The World Almanac E-Newsletter
Volume 1, Number 12 - December 2001
What's in this issue?
November 30-December 2 -- Davis Cup Final (Australia vs. France)
National HolidaysDecember 2 -- 1st Sunday of Advent
December 7 -- Pearl Harbor Day
December 10 -- 1st day of Hanukkah
December 16 -- Eid al-Fitr (Shawwal 1)
December 25 -- Christmas Day
December 26 -- 1st day of Kwanzaa
December 31 -- New Year's Eve; First Night
December 1 -- World AIDS Day; Independence Day, Portugal; National Day, Romania
This Day in History - December
Featured Location of the Month: New York, New York
Location: Southeast New York State, on the Hudson and East rivers and New York Bay (an arm of the Atlantic Ocean); New York City is subdivided into five boroughs: Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island
Population (2000 Census): 8,008,278 (largest city in the U.S.)
Mayor: Rudolph Giuliani
December Temperatures: Normal high of 42.7° F; Normal low of 31.0° F
Colleges & Universities: Audrey Cohen College; Barnard College; Bernard M. Baruch College of the City University of New York; Brooklyn College of the City University of New York; City College of the City University of New York; the City University of New York; College of Aeronautics; College of Mount Saint Vincent; College of Staten Island of the City University of New York; Columbia University; Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art; Fashion Institute of Technology; Fordham University; Hunter College of the City University of New York; John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York; Lehman College of the City University of New York; Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus; Manhattan College; Marymount Manhattan College; Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York; the New School for Social Research; New York University; Pace University, New York City Campus; Parsons School of Design, New School University; Polytechnic University, Brooklyn Campus; Pratt Institute; Queens College of the City University of New York; Rockefeller University; Saint Francis College; Saint John’s University; Saint Joseph’s College, New York; School of Visual Arts; Touro College; Union Theological Seminary; Wagner College; Yeshiva University; York College of the City of New York
Events: Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights (December 1-31); Model Train Exhibit, Citigroup Center (December 1-31); Holiday Garden and Train Show, New York Botanical Garden (December 1-31); Presents to the Polar Bears, Central Park Zoo (December 1-23); Christmas in Richmond (December 2); Lincoln Center’s Tree-Lighting Celebration (December 3); Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square (December 3); The New York Armory Antiques Show (December 5-9); KwanzaaFest 2001 (December 7-9); Candlelight Tours, Historic Richmond Town (December 8); Lighting of the Dana Discovery Center Plaza (including a performance by the Harlem Boys Choir), Central Park (December 13); Holiday on the Hudson (featuring world and Olympic figure-skating champions), Sky Rink, Chelsea Piers (December 14); Victorian Holiday Celebration, Historic Richmond Town (December 28-30); First Night 2001, citywide (December 31); First Night-Staten Island, Staten Island Children’s Museum (December 31); Midnight Run footrace through Central Park, starting at Tavern on the Green (December 31); Times Square New Year’s Eve Celebration and Ball Drop (December 31)
Sports teams: New York Mets, New York Yankees (baseball); New York Knicks, New York Liberty (basketball); New York Giants, New York Jets (football); New York Rangers (ice hockey); New York/New Jersey MetroStars (soccer)
Places to visit: the Bronx Zoo; the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens; the Brooklyn Esplanade; Bryant Park; Carnegie Hall; Cathedral of Saint John the Divine; Central Park, including the Central Park Zoo; Chelsea Piers; Chinatown; City Hall; Coney Island; the Empire State Building; Greenwich Village; Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; Little Italy; Madison Square Garden; New York Botanical Garden (Bronx); the New York Public Library; Prospect Park; Radio City Music Hall; Rockefeller Center; Saint Patrick’s Cathedral; Shea Stadium; SoHo; South Street Seaport; the Staten Island Ferry; the Statue of Liberty; Times Square, the hub of the city’s theater district; the United Nations; Wall Street--the financial district; Yankee Stadium
Museums: the American Craft Museum; the American Museum of Natural History (with the adjacent Rose Center for Earth and Space, including the Hayden Planetarium); the American Museum of the Moving Image; the Brooklyn Children’s Museum; the Brooklyn Museum; the Cloisters; the Cooper-Hewitt Museum; the Ellis Island Museum of Immigration; the Frick Collection; the Guggenheim Museum; the International Center of Photography; the Jewish Museum; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Television and Radio; the Museum of the City of New York; the National Museum of the American Indian; the New York Transit Museum; the Studio Museum in Harlem; U.S.S. Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum; the Whitney Museum of American Art
History: The first European to visit the New York Bay area was Giovanni da Verrazano, an Italian navigator in the service of France, who landed there in 1524. Henry Hudson, whose expedition sailed under the Dutch flag, explored the Hudson River in 1609, and in 1613 Adriaen Block, also sailing for the Dutch, had to winter on Manhattan Island after his boat caught fire.
In 1624 the Dutch West India Company established the colony of New Netherland (later New York); a Dutch trading post, called New Amsterdam, was established on Manhattan’s southern tip in 1625; a permanent settlement was established the following year. During the mid-17th century, further colonization of Manhattan Island took place, and settlements were begun in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. In 1664 Peter Stuyvesant, then governor, surrendered the colony to the English. It was retaken by the Dutch a few years later but ceded to the English in 1674.
New York played an important role in events leading to the American Revolution; in 1765 the Stamp Act Congress was held in the city. After the Battle of Long Island (1776), New York was occupied by British troops until the end of the Revolution. The American Congress met in New York in 1785-90, and George Washington was inaugurated as the first U.S. president there in 1789.
The completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 opened the great markets of the west, and New York became a major center of commodity exchange, banking, marine insurance, and manufacturing. Emigrants, particularly from Germany and Ireland, began to arrive in large numbers. From the mid-19th century until well into the 20th century, the city government was under control of a Democratic party machine, known as the Tammany Society. By the late 19th century the population was swelled by emigrants from southern and eastern Europe as well as from China. Growth was enhanced by the great age of bridge construction initiated with the beautiful, wire-enlaced Brooklyn Bridge (1883). Other bridges soon followed, setting the stage for the consolidation that, in 1898, created the five-borough city. In 1904 construction of the interborough subway systems was begun.
Evidence of municipal corruption led to the abrupt resignation of Mayor Jimmy Walker and the election in 1933 of a colorful reformer, Fiorello H. La Guardia, who served three 4-year terms. In the period during and after World War II, the city received numerous black migrants, largely from the southern states. Emigration from Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean and Latin America became important by the 1950s.
The reform coalition that had backed La Guardia, including Republicans and progressives, reassembled in 1965 to elect John V. Lindsay as mayor. Lindsay won reelection in 1969, but by the time he left office, the city was in dire financial straits. The city moved to stabilize its financial situation in the mid-1970s, when special financial entities (such as the Municipal Assistance Corporation) were created in order to keep the city from defaulting on its loans. The financial picture improved in the late 1970s and ’80s, during the mayoralty of Edward I. Koch, a Democrat, who succeeded in controlling outlays for city services.
In 1989 voters elected the city's first African-American mayor, David N. Dinkins; Dinkin's term was marked by recession, heightened racial tensions, and, in 1993, the terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center, which killed six people and caused an estimated $600 million in economic losses. Dinkins lost in November to a Republican, Rudolph W. Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor. During Giuliani’s tenure, the crime rate dropped and the city enjoyed an economic revival; the mayor remained a controversial figure, however, in part because of what some New Yorkers regarded as his insensitivity to the victims of police violence.
The deadliest disaster in the city’s history began when two hijacked commercial jetliners rammed the twin towers of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. The North Tower, hit first at 8:48 AM, managed to stand for nearly an hour and three-quarters; the South Tower, struck 15 minutes later, collapsed less than an hour after the impact. Tentative official estimates of the World Trade Center death toll exceeded 4,000, including the 157 people on board the two aircraft. Among the dead were hundreds of firefighters, police, and other emergency personnel who had rushed to the scene after the North Tower was hit and were crushed in an avalanche of rubble when the South Tower fell. The catastrophe devastated the entire World Trade Center complex, damaged nearby buildings in New York’s financial district, disrupted transportation and communications services, and forced an unprecedented cessation of stock trading for the remainder of the week. Under Giuliani’s leadership and with the aid of state and federal governments, the city immediately undertook the difficult task of clearing the wreckage and restoring access to Lower Manhattan.
With agonizing memories of the deadly terrorist assault still fresh in people’s minds, fears of bioterrorism spread across the U.S., and surfaced in many countries elsewhere in the world as well. It seemed apparent that anthrax was being wielded as a weapon of bioterror, although no evidence had yet surfaced clearly linking the spate of cases to the incidents of September 11. A number of anthrax-tainted letters were sent to various government agencies and media organizations, including NBC, ABC, CBS, and the New York Post newspaper in New York City. As of mid-November, there were a total of 8 confirmed anthrax cases in New York City--1 inhalation (in which the person died) and 7 cutaneous (skin)--and the source of the letters was still not known.
On Nov. 6, 2001, Republican candidate Michael Bloomberg defeated Democrat Mark Green in a close mayoral election. Bloomberg reportedly spent $50 million (of his own money) to finance his campaign, compared to Green’s $12 million.
Birthplace of: Alan Alda (1936); Woody Allen (1935); Fiona Apple (1977); Patricia Arquette (1968); Rosanna Arquette (1959); Bea Arthur (1923); Armand Assante (1949); Hank Azaria (1964); Lauren Bacall (1924); Joan Baez (1941); Scott Baio (1961); Anne Bancroft (1931); Ellen Barkin (1955); Angela Bassett (1958); Harry Belafonte (1927); Pat Benatar (1953); Peter Benchley (1940); Tony Bennett (1926); Milton Berle (1908); Joey Bishop (1918); Yasmine Bleeth (1968); Mary J. Blige (1971); Steven Bochco (1943); Barbara Boxer (1940); Lorraine Bracco (1955); Jimmy Breslin (1930); Matthew Broderick (1962); Mel Brooks (1926); Dr. Joyce Brothers (1928); William F. Buckley Jr. (1925); Steve Buscemi (1957); Red Buttons (1919); James Caan (1939); George Carlin (1937); Diahann Carroll (1935); Lisa Nicole Carson (1969); David Cassidy (1950); Stockard Channing (1944); Chevy Chase (1943); Mary Higgins Clark (1931); Sean “Puffy” Combs (1969); Robin Cook (1940); Bob Costas (1952); Macaulay Culkin (1980); Mario Cuomo (1932); Tony Curtis (1925); Claire Danes (1979); Tony Danza (1951); Larry David (1947); Gray Davis (1942); Dom DeLuise (1933); Robert De Niro (1943); Alan Dershowitz (1938); Neil Diamond (1941); E. L. Doctorow (1931); Robert Downey Jr. (1965); Fran Drescher (1957); Richard Dreyfuss (1947); David Duchovny (1960); Patty Duke (1946); Jakob Dylan (1969); Michael Eisner (1942); Hector Elizondo (1936); Chris Elliott (1960); Nora Ephron (1941); Emilio Estevez (1962); Edie Falco (1965?); Peter Falk (1927); Louis Farrakhan (1933); Jane Fonda (1937); Peter Fonda (1940); Jodie Foster (1962); Milton Friedman (1912); Art Garfunkel (1941); Sarah Michelle Gellar (1977); Estelle Getty (1924); Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933); Rudolph Giuliani (1944); Whoopi Goldberg (1949); Cuba Gooding Jr. (1968); Eydie Gorme (1932); Louis Gossett Jr. (1936); Elliott Gould (1938); Stephen Jay Gould (1941); Alan Greenspan (1926); Jennifer Grey (1960); Melanie Griffith (1957); Arlo Guthrie (1947); Steve Guttenberg (1958); Buddy Hackett (1924); David Halberstam (1934); Gregory Hines (1946); Judd Hirsch (1935); Alice Hoffman (1952); Richard Holbrooke (1941); Lena Horne (1917); Billy Joel (1949); Erica Jong (1942); Michael Jordan (1963); Donna Karan (1948); Harvey Keitel (1939); Larry King (1933); Calvin Klein (1942); Diane Lane (1963); Estee Lauder (1908); Matt Lauer (1957); Ralph Lauren (1939); Steve Lawrence (1935); Madeleine L’Engle (1918); Tea Leoni (1966); Lil’ Kim (1975); Lucy Liu (1967); L. L. Cool J (1968); Nia Long (1970); Jennifer Lopez (1970); Julia Louis-Dreyfus (1961); Barry Manilow (1946); Garry Marshall (1934); Penny Marshall (1943); Frank McCourt (1930); Alice McDermot (1953); Michael McKean (1947); Anne Meara (1929); Debra Messing (1968); Alyssa Milano (1972); Arthur Miller (1915); Moby (1965); Mary Tyler Moore (1936); Robert S. Mueller III (1944); Eddie Murphy (1961); Jerry Orbach (1935); Tony Orlando (1944); Al Pacino (1940); Rosie Perez (1964); Elizabeth Perkins (1960); Rhea Perlman (1948); Regis Philbin (1934); Chaim Potok (1929); Colin Powell (1937); Priscilla Presley (1946); Anthony Principi (1944); Nancy Reagan (1923); Christopher Reeve (1952); Carl Reiner (1922); Rob Reiner (1945); Paul Reiser (1957); Leah Remini (1970); Ving Rhames (1961); Busta Rhymes (1972); Don Rickles (1926); Geraldo Rivera (1943); Joan Rivers (1937); Ray Romano (1957); Mickey Rooney (1920); William Safire (1929); J. D. Salinger (1919); Adam Sandler (1966); Isabel Sanford (1917); Susan Sarandon (1946); Rick Schroder (1970); Charles Schumer (1950); David Schwimmer (1967); Annabella Sciorra (1964); Martin Scorsese (1942); Jerry Seinfeld (1954); Al Sharpton (1954); Ally Sheedy (1962); Brooke Shields (1965); Neil Simon (1927); Christian Slater (1969); Jimmy Smits (1955); Susan Sontag (1933); Paul Sorvino (1939); Mickey Spillane (1918); Sylvester Stallone (1946); Jean Stapleton (1923); Danielle Steel (1947); Howard Stern (1954); Jon Stewart (1962); Julia Stiles (1981); Ben Stiller (1965); Jerry Stiller (1927); Oliver Stone (1946); Barbra Streisand (1942); George Tenet (1953); Marisa Tomei (1964); Donald Trump (1946); John Turturro (1957); Luther Vandross (1951); Abe Vigoda (1921); Christopher Walken (1943); Damon Wayons (1960); Keenen Ivory Wayons (1958); Sigourney Weaver (1949); Christine Todd Whitman (1946); Billy Dee Williams (1937); Vanessa Williams (1963); Henry Winkler (1945); Herman Wouk (1915)
Obituaries in November 2001
Ash, Mary Kay, 83, creator, in 1963, of the Mary Kay cosmetics company, which grew into the largest direct marketer of skin-care products in the U.S.; Dallas, TX, Nov. 22, 2001.
Boland, Edward P., 90, Democratic congressman from Massachusetts (1953-89) linked to the 1980s Boland Amendment, which sought to curtail funding aimed at overthrowing the leftist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua; Springfield, MA, Nov. 4, 2001.
Bosch, Juan, 92, Dominican writer and academic who was a long-term leader of the Dominican political opposition and in the early 1960s served briefly as his nation's first freely elected president in 38 years; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Nov. 1, 2001.
Flanagan, Tommy, 71, jazz pianist noted both for his work as an accompanist and, more recently, as leader of a trio that made a number of acclaimed recordings; New York, NY, Nov. 16, 2001.
Granz, Norman, 83, U.S. jazz impresario and record producer who brought jazz into the concert hall, helped integrate jazz audiences, and recorded most of the giants of jazz on Verve and other labels, beginning in 1955; Geneva, Switzerland, Nov. 22.
Kesey, Ken, 66, author whose first and best-known novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962), helped define the psychedelic era; Eugene, OR, Nov. 10, 2001.
Harrison, George, 58, lead guitarist of the 1960s British rock group the Beatles, the most popular group in rock music history; Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 29, 2001.
Knowles, John, 75, U.S. author best known for his 1959 coming-of-age novel "A Separate Peace," made into a 1972 film; suburban Fort Lauderdale, FL, Nov. 29, 2001.
Leone, Giovanni, 93, Italian president, 1971-78, whose presidency ended slightly prematurely because of a bribery scandal involving the U.S.'s Lockheed Aircraft Corp.; near Rome, Italy, Nov. 9, 2001.
McKay, Gardner, 69, star of U.S. television's "Adventures in Paradise" action series (1959-62) who quit acting to become a writer, playwright, sculptor and world traveler; Honolulu, HI, Nov. 21, 2001.
Pusey, Nathan M., 94, president of Harvard University, 1953-71, who stood up to McCarthyism in the 1950s but was a casualty of student unrest during the Vietnam War; New York, NY, Nov. 14, 2001.
Williams Jr., Harrison A., 81, Democratic senator from New Jersey, 1959-82, who was a casualty of the Abscam bribery scandal that came to light in 1980; Denville, NJ, Nov. 17, 2001.
Special Feature: Remembering Pearl Harbor
By David Faris
Japan, almost wholly dependent on these imports, redoubled its efforts to gain strategic resources through conquest in the Pacific. Negotiations between the U.S. and Japan became increasingly tense with the accession of the vehemently anti-American General Hideki Tojo to the premiership in October 1941. The U.S. demanded that Japan withdraw from China, Indochina, and other conquests, but Japan refused. Even as negotiations continued through the secret Nov. 29, 1941 deadline for a settlement, Tojo and his military advisors devised a plan to destroy the U.S. Navy in a sneak air attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It was believed that such a strike would render the U.S. powerless to check Japanese aggression in the Pacific, making a settlement favorable to Japan the only option. On November 26, three days before negotiations were officially broken off, 6 aircraft carriers and 27 other ships commanded by the plan's mastermind, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, departed Japan under strict radio silence.
On the morning of December 7, 1941, 360 aircraft were launched from the carriers 275 miles off Pearl Harbor. The U.S. had made no preparations against such an attack, despite intelligence reports (admittedly vague and uncertain) the month before that a surprise attack somewhere in the Pacific was a possibility. Radar operators on Oahu detected the planes shortly after 7 a.m., but the assault formation was mistaken for a scheduled flight of B-17 bombers. U.S. radio operators on the mainland had broken the Japanese encryption code several hours earlier, learning of an imminent attack, but receipt of the message was delayed until it was far too late. (A common conspiracy theory holds that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew of the attack and let it happen so the American public would push for war; more generally, it was agreed that military commanders at Pearl Harbor showed a lack of judgment in failing to prepare for it and that all concerned had underestimated Japan’s capabilities.) The first wave struck at 7:55 a.m. local time, the strikers began unloading their bombs, and the damage was horrific. Two battleships, the Arizona and the Oklahoma, were soon destroyed, and six others were badly crippled. Once it became clear that the island was under attack, defense forces scrambled to fight back. But the Japanese were able to destroy almost all U.S. fighter aircraft before they could get off the ground. Anti-aircraft guns and a handful of fighters managed to bring down between 30 to 60 Japanese planes, but they were no matches for the overwhelming force of the attackers.
The carnage was particularly gruesome on board the ships anchored in Pearl Harbor. About half of the approximately 2,300 Americans killed that day were aboard the Arizona, which sunk with devastating speed when its ammunition supply was blown up. Altogether, 18 ships were sunk or badly damaged, and 200 aircraft were destroyed, but the Japanese knew almost immediately that the attack had not truly been a success. By chance, the U.S. Pacific Fleet's three aircraft carriers, the Lexington, Enterprise, and Saratoga, were out of port and escaped any damage. Along with the battleships, they had been the primary targets. Because they survived, so did the U.S. capability to project its power deep into the Pacific.
On December 8, President Roosevelt made his unforgettable speech. "Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan," the president told the nation. He also asked Congress to declare war on Japan, which it did the next day, almost unanimously. Jeannette Rankin, a Republican representative from Montana and an avowed pacifist, who had also voted against U.S. entry into World War I in 1917, cast the one dissenting vote. The U.S. quickly became embroiled in the Second World War, in the Pacific against Japan and in Europe against Germany and Italy. After a series of initial setbacks in the Pacific, the U.S. prevailed, ultimately ending the war, in 1945, with the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Pearl Harbor continues to fascinate people around the globe. The attack will long be remembered as a turning point in history. Every year, thousands of tourists visit the site of the battle, including the monument over the watery grave of the Arizona and its fallen sailors www.arizonamemorial.org/memorial.html. For more information about Pearl Harbor, visit National Geographic at plasma.nationalgeographic.com/pearlharbor or ABC News at abcnews.go.com/sections/ us/ DailyNews/ pearlharbor_intro.html
SCIENCE IN THE NEWS
By Peter Falcier
Scientists Attempt to Create Human Clone
Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) claimed on November 25, 2001, that it had created the first human embryos ever produced by cloning. Out of 71 eggs that had had their own genetic material replaced with that of adult cells, three early embryos grew a few hours before dying. Two eggs each got to the four-cell stage, and one reached "at least" six cells, reported ACT. Twenty-two eggs that were chemically stimulated to grow into embryos with their own genetic material lived as long as 5 days, at which point they consisted of 100 cells. But those cell clusters did not have the eagerly sought stem cells that scientists had hoped to harvest, and those, too, died. The researchers hope to create early-stage embryos from which they can gather stem cells that will grow into any kind of cell in the body, and use them to treat people with conditions such as diabetes, brain or nerve damage, heart failure, and other disorders of tissues. ACT's announcement prompted widespread criticism, with some voicing concern that the technique could lead to cloning of a human being.
Sweating Fights Off Germs
Exercise is good for you, not only for the reasons you might think. Breaking a sweat can help keep your body healthy by fighting off bacteria. As reported in the October 2001 issue of Nature Immunology -- Doctor Birgit Schittek and other researchers in Germany, found that the body's sweat glands make, along with sweat, a protein the researchers called dermicidin. "Dermicidin can probably limit an infection very early," Schittek told Reuters Health. "Sweating is in this way a first line of defense against infectious agents. This is the first antimicrobial (agent) found which is produced by cells in the human skin and which is permanently produced--this means that it provides a constant protection against invading microorganisms." Schittek and her team found that dermicidin fended off many types of bacteria, including Escherichia coli (E. coli) and E. faecalis, two bacteria normally present in the gut, but that also infect wounds or contaminate food. Dermicidin also fought Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that often causes skin infections, and Candida albicans, a fungus that also causes infections.
Global Warming Changes Mosquito
One type of tiny mosquito that lives in smelly pitcher plants seems to be evolving due to the pressures of global warming. William Bradshaw reports in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that changes in the length of the pitcher plant's growing season are affecting two types of pitcher plant mosquitoes; one type tends to develop and reproduce early in the growing season, while the other grows and breeds later. As a result of global warming, more of the second type of mosquito is being born, allowing "those mosquitoes to dominate others," Bradshaw wrote. If one type of mosquito dominates the other population, their genes, can overwhelm the first type, causing genetic changes, Bradshaw reported, in as little as five years. Pitcher plant mosquitoes don't have much to do with humans, but changes such as this could eventually affect species that do.
Comet LINEAR should be visible by the naked eye sometime in December. Its peak brightness was projected for December 7. On that night, LINEAR should be visible just a couple of degrees west of the star Deneb Kaitos (in Beta Ceti).
On December 14, much of North and Central America should witness the partial phases of an eclipse of the Sun. The eclipse is annular, meaning the Moon's disk appears slightly smaller than the Sun's, and a ring of brilliant sunlight remains visible to observers who see the Moon passing directly in front. The centerline for visibility falls primarily across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean, touching land only in Costa Rica and Nicaragua just prior to sunset. Most of southern Canada and all of the U.S., with the exception of northeastern New England and northern Alaska, will see the partial phases of this eclipse. In the East the eclipse occurs at, or just prior to, sunset; in the West it is a late-afternoon event. See www.skypub.com/ sights/ images20001/ 0112annualar_big.jpg for a map of projected eclipse times and coverage at given locations.
The Geminid meteor showers are scheduled to peak in a moonless sky the night of December 13-14. Under ideal conditions, as many as 75 slow, graceful Geminids might be seen per hour; they tend to be bright and yellowish. Viewers can watch for the first shooting stars around 10PM local time, because the shower's radiant (near Castor)--the place in the sky from which the meteors appear to emanate--is already fairly high in the sky by then. Remember to bundle up if you live in the Northern Hemisphere!
Chronology -- Events of November 2001
Microsoft, U.S. Reach Tentative Agreement--The Microsoft Corp. and the U.S. Justice Dept. worked out a tentative settlement Nov. 2 of their antitrust controversy. Microsoft agreed not to restrict makers of personal computers from installing software it did not make. The company also agreed to share technical information with rivals. And was barred from retaliating against manufacturers who created competing software. On Nov. 6, 9 states and the District of Columbia said they would continue their antitrust suit; 9 other states went along with the new agreement, which required court approval.
Unemployment at 5-Year High; Recession Declared--On Nov. 2, the Labor Dept. reported that unemployment in October had jumped to 5.4%, the highest in 5 years. On Nov. 26 a panel of noted economists, the National Bureau of Economic Research, declared that the country was officially in recession and had been since March. The average period of a recession since WWII has been 11 months.
U.S. Seeks to Disrupt Financing of Terrorists--The Bush administration said Nov. 2 that the assets of 22 groups on its list of terrorist organizations would be subject to seizure. Under an executive order, foreign banks that did not cooperate in the effort could face sanctions. The list of groups included names familiar from the Mideast struggle--Hizballah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. U.S. and European authorities Nov. 7 raided businesses linked to Al Taqwa and Al Barakaat, organizations that the United States alleged funneled moneys to the Al Qaeda terrorist operation.
Addressing the UN General Assembly Nov. 10 in New York City, Pres. George W. Bush said that every member country had an obligation to cut off any financing of terrorism and to share intelligence information. Bush said Nov. 10 that a $1 billion U.S. aid package would go to Pakistan for its support in the current conflict.
Bush, Nov. 13, signed an order that would allow special, closed-door military tribunals to try persons accused of terrorism. In Spain Nov. 18, 8 men were charged with engaging in terrorism-related crimes. The United States sought the extradition of the men but ran into resistance from the Spanish government, which opposed the death penalty or the use of military tribunals to try suspected terrorists.
Democrats Pick Up 2 Governorships; New York Elects GOP Mayor--Scattered elections on Nov. 6 provided gains for the Democrats, who took away 2 governorships from the Republicans. In New Jersey, Woodbridge Mayor James McGreevey (D) defeated former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler (R), 56% to 42%. In Virginia, Mark Warner, a venture capitalist, defeated his GOP opponent, former state Atty. Gen. Mark Earley.
Running as a Republican, billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg won the mayoralty in heavily Democratic New York, to succeed another Republican, Rudolph Giuliani. Giuliani, whose popularity had skyrocketed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, ultimately endorsed Bloomberg, who spent an estimated $40 million or more of his own money on the campaign. Bloomberg defeated the survivor of a bruising Democratic primary campaign, Public Advocate Mark Green, 52% to 47%.
Elsewhere, however, Democrats did well in mayoral races. Democrats who were reelected included Thomas Menino (Boston), Charles Luken (Cincinnati), and Tom Murphy (Pittsburgh). Newly elected Democrats included Shirley Clarke Franklin (Atlanta), Jane Campbell (Cleveland), and Kwame Kilpatrick (Detroit). In a runoff election in Miami Nov. 13, Manny Diaz, a Cuban--American lawyer, defeated former Mayor Maurice Ferrer, an independent..
Airliner Crashes in New York City, Killing 265--An American Airlines plane crashed in the New York City borough of Queens Nov. 12, just minutes after taking off from John F. Kennedy International Airport. All 260 aboard Flight 587, bound for the Dominican Republic, were killed. The Airbus A300 plunged into the neighborhood of Belle Harbor on the Rockaway Peninsula; about a dozen homes were destroyed, and 5 people were killed on the ground. The crash occurred just 2 months after the terrorist attacks, but no evidence pointed to foul play.
Congress Toughens Airport Security--On Nov. 19, Pres. George W. Bush signed a bill that would change the way baggage was inspected at airports, in the face of heightened security concerns following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks launched on 4 commercial airliners. The House Nov. 1 had voted, 286-139, for a Democrat--sponsored bill that would increase federal oversight over security measures taken at airports; it differed from a version approved unanimously by the Senate on Oct. 11, which required in addition that the inspectors be federal employees. Under current law the airlines contracted the screening of luggage to private companies, who won their contracts by bidding low and who paid their employees low wages. Although Republican leaders, including Bush, opposed the creation of a federal security force, a Senate-House conference committee, Nov. 15, agreed, as part of the new changes, to federalizing workers to screen baggage for at least 3 years.
Anthrax Mystery Deepens as 5th Victim Dies--The mystery of who was mailing lethal anthrax spores through the U.S. mail remained unsolved as a 5th fatality occurred Nov. 21; she was Ottilie Lundgren, a 94-year-old widow who lived quietly in Oxford, CT, population 9,800. Authorities could offer no explanation as to how she had become exposed
As of Nov. 1, 4 of 10 suffering from pulmonary anthrax had died, and 6 nonfatal cases of cutaneous anthrax had been reported. In all, as of Nov. 1, 19 sites in the Washington, DC, area had tested positive for the anthrax bacteria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Nov. 1 that 2 anthrax letters had been mailed about Sept. 18 and one about Oct. 9. The first letters, according to the CDC, contained a brown granular substance, while the Oct. 9 letter contained a white powder that could more easily float into a person’s nostrils and then the lungs. James Caruso of the FBI told a Senate subcommittee Nov. 6 that little headway had been made in solving the anthrax mystery. FBI scientists confirmed Nov. 19 that a letter sent to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D, VT) contained anthrax. It was discovered on Nov. 16 in a batch of unopened mail sent to the Capitol and appeared to have the same handwriting found on an anthrax--laced letter sent out the same day (Oct. 9) to Sen. Tom Daschle (D, SD).
Persons Held After Terrorist Attack Top 1,200--As of late November, more than 1,200 individuals had been detained in the United States following the September terrorist attacks, and 652 were still in custody. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft announced Nov. 27 that the people still held were primarily of Middle Eastern descent and in most cases were being detained on immigration violations, including overstaying their visas. Ashcroft, under pressure from civil libertarians and senators such as Russell Feingold (D, WI) and Patrick Leahy (D, VT), released the identities of 93 of the 104 persons charged with federal crimes. He also released nationalities and charges against the other 548 people, but not the names. Senior Justice Dept. officials conceded on Nov. 29 that only about 2 dozen of those detained were suspected of having links to al-Qaeda.INTERNATIONAL
Off Center Stage, Israeli-Palestinian Fight Goes On--With international attention focused elsewhere, Israeli-Palestinian violence added to the death toll on both sides. Prime Min. Tony Blair met separately Nov. 1 with Prime Min. Ariel Sharon of Israel and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, urging Sharon to withdraw troops from Palestinian cities. The Israelis pulled out of 2 Palestinian cities Nov. 5 and 7. Sharon said Nov. 5 that the Israelis had killed 79 Palestinians and arrested 85 during their occupation. Firing missiles at a van from the air, the Israelis, Nov. 23, killed Mahmoud Abu Hanoud, a top Hamas leader of Hamas whom Israelis said had planned 1997 suicide bombings that killed 21.
U.S. Planes, Rebel Fighters Gain in Afghanistan--The Islamic fundamentalist Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which had sheltered terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda organization, appeared on the verge of collapse, under pressure of U.S. bombs and attacks by the rebel army of the Northern Alliance. Bin Laden’s whereabouts remained unknown. From a tape given to it, the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television network played a message from Bin Laden Nov. 3 in which he called the U.S.-led attack a war against Islam.
After nearly a month of aerial pounding, U.S. planes Nov. 4 began dropping so-called Daisy Cutter bombs on Taliban positions; the fuel-air explosion bombs could kill everything within hundreds of yards. The Pentagon Nov. 5 reported a step-up in the bombing of caves and tunnels used by the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld said Nov. 6 that 31 U.S. commandos had been injured in an Oct. 19 raid in southern Afghanistan. Via satellite, Nov. 6, Pres. George W. Bush spoke to a 17-nation antiterrorist summit in Warsaw, Poland; for the first time he said Bin Laden was trying to get chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. At the White House, Bush met with Pres. Jacques Chirac of France (Nov. 6) and Prime Min. Tony Blair of Britain (Nov. 7).
The Northern Alliance, which had held less than 10% of Afghanistan, reported Nov. 6 and 7 capturing several districts on the road to Mazar-i-Sharif, a key crossroads. That city fell to the rebels Nov. 9. The Alliance reported the capture of other northern cities Nov. 10 and 11. On Nov. 11, Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar reportedly ordered his forces to pull out of the capital, Kabul, and move south toward the Taliban heartland. The withdrawal was underway Nov. 12. At the urging of the U.S. and other nations, the Northern Alliance initially refrained from entering Kabul. But the Alliance forces rolled into the city Nov. 13, to be greeted enthusiastically by the population, which had been subjected to severe restrictions under Taliban rule..
Eight foreign aid workers, including 2 American women, were rescued from southern Afghanistan by U.S. military helicopters Nov. 14, 3 months after the Taliban regime had charged them with preaching Christianity.
American officials said Nov. 15 that U.S. commandos were on the ground in southern Afghanistan, carrying out covert operations behind Taliban lines and searching for Al Qaeda leaders. By Nov. 15 it appeared that 80% of Afghanistan was in control of the Alliance and other anti-Taliban forces. On Nov. 15, more than 150 American and British special-force troops landed north of Kabul with the objectives of maintaining order in liberated areas and of making sure that humanitarian aid reached the people.
U.S. officials said Nov. 16 that a bomb had killed Muhammad Atef, one of Bin Laden’s oldest and closest strategists. Under direct U.S. pressure, Alliance leaders agreed Nov. 19 to support establishment of a broad-based government in the capital. Four journalists were seized and shot to death Nov. 19 by armed gunmen as they traveled between Kabul and Jalalabad.
Alliance commanders said Nov. 25 that they had captured the northern city of Kunduz and that some Taliban fighters had escaped and fled west. At a prison outside Mazar-i-Sharif, hundreds of Taliban captives revolted Nov. 25, overpowered their guards, and put up a fierce fight. U.S. planes bombed the prison. The Pentagon said Nov. 26 that 5 Americans had been injured near the prison when a bomb from exploded close to them; one CIA operative was later reported dead. Alliance soldiers claimed Nov. 27 that the revolt had been crushed, with most of the 400 prisoners killed.
Hundreds of U.S. Marines Nov. 25 landed near Kandahar, the Taliban political base, and secured an airfield. U.S. planes Nov. 27 bombed a Taliban compound southeast of Kandahar that Sec. of State Donald Rumsfeld said was "clearly a leadership area."
In Bonn, Germany, Nov. 27, representatives of 4 Afghan factions began talks on establishing an interim government.
Nicaraguan Leftist Fails in Comeback Bid--Former Pres. Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua failed in his bid Nov. 5 to reclaim the presidency. He lost, 54% to 45%, to Enrique Bolanos, a wealthy businessman once jailed by Ortega’s Sandinista government, who had served as vice president from 1997 to 2000. Ortega had run a Marxist-oriented government from 1979 to 1990.
Australian Prime Minister Wins Another Term--The ruling Liberal Party of Australian Prime Minister John Howard retained power in parliamentary elections Nov. 10. The Liberals and their junior partner, the National Party, prevailed over the Labor Party led by Kim Beazley.
Bush, Putin Agree to Reduce Nuclear Stockpiles--Pres. Bush and Pres. Vladimir Putin of Russia, meeting in Washington, DC, Nov. 13, both promised to reduce their stockpiles of nuclear warheads by about two-thirds. Both indicated goals of cutting their inventories to the range of 1,500 to 2,000 each. Putin said he favored putting this agreement in a treaty, while Bush preferred an informal approach. Putin declined to agree to changes in the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty that would allow the United States to proceed with a missile--defense system. On Nov. 14 and 15, Putin visited the Bushes in Texas.
Ex-Communist Wins Bulgarian Presidency--Georgi Parvanov, leader of the Socialist Party and an ex-Communist, was elected president of Bulgaria Nov. 18. He defeated the center-right incumbent, Petar Stoyanov. Parvanov said Nov. 19 that Bulgaria’s entry into NATO and the European Union were high priorities.
Harry Potter Hits Theaters--The much-anticipated movie version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first book in J.K. Rowling’s series, opened Nov. 16 on one quarter of North American movie screens, bringing to life her story of a London boy who discovers his prominent place in a parallel world of wizards and witches. The film grossed $90.3 mil. in its first 3 days, breaking the record set by The Lost World: Jurassic Park in 1997. It proceeded to topple records for 5-day grosses, the shortest trip to $150 mil., and the most lucrative week ever at the box office.
Company Says It Created Human Embryo--A Massachusetts biotechnology company announced Nov. 25 that it had created the first-ever human embryos by cloning. Its objective was to produce stem cells that could serve as replacement tissue to combat disease. Scientists at Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester said that the embryos had died quickly. Pres. Bush Nov. 26 said he considered the work on human cloning to be immoral.
In the longest NCAA Div. I football game in history, the Arkansas Razorbacks defeated the Mississippi Bulldogs, 58-56, in the 7th overtime period on Nov. 3.
On Nov. 4, Ethiopian Tesfaye Jifar set a men's course record in winning the New York City Marathon in 2 hrs., 7 mins., and 43 secs. Women's winner Margaret Okayo, of Kenya, also set a course record with a time of 2:24:21. The race also served as the U.S. Marathon Championships. Scott Larson won the U.S. men's title, finishing in 2:15:26, 13th overall. Running in her 1st marathon, Deena Drossin finished 7th overall in winning the women's U.S. title in 2:26:58--the fastest time ever for an American woman at the New York City Marathon, and the best U.S. time anywhere since 1991.
The Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the New York Yankees, 3-2, in Game 7 on Nov. 4 in Phoenix, AZ, to win the 2001 World Series. Arizona pitchers Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling were named co-MVPs of the series. The Diamonbacks won Games 1 and 2 at home, then lost 3 straight in New York, including a dramatic extra-inning loss to the Yankees in a Game 4 that began on Oct. 31 and continued past midnight. The game marked the first time that the Fall Classic (delayed one week because the season was postponed by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11) had ever extended into the month of November. The series then returned to Phoenix, where the Diamonbacks won Games 6 and 7.
Between Nov. 12 and Nov. 20, Major League Baseball announced its annual awards. In the American League, the Seattle Mariners won 3 awards (Ichiro Suzuki, Rookie of the Year and MVP; Lou Piniella, Manager of the Year) and New York Yankee pitcher Roger Clemmons won a record 6th Cy Young. In the National League, Albert Pujols (St. Louis) won Rookie of the Year, and Barry Bonds (San Francisco) was named the MVP. The Manager of the Year was Larry Bowa (Philadelphia), and Randy Johnson (Arizona) took home his 4th Cy Young Award.
British boxer Lennox Lewis regained the WBC and IBF heavyweight titles, Nov. 17, by knocking out Hasim Rahman in the 4th round in Las Vegas, NV. Rahman had defeated Lewis in an April 2001 match in South Africa.
On Nov. 18, Jeff Gordon clinched the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship with a 6th-place finish at the NAPA 500, in Atlanta, GA. Gordon joined Richard Petty (7) and Dale Earnhardt (7) as the only drivers in Winston Cup history to win more than 3 titles.
The Calgary Stampeders defeated the favored Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 27-19, in the Canadian Football League's Grey Cup championship game on Nov. 25.
Offbeat News Stories
By Kevin Seabrooke
A Butter Substitute By Any Other Color
Not to be outdone by the H.J. Heinz Company's green and purple ketchups, ConAgra Dairy Foods--makers of Parkay margarine--has entered the "kid-friendly" market, unveiling squeezable bottles of "Electric Blue" and "Shocking Pink" margarine to be available in Nov. 2001. Like the ketchup, the margarine won't taste any different, but will offer kids the opportunity to "decorate" their food. Market research revealed that kids preferred blue and pink over other tested colors. But will it make them more likely to eat their broccoli or brussel sprouts?
One Big Bar Tab
On Nov. 24th, a wealthy fruit importer announced to the crowd at Brown's nightclub in Covent Garden, London, that "drinks were on him" in honor of club owner's (Richard Traviss) birthday. The importer--who remains anonymous--paid 42,608 pounds (about $59,000 U.S.) for the evening, which included 49 bottles of Cristal Rose, 40 bottles of Cristal champagne and 20 bottles of Dom Perignon.
Respected British novelist Fay Weldon set the publishing world abuzz and raised more than a few eyebrows in literary circles with the November 2001 publication of her book "The Bulgari Connection." Weldon--once an ad copywriter--had received an undisclosed sum from the Italian jewelry company to write a novel mentioning its wares at least a dozen times. Other than that restriction, Weldon says, she had complete freedom. Originally published privately for selected Bulgari clients, the book was later picked up by Weldon's usual publisher for release in the U.S. and England. Some contended that what she had done was more like producing a long advertisement than a "true" novel. Others argued that it was no more questionable than the practice of product placement common in films. As for Weldon herself, she told the New York Times that, when first approached by Bulgari, she had scruples, fearing her name "would be mud forever." Then she thought, "Let it be mud; they never gave me the Booker Prize anyway."
100 Years Ago in the WORLD ALMANAC
Population of New York City
Links of the Month
Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief
Although New York City had rail systems in the 19th century, the first official Manhattan subway system opened on October 27, 1904. The Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) consisted of 28 stations from City Hall to 145th Street, along 9.1 miles of track. The IRT extended to the Bronx in 1905, Brooklyn in 1908 and Queens in 1915. Stop by www.nycsubway.org and see views of the City Hall Station (1904-1945), which was considered the crowned jewel of the system. This site offers a variety of photographs from transit systems around the world, including busses, trolleys, funiculars, and trams.
As We Were Then, at www.ncsu.edu/ midlink/ vy/ nyc/ nychistory.htm, is a great New York City website. It leads you to other sites that cover a wide expanse of New York City; among other things, you can access photos of the 1939-1940 and 1964-1965 World's Fairs, a history of city's the sports teams (Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Jets, Rangers, Giants, and Islanders), photos documenting the immigration process from 1900-1920, help in finding gargoyles in buildings and a tour of Central Park.
Forgotten New York, www.forgotten-ny.com is a site that devotes itself to bygone days. It will show you the past in lampposts, advertisements, bridges, buildings, signs, and other features you pass every day in the streets of NYC. I was particularly interested in the section called Forgotten Cemeteries. There I learned of little known cemeteries, sometimes family-owned, which are hidden among private homes and businesses around the city.
A visit to newyork.citysearch.com can be helpful to native New Yorkers, as well as to out-of-towners touring the city. In the "Best Of" lists you can find the top-rated romantic hotel (The Plaza), barbeque (Virgil's Real barbecue), attraction (Central Park), family outing place (The Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Society), and place to bike (West Side Highway -- Hudson River Park), as well as the best place to see and be seen (Hudson Bar). The site offers directories to the arts, attractions, hotels, movies, music, nightlife, shopping, restaurants and sports & recreation.
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