News You Might Have Missed * Vol. 7, No. 9

Important but overlooked news from around the world. QUOTED:
“This is the first time we have caught a human trafficking syndicate in a case where the baby was still in the womb.” — A Vietnamese police officer on recent arrests in a adults baby-smuggling ring (see “Adoption,” below). CONTENTS:
*Top Stories*
A ‘complicated truth’ about Obama donations
London shifts gears to favor bicycles
Beijing Olympics: It’s the water
*Environment & Health*
Radiation on the reservation
Infants and international incidents

* A “Complicated Truth” About Obama Donations
Although Barack Obama has publicly disavowed campaign donations from lobbyists, the candidate, along with his rival Hillary Clinton, has received millions of dollars in donations from special-interest groups linked to the legal, pharmaceutical and health-care industries. The Columbia Journalism Review notes that the Obama campaign did indeed take far less money from registered lobbyists — just $86,000 — through the end of December 2007 than either Clinton ($800,000) or Republican candidate John McCain ($400,000).

Hostage Situation

Venezuela’s firebrand President Hugo Chavez (at right) has been making headlines by negotiating the release of hostages held by Colombia’s long-running leftist insurgency. But critics say he’s doing more harm than good, and one former hostage said Venezuela’s armed forces shelter the rebels.

Photo: Handout

Friend of Hostages, or Friend of Hostage-Takers?

Venezuela’s firebrand President Hugo Chavez has been deeply involved in recent months in trying to resolve the long-running standoff over hundreds of hostages held by Colombian rebels. He was credited last month for gaining the release of two hostages, and he spoke last week with French President Nicolas Sarkozy about working to attain the release of more. But new criticisms against Chavez say he is doing more harm than good — and a former hostage agrees. Geologist Jorge Andres Sierra, who spent two years as a captive of the National Liberation Army, or ELN, Colombia’s second-largest leftist rebel group, said the Venezuelan government has provided safe haven to the guerillas. Sierra’s remarks were reported by the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal, as well as Spain’s EFE news agency, and published in English by the Hindustan Times.