LONDON -- The festive mood of the crowd that gathered in the streets surrounding London's Euston Station last Thursday afternoon to protest George W. Bush's visit to Britain seemed at odds with the other news of the day. Drums beat wildly, hippies danced, fathers hoisted toddlers onto their soldiers. Few seemed to know or care that earlier that morning, al-Qaeda had attacked a British consulate and London-based bank in Turkey, leaving more than 20 -- including the consul himself -- dead.
The Guardian would later report that, in Istanbul, there were "scenes of chaos in the surrounding streets, where the bodies of the dead and injured were strewn among the wreckage of the building and cars."
For the third time in as many decades, doctors across the country are protesting rising medical-malpractice insurance premiums. The American Medical Association (AMA) is promoting its long-standing goal of medical-liability reform in the shape of a $250,000 cap on "pain and suffering" (noneconomic) damages in malpractice cases. Karl Rove must be thrilled. For an administration determined to deplete the coffers of Democratic trial-lawyer donors -- and damage presidential hopeful Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) in the process -- malpractice reform is a godsend.
Microcredit for the poor is one of those ideas that attracts both liberals and conservatives. In principle, even the world's poorest people can acquire habits of savings and investment -- if they have access to capital. The strategy is both redistributive (liberal) and entrepreneurial (conservative). Why is it necessary? Conventional banking institutions usually write off the poor as potential creditors. On average, they are too risky as borrowers, and even credit-worthy individuals seem hardly worth the trouble because the loans are so small.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA -- In late December 2002, South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), gathered in the plush university town of Stellenbosch for its 51st National Conference. That members elected President Thabo Mbeki to lead the ANC for another five years came as no surprise; more noteworthy was the announcement of a policy shift on AIDS, which plagues more than 10 percent of the country's population. "Given the progression of the AIDS epidemic . . . our program of transformation should not only acknowledge this danger, but it must also put the campaign against it at the top of the agenda," read the conference's statement.