May 28, 1998

All Things Considered
(entire program)
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An index of the day's stories:

Pakistan Tests -- NPR's Michael Sullivan reports that Pakistan has disregarded the appeals of the international community and carried out nuclear weapons tests. Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced that his country today set off five underground detonations in response to the five conducted by India, its longtime rival in the region. India's Prime Minister Vajpayee says the report from Pakistan vindicates India's decision to resume testing. (4:00)

This Isn't the Cold War -- NPR's Mike Shuster reports on what is known about the nuclear weapons capability of both Pakistan and India and the possibility of nuclear deterrence in the region, now that both countries have resumed nuclear testing. Pakistan's prime minister says his country carried out five underground detonations today in response to what it viewed as the threat from India, which conducted five tests of its own two weeks ago. Pakistan also says it is capping long-range missiles, capable of striking most parts of India, with nuclear warheads. (4:00)

History of Conflict -- Noah talks with Tariq Rauf, the director of the Monterey Institute's Center for Nonproliferation Studies Project on International Organizations and Nonproliferation. They discuss the three wars between India and Pakistan, the military capabilities of each, and the history of the disputed territory of Kashmir. (4:00)

Nuclear Politics -- Commentator Jonathan Schell says that this era could be called "The Second Nuclear Age." Now that the Cold War has ended, nuclear politics have changed. He says that nuclear deterrence is a principle that requires a kind of collusion between nations concerning their possible destruction, and that the only way to keep the world free of nuclear threats is to embrace the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. Now that the era when a few great powers held nuclear weapons and denied them to other countries is over, time is running out to find a workable way to deal with nuclear weaponry and the threat it poses. (4:00)

Letters -- Linda and Noah read from listeners' comments. To contact All Things Considered, write to All Things Considered Letters, 635 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest, Washington DC, 20001. To contact us via the Internet, the address is (3:45)

Omaha Gangs and God -- At Grace Apostolic Church in North Omaha, Nebraska, many of the parishioners wear gang colors. They've been brought to the church by a street ministry aimed at filling in the gaps left by drugs, broken families, and disbanded social programs. Deborah Amos paid a visit to the church and filed this report. (20:00)

Sharif Statement -- We'll hear an excerpt of a statement made today by Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Sharif defended his country's detonation of five nuclear devices today. (1:30)

Reaction and Sanctions -- NPR's Ted Clark reports from Washington that following Pakistan's nuclear tests, President Clinton imposed economic sanctions on Pakistan as required by U.S. law -- just as he imposed sanctions on India two weeks ago, when India exploded its own nuclear devices. The Pakistani nuclear tests were deplored worldwide, but whether the United States will succeed in getting other nations to impose sanctions remains in doubt. (5:00)

Why Risk It? -- Linda talks with Zamir Akram, Pakistan's deputy chief of mission to the United States, about today's nuclear tests. (6:00)

Privilege -- Independent counsel Kenneth Starr has requested an expedited decision from the Supreme Court concerning a ruling by Judge Norma Holloway Johnson concerning executive privilege. The ruling stated that two of President Clinton's aides cannot be exempted from testifying before a grand jury about conversations they may have had with President Clinton regarding an affair that the President is alleged to have had with a former White House intern. The White House filed a motion for an appeal of Johnson's ruling; Starr today asked the Supreme Court to hear the case, skipping a step in the appeals process. (4:00)

Maine Ferry -- Noah talks with Linda Deveau, a passenger who rode on a new jet-powered ferry that crosses the Gulf of Maine. The Cat, as the new ferry is called, is the fastest car ferry in the United States. Deveau, who is from Nova Scotia, says the new ferry is extremely fast -- the old ferry took six hours to complete the run from Bar Harbor to Nova Scotia, but this ship only takes two and a half hours for the same trip. (3:45)

World Economy -- NPR's John Ydstie reports that Russian markets have stabilized after Wednesday's near 11 percent drop in share prices on the Russian Trading System. Investors seemed reassured by President Yeltsin's commitment to defend the ruble and by signs the IMF will release the next installment of its multi-billion dollar loan. However, Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs remains pessimistic about Russia's long-term prospects. (4:30)

New Planet -- NPR's David Baron says that NASA today released a picture of what may be the first planet ever seen outside our solar system. Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope found the object in the constellation Taurus. It appears to be a large planet -- 2 to 3 times the mass of Jupiter -- which has been flung into space by its parent stars. But further observations of the object will be necessary to confirm this analysis. (4:00)

Auroras and Oceans -- Reporter David Kestenbaum reports on a strange phenomenon discovered by scientists studying the Aurora Borealis. After studying satellite images taken high up in space, scientists noticed that the aurora in the Northern Hemisphere often follows coastlines. Many scientists are skeptical, and even those who say the phenomenon is real are baffled why this would happen. (4:00)

Phil Hartman -- Canadian-born comedian Phil Hartman, a former star of the popular ensemble series "Saturday Night Live" and a featured performer on the situation comedy "NewsRadio," was found dead from gunshot wounds at his estate in Encino, California today, police said. His wife, Brynn, was also found dead at the home in suburban Los Angeles. Police said it appeared she shot Hartman then killed herself as police arrived. NPR's Mandalit delBarco reports from Los Angeles. (3:30)

Spelling Bee -- Noah announces the winner of the annual Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee -- 12 year-old Jody-Anne Maxwell of Kingston, Jamaica, won this year's contest, which started yesterday in Washington, DC, with 249 contestants. The final word this year: "chiaroscurist," which is defined as an artist who works with both light and dark to create a picture. Noah then talks with Naomi Baron, Professor of Language and Foreign Studies at American University, about why English is such a difficult language to spell. She says English is a victim of multiple invading languages and dialects. (4:30)

Some stories do not link to audio files because of Internet rights issues.