YOU SNOOZE, YOU LOSE
In April, a research ship will begin surveying the Atlantic Ocean floor off of Nova Scotia as the first step to building, by 2013, a $300 million private fiber-optic line connecting New York and London financial markets to speed up current transmission times–by about five milliseconds. But that (according to an April report in Bloomberg Business Week) will enable the small group of firms underwriting the project to earn millions of dollars per transaction by having their trade sales arrive before their competitors’ sales.
BRAZIL’S SAFETY NET
Dr. Ivo Pitanguy, the most celebrated plastic surgeon in the country, apparently earned enough money from well-off clients that he can now “give back,” by funding and inspiring more than 200 clinics to provide low-income women with enhancement procedures (face-lifts, tummy tucks, butt lifts) at a reduced, and sometimes no, charge. A local anthropology professor told ABC News, for a March dispatch, that “[in] Brazil, plastic surgery is now seen as something of the norm.”
OLD SCHOOL JUDICIAL REVIEW
In a March interview on Bolivian television, Judge Gualberto Cusi, who was recently elected to Bolivia’s Constitutional Tribunal from the indigenous Aymara community, acknowledged that occasionally, when deciding tough cases, he relied on the Aymaran tradition of “reading” coca leaves. “In moments when decisions must be taken, we turn to coca to guide us and show us the way.”
In February, the Life-End Clinic in the Netherlands announced that six mobile euthanasia teams were placed in service countrywide to make assisted-suicide house calls–provided the client qualified under the nation’s strict laws. Euthanasia, legal in the Netherlands since 2002, is available to people who suffer “unbearable, interminable” pain and for which at least two doctors certify there is “no cure.” Panels of doctors, lawyers and ethicists rule on the applications.
WHAT WOULD JESUS BUY?
Two lawsuits filed in Los Angeles recently against the founding family of the religious Trinity Broadcasting Network allege that televangelists Paul and Jan Crouch have spent well over $50 million of worshippers’ donations on “personal” expenses, including 13 “mansions,” his-and-hers private jets, and a $100,000 mobile home for Mrs. Crouch’s dogs. The jets are necessary, the Crouches’ lawyer told the Los Angeles Times, because the Crouches receive more death threats than even the president of the United States. Allegedly, the Crouches keep millions of dollars in cash on hand, but according to their lawyer, that is merely out of obedience to the biblical principle of “ow[ing] no man anything.”
In April, the Tampa Police Department issued preliminary security guidelines to control areas around August’s Republican National Convention in the city. Although the Secret Service will control the actual convention arena, Tampa Police are establishing a zone around the arena in which weapons will be confiscated. Police would like to have banned firearms, too, but state law prevents cities from restricting the rights of licensed gun-carriers.