WHAT'S NEW, Friday, 7 July 1989 Washington, DC
CHINA PROMISES TO BE LENIENT WITH STUDENTS WHO RETURN,
they were misled into protesting the Chinese Government's
crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, "without knowing the
truth." Moreover, the Government insists that it has not been
monitoring protesters in this country. The credibility of the
Chinese Government is not high at this point. Most students seem
to be skeptical, and some are considering applying for political
asylum. The House Subcommittee on Immigration and Refugees has
scheduled July 20 hearings on the problem
(WN 30 Jun 89).
. NASA IS AGAIN SEEKING TO WITHHOLD UNCLASSIFIED INFORMATION
from public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
Ever since the Department of Defense was granted an exemption to
FOIA requests in 1984, NASA has insisted that it too needs to
protect information subject to export controls. But two years
ago, NASA overplayed its hand in the strange case of "the samurai
shuttle." It claimed that the Japanese had used a FOIA request
to obtain complete design details of the US space shuttle "saving
them millions of dollars and years of research." An audit
revealed that the only shuttle document sent to Japan in response
to a FOIA request was a glossary of terms. The Senate Government
Affairs Committee refused to include the exemption in the current
NASA reauthorization bill, but it could come up on the floor.
3. COMPANIES ARE STILL PAYING FOR A PEEK AT COLD FUSION.
Electric has signed a cooperative research agreement with the U.
of Utah involving four GE scientists, one of whom will be located
at the University. Johnson Matthey, the London firm that supplied
the palladium cathodes, signed a letter of intent to negotiate an
agreement. The University says 65 companies have paid for the
right to review the patent applications. Perhaps they would also
be willing to pay to see the results of the helium analysis!
4. AN AMENDMENT TO RESTORE $25M TO MAGNETIC FUSION WAS PASSED
(WN 30 Jun 89). Rep. Robert
Roe (D-NJ), who introduced
the amendment, intends to work with the Senate to try to restore
the President's full request of $349M. The House Energy and Water
Appropriations Subcommittee had slashed $69M from the request.
5. 40% OF SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIALS LEAVE VIA THE REVOLVING DOOR,
going to work for the same defense contractors they have been
negotiating contracts with--but at much higher salaries. You
don't have to be Elliot Ness to spot the potential for abuse in
this system. Charles Bennett (D-FL), Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and
Les AuCoin (D-OR) have offered an amendment to the Defense
Authorization Act prohibiting major defense contractors from
hiring senior DOD officials for two years after they leave.
6. FORMER SCIENCE ADVISOR WILLIAM GRAHAM IS NOW A V-P AT JAYCOR,
a California-based defense contractor with offices in Washington.