The World Almanac E-Newsletter

Volume 2, Number 2 - February 2002

 

 

What's in this issue?

February Events
Holidays -- National and International
This Day in History - February
February Birthdays
Featured Location of the Month: Denver, Colorado
Obituary - December 2001
Obituaries -- January 2002
Special Feature: First American to Orbit Earth
Science in the News
Chronology -- Events of January 2002
Golden Globe Winners
Offbeat News Stories
75 Years Ago in the World Almanac: Chronology February 1927
Links of the Month
How to Reach Us

February Events

February 1-28 -- American Heart Month; National African American History Month
February 1 -- Millrose Games, New York, New York
February 2 -- NHL All-Star Game, Los Angeles, CA
February 2 -- March 17 - Orchid Show, St. Louis, Missouri
February 3 -- Halfway point of Winter
February 6-10 -- Vancouver International Boat Show, British Columbia
February 7-9 -- Bluegrass Festival, Live Oak, Florida
February 8-10 -- NBA All-Star Weekend, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 8-12 -- Snow Festival, Sapporo, Japan
February 8-18 -- Calgary Winter Festival, Alberta
February 8-24 -- Winter Olympic Games, Salt Lake City, Utah
February 9 -- NFL Pro Bowl, Honolulu, Hawaii
February 9-22 -- Yukon Quest 1,000-Mile Sled Dog Race (Fairbanks, Alaska, to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory)
February 9-22 -- American Bowling Congress Championships Tournament, Billings, MT
February 10 -- Jell-O Week, Utah
February 11-12 -- Westminster Dog Show, New York, New York
February 12 -- Mardi Gras
February 14-16 -- Smoky Mountains Storytelling Festival, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
February 15-24 -- Newport (Rhode Island) Winter Festival
February 18 -- Daytona 500 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Race, Daytona Beach, Florida
February 28-March 3 -- Charro Days, Brownsville, Texas

National Holidays

February 1 -- National Freedom Day
February 2 -- Candlemas Day; Groundhog Day
February 10-12 -- Shrovetide
February 12 -- Lincoln's Birthday; Shrove Tuesday
February 13 -- Ash Wednesday; Lent begins
February 14 -- Valentine's Day
February 18 -- Washington's Birthday or Presidents' Day
February 22 -- Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) (Dhul-Hijjah 10)
February 26 -- Purim

International Holidays

February 3 -- Heroes' Day, Mozambique
February 5 -- Constitution Day, Mexico (85th anniversary)
February 6 -- Waitangi Day, New Zealand
February 9-12 -- Carnival, Brazil
February 11 -- National Foundation Day, Japan; Youth Day, Cameroon
February 12 -- Chinese New Year
February 18 -- National Democracy Day, Nepal (50th anniversary)

IT'S A FACT!

Henry Clay and William Jennings Bryan are the only two major-party nominees to have lost three different presidential elections.

This Day in History - February

Day

Year

Event

1

1790

The U.S. Supreme Court meets for the first time.

2

1936

The 5 charter members of the Baseball Hall of Fame are announced: Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, and Honus Wagner.

3

1988

In the "Baby M" case, a New Jersey court rules that surrogate mother contracts that involve payments are illegal.

4

1997

A civil jury finds O. J. Simpson liable in the 1994 murders of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

5

1994

Byron De La Beckwith is convicted of the 1963 murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers.

6

1952

King George VI of England dies and is succeeded by his daughter, who becomes Queen Elizabeth II.

7

1999

King Hussein, who ruled Jordan for 46 years, dies.

8

1986

A woman in New York dies after taking Tylenol capsules found to be laced with cyanide.

9

1984

Soviet leader Yuri Andropov dies after only 15 months in power.

10

1763

A peace treaty is signed ending the French and Indian War, with France losing Canada and the Midwest.

11

1998

A judge rules that golfer Casey Martin is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and can use a cart in PGA tournaments.

12

1999

Pres. Bill Clinton is acquitted by the U.S. Senate on both articles of impeachment voted by the House.

13

1635

The Boston Latin School, the first public school in America, opens in Massachusetts.

14

1989

Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issues a call for the death of author Salman Rushdie because of his novel The Satanic Verses.

15

1989

The Soviet Union completes the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

16

1968

The first 911 telephone emergency system in the United States goes into operation, in Haleyville, Alabama.

17

1913

Modern art is brought to America by the opening of the New York Armory Show.

18

1930

Astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovers the planet Pluto.

19

1945

The Marines land on the island of Iwo Jima.

20

1792

Pres. George Washington signs an act that creates the U.S. Post Office.

21

1925

The first issue of The New Yorker magazine is published.

22

1925

F. W. Woolworth opens his first 5 & 10 store, in Utica, New York.

23

1836

Mexico under Santa Anna begins a siege of Texans in the Alamo in San Antonio.

24

1868

The U.S. House of Representatives votes to impeach Pres. Andrew Johnson.

25

1964

Cassius Clay (who later takes the name Muhammad Ali) becomes the world heavyweight boxing champion, defeating Sonny Liston.

26

1848

The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, is published.

27

1951

The 22nd Amendment, limiting presidents to 2 terms in office, is ratified.

28

1983

The final episode of the TV show M*A*S*H is aired and becomes the most watched TV program of all time.

February Birthdays

Day

Year

 

1

1918

Muriel Spark, novelist (Edinburgh, Scotland)

2

1947

Farrah Fawcett, actress (Corpus Christi, Texas)

3

1918

Joey Bishop, actor (Bronx, New York)

4

1947

Dan Quayle, former vice president of the United States and Indiana senator (Indianapolis, Indiana)

5

1934

Hank Aaron, baseball player (Mobile, Alabama)

6

1911

Ronald Reagan, 40th president of the United States (Tampico, Illinois)

7

1966

Chris Rock, comedian/actor (South Carolina)

8

1955

John Grisham, novelist (Jonesboro, Arkansas)

9

1942

Carole King, singer/songwriter (Brooklyn, New York)

10

1976

Lance Berkman, baseball player (Waco, Texas)

11

1938

Manuel Noriega, Panamanian general and strongman (Panama City, Panama)

12

1926

Joe Garagiola, baseball player and sportscaster (St. Louis, MO)

13

1942

Stockard Channing, actress (New York, NY)

14

1972

Drew Bledsoe, football player (Ellensburg, Washington)

15

1935

Susan Brownmiller, feminist author (Brooklyn, New York)

16

1920

Patty Andrews, singer (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

17

1924

Margaret Truman, mystery writer and daughter of Pres. Harry Truman (Independence, Missouri)

18

1933

Yoko Ono, artist, musician, and widow of John Lennon (Tokyo, Japan)

19

1967

Benicio Del Toro, actor (Santurce, Puerto Rico)

20

1955

Kelsey Grammar, actor (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands)

21

1943

David Geffen, entertainment executive (Brooklyn, New York)

22

1932

Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts senator (Brookline, Massachusetts)

23

1943

Julio Iglesias, singer (Madrid, Spain)

24

1921

Abe Vigoda, actor (New York, NY)

25

1966

Tea Leoni, actress (New York, NY)

26

1973

Marshall Faulk, football player (New Orleans, Louisiana)

27

1932

Elizabeth Taylor, actress (London, England)

28

1948

Bernadette Peters, singer/actress (New York, NY)

IT'S A FACT!

The last presidential couple without children was Warren G. Harding and his wife, Florence Kling De Wolfe Harding.

Featured Location of the Month: Denver, Colorado

Location: Capital of Colorado and seat of Denver County, located on the plains at the junction of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, in the central part of the state; incorporated 1861. Known as the Mile High City because of its altitude of about 1 mile, it is coextensive with Denver County and is part of a large metropolitan area that also includes the city of Boulder.

Population (2000 Census): 554,636

Mayor: Wellington E. Webb

February Temperatures: Normal high of 46.6° F; Normal low of 20.2° F

Colleges & Art Institute of Colorado; Metropolitan State College of Denver; Regis University; University of Colorado at Denver; University of Colorado Health Sciences Center; University of Denver; Westwood College of Technology-Denver North; Community College of Denver

Events: African-American Research Library Ground Breaking (February 2); A.L.I.E. Foundation-Alie 5K Run/Walk (February 3); Mardi Gras Denver (February 8-9); Valentine's Day 5K (February 10); Washington's Birthday 5K (February 17)

Sports teams: Colorado Rockies (baseball); Denver Nuggets (basketball); Denver Broncos (football); Colorado Avalanche (ice hockey); Colorado Rapids (soccer)

Places to visit: The Denver Art Museum; the Denver Museum of Natural History (which includes the Gates Planetarium) and the Denver Zoo, located in City Park; the museum of the Colorado Historical Society; the Colorado Heritage Center; the Boettcher Memorial Conservatory and the Denver Botanic Gardens, adjoining Cheesman Park; the Civic Center; the State Capitol, a Corinthian-style granite structure; a major branch of the U.S. Mint, which was opened in 1906; the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and Bonfils Memorial Theatre; the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center; the Denver Firefighters Museum; the Forney Museum of Transportation; the Mizel Museum of Judaica; the Molly Brown House Museum; Museo de las Américas; Ocean Journey Aquarium; Larimer Square (an enclave of stylish shops, restaurants, and brewpubs); Six Flags Elitch Gardens

Tallest Building: Republic Plaza (56 stories)

History: In the late 1850s the area of present-day Denver was an outfitting point for gold prospectors. From the temporary settlements founded here developed the towns of Auraria and Saint Charles. The latter was renamed Denver City, for the territorial governor, James W. Denver (1817-92), and in 1860 the two communities were consolidated. The city became the territorial capital in 1867, and it prospered in the 1870s and '80s after the discovery of rich gold and silver deposits in the area and the coming of the railroad.
    Denver began a major redevelopment program in the 1960s, creating long-term environmental problems. An oil bust in the mid-1980s caused a depression; unemployment and office vacancy rates soared, and some 13,000 Denver oil industry workers lost their jobs. During the 1990s, Denver continued its economic roller coaster ride. The 1980s nosedive ended in an abrupt upturn. Newcomers attracted by the relatively cheap housing prices, high vacancy rates, and Colorado's climate and recreational advantages turned the economy around. By the mid-1990s Denver had emerged as one of the healthiest and fastest growing cities in America. Denver International Airport opened in 1995 after 5 years of construction that cost more than $3 billion.

Birthplace of: Tim Allen (1953); Douglas Fairbanks (1883); David Fincher (1962); John Kerry (1943); Debra Paget (1933); Antoinette Perry (1888); Karl Rove (1950); Barbara Rush (1930); Jan-Michael Vincent (1944); Paul Whiteman (1890)

Websites: www.denvergov.org; www.denverchamber.org

Obituary in December 2001

Heckart, Eileen, 82, Oscar-, Tony- and Emmy-winning actress who was Aunt Flo on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"; Norwalk, Connecticut, Dec. 31.

Obituaries in January 2002

Cela, Camilo José, 85, Spanish author whose brutally realistic fiction won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1989; Madrid, Spain, Jan. 17.

Heineken, Alfred Henry, 78, Dutch industrialist who turned a modest family business into one of the world's biggest breweries; Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Jan. 3.

Lee, Peggy, 81, U.S. pop vocalist hailed for decades for her understated style and her ability to sound sultry and cool at the same time; Los Angeles, California, Jan. 21.

Lindgren, Astrid, 94, Swedish author who created Pippi Longstocking, one of the most endearing and subversive characters in 20th-century children's literature; Stockholm, Sweden, Jan. 28.

Marcus, Stanley, 96, department-store heir who oversaw the creation of the Neiman-Marcus retailing empire; Dallas, Texas, Jan. 22.

Nozick, Robert, 63, Harvard University political philosopher whose book Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974) helped lead to the intellectual resurgence of conservatism; Cambridge, Massachusetts, Jan. 23.

Phillips, Julia, 57, onetime film producer who skewered many notable Hollywood figures in her memoir You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again (1991); West Hollywood, California, Jan. 1.

Shuster, Frank, 85, half of the Wayne and Shuster comedy duo, known as the "kings of Canadian Comedy"; Toronto, Canada, Jan. 13.

Thomas, Dave, 69, founder in 1969 and pitchman since 1989 of the Wendy's International chain of hamburger restaurants; Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jan. 8.

Vance, Cyrus R., 84, U.S. secretary of state from 1977 to 1980, when he quit over a matter of principle; New York, NY, Jan. 12.

Russell, Harold, 88, a disabled World War II veteran who won two Oscars for his role in "The Best Years of Our Lives," before becoming an advocate for the rights of the disabled, Needham, Massachusetts, Jan. 29.

Special Feature: First American to Orbit Earth

By David Faris

Forty years ago, on Feb. 20, 1962, astronaut John Glenn climbed into a tiny spacecraft, blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and orbited the Earth three times. Glenn was not the first human being to accomplish this feat; in fact, he was not even the second. More than anything else, it was a symbolic triumph, a milestone in America's quest to put a man on the moon. It was also, needless to say, a fantastic technical achievement, the fulfillment of dreams that seemed to belong in science fiction novels only a few short years before.

To understand why one person's trip around the Earth was hailed as such an awesome achievement in 1962 - something that is routinely accomplished by NASA, Russia, and the European Space Agency today ? we have to bear in mind the historical circumstances prior to Glenn's mission. After the Second World War, the relationship between the Russia and the other Allied powers of France, Great Britain, and the United States deteriorated into an armed standoff, as an "iron curtain" descended across Central Europe, dividing the democratic West from the communist East. The Soviet Union and the United States fought proxy conflicts and became skilled in the diplomatic manipulation of risk in what was termed the "Cold War." When the Soviets, led by physicist Andrei Sakharov, broke America's nuclear monopoly in 1949, by testing an atomic bomb, fears of global nuclear annihilation slowly grew.

The event that shocked and frightened Americans, as well as kick-started the space race, was the successful launch of the USSR's Sputnik I (meaning "fellow traveler") satellite in 1957. Not only was the U.S. embarrassed that the Soviets had leaped so far ahead in the quest to explore space, but the launch sparked a firestorm of fear about the USSR's ability to launch Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM's) armed with nuclear weapons at defenseless U.S. cities. The technology for satellites and missiles was essentially identical. Humbled by the Soviets' success and propelled by fear of nuclear destruction, the Eisenhower administration scrambled to launch its own space program, culminating in the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1958.

Later in 1957, the Soviets put a dog in space on Sputnik II. While Sputnik II was still in orbit, the U.S. successfully launched its first earth satellite, Explorer 1, from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Jan. 31, 1958. On April 12, 1961, the USSR's Yuri Gagarin became the first human being in space, spending an hour and 48 minutes in a space capsule that orbited the Earth. While the Americans put Alan Shepard in space less than a month later, the flight lasted only 15 minutes and did not achieve orbit. As the race in space continued, President Kennedy announced, May 1961, America's intention to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. In August 1961, Soviet Gherman S. Titov spent more than 25 hours in space.

Six months later, with American credibility hanging in the balance, the U.S. answered back. A Project Mercury spaceship called Friendship 7 carried John Herschel Glenn, Jr., of Cambridge, Ohio, into orbit. Glenn, who flew dozens of combat missions in World War II and the Korean War, had been selected as one of the 7 astronauts (known as the Mercury Seven) for Project Mercury in 1959. His prior accomplishments included the accumulation of over 1,500 hours of flight time as a combat and test pilot for the Marine Corps and Navy, and having flown the first transcontinental supersonic flight, from New York to Los Angeles in 1957.

On that memorable day in February, 1962, Glenn, blasting off in his 2,400-pound, bell-shaped capsule powered by an Atlas rocket (which packed 360,000 pounds of thrust on takeoff), catapulted through the atmosphere and into space, achieving orbit and a top speed of over 17,000 miles per hour! While in space, Glenn performed some tests indicting how humans would react to a zero gravity environment, and disproved some theories, including one which argued that people's eyeballs would lose their shape after prolonged exposure to zero-gravity. He also ate a freeze-dried meal (beef and vegetables, applesauce, and malted milk tablets), and reported no problems. As his spacecraft passed over Australia around midnight Australian time, many residents of Perth turned on their lights as a signal of friendship, and Glenn reported that he was able to see the display from space.

The mission, however, was not without its scary moments. At one point the automatic flight system failed and forced Glenn to deftly maneuver the spacecraft himself. In doing so, he greatly advanced U.S. knowledge about the ability to use rockets to navigate the vacuum of space. More seriously, however, mission control in Cape Canaveral detected a premature release of Friendship 7's heat shield. Either the sensor was faulty, or Glenn would burn up upon reentry into the atmosphere. They didn't tell Glenn about the problem, but had him take some extra precautions. The team held its breath upon Glenn's re-entry into the atmosphere. After he splashed down in the Atlantic (dozens of miles off course), he told crewmembers on the U.S. Navy Destroyer Noa, "It was hot in there." Overall, the mission lasted 4 hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds.

The triumph was treated with widespread acclaim in the U.S. and around the world, and Glenn was treated to parades all over the country, including one down Broadway in New York City. Glenn's flight was a huge psychological boost to the United States. President Kennedy remarked, "We have a long way to go in this space race. We started late. But this is the new ocean, and I believe the United States must sail on it and be in a position 2d to none." The event marked the turning point in the space race ? the Apollo lunar landing program progressed steadily over the ensuing years, culminating in the famous Apollo 11 trip to the moon in 1969.

As for Glenn, he retired from NASA as a hero in 1965, and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1974, from his home state of Ohio. He was re-elected three times and retired in 1998. But his career wasn't finished yet ? from October 29 to November 7, 1998, shortly before he was to retire from the Senate, Glenn, then 77, became the oldest person ever to fly in space, participating in mission STS-95 on the U.S. space shuttle Discovery. It was the 92nd space shuttle flight in NASA's history. He helped the crew perform dozens of scientific experiments, including investigations into the physiological effects of micro gravity. And when Discovery passed over Perth on October 30, residents once again turned on their lights to signal the passing spacecraft. The successful mission brought Glenn's career full-circle and helped rekindle interest in manned space flight

Today, of course, there no longer is a space race. The Cold War is over and the Soviet Union dismantled. The U.S. and Russia, along with the European Space Agency, Japan, and others, are cooperating in the completion of the now-functioning International Space Station. In 2000, the first crew entered the space station, which will be completed in 2005, after a total of 44 missions. None of it would be possible without the heroic efforts of John Glenn and the Mercury Seven, of those pioneering Soviet cosmonauts four decades ago. For more information about NASA and space exploration, visit the NASA website, at www.nasa.gov.

SCIENCE IN THE NEWS

By Peter Falcier

A Special Biographical Note: The Mathematics in "A Beautiful Mind"

Two facts stand out in the recently released motion picture, "A Beautiful Mind": first, John Nash (played by Russell Crowe) broke new ground in mathematics and, second, he wrestled with the tormenting effects of paranoid schizophrenia. Just what his mathematical breakthroughs were, however, is not clear in the movie. As the film suggests, the ideas put forth in his doctoral thesis have become a cornerstone of game theory, a branch of mathematics and economics with applications and influences ranging further than even Nash dreamed.

Game theory is the study of conflict situations with more than one contestant or player. Hungarian mathematician John von Neumann introduced the field in the late 1920s, when contemporary economics theory could only explain how large markets work and perhaps how bargainers could improve negotiating positions. Von Neumann's principles explained the competition between two players--a game where one's gain was the other's loss. It wasn't until 1950, with Nash's ingenious dissertation, that game theory realized its maximum utility: Nash proved that his principles could explain all competition involving an infinite number of players even in games with multiple winners.

At first, few recognized the magnitude of Nash's breakthrough (von Neumann initially called it "trivial"), but 45 years later, after the creation of a crucial new field, it earned him a Nobel Prize. The standout contribution was the concept of Nash equilibriums: the game is over when every player agrees to a set of strategies such that no player wants to change to a different set. A Nash equilibrium doesn't guarantee everyone victory, but it means that no one will want to change his position given the positions of others.

The best-known example of a Nash equilibrium is often called "the prisoner's dilemma." In this game, introduced soon after Nash published his thesis, police put two guilty criminal collaborators in separate rooms. Each must choose to confess or plead not guilty. The best outcome for the criminals would result from both denying guilt. But if one confesses and the other doesn't, the penalty for the non-confessor is much worse-and the treatment for the confessor much better. Not knowing what the other will say, the only stable point for the criminals, the Nash equilibrium is the situation where both confess.

Of course, Nash could never show the explanation for every game. But his proof that every game has a solution inspired people to delve into game theory and look for ways to analyze decision-making situations ranging from discount-store price competition, to medical student residency placements, to star athlete trade negotiations, even to India and Pakistan's armed standoff. In fact, game theorists designed the $7 billion auction of America 's broadcast spectrum during the Clinton administration. "What the Nash equilibrium does is it makes game theory into a plausible field," Harvard's Kennedy School of Government professor Christopher Avery told the Boston Globe.

Nash went beyond his equilibriums and also laid out a set of rules for deciding when people might cooperate or compete in games. "A Beautiful Mind" portrays this achievement in a memorable bar scene. While Crowe's character and his doctoral buddies sit drinking, a group of attractive girls enter, led by an attention-grabbing blonde. Each guy pines for the blond, but Crowe 's character snaps to with a more egalitarian solution. If every guy goes for the blond, they'll block each other and likely all fail. Turning to the other girls after being rejected by the blonde, the guys would likely strike out, too, because, as Crowe's character reasons, no one likes being second choice. Everyone would end up solo. But ignoring the prettiest girl and each diverting attention to one of the others is the only way to achieve group success. Cooperation in this game feeds individual success.

In the decade between his arrival at Princeton and the outbreak of his schizophrenic delusions, Nash also achieved other remarkable mathematical proofs and reshaped complex geometry (which is the geometry of complex numbers). He will best be remembered, though, for his revolutionary, far-reaching game theory.

Internet Sites

"John F. Nash, Jr.--Autobiography" Nobel e-Museum (www.nobel.se/ economics/ laureates/ 1994/nash-autbio.html) An article from Les Prix Nobel written by John Nash in 1994 and published on the official Web site of The Nobel Foundation.>

IT'S A FACT!

The temperature in the Earth's liquid iron core reaches 8,500° F.

Chronology -- Events of January 2001

NATIONAL

Student Pilot, 15, Flies Plane into Tampa Building--A 15-year-old student pilot, flying alone, crashed a single-engine Cessna into the 28th floor of the Bank of America building in Tampa, FL, Jan. 5. The pilot, Charles Bishop, got into the plane at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport without his instructor and took off. He was killed in the crash, but no one else was hurt.

Bush Signs Education Bill He Had Supported--Pres. George W. Bush Jan. 8 signed into law a major education bill, fulfilling goals that he made central in his presidential campaign. The measure, signed at Hamilton High School, Hamilton, OH, mandated annual testing of students in grades 3 to 8, provided for tutors in poor schools, and emphasized early development of reading skills. In its final form the bill had received bipartisan support, but it did not include a voucher program for private schools, as Bush had wanted.

Ford to Cut 35,000 Employees, Car Models--The Ford Motor Co. announced Jan. 11 that it was planning to lay off 35,000 employees, close 4 plants, and drop 4 models. CEO William Clay Ford Jr. said that the company had underestimated its competitors and the impact of the recession. Models to be taken out of production were the Lincoln Continental, Ford Escort, Mercury Cougar, and Mercury Villager.

Enemy Fighters Flown to U.S. Base in Cuba--Taliban and al- Qaeda fighters captured in Afghanistan were flown to the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, with the first 20 arriving Jan. 11. Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld called them "unlawful combatants" rather than prisoners of war. The captives, regarded as dangerous and fanatical, received food and medical attention but were closely guarded and kept in individual 8 x 8-foot chain link cages." International human rights organizations raised questions about treatment of the prisoners and questioned the initial U.S. conclusion that they were not POWs and not subject to the Geneva Convention; the administration said it was reviewing this conclusion. Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross arrived Jan. 17 to see the prisoners; the Red Cross subsequently said the U.S. might have violated the Geneva Convention by releasing photos of the prisoners, shown kneeling and shackled. With 158 prisoners in Cuba, the Pentagon Jan. 23 suspended further transfers from Afghanistan, as interrogation of prisoners began. A U.S. congressional delegation, after visiting the prison Jan. 25, said treatment of prisoners appeared humane.

American Accused of Conspiring with Terrorists--John Walker Lindh, the 20-year-old seized with the Taliban near Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, in December, was charged Jan. 15 with conspiring to kill U.S. citizens and supporting terrorist groups. Attorney Gen. John Ashcroft said Jan. 15 that Lindh had met with terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. Lindh was flown back to the United States Jan. 23 and taken to a detention center in Alexandria, VA. He appeared in court Jan. 24 to hear the charges against him

U.S. Seeks 5 Linked to a New Terrorist Plot--The U.S. Justice Dept. Jan. 17 began an international manhunt for 5 suspected al- Qaeda members who were believed plotting a new suicide terrorist attack. Videotapes in which the men discussed their plans were found in the rubble of a compound in Afghanistan that had been occupied by an aide to Osama bin Laden.

Airlines Begin to Inspect Checked Luggage--As mandated by Congress, U.S. airlines Jan. 18 began to inspect every piece of luggage checked by passengers. The carriers would determine that the owner of a bag did in fact board the plane, but they would not verify if the owner got on board for any successive connecting flights.

Discount Retailer Kmart Files for Bankruptcy--Kmart, the nation's 3d-largest discount retailer, filed for bankruptcy Jan. 22. The company had been in a cash squeeze and had experienced a disappointing holiday-sales season. Since August 2000, Kmart stock had declined in value from $13.16 to about 70 cents. All 2,114 stores would remain open for the present.

Congress Opens Inquiries into Enron Bankruptcy--Committees in both houses of Congress Jan. 24 began public hearings into the bankruptcy of the Enron Corp. Many employees who had bought company stock had been wiped out when the stock plummeted from around $80 a share to less than $1 a share. It was reported that top Enron executives had sold more than $1 billion in stock near its peak, perhaps when they knew the company was in trouble but didn't tell others.

Enron had contributed large sums of money to candidates in both parties, mostly Republicans, including Pres. George W. Bush. The White House said Jan. 10 that Enron CEO Kenneth Lay had phoned 2 cabinet secretaries as the company plunged toward bankruptcy; other reports later emerged of contacts between Enron and government officials, some seeking help. Arthur Andersen & Co., Enron's accountants, said Jan. 10 it had destroyed Enron documents in September after the Securities and Exchange Commission had announced an investigation into Enron. Andersen Jan. 15 fired David Duncan, its partner in charge of the Enron account, whom it said had ordered destruction of documents.

A House committee Jan. 14 released portions of an August 2001 letter from Sherron Watkins, an Enron employee, to Lay warning him that because of improper accounting practices the company could "implode" in scandal. A former Enron executive, Maureen Castaneda, said Jan. 21 that Enron employees were shredding documents as recently as the previous week. Lay resigned as Enron's CEO Jan. 23.

On Jan. 24, appearing before a House subcommittee, Duncan declined, on the ground of possible self-incrimination, to answer questions about shredding of documents. J. Clifford Baxter, a former Enron vice chairman who left the company in 2001 after warning of questionable financial practices, was found shot to death in his automobile near Houston Jan. 25; police ruled his death a suicide.

Bush Focuses on Terrorism in State of the Union Address--Receiving a warm welcome for his first State of the Union address, delivered to Congress Jan. 29, Pres. Bush stressed that the U.S. "war against terror' was still only in its beginning, with tens of thousands of al-Qaeda-trained potential terrorists 'spread throughout the world like ticking time bombs." He issued new warnings to Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, calling states that shield terrorists an "axis of evil." Taking a cautious outlook toward the economy, he said he would use the national unity forged by the Sept. 11 assault to focus on creating jobs for victims of recession and promoting devotion to national service. While not mentioning Enron by name he called for safeguards to protect "employees who have worked had and saved all their lives."

Economy Grows Slightly--The U.S. Commerce Dept. announced Jan. 30 that the economy in the last quarter of 2001 had grown slightly, at an annual rate of 0.2%. The unexpected growth in the wake of the Sept. 11 attack contrasted with a 1.3% (annual rate) decline in the 3rd quarter; for 2001 as a whole, the economy reportedly grew 1.1%, its worst performance since the recession year of 1991.

INTERNATIONAL

12 European Countries Get a New Currency--The biggest currency change in world history got underway Jan. 1 in 12 European countries. The 12, all members of the European Union, began to surrender their own currencies in favor of a common one, the euro. Participating countries were Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. Three EU members-Great Britain, home of the venerable pound, Denmark, and Sweden-had declined to participate in the switch.

Argentina Gets 5th President in 2 Weeks--Congress Jan. 1 picked Eduardo Duhalde, an influential senator in the Peronist Party, to become Argentina's 5th president in 2 weeks. He faced the same headache as his predecessors: the nation's worst-ever economic crisis, including a $132 billion public debt and a recession.

Major Taliban Resistance Put Down in Afghanistan--In the largest U.S. ground operation in the war so far, some 200 marines Jan. 1-2 conducted a sweep of a deserted terrorist training camp in southern Afghanistan. They found weapons and documents but no trace of top terrorist leaders. In Kabul, the capital, Afghanistan and Britain Jan. 4 formally signed the agreement to bring in 4,500 peacekeeping troops. The same day, Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Chapman of San Antonio became the first American soldier to die from enemy fire in Afghanistan, in an ambush near the towns of Khost and Gardez.

Afghan officials said Jan. 5 that the surrender of Taliban fighters in a mountainous region in southern had been completed. However, Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban leader, had escaped. A U.S. military transport plane crashed in Pakistan Jan. 9, killing all 7 marines aboard. Two marines were killed and 5 wounded Jan. 20 when their helicopter crashed in northern Afghanistan. On Jan. 28, Afghan troops, directed by U.S. Special Operations forces, stormed a hospital in Kandahar where 6 pro-Taliban Arab fighters had been holding out for 7 weeks; all the Arabs were killed.

Zambia Inaugurates President Amid Protests--Zambia, Jan. 2, got its 3d president since independence in 1964, amid protests. Levy Mwanawasa, the choice of outgoing Pres. Frederick Chiluba, had been declared winner of the Dec. 27 election, with 29% of the vote, as against 27% for the closest of 11 opposition candidates. On Jan. 2 more than 1,000 persons, claiming the election was rigged, stormed the Supreme Court building, site of the inauguration; their bricks were met with tear gas. A judge Jan. 3 declined to delay the inauguration for an investigation.

Militant's Death Revives Mideast Violence--On Jan. 14, Raed-al-Karmi, leader of a Palestinian militia, was killed by a bomb near his home in Tulkarm in the West Bank. His followers blamed Israel, and, hours later killed an Israeli soldier. Palestinian militants Jan. 15 killed 2 Israeli civilians, the first in a month. A gunman opened fire in a crowded reception hall in Hadera, Jan. 17, killing 6 Israelis and wounding 25; he was killed. On Jan. 21, the Israeli army seized control of the Palestinian city of Tulkarm, on the West Bank, and in a raid in Nablus killed 4 men in an alleged bomb-making factory. A Palestinian shot and wounded 22 in a Jerusalem shopping district Jan. 22. A Hamas leader and 5 other Palestinians were killed in separate incidents Jan. 24.

Australian Fires Extinguished--The last of hundreds of fires that had burned forests and farmlands surrounding Sydney, Australia since Dec. 24 were extinguished by rains Jan. 16. No lives were lost but an estimated 1.6 million acres were burned and 170 homes destroyed by the fires, many of which were believed to be set by vandals.

Volcano Devastates Town in Congo--Mount Nyiragongo, a volcano near the town of Goma in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, erupted Jan. 17, leaving an estimated 55,000 people homeless and causing at least 45 deaths. Lava from the volcano covered nearly one-third of the town.

Hundreds Die in Nigeria After Explosions at Depot--A fire at an army weapons depot in a crowded residential area of Lagos, the capital of Nigeria, Jan. 27, spawned huge explosions and a mass evacuation, with many fleeing across two nearby canals. Hundreds were killed in the fire or drowned while trying to escape; the cause was under investigation.

GENERAL

Father Convicted in Beating Death at Hockey Rink--A father who killed another father in a fight, after a hockey practice in which their sons participated, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter Jan. 11. Thomas Junta was sentenced to 6 to 10 years in prison Jan. 25. Junta had killed Michael Costin at a Reading, MA, hockey rink, July 2000, in a fight that apparently erupted because Junta thought Costin's children had been too aggressive. The case focused attention on what was thought to be a growing problem in sports, "parent rage."

SPORTS

NCAA Football bowl results for Jan. 1--Citrus Bowl: Tennessee 45, Michigan 17; Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma 10, Arkansas 3; Fiesta Bowl: Oregon 38, Colorado 16; Gator Bowl: Florida St. 30, Virginia Tech 17; Outback Bowl: South Carolina 31, Ohio St. 28; Sugar Bowl: LSU 47, Illinois 34.

On Jan. 2, Florida defeated Maryland, 56-23, in the Orange Bowl.

On Jan. 3, Miami (FL) defeated Nebraska, 37-14, to win the 2001 national championship. It was the 5th national title for the Hurricanes, who last won the crown in the 1992 Orange Bowl (with a 22-0 win over Nebraska).

NFL Wild Card Playoffs: On Jan. 12, the Oakland Raiders defeated the New York Jets, 38-24, and the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 31-9. On Jan. 13, the Green Bay Packers won, 25-15, over the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens defeated the Miami Dolphins, 20-3.

NFL Awards: the Associated Press named Quarterback Kurt Warner of the St. Louis Rams NFL MVP on Jan. 9. The AP named San Francisco running back Garrison Hearst the NFL Comeback Player of the Year on Jan. 10. On Jan. 15, linebacker Kendrell Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers was named the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year and the Chicago Bears' running back Anthony Thomas was named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. The AP named the New York Giants' defensive end Michael Strahan, who set an NFL single-season record of 22.5 sacks in 2001, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. On Jan. 17, the AP named St. Louis running back Marshall Faulk as the NFL Offensive Player of the Year for the 3d consecutive year. The AP named Chicago coach Dick Jauron as the NFL Coach of the Year on Jan. 19.

NFL Divisional Playoffs: On Jan. 19, Philadelphia defeated the Chicago Bears, 33-19, and the New England Patriots eliminated Oakland, 16-13, in overtime. On Jan. 20, the Pittsburgh Steelers advanced with a 27-10 win over Baltimore and the St. Louis Rams defeated Green Bay, 45-17.

In the AFC Championship game, Jan. 27, New England defeated Pittsburgh, 24-17. Also on Jan. 27, St. Louis took the NFC title with a 29-24 win over Philadelphia.

In 95-degree heat, Jennifer Capriati (U.S.) defeated Martina Hingis (Switzerland), 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-2, to defend her Australian Open singles title on Jan. 26, in Melbourne. Capriati saved 4 match points in her comeback, a record for a women's Grand Slam final.

On Jan. 27, Vernon Forrest upset "Sugar" Shane Mosely with a 12-round unanimous decision to take the WBC welterweight championship at New York's Madison Square Garden.

On Jan. 27, 16th-seeded Thomas Johansson (Sweden) defeated 9th-seeded Marat Safin (Russia), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (4), to win the men's singles title at the Australian Open. It was the 1st Grand Slam title for Johansson, and the 1st for a Swede at the Australian Open since Mats Wilander won it in 1988.

In voting by more than 200 football journalists and broadcasters, Marshall Faulk was announced as the winner of the NFL Player of the Year Award (sponsored by Miller Lite) on Jan. 30. Faulk also won the award in 2001.

IT'S A FACT!

No NHL player has scored more than 80 goals in a season since Brett Hull of the St.Louis Blues racked up 86 in 1990-91.

2002 Golden Globe Awards

(Awarded for work in 2001)

Film
Drama: "A Beautiful Mind"
Musical/comedy: "Moulin Rouge"
Actress, drama: Sissy Spacek, "In the Bedroom"
Actor, drama: Russell Crowe, "A Beautiful Mind"
Actress, musical/comedy: Nicole Kidman, "Moulin Rouge"
Actor, musical/comedy: Gene Hackman, "The Royal Tenenbaums"
Sup. actress, drama: Jennifer Connelly, "A Beautiful Mind"
Sup. actor, drama: Jim Broadbent, "Iris"
Director: Robert Altman, "Gosford Park"
Screenplay: Akiva Goldsman, "A Beautiful Mind"
Foreign-language film: "No Man's Land" (Bosnia & amp; Herzegovina)
Original score: Craig Armstrong, "Moulin Rouge"
Original song: "Until . . .," from "Kate & amp; Leopold", Sting
Cecil B. De Mille award for lifetime achievement: Harrison Ford

Television
Series, drama: "Six Feet Under," HBO
Actress, drama: Jennifer Garner, "Alias," ABC
Actor, drama: Keifer Sutherland, "24," Fox
Series, musical/comedy: "Sex and the City," HBO
Actress, musical/comedy: Sarah Jessica Parker, "Sex and the City"
Actor, musical/comedy: Charlie Sheen, "Spin City," ABC
Miniseries, movie made for TV: "Band of Brothers," HBO
Actress, miniseries/movie: Judy Davis, "Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows," ABC
Actor, miniseries/movie: James Franco, "James Dean," TNT
Sup. actress, miniseries/movie: Rachel Griffiths, "Six Feet Under"
Sup. actor, miniseries/movie: Stanley Tucci, "Conspiracy," HBO

Offbeat News Stories

By Kevin Seabrooke

Revolving-Door Statehouse--During eight days in January 2002, New Jersey had four different governors. The state is one of only five that has no lieutenant governor, and it is believed to be the only one that ever had so many new chief executives so fast! By New Jersey law, the Senate president becomes acting governor when a sitting chief executive leaves office prematurely. So when Christie Todd Whitman (R ) resigned in February 2001 to become EPA administrator, Senate president Donald DiFrancesco (R ) had become acting governor. On January 6, 2002, however, the old Senate dissolved, and DiFrancesco was out of office. The new Senate, meanwhile, was split 50-50, so there had to be 2 Senate co-presidents; under a power-sharing agreement, they took office in succession for just 3 1/2 days each. The first, Sen. John Bennett (R ), delivered a State of the State address halfway through his term. He and his successor, Richard Codey (D), both issued executive orders, and signed some legislation. They got their own personalized stationery and got to sleep in the executive mansion with their families. They did not sit for official statehouse portraits-but agreed to pose for "instamatic"snapshots. They even got to appear on the Today show. But it was all over on January 15, when the newly elected governor, James McGreevy (D), finally and officially took charge.

Weighty Duties--Texans Eddie Miller and Philip Koehne both recently decided to run for office in Guadalupe County, Texas, and they wagered a 12-pack on who would get the most votes. Miller set his sights on the post of inspector of hides and animals; Koehne aimed to be surveyor. Both county offices have a few things in common-they come with no duties, no staff, no office, no budget, and no salary. The positions are left over from bygone days, when certain duties were required; both have fallen into disuse, but have never been removed from the books. "I am infinitely qualified for the job, since it has no responsibilities," Koehne remarked, as he waited in anticipation of the election; as for his co-office-seeker, he was no doubt hoping that after the election it would be Miller time.

75 Years Ago in the WORLD ALMANAC:
Chronology, February 1927

Date

 

Feb 10

Thomas A. Edison shared the honors of his eightieth birthday with his friend Henry Ford.

Feb 15

An earthquake demolished houses and killed 91 persons at Ljubljana, in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (Ed. Note: now known as Slovenia), the quake occurring in the same regions as that of Feb. 14. A small river disappeared, due to change in the earth's strata.

Feb 17

Niagara Falls took its place beside the Liberty Bell, Big Ben in the Parliament Tower in London, and the Pacific Ocean in having the sound it produces broadcast by radio.

Feb 28

In a unanimous decision the Supreme Court pronounced the oil contracts and leases granted to Edward L. Doheny's Pan American Petroleum and Transport Company by former Secretary of Interior Albert B. Fall illegal and fraudulent, "brought about by means of collusion and corrupt conspiracy between him and Doheny." (Editor's Note: Teapot Dome Scandal)

Links of the Month

Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief

The 2002 Olympic Winter Games will begin February 8th, in Salt Lake City, Utah. For 17 days, athletes will compete in sports from Alpine Skiing to Snowboarding. The modern Olympic games began in Athens, Greece, in 1896, and have taken place every four years (with the exception of 1916, during World War I, and 1940 & 1944 during World War II). The first Winter Olympic Games began in 1924, and were staged within the same year as the Summer Games. In 1994, the games began to alternate every two years.

Admit it, there's one in your life at this very moment; maybe it's a cousin, or a co-worker, or someone you see on the commute to work. You know what I'm talking about, men who look like Kenny Rogers. White moustache and beard. A visit to menwholooklikekennyrogers.com offers up photographs of those who look like the country superstar, has a "Kenny of the Month," suggests hair, beard, clothing, & attitude tips to look like Kenny Rogers, and even has a Kenny's Corn Bread Recipe.

One of my New Year's resolutions continues to be to read more books. There is, okay, it's cheating, a way to read more books, easily. At http://rinkworks.com/bookaminute you can get the gist of some of those classics you know you'll never get to. An example?

    Hamlet by William Shakespeare
    HAMLET: Whine whine whine...To be or not to be...I'm dead.
    The End

P.S. I've read this one.

Most unusual website of the month: Sounds of Pasta www.geocities.com/ heartland/ farm/ 9258

Where's George is a site that tracks U.S. currency. You can log in all of your cash (by serial numbers), and either hope that someone else does the same, or mark up the bills with sayings, such as "Please enter my serial number at....." ? The Great American George Locator, www.wheresgeorge.com gives you the opportunity to follow your dollars as they are spent throughout the United States and Canada. One dollar bill has been logged in twelve times, and in a 1 year, 156 days, 5 hrs. & 27 minutes (as I write this 01/22), it has recorded travels in towns throughout Ohio, Kansas, and Missouri.

In 1968, Pres. Richard M. Nixon proclaimed that the third Monday in February, President's Day, would be a federal holiday (it took hold in 1971), commemorating the births of Presidents George Washington (Feb. 22; Feb. 11 on the old style calendar) and Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12), and honoring all past presidents of the United States. Celebrate this day by visiting a host of interesting sites: Portraits of the Presidents: www.ngp.si.edu/ exh/ travpres/ index6.htm, Presidential Pets: www.4yi.com/2001/ 081301presidentialpets/ s1.html, Lists (like, most number of children: John Tyler--15; longest marriage: George & Barbara Bush--55 years; shortest in height: James Madison--5'4": www.fujisan.demon.co.uk/ USPresidents/ preslist.htm.


© 2002 World Almanac Education Group

World Almanac E-Newsletter
Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief
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