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November 13, 1997 – Another day of anxiety and saber-rattling. It was announced that Baghdad ordered the immediate expulsion of all U.S. weapons inspectors as part of the United Nations team. The move had been announced after a meeting of the Revolutionary Command Council, headed by President Saddam Hussein. The timing of the Iraqi expulsion of the American weapons inspectors was not expected, even though the Iraqis said at the UN they would not abide by the Council resolution. It wasn’t clear exactly when the UN weapons inspectors would be leaving for the long drive across the Iraqi desert to the Jordanian border, but it was expected to be within in the next 24 hours.
Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department urged its citizens overseas to postpone non-essential travel to Pakistan and warned Americans abroad to be on their guard. The warning came after four American businessmen were shot dead in Karachi, and followed the conviction in New York that the Pakistan who masterminded the terrorist bombing of The World Trade Center in 1993. That attack left six people dead and more than 1,000 injured. Pakistani Police released what they said were descriptions of the gunmen engaged in the Karachi attack. But America had little confidence in Pakistani investigations. In 1995 two American Consulate staff were gunned down in Karachi and have Pakistan authorities have failed to produce any results. With the upcoming visit of the Secretary of State, the first in over 30 years, Pakistan is trying to cooperate as fully as possible with American authorities.
And British members of Parliament were meeting to discuss how Parliament goes about its business. The Labour Government wants them to consider abandoning some of their most cherished traditions; all the “Hear-Hears” and “The Right Honorable Gentlemen. . .” and to adapt more conventional (or less traditional) ways of behaving and de-mystifying the process of conducting the county’s business. Good luck with that.
And that’s a very small slice of what was going on in the rest of the world, as presented by The BBC World Service and their one-hour in-depth information program, Newshour for November 13, 1997.