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Made in china violation { January 29 2003 }

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Quick, Form the Box Office
By Al Kamen

Wednesday, January 29, 2003; Page A19

Remember "Boxgate," the incident last week at a St. Louis warehouse in which President Bush touted small business and things made in America? And the problem was, he was standing behind a bunch of boxes that had tape over the words "Made in China"?

Seems the person who did this, said by the White House to be an "overzealous volunteer," may have committed a federal offense.

Covering up the "Made In" labels is against the law, a violation of venerable Title 19, Chapter 4, Subtitle II, Part 1, Sec. 134.11, which "requires that every article of foreign origin (or its container) imported into the United States shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly and permanently" as possible, "in such manner as to indicate to an ultimate purchaser . . . [the] name of the country of origin of the article."

Further, "any person who, with intent to conceal the information . . . defaces, destroys, removes, alters, covers, obscures, or obliterates any mark required under the provisions of this chapter shall -- (1) upon conviction for the first violation . . . be fined not more than $100,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both. . . ." A year in the slammer?

This is enforced by Customs, now part of the Department of Homeland Security. Might be a good place for Secretary Tom Ridge to start. Or wait! Is Ken Starr busy? Didn't Watergate begin with some tape on a door?

On the Whole, It Sounds Like a Net Loss
Radio Marti and its television counterpart have a well-deserved reputation for being state-of-the-art when it comes to technology. So it's no surprise that Radio Marti is announcing in a new promo that its programs are available on the Internet as well.

The promo begins with a frustrated fellow named Manolo working the dial of his squawking radio, trying to tune in to Marti.

His much more techno-astute wife, upon seeing what he's doing, tells him: "You don't need a radio anymore to listen to Radio Marti." What's more, she says, "Radio and Television Marti are also on the Internet without interference" from government jamming.

At this, Manolo gets so excited, he logs on and then we hear a loud crash as he tosses his radio out the window.

Ain't technology grand? Couple of small problems with this: First, hardly anyone in Cuba has Internet access, and most of those who do are government-approved. Also, there are, last we checked, only three Internet service providers in Cuba, all of them controlled by the commies. They can and do block the site and they can -- though maybe without the sophistication of the Chinese -- monitor who logs on.

"Although Internet usage in Cuba remains small," an International Broadcasting Bureau official said, "we believe we should be using every available technology to reach Cubans on the island." There are about 40,000 people logging on "clandestinely," the official said, citing Cuban government numbers, and "government controls are not perfect."

And maybe folks in other countries -- even in Florida -- if they are interested, would be able to log on through For now, let's hope Manolo has a friend in the radio repair business.

The Hard Cell in the Eternal City
Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, usually a hard-driven traveler, took time out last Wednesday in Rome -- before heading to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday -- to take in some of the sites in the Eternal City.

Ashcroft and his wife, Janice, accompanied by a half-dozen or so security folks plus aides and guides, were spotted touring the Coliseum early that afternoon, down among the cells where the Romans kept the Christians and the lions.

He had a 5:30 meeting with Italian Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu. There was another meeting the next morning with Justice Minister Roberto Castelli, then off to Switzerland. (Photo ops occurred at each meeting.)

Terrorists have been active in Italy. But apparently no al Qaeda cells were uncovered.

Three Bottles of Aspirin Ought to Do It
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer treated those visiting the White House Web site yesterday afternoon to a brief preview of Bush's State of the Union address. One component, he said, would be Bush's proposals to strengthen and improve the health of tens of millions of Americans, "particularly for some 30 to 40 senior citizens who do not have prescription drug coverage as part of their Medicare plan."

Shouldn't be too hard.

2003 The Washington Post Company

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