News Bites

  • Always Low. The Wal-Mart clan-America's wealthiest family with $84 billion-joined forces with 65 other "high-wealth families" organized by the Policy and Taxation Group in Santa Ana, California, to seek a permanent repeal of the estate tax.
  • Abolish Me. The New York State Assembly's Codes Committee defeated a bill to reinstate New York's death penalty. Out of 170 witnesses who testified at five public hearings, 148 opposed the death penalty, nine argued for it, and five supported it with changes.
  • About Time. South Africa's "apartheid party," which maintained racial segregation for 50 years, voted to disband in April with 94 percent of its members in favor. "The National Party brought development to a section of South Africa, but also brought suffering through a system grounded on injustice," said former party leader Marthinus van Schalkwyk, according to Reuters.
  • Off the Hook. Rwanda had its $1.4 billion debt cancelled in April by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank under the "heavily-indebted poor country" initiative. Up to 55 percent of Rwanda's 8.2 million people live on less than $1 a day. n Up a Tree. Six Palestinians and five Israelis tied themselves to olive trees in a village near Ramallah to prevent the Israeli Defense Force from uprooting the trees in preparation for extending the "apartheid wall" through private land. All 11 were arrested.

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