News Bites

  • Two-Edged. In a national effort to disarm all fighting units in Sierra Leone, the U.N. destroyed nearly 10,000 firearms in a month-long amnesty period. The weapons were cut up and remade into 4,000 hoes, sickles, shovels, and other garden implements for redistribution.
  • Store Wars. The Domini Social Equity Fund has removed Wal-Mart from its portfolio. The decision to dump the fund's 1.2 million shares of Wal-Mart stock was prompted primarily by concerns about Wal-Mart's labor and human rights policies.
  • Missing Man. In an unprecedented move, the government of New Zealand decided to replace its air-combat fleet of 17 Skyhawk fighters and 17 Aermacchi jet trainers with...nothing. Priority will be given to the army's ability to participate in peace support operations.
  • Inline Jesus. Skate Church, an outreach of Central Bible Church in Portland, Oregon, no longer caters only to skateboarders; it now dedicates a night for inline skaters, too. Church intern Jon Collins said their mission is to build relationships with skaters and talk to them about Jesus. Because it is one of Portland's few indoor skate places, church attendance goes way up when it rains.
  • Base Motives. The United States is expanding its military presence in South America this fall when a major anti-drug airborne surveillance facility becomes operational in Ecuador. The buildup is the first in Latin America since U.S. military bases in Panama closed three years ago. The purpose? To support intensified American operations in Colombia.
  • Canned Good. The Church of the Brethren's annual meat canning project for 2001 produced a total of 39,545 cans of chicken-that's 70,000 pounds. They sent 600 cases to Cuba and 250 cases to food pantries and soup kitchens in the United States.
  • I Refuse. Consumer outrage over British banks' attempt to introduce ATM surcharges was so strong that the banks not only dropped their surcharge plans, but eliminated existing ATM "disloyalty" fees as well. The successful "Stop the Great Bank Robbery" campaign is expected to save consumers $400 million this year.
  • Just Say No. An Oklahoma hospital that was the sole supplier of execution drugs to the state prison system has stopped providing the chemicals after Human Rights Watch questioned the practice. "Regardless of how we view capital punishment...[t]his doesn't seem like a role for a community hospital," said hospital spokesperson Steve Cushing.

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