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March 4, 1997 – Interesting news day with a lot going on. On the eve of preliminary peace talks between North and South Korea, news of shakeups in North Korea, with observers wondering if the sudden deaths of many officials in Pyongyang were the work of purges or old age as well as news of many defections among the ranks of high officials in the Kim Jung Il regime. News that China was beefing up it’s Defense spending by 15%. It brought concern to its neighbors, Hong Kong, Macau but particularly Taiwan who felt Beijing’s insistence that Taiwan become part of the mainland made for considerable unease across the South China sea.
President Clinton issued a directive, barring any Federal Agency from supporting, funding or undertaking research on human cloning. He also asked for voluntary moratorium on all privately funded research on human cloning. He was responding the reports over the weekend that an experiment involving the cloning of two Rhesus Monkeys had taken place.
Tornadoes ripped through several states in the South overnight, leaving a wide swath of destruction, as well as reports of flooding throughout the Midwest and South.
The hostage drama taking place in Peru was slowly moving along. President Aldo Fujimori announced that Cuba was willing to grant asylum to the rebels holding 72 people hostage at the Japanese Ambassadors residence in Lima. Fujimori made the announcement after meeting with Cuba’s Fidel Castro. Castro later said he had a moral obligation to try and resolve the hostage situation. Spokespeople for the rebels holding the hostages told reporters they were not interested in Cuba’s offer. While Fujimori was in Cuba, the government and members of the rebel group held talks. Word was hopeful some progress was taking place.
And Representative Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent, was just appointed by House Minority leader Missouri Democrat Dick Gephardt to become the ranking chair on a Government reform and oversight sub-committee. Sanders said that being an independent and taking the top spot on the sub-committee didn’t undercut his status as an independent, but rather enhanced it. He discusses his position on this appointment and his position as an Independent in general with NPR’s Bob Edwards.
And that’s just a small slice of what happened this day, as reported by NPR’s Morning Edition for March 4, 1997.