Trials and tribulations of a Rocky metropolis
Saturday 21 June 1997
The city has only just managed to squeeze them in between two of this year's biggest American legal cases: the trial of Timothy McVeigh for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing (which ended a week ago with McVeigh sentenced to death) and crucial developments that are expected imminently in a case that has all America panting for its slightest nuance.
On Christmas Eve, a six-year-old girl by the name of JonBenet Ramsey was found dead in the cellar of the family house near Boulder, Colorado, just up the road from here. JonBenet was a child beauty queen and the daughter of a former Miss America. Despite a battery of tests, no-one has been arrested. JonBenet's parents have been questioned, but not charged. A report on the test results was reportedly delivered to the police on Thursday, but details have not been released. The suspicion is that the authorities are waiting until all we G7 reporters leave Denver, lest we race up to Boulder and leave the world's leaders to consort in private. Note to Denver hoteliers: Don't worry, we'll be back for the trial.
Critics of Euro-extravagance will be delighted to learn that the only delegation not to travel to Denver by private plane was the observer delegation from the European Union - specifically, from the Netherlands, which currently holds the EU presidency. We passengers on United Airlines flight 1731 from Washington DC to Denver on Thursday afternoon were intrigued to be asked "one extra favour" as we touched down.
Would we please remain seated for "a few more minutes" because "We do have the Dutch delegation on board with their 17 secret service agents". This posed a number of questions. While rejoicing to see that the Dutch were prepared to mix it with the rest of us (up to a point - the three ministers were in first class), 17 secret servicemen for a delegation of three seemed generous. My neighbour, a Mid-Western lawyer, was more forthright. "Why did we need to know?" he asked. "We could have told someone." Indeed we could. Each row of seats was equipped with a phone and fulsome encouragement to use it. "Why not: check voice-mail/call the office/phone the kids?" it flashed before us. Note the American priorities.
Talking of the secret service, the US administration will understandably not say how many of its employees have been assigned to Denver for this weekend, but the locals guess that it is about half the country's total strength of 2,100. They claim to see them lurking everywhere, and for a quiet city like Denver with one of the lower urban crime rates in the US they are doubtless pretty obvious. The consolation is that with the Russians now on "our" side and the Chinese allegedly paying millions into President Clinton's re-election fund, leaving Washington uncovered may be a good deal less risky than it used to be.
It's strange what host cities think reporters need. The press centre at Denver has a hairdressing/barber's salon in one corner of the press hall. Even the French - who hosted last year's summit in Lyon - did not consider giving us a haircut: a little foie gras, by all means, a decent Beaujolais, of course, but not a haircut. They understood what the Americans will never understand: Europeans and Japanese would prefer not to be coiffed in the full view of their colleagues.
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Ian Watkins: Paedophile Lostprophets singer sentenced to 35 years for child sex offences, as judge labels him a 'dangerous sexual predator'
Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
Devyani Khobragade: India-US row escalates over arrest of diplomat in New York
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Ethan Couch: Texas quadruple murderer – or a victim of ‘affluenza’?
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber announces he's 'retiring from music'
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
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