The Behrend College collegian. (Erie, Pa.) 1993-1998, April 30, 1998, Image 8

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    Page 8- The Behrend College Collegian - Thursday, April 30, 1998
file suit
images on internet
By Greg Miller=(c) 1998, Los Ange
les Times
Cast in roles they never envi
sioned, let alone approved, many of
Hollywood’s top celebrities are in
creasingly finding that they are the
star attractions on thousands of
Internet sex sites.
Hoping to bring the curtain down
on such sites, "Melrose Place” star
Alyssa Milano is expected to file two
lawsuits Tuesday against several
online companies accused of selling
nude pictures of her and dozens of
other stars over the Internet.
The suits by the television actress
would be the first of their kind in a
simmering conflict between stars dis
mayed by their lack of control over
their online images and legions of
entrepreneurs who are raking in mil
lions of dollars by selling digitized
glimpses of celebrity skin, including
many pictures that are fakes.
The pending lawsuits accuse
companies in Los Angeles, Minnesota
and Canada of copyright, privacy and
other violations, and aim to force them
to pull the plug on their various sites.
Mitchell Kamarck, a Beverly Hills
attorney who represents Milano, said
he hopes the lawsuits also ignite a
broader attack by Hollywood against
sex sites.
“This is the tip of the iceberg,”
Kamarck said. “Celebrities are real
izing for the first time that the Net is
a dangerous force if it’s not corralled.”
But taming the Internet is always
a thorny legal issue, as Congress
learned last year when its attempt to
outlaw indecency in cyberspace was
overturned on First Amendment
It's also unclear if the Internet can
actually be corralled. After all, even
if Milano’s suits shutter a handful of
sites, there are countless others that
will go about their X-rated business
as usual, with new online peep shows
popping up every day.
“I don’t think you can stamp it
out,” said Anthony Lupo, a Washing
ton, D.C. attorney and expert on
Internet legal issues. “The law may
be in Hollywood’s favor, but there’s
enormous demand for these pictures
and it’s so easy to do.”
Typing the name of almost any
star into an Internet search engine
yields numerous skin sites. Add the
word “nude” to the query and the list
of matches becomes an avalanche.
Some of the pictures are stills
taken from movies in which the stars
have appeared nude. Others are
paparazzi shots of celebrities caught
off-guard. But many of the pictures
are outright fakes in which software
has been used to paste a star’s face on
a nude body, sometimes in sexually
graphic positions.
To those who have followed this
issue, it’s no surprise that the first law
suits are being brought by Milano, a
25-year-old actress best known for her
childhood role on the 1980 s sitcom
’Who’s the Boss.”
Her mother, Lin Milano, has led
Japan not pumped up by
self-service gas stations
By Valerie Reitman=(c) 1998, Los
Angeles Times
TOKYO When Sanae Nakano
pulled into her usual gas station the
other day, she was handed a leaflet
explaining the ABCs of filling the
tank, starting with “Park the car in an
open space.”
Nakano wasn’t pleased to learn
that her neighborhood General Oil
station in Yokohama had become one
of Japan’s self-serve-gas guinea pigs.
“I’m afraid I’ll set the place on
tire,” Nakano confided, as an atten
dant coaching virgin gas-pumpers
held the nozzle while she and her two
young children huddled around the
pump. “It’s a lot of trouble. You didn’t
have to get out of the car before.”
Though self-serve stations have
been part of the U.S. landscape for
two decades and most Americans
expected to
over nude
something of a crusade against celeb
rity sex sites, and even started a small
company called CyberTrackers that
scans the Internet on behalf of a hand
ful of clients, looking for illicit im
ages and firing off electronic warn
ings to offending sites.
Some of the Milano images are
taken from a film in which she ap
peared nude, Kamarck said, but oth
ers are fakes.
Kamarck said Milano could have
targeted any number of companies,
but selected those named in her suits
because they appear to have profited
significantly from their activities and
have ignored repeated requests to re
move pictures from their sites.
At least one defendant, John F.
Lindgren, registered owner of in Minnesota, ac
knowledged receiving complaints
from Milano, but said he ignored them
and was waiting for “something re
ally serious.”
Asked how he would respond to
a suit, Lindgren, 21, he said he would
simply take down the Milano pictures
but seek to keep running a business
that he claims is bringing in more than
$lO,OOO a month.
Other defendants including
Paul Anand of British Columbia and
Alexander Poparic of Los Angeles
could not be reached for comment.
The pending suits are expected to seek
unspecified damages.
Celebrity skin sites occupy a
small but growing comer of the vast
online adult industry, which Forrester
Research expects to surpass $lB5
million this year.
Most sites function like virtual
strip joints, charging entrance fees to
see the main attractions. Others, in
cluding one targeted in Milano’s suit,
sell CD-ROM collections of thou
sands of celebrity nude photos.
Established venues can make up
to $BO,OOO a month, according to ex
ecutives at Cybernet Ventures, a Los
Angeles company that handles credit
card transactions and age verification
for thousands of adult sites.
Some sex-site operators argue
that it’s hypocritical for celebrities to
bemoan a kind of attention they often
seem to seek by appearing nude in
films and having plastic surgery.
But the problem also confronts
celebrities who have never appeared
nude and have spent their careers cul
tivating a wholesome image, includ
ing Dawn Wells, who played the
squeaky-clean Mary Ann on the
“Gilligan’s Island” television series.
Last month, she learned of a site
that was posting a picture of the
“Gilligan’s Island" cast in which the
images of Mary Ann and Ginger were
digitally undressed. Wells’ attorney
sent an angry letter and got the pic
ture removed, but Wells said she
hardly feels victorious.
“I think it’s alarming,” Wells
said. “It just violates my rights, my
privacy. The most frightening thing
about it is that I don’t think you can
control it.”
now fill their own tanks Japanese
drivers could do so only beginning
April 1.
Despite a lot of hoopla in Japan,
however, self-serve appears to be off
to a slow start. Daunted by the high
cost of equipment conversion, exten
sive safety requirements and thin
profit-margin forecasts, only a hand
ful of stations nationwide have gone
the do-it-yourself route.
And those that have made the
switch are counting on a rather curi
ous draw to lure new customers:
shame. Most customers feel too em
barrassed to order anything less than
a full tank in return for full service.
In Japan, where gas sells for double
what it costs in the United States, that
can be a pricey proposition.
So far, there’s been little mon
etary incentive to entice drivers to
prime the pumps themselves. At least
World and Nation
Bishop who led human
By Juanita Darling=(c) 1998, Los
Angeles Times
Roman Catholic bishop who super
vised a recently published study of
human rights abuses committed here
in three decades of a U.S.-backed con
flict has been brutally murdered a
reminder of the bloody violence that
haunts this nation from its decades of
civil war.
An assailant crushed the skull of
Bishop Jose Juan Gerardi with a con
crete block as the cleric, returning
from dinner with his sister, entered his
house at 11 p.m. Sunday, church offi
cials said. The 75-year-old coordina
tor of the Guatemalan Archbishop’s
Office of Human Rights was hit 14
times on the back of the head and the
face. Nothing was stolen.
A statement released Monday by
the independent human rights office
gave the government 72 hours to clear
up the crime, because “if impunity is
allowed to extend to this case, the cost
for Guatemala will be high.”
Police have found a witness and
are looking for a suspect based on a
composite drawing. Attorney General
Hugo Perez Aguilera has called this
crime “a vile murder.”
not while full-service coddling is
available down the street for, at most,
dimes more per tank. Such a small
premium is hardly an indulgence in
an expensive country with an excel
lent public transit system, where cars
are more ornament than utility.
“They just make my windshield
squeaky clean and wash my tires so
they look brand new,” gushed Rei
Yaegashi, 25, as three attendants yell
ing “Irashaimase!” “Welcome!”
ushered him into a full-service station
in Tokyo, filled his tank, washed his
windows, dumped his ashtray and
checked his oil, transmission fluid and
battery. “I don’t think most Japanese
will want to do it themselves, espe
cially girls,” he said.
As Yaegashi pulled away, an at
tendant jumped into a busy street to
halt oncoming traffic and directed him
out of the lot all part of the full
serve routine here. Explained station
manager Yasunori Kikuchi, “I don’t
think consumers can pull in, pump gas
and leave the station without bump
ing into each other or making a mess
in a small place like this.”
Indeed, even the oil companies
that have ventured into the self-serve
business are skeptical of its viability.
Cosmo Oil, the third-largest gas sta
tion operator in Japan with 6,573 sta
tions, has opened just one self-serve
stand and plans only a dozen in the
next year. Nippon Oil, the largest with
9,700 stations, has launched just two,
including one joint venture with a
McDonald’s restaurant in Kobe. (The
idea is to entice
customers pulling out of the station
to drive directly into the adjacent
hamburger stand.)
General Oil, a joint venture be
tween Exxon Corp. and several Japa
nese companies that has 2,400 sta
tions, initially planned 20 self-serve
stations but cut back to four.
“We didn’t think the returns
would be so quick,” said Hidenobu
Fujiyama, General Oil’s managing
director, who was on hand during the
launch of the self-serve station in
Converting from full-serve to
self-serve involves a $200,000 invest
ment, he said, since Japan mandates
far more equipment than the U.S. re
quires. Devices that automatically
douse flames at the pump and detect
when diesel fuel is mistakenly
pumped into an unleaded tank are
mandatory. Video cameras must be
trained on each pump to relay images
to a monitor at the cashier stand. And
an attendant equipped to deal with
hazardous materials must be on duty
at all times.
Nevertheless, Fujiyama figures
self-serve cuts labor costs in half
and labor expenses constitute half of
total operating costs. A union repre
senting workers has complained about
possible staff reductions, although the
study is murdered
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi
Annan condemned the killing “in the
strongest terms." The United States
said it deplored the “senseless act of
violence” and called on Guatemala to
begin a full investigation. And the
Catholic Bishops’ International Policy
Committee called the murder a “ter
rible shock” and “despicable crime.”
Authorities in this crime-riven
nation have not stated a motive for this
murder. But for those who worked
with Gerardi, the reason was clear.
“This was a blow against the peace
process,” said Guatemalan human
rights activist Hellen Mack. “For them
to have killed a bishop which they
did not even dare to do during the war
shows how far (some people) are
willing to go to stop the peace pro
Gerardi initiated and directed the
Roman Catholic Church’s Historical
Memory Recovery project, a three
year study of human rights abuses
committed in the civil war that ended
with a peace agreement in December
1996. Released Friday, the 1,400-page
study, “Never Again,” compiled 6,500
interviews, many in 15 Mayan lan
It was the first attempt to docu
ment atrocities committed in the 36-
gas stations maintain they employ
mostly part-timers anyway.
Despite the savings, General Oil
sells self-serve gas in Yokohama for
78 yen, or 60 cents, per liter, only
about 2 cents less than the price of
fered by the full-serve JOMO station
down the street. So customers save
only about 60 cents on a typical 30-
liter purchase. High-octane fuel sells
for exactly the same as when the sta
tion was full-serve.
The paltry incentives prompt
about one of every five customers at
the self-serve station to complain, said
a General Oil cashier in Yokohama.
“It’s OK today because the
weather is nice,” said Yukie Seki. “But
if it’s cold or rainy and you have to
get out of your car, it’s not worth it.”
Indeed, dozens of customers said
they’d convert to self-serve if the sav
ings were greater. “I’m not motivated
to go now,” said Junichi Anzai.
But ferocious competition keeps
prices at the pump from falling, said
General Oil’s Fujiyama. Though still
expensive, gas prices have been tum
bling in the two years since Japan for
the first time began allowing imports
of oil products refined outside the
country. So supermarkets and other
non-oil companies have begun sell
ing gas too.
“If we lower the price, then oth
ers will lower the price, and it will be
difficult to catch up,” Fujiyama said.
Several gas companies say
they’re counting on luring drivers
who are too mortified to buy less than
a full tank or who don’t want to en
dure sales pitches for extra-charge
services, such as oil changes.
“Japanese customers are shy,”
Fujiyama said. “They cannot say no.”
One such customer was a 26-
year-old retail clerk who drove 20
minutes out of his way to buy $7 of
gas at the Yokohama self-serve sta
tion. At a full-serve stand, he said,
“they’ll think I have no money.” The
real reason he doesn’t fill up his tiny
car, he insisted, is because he’d drive
more if he did.
One group that’s accepting the
changes better than anticipated is
women, says Fujiyama. The gas com
pany thought of dispensing gloves to
offset concerns that women wouldn’t
want to get their hands dirty. They
rejected the idea, however, after con
cluding that using gloves worn by
other customers would be even more
of a turnoff than pumping barehanded.
But the attendants make sure the
station is kept clean, wiping down the
pumps and even the trash bins during
lulls in business.
And some, like Kumiko Takada,
who filled her Jeep Cherokee herself
for the first time, find that it’s far
easier than they thought. “Americans
do everything for their cars by them
selves, so it’s good for Japanese to
start doing it too.”
year conflict between Communist
guerrillas and the government, which
except for the last years of the war
was made up of U.S.-backed military
The church report agreed with
many scholars that although the war
began in the early 19605, it had roots
in the 1954 CIA-backed coup that
deposed democratically elected Presi
dent Jacobo Arbenz.
The rebellion was supported by
many of the poor in the Mayan high
lands. Military dictators initiated a
scorched-earth policy in the early
1980 s, killing thousands of Indian
peasants and driving thousands more
from their homes to eliminate the
rebels’ sources of supplies.
Among the legacies of this war
and similar conflicts in the region was
the creation of a huge refugee popu
lation in Southern California an
estimated 250,000 Salvadorans and
During the war, government cen
sorship prevented investigations into
more than 400 massacres committed
by insurgents, the armed forces and
private armies sympathetic to them.
Since the conflict ended, civilian
groups have increasingly demanded
accountability for human rights
in much of Africa
By Stephen Bucklcy=(c) 1998, The
Washington Post
NAIROBI, Kenya Margaret
Muthoni is a single mother with two
children. She makes $52 a month sell
ing vegetables. Rent and food alone
usually swallow her income. Her
mother pays for her children’s school
Those distressing facts have led
Muthoni to a simple decision: No
more children.
“I can’t afford another child,”
Muthoni, 31, said. “It’s difficult to
raise the two I have now. Two are
enough for me.”
Improved education among
women, urbanization and stronger
government programs have helped
reduce fertility rates in numerous Af
rican countries over the past two de
cades. Fear of child mortality also has
been an especially potent force in
compelling women to bear fewer off
spring and to have them further apart.
Yet, today, population experts say
that economic pressures have become
at least as important as health issues
in persuading Africans to have fewer
The trend signals a sea change in
how Africans think of their families.
No longer are children necessarily
thought of as a source of wealth in
and of themselves. For years, Africans
had large families no matter how poor
they were; now, those who have chil
dren they cannot afford are attacked
as irresponsible.
“A big family used to be re
spected,” said John Kekovole, a se
nior fellow with the African Popula
tion Policy Research Center. “If you
had a big family, you got prestige.
Now, if you have a lot of children and
can’t take care of them, what you get
is blame.”
Economics has played an espe
cially key role in countries such as
Kenya, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Ghana
and parts of Nigeria all nations bur
dened by stagnant or shrinking per
capita income, high inflation and in
creased costs of basic services, such
as education. In Zimbabwe, fertility
rates fell from 7.1 children per woman
of child-bearing age to 4.4 between
1985 and 1996, while the gross do
mestic product dropped from $640 per
capita in 1985 to $540 in 1995, ac
cording to the World Bank. Likewise,
here in Kenya the fertility rate
dropped from 8 to 5.4 during the
1985-1996 period as the economy
declined. Zambia’s fertility rate
dropped from 7.4 to 6.5.
In one study in Nigeria, two
thirds of those polled cited economic
abuses committed by all sides.
Currently, 25 soldiers are on trial
for a massacre at Xaman in 1995, the
first time members of the military
have been tried for mass murders
committed during the conflict.
The church report found that
200,000 people died or disappeared
during the war, a figure 60,000 higher
than previous estimates. The report
also stated that 90 percent of those
killed were unarmed civilians; 75 per
cent of the victims were Mayan Indi
ans. The guerrillas of Guatemalan
National Revolutionary Unity com
mitted 10 percent of the atrocities and
the rest were the fault of the armed
forces and armed groups that backed
them, the report found.
During most of the war, Gerardi
was bishop of Verapaz, and, later.
Quiche. Both are predominantly
Mayan provinces. He was an outspo
ken advocate of human rights, pub
licly denouncing the murders of
priests and lay workers. He was
forced into exile in Costa Rica from
1980 to 1984. He returned to Guate
mala as auxiliary bishop to the Arch
bishop of Guatemala City and
founded the human rights office.
hardship as the primary reason for
using contraception and delaying
The phenomenon has baffled
population experts. Historically, fall
ing fertility rates accompany long
term economic success, as in East
Asia and in African countries such as
Botswana and Mauritius.
“It’s really a total reversal of how
we usually think of reducing fertility
rates,” said Ayo Ajayi, regional direc
tor of the Population Council, a re
search organization.
Nevertheless, many analysts say
the trend is here to stay. Population
experts say that a drop in fertility rates
of 10 percent or more indicates what
they call an “irreversible fertility tran
sition,” meaning that fertility rates
should only continue to decline.
African families historically have
been large for traditional, political and
economic reasons.
The tremendous importance of
ancestry meant that women who could
bear few or no children suffered the
taint of moral failing unequaled in
their societies.
Africans also believed large
families led to economic strength.
Rural families needed children to help
on their farms, theoretically increas
ing crop production and improving
care of livestock. Urbanites believed
that large families could more easily
build business monopolies and gain
influence with government officials.
At the same time, politicians re
frained from promoting birth control
for fear of being accused of betray
ing African ways for the unfamiliar
and allegedly evil traditions of the
For years, Kenya was speeding
toward a population disaster. Women
bore an average of eight children, and
the population was exploding by 4
percent annually the highest rate
in the world.
Then, during the 1980 s, Kenya
slipped into what has become a
chronic economic crisis. Corruption
and government mismanagement
have brought on huge budget deficits,
leading to persistent inflation.
Drought and flooding have repeatedly
demolished crops. Foreign investment
has dropped off.
The moribund economy has
driven unemployment and underem
ployment to historic post-indepen
dence levels. Unemployment among
males ages 15 to 19 tops 60 percent.
Many of the country’s best minds
have left. Meanwhile, per capita in
come has dipped from $370 a year to