Volume 96, Issue 73
Friday, February 7, 2003

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NEWS FOR DUMMIES
Two tragedies and the case for war

By Emmett Macfarlane
Gazette Staff

With the preoccupation of studies, Charity Ball and constant squirrel-led assassination attempts on University Students' Council presidential candidates, The Gazette is here to fill you in on the news of the week.

Space enthusiasts the world over awoke to a devastating tragedy Saturday morning, after the space shuttle Columbia broke up over Texas upon re-entry. Seven astronauts died when the shuttle burned up 200,000 feet above the Earth, including six Americans and the first Israeli astronaut and national hero Ilan Ramon.

The cause of the accident remains unknown, as NASA recently cast doubt over earlier speculation that a piece of foam, which broke off and hit Columbia's left wing during takeoff, may have sparked the disaster. Pieces of debris discovered so far have ranged in size from eight-feet wide to no larger than a penny.

Compounding Saturday's tragedy was the death of seven students on a ski trip in British Columbia. The teens, from a high-school in Alberta, were caught in an avalanche.

In other news, North Korea again threatened a "total war" with the United States this week if the U.S. dared take pre-emptive action against it.

The comments came following North Korea's admission that it had activated its nuclear plant, which it assured the world was for electricity only. North Korean President Kim Jong II then asked the global community to ignore the mushroom cloud, saying it was just "electrical residue."

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell presented evidence against Iraq to the United Nations Security Council, which included intercepted telephone conversations, satellite photographs of suspected weapons sites and pictures of Saddam Hussein in "compromising" positions.

Jack Layton, the new federal New Democratic Party leader, is officially a politician. Layton sold out ideals and principles in exchange for political support from the seal-hunting industry this week, after he was forced to dismiss his brand new chief of staff.

Layton hired Rich Smith, a former animal right's activist, as his chief of staff – but quickly accepted his resignation, after Newfoundland seal killers voiced their outrage. The controversy illustrates the problem the NDP faces in spite of a new leader, as the party talks about ideals, but caves to special interests. Then again, who would want to anger people capable of clubbing seals to death?

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2002 THE GAZETTE