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web posted May 1999

Football team's 'Redskins' trademark revoked, announces PC federal panel

A three-member federal trademark panel ruled March 2 to revoke the Washington Redskins' federal trademark protection, saying the team's name may disparage American Indians or bring them into disrepute.

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board granted a petition filed by seven American Indians in September 1992 to cancel the team's trademark registrations because of a federal law that prohibits registering "disparaging" names and logos.

In its ruling, the three board members said the derogatory connotation of the word "redskins" extends to the football team's name, such that it "may be disparaging of Native Americans to a substantial composition of this group of people."

Suzan Shown Harjo, one of the petitioners, said the board's ruling sent a strong message that racial slurs should not be accepted.

"This is one of the last vestiges of overt racism right out in public in America, and it happens on a weekly basis during sports season," said Ms. Harjo, who is president of the Morning Star Institute, an American Indian advocacy group. "This is the worst name you can call Native Americans in the English language."

The board's decision strips the club and the National Football League's NFL Properties Inc. of federally protected exclusive rights for using and licensing the "redskins" name and logos for merchandising.

The Redskins said they will appeal the board's decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit here. A lawyer for the Redskins also said the ruling does not affect the team's use of its trademark.

"The club will continue to use it as a team name and license it for logos and merchandising," said Redskins attorney John Paul Reiner. "This decision affects only the registration."

The football club's registered trademarks include the team name Redskins and its logo -- an American Indian's head in profile which appears on the team's helmets.

"The Redskins believe its name honors Native Americans and has for the past 67 years," the club said in a statement March 2.

No word whether the panel would act against the Minnesota Vikings for their team name and logo.

$300 000 in Clinton campaign contributions from China...yeah, we're shocked too

A former Democratic Party fund-raiser told federal investigators last month that China's chief of military intelligence funneled $300 000 through him to back President Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign.

Johnny Chung told investigators that Gen. Ji Shengde ordered the money transferred to Chung's bank account with the specific objective of helping Clinton's campaign, according to sources familiar with his testimony.

The sources say only a portion of the money ever made it into Democratic Party coffers.

Federal law prohibits financial contributions to political campaigns from sources outside of the United States.

A spokesman for the Chinese embassy denied the allegation, insisting his government was not involved in the American election.

White House spokesman Jim Kennedy said that the administration has no knowledge about the source of Chung's donations to the Democratic Party. He declined to comment further, citing "allegations regarding intelligence matters."

"The White House is appropriately briefed on national security matters," he added. With Bill Clinton in the White House, so is China.

Citing an "ongoing investigation," Secretary of State Madeleine Albright also refused to comment on the allegations during an appearance on NBC's "Meet The Press" on April 4.

Chung, a Taiwan-born American citizen, contributed some $400 000 to various Democratic campaigns and visited the Clinton White House about 50 times.

Last year, Chung pleaded guilty to election law violations and began cooperating with the Justice Department's investigation into alleged 1996 campaign fund-raising irregularities. In December, he was sentenced to probation and community service.

Later that week the Chinese government issued a statement denying any involvement with Chung.

"The Chinese government has always opposed the interference by any country in the internal affairs of another country. China has never and never will use money to influence U.S. politics. China has never made political donations."

Buchanan charges Clinton ignores Chinese threats to Taiwan

GOP presidential hopeful Pat Buchanan accused the Clinton administration of feeding China's trade surplus rather than paying attention to "clear and ominous" signs of Chinese aggression towards Taiwan.

Buchanan, in remarks prepared for delivery at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club on March 5, a nonpartisan public affairs forum, described the president's China trade policy as a "demonstrable failure." He accused U.S. officials of turning a blind eye to human rights violations in China.

"For Americans there must always be some things still greater in the hierarchy of values than the bottom line of a balance sheet," Buchanan said. "It's time to put country before commerce and let America be America again."

"What the president ought to tell Mr. Zhu Rongji when he gets here is, 'Sir, you double-crossed us and we're gonna suspend (China's normal trade status) for one year, and we're gonna impose on you the same taxes on your goods entering our country as you impose on our goods entering yours,"' Buchanan said the night before on "Fox News Sunday."

Buchanan, in the prepared speech, also criticized fellow Republicans for "embracing a series of myths about China" in their failure to renounce Clinton's policy.

Buchanan said the United States easily could drop China as a trade partner, because less than 2 percent of its exports went to China last year. Beijing, he said, crafts its trade policies to augment state power.

He also charged that China steadily has increased the number of missiles it targets against Taiwan, boosted its forces and mock test-fired missiles at U.S. forces on Okinawa, Japan and in South Korea.

"China is now clearly preparing for another crisis to force Taiwan back to the 'embrace of the Motherland' and intends to use the threat of a missile blockade if Taiwan resists," Buchanan said.

He predicted China would put every U.S. warship and base "between the Asian coast and Guam" at risk if American forces intervene. Confrontation is avoidable, "but China is clearly preparing for it," Buchanan said.

He urged Congress to impose taxes on imports from China; suspend China's "most favored nation" status until it improves its human rights record; veto loans to China by the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank; and contest attempts to admit China into the WTO, working instead for Taiwan's admission.

China detains dissidents...yes, we're shocked as well

A South Korean airline stopped a Chinese dissident from boarding a flight to Beijing on March 5, ending his plan to return home to pay respects to his father's grave and test a blacklist of exiled activists.

Asiana Airlines representatives called Wang Xizhe to an office in Seoul's Kimpo airport and told him that Beijing authorities had banned him.

In protest, Wang unfurled a sign in Chinese and English. "The right to return home cannot be taken away!" it read in Chinese, according to exiled dissidents who spoke with Wang.

Wang is renowned in China's dissident circles, with 25 years of activism. Mindful of his influence, police in Beijing rounded up four members of a banned opposition party who knew of his plans, said the Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China, a Hong Kong-based rights group.

"They were scared I was going to meet Wang Xizhe at the airport," Gao Hongming said about six hours after police took him from his home.

Gao confirmed the detention of fellow China Democracy Party member Zha Jianguo. The Hong Kong-based Information Center identified the other two dissidents as He Depu and Sha Yuguang.

Wang left New York two days before for Beijing via Seoul. During his layover, Asiana representatives in Seoul said they checked with Chinese authorities because Wang had a "refugee travel document" issued by the U.S. government but no passport. Chinese authorities told Asiana that Wang could not enter China, said one Asiana official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

After being turned away, Wang went on to Bangkok where he vowed to continue trying to return to China.

"I think I will be arrested if I arrive in Beijing, but I am ready to face the situation," Wang told reporters in Bangkok. "I'm not afraid of that because I have already been in prison for a long time."

Wang wrote a noted anti-government petition in 1974 and spent 14 of the next 19 years in prison for his outspokenness on behalf of democracy and human rights. He sneaked out of China in 1996, after learning of the arrest of his co-author in a petition critical of government policies.

Chinese authorities refused to allow him to return in February after his father died, prompting Wang and other exiled dissidents to begin a campaign to defy Beijing's attempt to make them stateless.

China keeps a list of unwanted exiles and politically active foreigners. Most are turned away at the border, but in the past six months, at least three exiles who sneaked back into the country were arrested and jailed.

Wang had planned his return to coincide with the day when Chinese sweep the graves of their ancestors to honor them.

The grave-sweeping festival has been politically charged since anti-government protests broke out in 1976 that helped lead to the end of the Cultural Revolution. Dissidents have used the commemoration to draw attention to victims of the 1989 bloody crackdown on student-led democracy protests centered in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

Judge dismisses case in alleged plot to kill Reno

A judge dismissed a deportation case against a Palestinian accused of plotting to kill Attorney General Janet Reno, saying secret evidence against him was not convincing.

Hany Mahmoud Kiareldeen remained in federal custody on April 5 however, after the Immigration and Naturalization Service obtained an emergency stay.

Three days earlier, U.S. Immigration Judge Daniel Meisner ordered Kiareldeen released on $1 500 bail. He also granted Kiareldeen conditional permanent residency, meaning he can remain in the United States.

Meisner wrote that the evidence does not support the government's claim that Kiareldeen "has engaged in terrorist activity" or "that there exists a reason to believe he is likely to do so in the future."

The stay was granted by the Board of Immigration Appeals, which will consider his case. No date was set for a hearing.

Kiareldeen was arrested by the INS in March 1998 and accused of overstaying his student visa, which was the only formal charge against him. He has maintained his innocence.

Kiareldeen has lived in New Jersey since he left the Gaza Strip in 1990. He managed an electronics store in Passaic and lived in Bloomfield with his wife.

Summaries of secret FBI evidence given to the judge said Kiareldeen plotted to kill Reno because of her role in prosecuting the terrorists responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, that he was a suspected member of an unnamed terrorist organization and that he made a threat against Reno.

The FBI never brought any charges against him.

Kiareldeen lawyers blamed the allegations on a "disgruntled" ex-wife, Amal Mohamed. She testified against Kiareldeen last year, but refused to say whether she was an FBI source.

Clinton urges expansion of hate crime law

President Bill Clinton urged Congress on April 6 to expand the list of hate crimes covered under federal law to include cases involving sexual orientation.

"The Hate Crimes Prevention Act would be important substantively and symbolically to send a message to ourselves and to the world that we are going into the 21st century determined to preach and to practice what is right," Clinton said during a Roosevelt Room ceremony.

Clinton also directed that colleges be required to report campus hate crimes each year. The president laid-out a public-private partnership designed to educate middle school students against intolerance.

In Clinton's proposed hate crimes legislation, current law would be expanded so the Justice Department could prosecute crimes based on a person's gender, sexual orientation or disability. Only crimes based on a victim's race or religion can currently be prosecuted as hate crimes.

The death of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Wyoming last year would have fallen into the new category of federal hate crimes.

Sponsors of the expanded hate crime law hope that outrage over such highly publicized killings will fuel support for the measure this time around.

The president drew parallels to what he called the religious and ethnic persecution ongoing in Kosovo. He said the U.S. had a responsibility to try to stop the violence there, but American also "must always be working on ourselves."

"It's very humbling, I think, for those of us who think we have brought the modern world and prosperity and rationality to all of human affairs, to see what is going on in the Balkans, and to see these terrible examples of violence here in our own country," Clinton said.

"We should remember that each of us almost wakes up every day with the scales of light and darkness in our own hearts, and we've got to keep them in proper balance. And we have to be in the United States absolutely resolute about this. That's why I think this hate crimes issue is so important."

Last year the president's proposed initiative died in committee in both the House and Senate. It has been re-introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers that includes Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) and Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) and Reps. John Conyers (D-Michigan) and Connie Morella (R-Maryland).

Clinton called for more bipartisan support to pass the measure: "We're not talking about everybody agreeing with everybody else on every political issue. We're talking about whether people have a right, if they show up and work hard and obey the law and are good citizens, to pursue their lives in dignity ... without fear of being abused. And this should not be a partisan issue."

The bill is also aimed at making the federal prosecution of hate crimes easier. Current law limits prosecution to situations where the victim is targeted for engaging in certain federally protected activities, such as serving on a jury, voting or attending public school.

Clinton praised the public-private partnership outreach program for middle schoolers. The program will "talk about tolerance. Why it is a moral, as well a practical imperative."

Under the partnership, AT&T, CourtTV, Cable in the Classroom, the National Middle Schools Association and the Anti-Defamation League will work with the Departments of Justice and Education to develop curricula to combat intolerance.

Under the president's directive, the Justice and Education departments will require colleges and universities to provide specific information about hate crimes in the campus crime statistics they provide to law enforcement each year.

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