The Magna Carta—signed by the King of England 700 years ago—established the rules of law that are basic to the United States and other governments all over the world. There's only one original copy in private hands, and next week it's going on sale. We hear what it will cost and how important it is to debates about civil rights, national security and Guantánamo Bay. Also, a possible compromise out of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, and "The Steroid Era" of Major League Baseball, including reaction from former team owner George W. Bush.
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As the White House, Congress and US Supreme Court debate the rights of prisoners during the so-called "war on terror," an original copy of the document that established such rights is going on sale in New York City. The Magna Carta, signed in the 13th Century by the King of England, established the right to a speedy trial by a jury of one's peers, no taxation without representation and habeas corpus—which protects against unlawful imprisonment. Seventeen original copies have survived for 700 years, and all the others are publicly owned. How important is it? How rare is it? What's the asking price? What's the relevance of a 700 year-old sheet of animal-skin vellum to the rule of law in the modern world?
Yesterday, former Senator George Mitchell said that players, managers and virtually everyone else involved in Major League Baseball for the past 20 years were responsible for what he called "The Steroid Era." President Bush, former part-owner of the Texas Rangers, said that as a fan he was troubled by the allegations, but cautioned against jumping to conclusions against individuals named. According to MSNBC, Roger Clemens, the all star most prominently mentioned by the Mitchell Report, has a standing invitation to visit the Bush White House. He built a horse shoe pit at his home in Houston for former President George H.W. Bush. We get perspectives from a radio commentator, attorney and sports historian.
"The climate in the climate conversation has changed a bit." That’s from Germany's environmental minister at the Bali conference on global warming. Yesterday, there was diplomatic bad blood between the US and Europe. Today, the head of the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change says they're "on the brink of agreement." Andrew Revkin, author of The North Pole Was Here: Puzzles and Perils at the Top of the World, covers the environment for the New York Times.
Andrew Revkin, New York Times