World & Nation

European Union Retaliates Against U.S. Anti-Cuba Law
LUXEMBOURG (AP) — Americans who sue European companies doing business in Cuba face countersuits in European courts, after the EU voted Monday to retaliate against a U.S. law it deems unfair.
The measure lets Europeans countersue to recoup damages assessed in U.S. courts under the Helms-Burton Act.
The new law also strikes back at U.S. legislation allowing Washington to slap trade sanctions on foreign companies investing in the oil sectors in Libya and Iran.
“Equipped with this weapon of self-defense, we will be much better able to get a genuine negotiation from a fair and balanced position,” said EU Foreign Trade Commissioner Sir Leon Brittan.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said it was inappropriate for the Europeans to retaliate. He said the Clinton administration wished that the Europeans instead focused on the plight of the “many, many people in Cuba whose rights are being denied now by the (Fidel) Castro government.”
“We’d like to see more talk from the Europeans about democracy in Cuba,” Burns said.
The accord was reached after a last-minute compromise with Denmark, which opposed proposals for retaliatory EU trade legislation, arguing it could mean an erosion of Danish sovereignty. Brittan was vague about the compromise.
Signed by President Clinton in March, the Helms-Burton Act allows U.S. companies to sue foreign firms that use property taken from American businesses after Cuba’s 1959 revolution. It also bans executives of such companies from entering the United States.
World’s Biggest Refugee Camp Born in Eastern Zaire
MUGUNGA, Zaire (AP) — The biggest refugee camp in the world took shape Monday, expanding in a sprawling confetti of green, red and blue tents, covering four square miles of a rough slab of volcanic rock in eastern Zaire.
The population of the Mugunga camp swelled to twice its size when nearly 200,000 Rwandan Hutus arrived here from their old camp, after it was attacked Saturday by Rwandan army soldiers of the Tutsi ethnic group.
Looking out over the blue of Lake Kivu, the camp is like a small city, its 420,000 population more than that of Minneapolis. Its residents are tired, hungry and potentially violent. And already-taxed humanitarian workers are worried — about security, about having enough to feed the hungry, and about preventing disease.
After two years as refugees, the newcomers quickly set about rebuilding their lives. Smoke hung over the camp Monday as Hutus lit fires to cook maize and wearily unpacked their bundles of ragged clothes.
Aid workers hurried to organize sanitation and food, hoping to prevent an outbreak of cholera like the one that killed 50,000 Rwandans in eastern Zaire in 1994. The terrain of hardened lava made it difficult to build badly needed latrines.
“In this situation, there is always a risk of an epidemic, especially of diarrhea or cholera,” said Dr. Cathy Lyons of the Dutch Doctors Without Borders.
Adding to the urgency of the humanitarian work is the enormous concentration of refugees, more than 420,000 in two adjoining camps that have merged into one, said Lino Bordin, head of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees office in Goma.
“It is the biggest refugee camp in the world,” he said.
The attack this weekend on the refugee camp in Kibumba was one of the worst in eastern Zaire since 1994, when the former Hutu-extremist government in Rwanda launched a genocide that killed at least 500,000 people, mostly Tutsis. Rwandan Hutus and their army, badly beaten by Tutsi rebels, fled to Zaire and Tanzania.
Parliament Declines to Rescind Australian Euthanasia Law
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Parliament declined to take action Monday against a territorial law permitting medically assisted suicide, letting the world’s most permissive euthanasia legislation remain in force.
Federal legislators are deciding whether to pass a bill invalidating the Northern Territory law, which took effect July 1. On Monday, they decided to sidestep the issue, referring it to a parliamentary committee.
That is likely to leave the Northern Territory’s law permitting euthanasia in force into next year.
“Euthanasia legislation sends a powerful message to the Australian community, that the vulnerable are expendable and not valued,” said Kevin Andrews, sponsor of the federal bill.
In addition to opposition in Parliament, the law faces other hurdles. Aborigines, who view euthanasia as witchcraft, and the Australian Medical Association have asked the nation’s High Court to overrule it.

FCC Head Concerned About Liquor Company Breaking Voluntary TV Ads Ban
BOSTON (AP) — The head of the Federal Communications Commission on Monday urged a gathering of pediatricians to fight to keep hard-liquor ads off television.
FCC Chairman Reed Hundt spoke out in response to a decision by the distiller Seagram Co. Ltd. of Montreal to put whiskey ads on local TV stations, breaking a 48-year-old voluntary ban by distillers on broadcast advertising of liquor.
“If they won’t play by the unwritten rule, do we need a written rule? That is the question,” Hundt told The Associated Press after his speech to the American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting.
In an ad campaign that has since spread to other markets, the Seagram Americas division began running 30-second spots for its Royal Crown whiskey in Corpus Christi, Texas, this June.
The ads are believed to be the first for hard liquor on American TV since 1948, when the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States extended a voluntary radio ad ban to television.
“We need your help to guarantee that every child has reasonable protection from the media’s capacity to do harm, whether by showing too much violence … or advertising hard liquor to an audience of children,” Hundt said in his speech.
The FCC approves broadcasting licenses and polices the public airwaves.
Spokeswoman for Seagram Americas said the company plans to continue running television and radio ads for Royal Crown and Chivas Regal.