Italy’s long campaign to redress the plunder of antiquity (a job normally left to angry mummies) will get a boost this month if an expected settlement with the Getty Museum—possessor of dozens of supposedly looted items (a couple of griffins, a really old cup, etc.)—goes through. An internal Getty review found that as many as 350 items may have come from shady dealers.
About a dozen Asian nations have teamed up to fight pirates (of the nautical—not digital—sort). But their strategy could hardly be called swashbuckling. The pact to defend Asian waters, which takes effect today, relies on “information sharing” and “capacity building.”
In their quest to produce trashy pleasures, TV execs are betting that Spanish-language telenovelas—short-running soaps with rags-to-riches heroines and lots of heaving bosoms—will translate into English. Those programs will be the mainstay of a new Fox network, My Network TV, that launches today.
The co-owner of Rhode Island’s Station nightclub goes on trial today for his role in a 2003 blaze that killed 100 guests when pyrotechnics at a Great White rock show got out of hand.
During the fall session, which convenes today, Congress hopes to vote on a new set of rules for trying Guantánamo detainees. The Supreme Court nixed the administration’s “military commission” scheme in June because it violated the Geneva Conventions and standard military court-martial procedure.
OPEC may gain a larger share of world oil markets as it considers several oily suitors today. Ecuador, which quit the consortium in 1992, could be wooed back. Bolivia, Angola, and Sudan may eventually join too.
The General Assembly convenes today, and Kofi Annan’s ambitious plan to streamline budgeting and personnel at the UN could be tied up in red tape, after a bloc of 132 developing countries, fearful of losing power, demanded more paperwork about the proposal. Major donors to the world body, led by the U.S., have threatened to cut off money if the changes don’t go through.
The U.S. hopes a new treaty at the Conference on Disarmament, which ends today, will strengthen its hand against Iran and other nuclear proliferators by banning production of weapons-grade fuel. Why that might not happen: the U.S. has ignored such issues as its own nuclear stockpiles, the weaponization of space, and guarantees that nuclear powers (like the U.S.) won’t attack nonnuclear ones (like Iran).
The IMF and the World Bank, long accused of bullying small countries, are set to give emerging and midsized economies a bit more voting clout at this meeting; China, South Korea, Mexico, and Turkey may gain at Europe’s expense.
With much of New Orleans still devastated, the refurbished Superdome—a symbol of desperation after Hurricane Katrina—is set to reopen tonight for Monday Night Football (Saints vs. Falcons).
The African Union’s peacekeeping mandate in Darfur expires today. The UN may take over the assignment … or it may not. Russia and China have been skittish about UN involvement, and Sudan has not approved the plan.
Can a planet get demoted? We’ll know this month. Pluto’s status has long been debated—it’s smaller than the moon, and bigger objects discovered since haven’t received “planet status.” A firm set of rules from the International Astronomical Union is forthcoming.
The Bush administration hands out the contract for SBInet, the high-tech element of its Secure Border Initiative, featuring unmanned drones, remote cameras, and seismic sensors. Will the multibillion-dollar setup resemble Star Wars the movie or “Star Wars” the faulty missile-defense system? Past results—crashed drones, false alarms, broken sensors—aren’t encouraging.
A federal panel that some feared would create a No Child Left Behind for higher education should have its recommendations submitted this month. Consideration of standardized testing for college students died amid controversy, but efforts to coax universities toward easily comparable performance benchmarks remain in place.