Sunday, October 24, 2004

Hot Corner: Nipping at the heels of the newsmakers

Paul Hamm's gold is good

U.S. gymnast Paul Hamm gets to keep the gold medal he won in the all-around competition at the Olympic games in Athens this summer. We knew he was number one all along, but a three-judge panel on the Court of Arbitration for Sport made it official Thursday, rejecting a South Korean appeal.

Those who witnessed Hamm's breathtaking swings and flips will remember that he came from behind to win by a few hundredths of a point. Two days later officials acknowledged wrongly docking Yang Tae-young a tenth of a point, on his second-to-last routine. That would have made him the victor, assuming none of the other performances changed. The judges rightly noted that you can't change the score once the competition has moved on. It would have been like reversing the outcome of the Super Bowl because a replay showed the officials missed a pass interference call in the third quarter.

No ban on beluga

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, guardians of flora and fauna, have decided not to enforce a ban on the importation of that really expensive beluga caviar event though the agency decided six months ago that the beluga sturgeon is a species threatened with extinction.

Caviar, of course, is sturgeon eggs, and to get the eggs you have to kill the sturgeon. No more sturgeon will eventually mean no more eggs, which means some people will have to serve tuna fish on their crackers.

The fish and wildlife officials, pressured by exporters, decided to allow the imports under an "interim special rule." The U.S. gobbles up about three-fifths of the world's beluga caviar, although imports had been falling off as people lost their taste for threatened species.

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Hot Corner: Nipping at the heels of the newsmakers
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