New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 19, 1984, New Braunfels, Texas
Soviet official defends human rights policy
I,ONDON (AP) — Soviet official Mikhail S. Gorbachev sternly defended the Soviet Union’s human rights record, criticized unemployment in the West and told British lawmakers: "You govern your society, you leave us to govern ours.”
Gorbachev, viewed as second in comm md at the Kremlin, made his comments Tuesday in meetings with members of Parliament. Today, the fifth day of his weeklong trip to Britain, he visits the grave of Karl Marx, the father of communism, at Highgate Corneter)
in north London.
He then lunches with leaders of Britain’s opposition l-ibor Party and afterwards meets with David Owen, leader of the Social Democratic Party, and David Steel, leader of the Liberal Party.
Gorbachev told British legislators Tuesday that Moscow is ready to cut down radically on all types of armaments if the United States and its allies agree to do likewise.
The Soviet official has won plaudits from the London Times and other papers for his
affability and humor. But he reportedly bristled when pressed on Moscow’s human rights record by members of the House of Commons Select Committee at a closed-door meeting.
When legislator Norman St John Stevas, a former arts minister in Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's government, accused Moscow of attacks on religious groups, legislators said Gorbachev retorted: "When the West raises human rights, it nearly always comes down to one or two names.
You govern your society and leave us to govern ours.”
Conservative lawmaker Sir Anthony Kershaw said Gorbachev pointed to Soviet laws allowing the practice of religion by churches officially registered.
At lunch later he told his hosts he didn’t mind tough questions."Truth comes out of heated discussion,” Gorbachev said.
In an apparent reference to the strife-torn British province of Northern Ireland and near-record British unemployment, the 53-
year-old Politburo member added: "I could quote a few facts about human rights in the United Kingdom. For example, you persecute entire communities and nationalities. Again, you have got 2.3 million unemployment.”
In fact, unemployment in Britain stands at 3.2 million or 13.4 percent.
Gorbachev’s retorts brought angry editorials today in some British newspapers that support Mrs. Thatcher’s government.
Government picks Texas site for waste dump
WASHINGTON (AP) — The government today picked three sites in Texas, Nevada and Washington as standing the greatest chance of getting a backyard neighbor virtually no one wants a permanent gravesite for highly radioactive nuclear wastes, a congressional source said.
The source, who demanded anonymity, said Energy Secretary Donald Hodel told members of Congress this morning the three priority sites are:
—Deaf Smith County about 30 miles west of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle.
—The government’s Hanford nuclear reservation near Richland, Wash.
—Yucca Mountain on the western edge of Nellis Air Force Base and the Nuclear Weapons Test Site in Nevada near the California border.
The next two alternative sites, according to several congressional sources, are Davis Canyon just outside the boundary of Canvonlands National Park in southeastern Utah and Richton Dome near the town of Richton. Miss.
Following years of preliminary studies, the Energy Department was scheduled to formally announce its first formal rankings of nine sites in six states at an afternoon news conference.
But Hodel and other officials were on the phones early this morning calling governors and members of Congress from the affected states to give them advance notice.
One of those called. Rep. Trent Lott. R-Miss., said Hodel told him Richton Dome w as not in the list of top three sites but was on the top five list for the facility. where some 70,000 metric tons of atomic wastes are to be buried.
Actor LawfOrd reported ill
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Peter Lawford’s family gathered at a hospital where the British-born actor was iii serious condition in intensive care suffering from a liver disease, according to hospital authorities and a published report.
Lawford’s wife requested that no specifics be released about die 61-year-old actor’s illness, Cedars-Sinai Medical (’enter spokesman Ron Wise said Tuesday night.
Lawford was suffering from kidney and liver problems, according to the New York Daily News, which quoted an unidentified Lawford associate in today’s editions.
"The doctors said the next 24 hours will determine if he will pull through,” the newspaper quoted the associate as saying. "In addition to his liver problem, he is also suffering kidney failure.”
Lawford entered the hospital Sunday, Wise said, adding that doctors expected no immediate change in his condition.
"Peter Lawford is in serious condition.” he said in a statement. "The prognosis is uncertain at this time. His wife. Patricia, has been with him since he came into the hospital on the 16th.”
His four children had also arrived late Tuesday, Wise said.
Lawford was in the hospital several weeks ago, Wise said.
Lawford underwent surgery for a pancreatic cyst in November 1972. In January he sought treatment at the Betty Ford Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center in California, the Daily News said.
His many film roles include "The Picture of Dorian Gray” and "Ocean’s ll.” but he has made few television or film appearances in the past decade.
Economy grows slower during quarter
WASHINGTON (AP) The U.S. economy, as sluggish at yea rend as it was robust when 1984 began, is expanding at an annual rate of just 2.8 percent in the final quarter, preliminary government figures indicated today.
Growth for all of 1984 will still be very strong at about 6.7 percent the biggest gain since a similar increase in 1955 — as had been assured by the surging expansion in the first half of the year, according to the Commerce Department report.
However, in the fourth quarter alone, the economy grew at a pace little better than the 1.6 percent annual rate of the third quarter, which itself had been the slowest since 1982. The figures are for inflation-adjusted gross national product, the broadest gauge of U.S. economic activity.
Today’s report revised the third-quarter figure downward from the 1.9 percent rate estimated one month earlier.
Business expansion since mid-year has been so meager that some economists have dubbed current conditions a "growth recession" little better than the declining GNU that would mean an actual business recession.
In good news, though, the report also included an estimate that prices as measured by a GNP-linked index — were rising at a low 2.9 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, which would mean a modest 1984 increase of 3.8 percent, tile same as last year.
The figures were contained in the government’s "flash report.” estimating fourth-quarter economic activity on the basis of only partial
statistics through November and hardly any for December. The numbers, subject to later revision, are also adjusted to discount for normal seasonal variations.
Total (INP. before adjustment for inflation, is rising $52.6 billion to a record rate of $3,747 trillion tor the economy as a whole in the fourth quarter, the report estimated. After adjustment for inflation, the fourth-quarter increase would be $11.5 billion, to a rate of $1,657 trillion.
Commenting in advance of today’s report. Roger Brmner of Data Resources Inc. said growth at a pace of about ‘2.25 percent would mean "our second quarter of growth recession caused by the trade problem and the weakness from the earlier interest rate increases.” The 2.8 percent report won't be much more encouraging to analysts.
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Texas gets low rating in education
DALLAS 'AP) — For the second year m a row, Texas education programs got a low rating from Education Secretary T H. Bell, and the chairman of the State Board of Education warned that the situation won’t change rapidly.
Bell, who retired from his post 'Tuesday, issued his second annual ranking of educational programs in the 50 states.
Texas education programs were rated 39th, up from 42nd in 1982, in the number of students graduating. In 1983, 69.4 percent graduated from high school, an increase from 68.2 percent in 1982. The national average in 1983 was 73.9 percent.
The report showed that the overall percentage of students graduating from high school and scores on college entrance exams were up in 1983.
Bell, who is stepping down to return to Utah to become an education professor, said in issuing the report in Washington that the rating provides "some evidence that we’re getting the beginnings of an a< adeimc turnaround.”
Educators should not "be at all defensive about the data, he said
Of 22 states using the Scholastic Aptitude Test as a college entrance exam, Texas ranked 17th, down one place from the previous year. In 1983, the state’s average SAT score was 866, compared with 868 in 1982.
Jon Brumley, chairman of the State Board of education, warned that the state’s ranking would go up, but not quickly because of the recent education reforms.
"Seventeen out of 22 is way too low We’ve got to improve that,” Brumley said. "You can’t ever bt' satisfied with 17 out of 22. Texas kids deserve
better than that.”
Dallas school Superintendent told The Dallas Morning News he was discouraged by the report, but said he believes reforms instituted in the last session of the Texas legislature will improve the state's rankings.
"lf we follow through with the reforms contained in House Bill 72 and House Bill 246, within three to five years we will increase the standing considerably,” he said. "We just have to get through the trauma of the transition phase.”
Both reform measures are aimed at upgrading the state education system, including increasing teacher salaries and changing the formula used to allocate money to school districts.
Winston Power, superintendent of the Highland Park school district, w hich is ranked one of the best in the country, said he was not surprised by the state’s report card He said most school districts support the new reforms hoping to improve future rankings.
lied said he hoped the report will encourage states to improve their school systems. He issued his first report card in January 1983 and noted Tuesday that college entrance exam scores had risen in 31 .states this year. Those in Texas dropped two points.
Also on Tuesday, President Reagan issued a challenge to states, calling for an increase in the number of college graduates to 90 percent and an increase in entrance exam scores to match those of the 1960s.
Bell’s report indicated that Texas students would have to improve their scores by 9.2 points next year and by 55 points by 1990 to meet Reagan’s challenge.
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