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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

Nation in Brief

Anthrax crisis eases

After days of no new anthrax cases, Washington health officials Friday called off the distribution of antibiotics to some mail employees.

The city said it would cut back on the hours of its antibiotic distribution site at D.C. General Hospital and reevaluate who should be taking the drugs.

The District’s health director Ivan C.A. Walks suggested last week the city was “on the downside” of its anthrax crisis.

Despite the optimism, the Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday that anthrax spores were found in all but one of its Montgomery County mailrooms. Anthrax tests on other facilities are still pending.

Unemployment skyrockets since Sept. 11

National unemployment jumped to 5.4 percent in October, the largest one-month rise in 21 years, according to Labor Department statistics released Friday.

More than 400,000 jobs were cut last month with manufacturing, airlines, retailers and the travel industry feeling the biggest losses.

Analysts noted that companies are struggling to recoup their losses by cutting positions, often of employees who have spent decades working at the same place.

To spur the economy, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates twice after Sept. 11, making its ninth cut this year. The move was one way government officials said they would stimulate the economy.

The House two weeks ago passed a $100 billion economic stimulus package loaded with tax cuts that many Democrats opposed. The Senate is expected to take up the bill this week.

Russian president to visit Washington

Two weeks away from a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the White House and the State Department are pushing for an agreement that would reduce each country’s stockpile of nuclear weapons.

The disarmament could be groundbreaking if it happens, cutting up to two-thirds of the American nuclear arsenal. The compromise would allow the United States to develop a missile defense system, tests for which were barred by a 1972 treaty with Moscow.

Despite a more congenial U.S.-Russia relationship after the Sept. 11 attacks, officials said they are cautious to predict a victory in whether Russia would allow missile shield tests.

“I would caution against any particular deal at any particular time,” National Security Adviser Condaleezza Rice told reporters last week.

Virginia rules in favor of cross burning

The Virginia Supreme Court on Friday ruled that cross burning is constitutional, throwing out a 50-year ban and reversing cross-burning convictions in two cases.

The steeply-divided 4-3 ruling said people have the right to symbolically communicate their ideas.

“They patriotically wave the flag or burn it in protest; they may reverently worship the cross or burn it as an expression of bigotry,” Justice Donald W. Lemons wrote in his ruling.

Dissenting Justice Leroy Hassell said the decision “invalidates a statute that for 50 years has protected our citizens from being placed in fear of bodily harm by the burning of a cross.”

One of the two overturned convictions involved a Pennsylvania man who held a 1998 Ku Klux Klan rally. In another case from Virginia Beach, two men set fire to a cross in the yard of a black neighbor after a night of drinking.
-Zeb Eckert

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