IWC Edition - May'02 (fwd)

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Date: Tue May 21 2002 - 12:03:23 EDT


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Seems some people are confused about progress within the IWC. They are
"Will there be any progress made towards the resumption of commercial
whaling?". But the Moratorium is not about a resumption of a commercial
industry it's about the restoration of a species. The Moratorium on
Commercial Whaling is the Law!

Whales are a species that live outside any one nation in waters owned
by no man. No-one can claim ownership of our great migratory cetaceans.
They are symbols of freedom and we are humble in their presence. We
want, ney we need, that freedom maintained and the Moratorium serves
that need.

The annual plenary assembly meeting of the International Whaling
Commission opened Yesterday in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture and it
will discuss the progress we humans have made and will make towards the
recovery of the species of whales so rectlessly obliterated for profit.

Twenty years have passed since the IWC created the Moratorium on
Commercial Whaling, and fourteen years have passed since Japan
suspended its commercial whaling activities and commensed it's lethal
scientific study of whales. And over the years, there have been futile
rounds of arguments pressing for the resumption of whaling. A blatent
grab for cash while the majority of nations obey the Law and abstain
for the sake of conservation and fair play.

Some people want to call killing whales 'management' and not killing
them 'prohibition'. But killing is 'consumption' and not is

Some people find it hard to believe that the Moratorium itself is a
management process and they cannot grasp the consept that it is the
most apropriate way to manage whale stocks at present and into the
forseeable future.

At the plenary session, a new formula for managing whaling resources
(RMP) will be introduced and a plan is expected to propose to expand
the number of whales Japan kills for scientific purposes.

These new formulas and plans call for the killing of whales based on a
scientific calculation. How can killing whales prevent whales from
being overfished? and how can killing whales prevent the fishing from
adversely affecting whaling resources, as some people are saying?

The introduction of the new formula while approved by the IWC needs to
have strong control and a system to monitor the whale hunt. These
measures have never been accepted by pro-whaling advocates nor has a
formula like this ever been tried on any animal species. Until then the
RPM must remain just another theory.

Science does NOT support the resumption of whaling just as whales are
Not eating all the fish.

Japan would do well to place more emphasis on honesty, compassion and
obeying the Law rather than its stance on the consumption of marine
resources and the sustainable use of whales.

Today, the oceans of the world are empty... we cannot have too many

Stay concerned.
Graham J. Clarke

This SPECIAL EDITION was made possible through the untiring news
gathering efforts of Mike & Winston <>

_____________________Meeting Starts_______________________

IWC Meeting starts under a shadow

By JUN SAITO, The Asahi Shimbun

SHIMONOSEKI, Japan, 21 May, 2002 - Predictably, anti-whaling protesters
were out in force as the International Whaling Commission (IWC) kicked
off its five-day plenary meeting here Monday.

There appeared to be scant prospect of compromise between foes of
whaling and those who support a resumption of commercial operations.

The tension was palpable as five anti-whaling nations-Brazil, Britain,
Mexico, New Zealand and the United States-staged a joint news
conference to harpoon Japanese claims that whales threaten commercial
fish stocks because they consume so much fish. The claims were labeled

During the news conference, held just prior to the start of the IWC's
annual general meeting, U.S. Rolland Schmitten, a senior member of the
U.S. delegation, stated that the decline in fish stocks was not the
result of huge appetites on the part of whales but from overfishing.

Representatives of the five said Japan's position does not have a
scientific leg to stand on. But Japan, eager to resume whaling under
certain conditions, stuck to its guns.

In a keynote address, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister
Tsutomu Takebe urged the IWC to understand what Japan calls the
"sustainable use of robust and healthy whale stocks."

Takebe said discussion of the whaling issue is evenly divided-whether
whales should be protected or consumed.

"There are people who believe that we should not take whales under any
circumstances whatsoever, even from abundant stocks," he said.

Takebe also touched on the second phase of Japan's controversial
whaling research program starting later this year. He said future
research will concentrate on learning "how the consumption of marine
resources by whales affects commercial fisheries."

Meanwhile, conflict flared as IWC nations got down to business Monday
over the revival of Iceland's membership to the organization.

Iceland quit the IWC in 1992, citing dissatisfaction over the time it
took to create a resources management system.

Iceland applied for IWC re-entry last year, but it was only permitted
observer status because it continued to voice reservations about the
1982 moratorium on commercial whaling.

After Monday's session, IWC Chairman Bo Fernholm proposed that Iceland
continue in its observer role. A majority of the participants voted for
the proposal. As a result, Iceland failed to gain full membership in
the IWC.

Copyright 2000 Asahi Shimbun. All Rights Reserved.

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____________________Iceland Out Cold______________________

Irate Iceland storms out of whale meeting in Japan

By Elaine Lies

SHIMONOSEKI, Japan, 21 May, 2002 (Reuters) - A furious Iceland stormed
out of the International Whaling Commission's annual meeting on
Tuesday, a day after the pro-whaling nation's bid for full membership
of the deeply divided body was rejected.

Stefan Asmundsson, the head of Iceland's IWC delegation, said
international law had been disregarded in the vote on its membership
bid on Monday, the first day of the commission's meeting in the former
Japanese whaling centre some 825 km (490 miles) southwest of Tokyo.

"This has gone too far. They have gone against our rights," Asmundsson
told reporters after Iceland's delegates walked out to scattered
applause from the floor.

"We can't sit here and appear to be a party to this illegal act," he
said, repeating his charge that the United States, a leader of the
anti-whaling camp and the country responsible for receiving membership
applications, had treated Iceland unfairly.

Monday's vote was a big defeat for pro-whaling nations such as Norway
and host Japan, which had hoped to take a crucial step towards gaining
a simple majority and shifting the balance of power in favour of their
campaign to end a ban on commercial hunting of the giant mammals.

Iceland first reapplied for membership in the IWC last year after
walking out a decade ago in disgust at the organisation's anti-whaling

Divisions have long run deep in the 56-year-old IWC, which pits whaling
nations against those backing environmentalists opposed to what they
see as the slaughter of endangered and intelligent mammals.

Like Japan, Iceland believes that abundant whale species are consuming
its fish stocks and should be hunted within limits.


It reapplied for membership last year but refused to sign up to the
1986 moratorium on commercial whaling, triggering hot debate and
resulting in an acrimonious vote that saw it admitted only as a non-
voting observer.

"Iceland still has reservations about the moratorium, though it has
softened its stance slightly to say it would not start whaling until a
management procedure was in place.

Asmundsson said the rejection of the membership bid by Iceland raised
questions about the IWC's future.

"Obviously, this raises doubts about the effectiveness of the IWC. What
is the point of it," he said. "After all it's a whaling organisation.
We wanted to contribute to a management system within the IWC and
that's why we wanted to be a member."

Iceland was especially angered by the fact that six other new members
had their applications speedily approved while its own was set aside as
needing "handling" by the IWC.


The pro-whaling camp suffered other several setbacks on Monday in
addition to the vote on Iceland's membership.

A vote in the afternoon on continuing to discuss the matter -- as
Norway and Japan had wanted -- failed, as did a bid by Japan to
introduce secret ballots.

Japanese officials for months had hoped to gain a simple majority in
the 48-member group, and the defeats bode ill for the pro-whaling

Japan is persisting in its push to overturn the commercial whaling
moratorium and expand its programme of research whaling begun in 1987,
and this makes achieving that dream even harder.

But a Japanese official said the organisation was now more deeply
divided than ever.

The list of IWC members has grown by six since April, with Portugal and
Mongolia signing up just ahead of the meeting which lasts until Friday.
They joined other recent members Benin, Gabon, Palau and San Marino.

Benin, Gabon and Palau and Mongolia voted for whaling, Portugal and
landlocked San Marino against.

If Iceland had become a full member, pro-whaling nations would have
gained one more vote.

Revoking the commercial whaling ban requires a three-quarters majority,
which is unlikely, but other policy changes could be made with a simple

Environmentalists have charged that Japan promises development aid to
countries that join the IWC and back its pro-whaling stance, though the
government denies the allegations.;jsessionid=

_____________________Balance Of Power_____________________

Japan outraged as whale ban stays

by Jonathan Watts - The Guardian

SHIMONOSEKI, 21 May, 2002 - Japan accused the chairman of the
international whaling commission of "deviousness" yesterday after its
attempt to shift the balance of power inside the world body ended in
rancorous failure. On a stormy opening day to the IWC meeting, the pro-
whaling lobby led by Japan and Norway was unable to get the majority it
expected, ensuring that the 17-year moratorium on commercial hunting
will stay in place for another year.

To the delight of conservationists, delegates began the annual
gathering by rejecting an application by Iceland - a pro-whaling
country - to rejoin the commission without signing up to the

The vote had been expected to be tight because the pro-whaling camp has
been swollen by the addition of four new members who are heavily
dependent on Japanese aid.

With the meeting also taking place in Shimonoseki, one of Japan's
whaling heartlands (pamphlets in a local market stall declare that
whales are "fun and delicious") the hosts were confident they could
wrest control of the IWC away from conservationists for the first time
in two decades.

But amid confusion over a protracted procedural wrangle, Iceland's bid
for membership was voted down by the surprisingly comfortable margin of
25-20. Japan's attempt to introduce secret ballots was also easily

Britain and other anti-whaling countries expressed relief that their
opponents' attempt to take over the IWC had been rebuffed.

"This is a major psychological blow to the pro-whaling nations," said
the fisheries minister, Eliot Morley.

But the nature of the victory enraged the defeated camp. Japan claimed
that at least two of its supporters had made a mistake in voting
because they had not understood the convoluted phrasing of the motion
by the Swedish chairman, Bo Fernholm.

"The chairman was devious. We had high expectations, but the other side
was so desperate to stop us that they created a deliberate
misunderstanding," said Joji Morishita, of the Japanese fisheries

Iceland said it would reassess its relationship with the commission.
"This is a terrible disappointment that I cannot express in words,"
said the Icelandic delegate, Stefan Asmundsson. "Today was a circus. To
think they would go to such lengths to keep us out defies belief.",7369,719253,00.html

_____________________Whaling!.. when?_____________________

Not sure when whaling occurs? check our WHALING CALENDAR

_______________________Icy Threats________________________

Iceland Walks Out of Whaling Summit

MARI YAMAGUCHI - Associated Press

SHIMONOSEKI, Japan (AP) - Iceland stormed out of the International
Whaling Commission meeting Tuesday and threatened to resume whale hunts
after its bid for full membership was rejected.

Monday's rejection marked the second year in a row the pro-whaling
nation's application to join the 48-nation commission was turned down.
It has had nonvoting observer status since its delegates quit an IWC
meeting 10 years ago, also to protest the commission's anti-whaling

Although not a member, Iceland has abided by the commission's worldwide
ban on commercial whaling imposed in 1986.

"It has gone too far," Iceland Whaling Commissioner Stefan Asmundsson
said of his country's rejection. "We cannot accept it. We've been
treated illegally."

Asmundsson hinted that Iceland might consider resuming commercial
whaling without IWC approval, but said his country first will review
the situation and explore its options, including joining a different
whaling organization.

"From the political point of view, it is much better to do it within
the framework of the international organization," he said. "We were
hoping to do this within the IWC."

The 56-year-old IWC is deeply divided on whaling. Pro-whaling nations
such as Japan and Norway are opposed by the United States and
Australia, among others.

If Iceland's application had been accepted, pro-whaling nations may
have gained the simple majority necessary to discuss lifting the ban.
However, the moratorium can only be lifted by a three-fourths majority,
or support by at least 36 nations.

This year's meeting is being held in a seaside city that once was the
heart of Japan's whaling business. Shimonoseki is about 515 miles
southwest of Tokyo.

Japan opened the meeting Monday by again calling for the resumption of
commercial whaling. Japan argues that whale numbers have increased
since the moratorium to the point that their prey - fish - have become

In 1987, a year after the ban, Japan began killing hundreds of whales
in annual research hunts, calling the kills unavoidable if the mammals'
feeding, aging and migration patterns are to be understood.

Although the IWC allows research hunts of some species - particularly
minke whales, opponents call Japan's program thinly disguised
commercial whaling because most of the whale meat ends up in

This year, Japan plans to catch 260 whales, including 50 sei whales - a
species untouched for 26 years, during hunts in the Northwest Pacific.

The planned catch is higher than the 246 killed there the past two
years. Japan also hunts around 400 minkes annually in the Antarctic

The United States has threatened to slap sanctions on Japan unless it
scales down its whaling program.


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______________________Altered Lives_______________________

Shimonoseki offers more than just talk

By JUN SAITO, The Asahi Shimbun

SHIMONOSEKI-Not only is this seaport hosting the annual brouhaha
between pro- and anti-whaling forces, it also offers a unique culinary
challenge: the whale dog.

Here at Kujiraya, a new fast-food joint opened just in time for the
International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting, customers can look
forward to a whale of a time.

"This is nice. I come here once a week to enjoy hotdogs and
sandwiches," said Naomi Sawauchi, 25, a local office worker who bought
a 280-yen whale dog to take out.

Kujiraya currently offers three kinds of whale products-the hotdog made
from a whale meat sausage, a whale cutlet sandwich and a whale rice

"I feel nostalgic about the products using whale meat. These are
relatively cheap and convenient," said Yukio Nakamoto, 68, as he waited
for his 300-yen whale rice burger.

Kujiraya opened April 24 in the seaside area of central Shimonoseki.
Operators acknowledge trying to take advantage of the timing of the IWC
conference and hope to make a splash with younger consumers.

On a recent day, within two hours of opening, the whale rice burger was
sold out and the other two whale products would be sold out before
day's end.

The restaurant is operated by Shimonoseki-based marine products
processor Maruko Shoji.

"Many young people haven't tried whale meat. We hope the whale sausage
hotdog, the whale cutlet sandwich and the whale rice burger will become
famous products of Shimonoseki," company official Toshiaki Okabayashi

According to Shimonoseki city officials, many people in this old
whaling town haven't given up hope the industry can be revived.

The city benefits from its involvement with the government's research
whaling programs, which city officials say have provided an economic
benefit worth 200 million yen, including revenues from whale meat sales
and other businesses including ship repair.

Shimonoseki Mayor Kiyoshi Ejima said in his speech at the opening
ceremony of the IWC plenary session, "Shimonoseki is known as the city
of whales and we hope to continue being a center of information on
whales for the rest of the world."

_____________________Balance of Power_____________________

Pro-whalers dealt early defeat at Japan meeting

SHIMONOSEKI, 21 May, 2002 - Pro-whaling nations suffered an early
defeat at the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission
which opened in Japan yesterday when the body rejected Iceland's bid
for full membership.

Iceland's reinstatement as a voting member had been seen as a crucial
step towards gaining pro-whaling nations a simple majority, shifting
the balance of power back to nations like Japan and Norway that favour
a resumption of commercial hunting.

Twenty-five anti-whaling members voted in support of a ruling by
Chairman Bo Fernholm for Iceland to remain an observer, while 20 voted
against and three abstained.

"The appeal failed and the chair's ruling stands," Fernholm said after
the vote.

A clearly angry Stefan Asmundsson, head of Iceland's delegation, told a
news conference that Iceland did not accept the vote and would make
another try in the afternoon.

"The voting that's going on is not about whaling," he said.

"I'd be lying if I said my respect for the IWC had not diminished a

A source close to the Icelandic side said he felt some members had
probably been confused by the wording of the vote, adding: "We'll go
down fighting."

Iceland had reapplied for membership last year after walking out of the
IWC a decade ago in disgust at the organisation's anti-whaling stance.

It refused to sign up to the 1986 commercial whaling moratorium,
setting off hot debate and resulting in an acrimonious vote that saw it
admitted only as a non-voting observer.

Iceland said on Sunday it still had reservations about the moratorium,
although observers had said it had softened its stance slightly to say
it would not start whaling immediately.


Divisions run deep within the 56-year-old IWC, which pits whaling
nations against those backing environmentalists who are opposed to what
they see as the slaughter of endangered and intelligent mammals.

Strong opposition came from the United States, one of the leaders of
the battle against Iceland last year, and its allies.

Anti-whaling nations opposed admission for Iceland unless ot agreed to
the moratorium, saying it would undermine the authority of the IWC.

The vote also has broader implications.

Japan is persisting in its push to overturn the commercial whaling
moratorium and expand its programme of research whaling begun in 1987.

"I hope that this meeting will encourage IWC members not to treat
whales separately and to make progress towards a plan for sustainable
use," Japan's Agriculture Minister, Tsutomu Takebe said in his opening

Outside the convention centre in Shimonoseki, a former whaling centre
some 825 km (490 miles) southwest of Tokyo. building, Greenpeace
activists staged a protest accusing Japan of vote-buying.

Dressed as officials, five activists held out ceremonial Japanese trays
laden with money as they stood under a banner that read: "Aid for aid,
not for whaling" to greet delegates arriving at the building, near a
fish market where whale meat is sold.

Dozens of police were deployed, with helicopters occasionally circling
above, and the Coast Guard sent patrol boats to the nearby Kanmon
Strait to fend off any seaborne protests.


The list of IWC members has grown by six since April, with Portugal and
Mongolia signing up just ahead of the meeting. They joined other recent
members Benin, Gabon, Palau and San Marino.

Benin, Gabon and Palau and Mongolia are expected to vote for whaling,
Portugal and landlocked San Marino against.

If Iceland had become a full member, pro-whaling nations would have
gained one more vote. Votes in recent years saw 20 against and 15 in
favour of whaling.

Revoking the commercial whaling ban requires a three-quarters majority,
which is unlikely, but other policy changes could be made with a simple

Environmentalists say Japan has promised aid to countries that join the
IWC and back its pro-whaling position, a stance the government denies.

They fear the growing numbers in the 48-member international
organisation would enable Japan to push through longstanding aims such
as secret ballots - allowing nations to vote for whaling without being

Another key issue is Japan's plans for its annual hunt.

Japan, which argues that whales decimate stocks of fish, wants to
increase sharply the number of whales killed in the northern Pacific
and add to its scientific hunting programme the 15-metre (50-foot) sei
whale, which activists say is endangered.

The meeting lasts until Friday.

__________________International Outrage___________________

Whales 1 Iceland 0

>From The Economist Global Agenda

20th May, 2002 - The annual meeting of the International Whaling
Commission is proving as ill-tempered as ever, with Iceland being
denied voting rights. This yearís meeting is being held in Japan, which
is continuing to provoke international outrage by pressing for a
resumption of commercial whaling.

Have you tried the whaleburger?

INTERNATIONAL groups are often contentious, but few succeed in raising
hackles as much as the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which
began its annual meeting on May 20th in Shimonoseki, a whaling port on
the south-western tip of Japanís main island. The meeting started with
anti-whaling members voting against Icelandís full admission to
membership, which the whale-hunting nations had hoped might provide
them with enough votes to revoke a ban on commercial whaling. This has
left the organisation more deeply divided than ever.

For now, Iceland has to continue with observer status, rather than
being allowed to team up with Japan and its main ally, Norway, in
trying to end the 1986 ban on commercial whaling. Iceland has refused
to sign up to the ban, which was introduced by the IWC in response to
concerns about the dwindling numbers of certain species of whale. Japan
argues that there are now more than enough whales to allow the
commercial hunting of some types. Moreover, Japan is also claiming that
whales need to be killed because they are eating too many fish.

_________Cultural Disregard or Short-term Economics_______

UK Head-to-head: Whaling

Monday, 20 May, 2002

With the 54th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission
(IWC) currently taking place in Japan, BBC News Online highlights both
sides of the debate on whether commercial whaling should be permitted.
Rune Frovik from the pro-whaling, High North Alliance, and Kate
O'Connell, who works for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society
(WDCS) explain their viewpoints.

Rune Frovik, High North Alliance

While fishing continues to enjoy almost universal acceptance as a means
of food production, Western urban society has decided unilaterally to
shut down whaling with complete disregard for any culture which still
practises it. Beset with environmental challenges and yet respectful of
cultural differences, the world community has thankfully embraced the
principle of sustainable.

We have agreed that the use of renewable natural resources is
acceptable provided rates of usage are within the resources' capacity
for renewal.

Yet the West's cultural imperialists would have whales exempted from
the sustainable use principle - an exemption that would, quite simply,
place them above and apart from the animal kingdom to which they
obviously belong.

For people who live close to nature, and in particular in regions where
ecosystems contain limited numbers of species, those species that do
exist often play vital roles, both nutritional and cultural, in
people's lives.

Thus, inhabitants of the Arctic will continue to harvest what nature
provides, be it seals, fish, birds ...or whales. And in the interest of
self-preservation, they will strive to do so sustainably.

Coastal whaling as practised by local communities, even when it
involves cash and (heaven forbid) profit, has proved to be sustainable
and environmentally sound.

To ensure that the oceans continue to serve as one of our most
important food reservoirs, there are many problems that must be
addressed, notably over-fishing, wasted by-catches and pollution.

But these must be addressed by improving our management in accordance
with agreed principles, not by launching destructive attacks on those
who engage in exactly what we are striving for - sustainable use -
because our cultural bias finds a particular harvest unpalatable.

True environmentalists are concerned not with appearances but with
practising the principles that they preach.

In so doing, they have either reached the conclusion, or are getting
there, that whaling should not only be continued, but should even be
increased to provide more people with a healthy and nutritious source
of protein in a way that is much more environment-friendly than eating
beef or pork.

Kate O'Connell, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

The commercial whaling industry is driven by short-term economic
incentives and has persistently abused international conservation

Violations of International Whaling Commission (IWC) rules were a
significant reason why the moratorium on commercial whaling was
implemented in the first place.

Since the supposed bans on commercial whaling and international trade
in whale meat were implemented in the 1980s, more than 20,000 whales
have been killed and more than 1,000 tonnes of smuggled whale meat
destined for Japan have been seized.

Researchers have found meat from endangered species, including sperm,
humpback and blue whales, on sale in Japanese markets, despite these
species being protected from hunting and international trade for many

The whaling industry blatantly disregards the conservation status of

Japan has expanded its so-called "scientific hunts" to include
endangered sperm and sei whales, and in the North Pacific has targeted
the J stock of minke whales, which the IWC has classified as a
Protection Stock.

In 2001, a new population estimate for the Southern Hemisphere minke
showed a dramatic decline (to 268,000) from the previously accepted
estimate of 766,000.

Yet Japan continues to kill minke whales each year in the Southern
Ocean, despite its designation by the IWC as a whale sanctuary.

Such deliberate defiance of IWC conservation mandates, coupled with
historic under-reporting of catches and the exceeding of quotas,
contribute to the WDCS belief that whaling is uncontrollable.

Research reveals that cetacean products are contaminated, despite
claims by Japan and Norway that whales are a healthy food-source for

A study commenced by independent scientists in Japan in 1999 shows that
more than half of whale products sold contain such high levels of PCBs
(polychlorinated biphenyls), DDT, and mercury that they exceed both
Japanese and international advisory limits set for human consumption.

One of the most potent arguments against whaling is its high degree of

Even today, using modern hunting techniques and equipment, the time it
takes for a whale to die after being harpooned remains unacceptably

With estimates ranging from within a few minutes to more than one hour,
many animals clearly suffer considerable pain and distress over long
periods of time.

Commercial whaling is a failed experiment, an unnecessary industry
whose time has come and gone. It has proven itself to be
uncontrollable, unhealthy, and inherently cruel.

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