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N.C. lawmakers draw fire for remarks



Published: Sat, February 8, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



N.C. lawmakers draw fire for remarks

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- An advocacy group criticized two North Carolina congressional members for comments they made about Arab-Americans, saying the remarks are part of "a very disturbing trend."

Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., who heads the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, said on a radio call-in program Tuesday that he agreed with the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Coble made his remark when a caller suggested Arabs in the United States should be confined.

And fellow Republican Rep. Sue Myrick, in talking last week about domestic security threats, referred to Arab-Americans by saying, "Look at who runs all the convenience stores across the country."

Both Coble and Myrick said their remarks were not intended to insult any ethnic or religious groups.

But Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, called the remarks disturbing.

"Now we've got people saying everybody who works at the 7-Eleven who has a swarthy complexion is a potential threat," he said.

Jackson: Documentarybetrayed his trust

LONDON -- Michael Jackson said today a TV documentary about him was unfair and he felt "more betrayed than perhaps ever before" by the program, in which the King of Pop revealed he sometimes lets children sleep in his bed.

In a statement issued by his London representative, Jackson said British journalist Martin Bashir broke the trust placed in him.

Bashir spent eight months making the 90-minute program, which will be shown in the United States at 8 p.m. EST today on ABC's "20/20."

"I trusted Martin Bashir to come into my life and that of my family because I wanted the truth to be told," Jackson said in the statement, released by his London representative Stephen Lock.

"Martin Bashir persuaded me to trust him, that his would be an honest and fair portrayal of my life and told me that he was 'the man that turned Diana's life around."'

Bashir is well known for an interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, during which she admitted being unfaithful to Prince Charles.

"Today I feel more betrayed than perhaps ever before; that someone who had got to know my children, my staff and me, whom I let into my heart and told the truth, could then sacrifice the trust I placed in him and produce this terrible and unfair program," Jackson said.

Nyet to foreign words

MOSCOW -- Watch your tongue, comrade.

Russian legislators took aim at saltier speech in the country's rich language on Wednesday, moving to ban cursing and slang in the media, advertising and official documents.

A bill passed by the lower parliament house would also outlaw the use of foreign words when a commonly used Russian word would do. So out would go biznes, menedgment and mirchendaizing.

Russian intellectuals and politicians have lamented the widespread use of foreign words that flooded the country after the Soviet collapse.

The law governing the use of Russian as the state language now goes to the upper house and President Vladimir Putin for final approval.

While the restrictions would not apply to private speech, Ekho Moskvy radio reported that they would apply whenever Russian is used as the state language -- in government bodies and official correspondence as well as in the media and advertising.

Hispanic births

LOS ANGELES -- For the first time since the late 1850s, Hispanic births accounted for more than half the births in California, according to a study.

Of the 138,892 births from July to September 2001, 69,672 of them -- 50.2 percent -- were Hispanic babies, according to a review of birth certificate data by the UCLA Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture. The study was released Wednesday.

In 1980, Hispanics accounted for just 29 percent of California births.

"The long-anticipated Latino majority has arrived," center director David Hayes-Bautista said. "In 2003, it is learning how to walk and will shortly learn to talk."

He added: "They will be defining the American dream. It's in their hands."

Last month, the Census Bureau said Hispanics had surged past blacks as the country's largest minority group. There were 37 million Hispanics as of July 2001, compared with a non-Hispanic black population of 36.1 million.

Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 31.4 percent of the California births, followed by 11.3 percent for Asians and Pacific Islanders, and 6.1 percent for blacks.

Associated Press




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