What to watch for in the weeks ahead
Illustrations by Istvan Banyai
Vietnam, a popular option for would-be American parents, stops accepting adoption applications from the U.S. today, after the American Embassy in Hanoi reported that Vietnamese adoption agents were demanding bribes and that hospitals were selling the babies of mothers who couldn’t pay their bills.
Germany’s many nudists have long had resorts where they could relax, shop, and dine in the buff. Beginning today, they’ll be able to fly to them unencumbered: a travel agency hosts a naked flight from Erfurt, in eastern Germany, to the nudist havens on the Baltic Sea.
Back-to-back doping scandals have prompted the Tour de France to clean up its act. Before this year’s race, which begins today, riders must submit to a comprehensive blood test in an effort to expose doping. Last year’s champ, Alberto Contador, of Spain, likely won’t defend his title: his team has been banned because of past drug scandals.
Faced with falling sales, Chrysler shuts down for two weeks starting today. The company has asked all but essential staff to take vacations simultaneously and will idle its factories to cut costs.
Another bizarre Los Angeles crime saga wraps up today, as the second of two elderly women is sentenced for murdering two homeless men for insurance money. Olga Rutterschmidt and Helen Golay befriended, housed, and insured the men, then drugged and killed them in staged hit-and-runs in secluded alleys. The women reaped $2.8 million, and both now face life without parole.
Jack “Dr. Death” Kevorkian, the retired pathologist and right-to-die advocate who served eight years in prison for assisting a suicide, is running for Congress in Michigan. He needs to deliver 3,000 signatures by today’s deadline to make the ballot.
Starting today, American corporations will contend with a new set of regulators. China’s new antimonopoly law increases its ability to approve foreign mergers and acquisitions involving Chinese companies, putting its oversight power on a par with that of the EU and the U.S. This raises the concern that China will use its new powers for political ends, as critics say the U.S. does.
The focus may be the audience, not the torch, when the Summer Olympics begin tonight. Foreign dignitaries are lining up to snub the Games in order to protest China’s human-rights record and recent crackdown in Tibet. The prime minister of Poland, the president of the Czech Republic, and Prince Charles are boycotting them, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy is considering sitting them out, too.
Four men go on trial in Miami today for the murder of 24-year-old Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor last November. Taylor was shot during a botched burglary while his girlfriend and child hid in bed.
The “surge” formally ends in July, when most of the additional troops deployed to Iraq return home, but the odds of a continued drawdown look slim. General David Petraeus testified in April that Iraq is too fragile and its army too green for the U.S. to diminish its presence there.
Thomas Beatie, the expectant transgender dad of tabloid fame, is due to give birth in July. Beatie kept his below-the-belt female organs during a sex change a decade ago, thus enabling him to step in as childbearer for his wife, Nancy, who’d had a hysterectomy.