fifth of the 544 students who attend actually came in to school on Monday. On April 21, Schallenberger appeared in court so that a judge could appoint him a lawyer.

All information collected from The New York Times and the Burlington Free Press