The World Almanac E-Newsletter
Volume 2, Number 3 - March 2002
What's in this issue?
March is American Red Cross Month and Women's History Month
March 1-10 -- Carnaval Miami; Florida Strawberry Festival, Plant City, Florida
National HolidaysMarch 5 -- Peace Corps Day
March 8 -- Employee Appreciation Day
March 15 -- Islamic New Year's Day (Muharram 1)
March 24 -- Ashura (Muharram 10); Palm Sunday
March 25 -- Feast of Annunciation
March 28 -- 1st day of Passover
March 29 -- Good Friday
March 30 -- Doctors' Day
March 31 -- Easter
March 1 -- National Heroes' Day, Paraguay; St. David's Day, Wales
This Day in History - March
Featured Location of the Month: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Location: Seat of Milwaukee County and also in Washington County, SE Wisconsin, on Lake Michigan at the junction of the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic rivers; incorporated 1846. It is a commercial and manufacturing center and a major port of entry on the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Seaway system. The city's name is derived from the Potawatomi Indian term Mahn-ah-wauk ("gathering place by water").
Population (2000 Census): 596,974
Mayor: John O. Norquist (Democrat)
March Temperatures: Normal high of 40.4°F; Normal low of 26.2°F
Colleges & Universities: Alverno College, Cardinal Stritch University, Concordia University of Wisconsin, Marquette University, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Mount Mary College, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Wisconsin Lutheran College
Events: Greater Milwaukee Auto Show, Midwest Express Center (March 1-3); Native American Storytelling, Betty Brinn Children's Museum (March 2); Cudahy Kennel Club Dog Shows, Wisconsin State Fair Park (March 2-3); United Indian Pow Wow, Wisconsin State Fair Park (March 2-3); Irish Heritage Celebration, Milwaukee Public Museum (March 3); The Sham-Rock-St. Patrick's Kick off Party, Historic Turner Ballroom (March 8); Used Boat Show, Wisconsin State Fair Park (March 8-10); Downtown St. Patrick's Day Parade & Party (March 9); Grand Viennese Ball, Pfister Hotel (March 9); Rummage-o-Rama, Wisconsin State Fair Park (March 9-10); World's Toughest Rodeo, U.S. Cellular Arena (March 9-10); Classic Movies in a Classic Mansion, Charles Allis Art Museum (March 13); West Bend Home and Garden Show, Washington County Fair Park (March 15-17); Blarney Run, Hart Park (5K Run, 2-mile Walk, March 16); Mick Moloney's Irish Music & Dance Festival, Pabst Theater (March 16); March Quilting Madness, Cardinal Stritch University (March 16-17); Spring Craft and Gift Show, Wisconsin State Fair Park (March 16-17); 2002 Golf Plus Show, Midwest Express Center (March 22-24); Empire of the Sultans Bazaar, Milwaukee Art Museum (March 23); Weather Day, Discovery World (March 23); Maple Sugar Weekend, Wehr Nature Center (March 23-24); NCAA Women's Basketball Mideast Regional, U.S. Cellular Arena (March 23-25); Classic Movies in a Classic Mansion, Charles Allis Art Museum (March 27); World Short Track Speed Skating Team Championships, Pettit National Ice Center (March 29-30); McCormick and Roundy's Pick'n Save: Egg Day, Milwaukee County Zoo (March 30)
Sports teams: Milwaukee Brewers (baseball); Milwaukee Bucks (basketball)
Places to visit: America's Black Holocaust Museum; Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church; Basilica of St. Josaphat; Beer Museum; Betty Brinn Children's Museum; Bradley Center; Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion; Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist; Charles Allis Art Museum; Charles L. McIntosh Mansion, home of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music; Children's Health Education Center; David Barnett Gallery; Discovery World Museum; Forest Home Cemetery; Havenwoods State Forest; Henry Harnischfeger Residence; Humphrey IMAX Dome Theater; International Clown Hall of Fame; Irish Cultural and Heritage Center of Wisconsin; Lloyd R. Smith House; Marcus Amphitheater; Miller Brewing Company Visitor Center; Miller Park Stadium; Milwaukee Art Museum; Milwaukee County Historical Society; Milwaukee County War Memorial Center; Milwaukee County Zoo; Milwaukee Public Library; Milwaukee Public Museum; Mitchell Gallery of Flight; Mitchell Park Conservatory; Pabst Theater; Pettit National Ice Center; Saint Joan of Arc Chapel, at Marquette University; Schlitz Audubon Nature Center; Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum; Whitnall Park, with its Boerner Botanical Gardens; William F. Eisner Museum of Advertising & Design; Wisconsin Black Historical Museum Society
Tallest Building: Firstar Center (42 stories)
History: Many Indian groups made the Milwaukee area their home; French missionaries who arrived in the late 17th century found bands of Fox, Mascouten, and Potawatomi on lands formerly occupied by the Winnebago. The site of Milwaukee was settled in 1818 by French-Canadian fur traders led by Solomon Laurent Juneau, but development did not begin until 1833, when the Indians gave up their land claims. The city's rich ethnic heritage began in the 1840s with the arrival of German immigrants and continued with the later addition of Poles, Irish, Italians, and Scandinavians. After the American Civil War, the economy shifted from commerce to manufacturing (food and lumber processing, tanning, brewing, and the production of iron and steel goods). The socialist movement sprang up as a result of demands for labor reforms. The city was led by three socialist mayors-Emil Seidel, from 1910 to 1912; Daniel W. Hoan, during 1916-40; and Frank P. Zeidler, 1948-60. After World War II Milwaukee began an extensive redevelopment program. The modernization of its harbor for oceangoing vessels and the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959 made it an international port. Modernization continued with extensive redevelopment of the downtown business district. Once known as "Brew Town USA," or the "American Munich," Milwaukee had only one major brewer in the late 1990s.
Birthplace of: Walter H. Annenberg (1908), Heather Graham (1970), Deidre Hall (1948), Woody Herman (1913), Al Jarreau (1940), George F. Kennan (1904), Tony Kubek (1936), Charlotte Rae (1926), William Rehnquist (1924), Allan H. ("Bud") Selig (1934), Herbert Alexander Simon (1916), Tom Snyder (1936), Latrell Sprewell (1970), Spencer Tracy (1900), Bob Uecker (1935), Gene Wilder (1935), Glenn Yarborough (1930)
Obituaries in February 2002
Abbott, Jack Henry, 58, prison memoirist (In the Belly of the Beast, 1981) who, after being paroled in 1981, killed someone and went back to jail for that turned out to be the rest of his life; Alden, NY, Feb. 10, 2002.
Dillard, William T., 87, founder of Dillards Inc., one of the U.S.'s largest department-store chains; Little Rock, AR, Feb. 8, 2002. Gardner, John W., 89, founder of the U.S. citizens' lobby Common Cause; Palo Alto, CA, Feb. 16, 2002.
Jennings, Waylon, 64, leader of country music's 1970s "outlaw" movement; Chandler, AZ, Feb. 14, 2002.
Jones, Chuck, 89, animator who for three decades helped create such classic Warner Bros. cartoon characters as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck and invented Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote; Corona del Mar, Calif., Feb. 22, 2002.
Knef, Hildegard, 76, German actress who made her mark in Hollywood and on Broadway in the 1950s and later won acclaim as a cabaret singer and autobiographer; Berlin, Germany, Feb. 1, 2002.
Margaret, Princess, 71, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II's younger sister, known for her tumultuous love affairs; London, England, Feb. 9, 2002.
Milligan, Spike, 83, British comedian who starred in and was the main author of the "Goon Show," the 1950s BBC radio series whose absurdist humor came to be widely imitated; near Rye, England, Feb. 27, 2002.
Perutz, Max F., 87, Cambridge University-based biochemist who in 1962 won a Nobel Prize for elucidating the molecular structure of hemoglobin; Cambridge, England, Feb. 6, 2002.
Posner, Victor, 83, U.S. corporate raider who amassed a fortune at the expense of shareholders but was eventually barred from further involvement with public companies; Miami Beach, FL, Feb. 11, 2002.
Savimbi, Jonas, 67, longtime leader of the Angolan rebel group UNITA (Union for the Total Independence of Angola); rural Moxico province, Angola, Feb. 22, 2002.
Smith, Howard K., 87, U.S. broadcast journalist who in 1960 moderated the first televised presidential debate; Bethesda, MD, Feb. 15, 2002.
Thaw, John, 60, British actor best known for his role as the title character in the "Inspector Morse" TV detective series, 33 two-hour episodes of which aired between 1987 and 2001; London, England, Feb. 21, 2002.
Trigère, Pauline, 93, French-born U.S. fashion designer prominent from the 1940s into the 1990s; New York, NY, Feb. 13, 2002.
Walters, Vernon A., 85, U.S. diplomat and military officer who served as CIA deputy director and U.S. ambassador to the UN; West Palm Beach, FL, Feb. 10, 2002.
Special Feature: St. Patrick and the Emerald Isle
By David Faris
March 17 is St. Patrick's Day, feast day of Ireland's patron saint. Besides being a religious occasion, it has long been enshrined as a national holiday in the Republic of Ireland, and as a celebration of Irish heritage and culture wherever there are Irish in sight. But how much do we really know about the Irish? And who in fact was St. Patrick? Actually, he wasn't Irish at all, but was born in, of all places, Britain, in or around AD 389. As a youth he was abducted by Irish marauders and taken to Ireland. According to legend, a vision of an angel prompted him to escape, and he eventually settled in Gaul (present-day France), where he was ordained.
After 20 years as a monk, Patrick had another vision that led him to return to Ireland in 432 as a missionary, preaching Christianity to the inhabitants. He became the island's second bishop. He is said to have used the shamrock, a type of clover, as an illustration of the Trinity; from this it became the Irish national symbol. Patrick died around 461; the exact year and date are unknown. But March 17 was celebrated as the feast of his "falling asleep" as early as the ninth century AD. Green, the color of the shamrock, and traditionally associated with spring, came to symbolize Ireland -- the verdant "Emerald Isle" -- and became a customary color to wear on this day. By the 6th century, Christianity had taken hold in Ireland, which sent missionaries out to other lands from its numerous monastic communities. For centuries Ireland was the target of invasions from both Britain and Scandinavia -- until the Vikings were decisively defeated in battle in 1014. In 1537 King Henry VIII of England introduced the Reformation to Ireland and brought the island under nominal British control. During the reigns of Edward VI and Mary I, English Protestant colonization of Ireland began in earnest.
Around 1641 there was a bloody uprising in which English colonists were driven out of the northern province of Ulster. But in 1649, Oliver Cromwell reconquered most of the island. The English took steps to crush Irish industry and exports, resulting in long-term economic decline and emigration. Protestant and Catholic populations existed side by side, but laws discriminated against Catholics, who lacked both parliamentary representation and the right to vote.
A peasant revolt was defeated in 1798; three years later the Irish Parliament passed an Act of Union with Britain, after which all Irish were compelled to pay tithes -- later converted to rent charges -- to maintain the Anglican Church in Ireland. A devastating potato crop failure in 1845-1847 led to as many as 2 million deaths, and massive emigration, with desperately poor Irish arriving in the United States in large numbers.
The movement for Irish autonomy ("home rule") gathered steam in the last half of the 19th century, but failed. The Easter Rebellion, in which rebels took brief control of Dublin on Easter Sunday 1916, also failed, but allowed the Irish nationalist organization Sinn Fein -- which advocated full independence -- to become the majority Irish party. In 1922 the Irish Free State, under Eamon De Valera, came into being -- but the six counties in the northern province of Ulster remained under British rule and the Free State was still part of the British Commonwealth. The Free State became a "sovereign independent democratic state" in 1937; in 1949, as the Republic of Ireland, it was freed of all ties to the British crown. Sinn Fein and the militant Irish Republican Army then sought to unify Protestant-dominated Northern Ireland with the predominantly Catholic Republic.
Before independence the Irish nationalist cause had inspired an outpouring of artistic and literary creation. The so-called Irish Renaissance gave rise to masterpieces of poetry, drama and fiction from the pens of Nobel laureate William Butler Yeats, J.M. Synge, Sean O'Casey, and Lady Augusta Gregory, among others. Some works were written in Gaelic in a conscious effort to preserve the ancient national language.
Despite recent hard times, Ireland today is a prosperous member of the European Union, and a popular tourist destination. However, the paramilitary struggle over Northern Ireland has continued. British troops were sent into Northern Ireland in 1969. On January 30, 1972, they opened fire on Irish demonstrators in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, killing more than a dozen in what became known as "Bloody Sunday". Later that year, the British abolished the Northern Ireland parliament and established direct rule of Northern Ireland from England. Since 1969, more than 3,200 people have died in "the troubles" -- some Protestant victims of IRA attacks, some Catholic victims of Protestant paramilitary groups or British troops. IRA bombs have also claimed victims in Britain.
A historic agreement to end the sectarian conflict was reached in April 1998. In return for establishment of a 108-member Northern Irish parliament, the Republic rescinded claims of sovereignty over Northern Ireland, and the IRA agreed to lay down its arms. The accord, signed in Northern Ireland's capital city of Belfast, stipulated that Northern Ireland and the Republic could only be reunified by the consent of voters in both countries. It brought Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble, head of the province's largest Protestant party, and his Catholic counterpart, John Hume, the Nobel Peace Prize for 1998.
Implementation of these so-called Good Friday accords has stalled more than once over the time frame for disarming Northern Ireland's Protestant and Catholic paramilitary groups. In December 1999 the British government officially devolved power to a provincial government in Northern Ireland. Home rule was suspended in February 2000 but restored in May after the IRA pledged to put its weapons "verifiably beyond use." Home rule was suspended again in September 2001. In October the IRA announced it had begun to decommission its arsenal, but Catholic paramilitary splinter groups had not disarmed.
Across the Atlantic
In the United States, the Irish immigrants had clustered primarily in northern industrial cities, particularly Boston and New York City. These immigrants were initially objects of discrimination and had to struggle against poverty, but over the years the Irish moved up the social and economic ladder to attain equal footing with other Americans.
Celebrations of St. Patrick's Day in North America began decades before the United States came into being. The first was held in Boston in 1737. Today more than 100 U.S. cities hold parades, of which the largest is in New York. That event has seen its share of controversy, on issues ranging from IRA militancy to gay rights. But on March 17, 2002, you can be sure that Irish eyes will be smiling on both sides of the ocean!
To find out about St. Patrick's Day celebrations in your city, visit www.ireland.com. For more information about the Republic of Ireland, go to www.irlgov.ie, and for information on Northern Ireland, try www.ni-assembly.gov.uk.
SCIENCE IN THE NEWS
Sheep Recognize Each Other
By Czarina Agojo
It may be that sheep are not quite so stupid after all. A new study led by Keith Kendrick of the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, England, reveals that these wool-givers are smart enough to recognize the faces of fifty other sheep for over two years. In the study, sheep were "taught" to associate one picture of a specific sheep face with a food reward. When shown pictures of different sheep (with only one yielding a reward), the sheep being tested made the correct decision more than 80% of the time. This ability to recognize and distinguish other sheep appears to support the idea that sheep, like humans and other primates, have a specialized region of neurons in the prefrontal cortex of the brain that encodes faces and distinguishes them from other visual objects.
After about 600 to 800 days (about two years) of conditioning, the animals' performance started to fall off. Perhaps the specifics of facial encoding erode over time as sheep learn to use other cues to recognize "familiar" individuals. Researchers hypothesize that sheep may even think about their comrades in their absence. The study was reported in the journal Nature.
By Czarina Agojo
Cats may soon possess more than their notorious nine lives. Researchers at Texas A&M University successfully replicated a domestic cat, adding to the controversy over cloning.
"CC," or "Copy Cat," was born on December 22, 2001 and is a genetic duplicate of a 2-year old calico named Rainbow. However, although the two are genetically identical, they do not look alike. Differences arise because cats' markings are determined randomly by molecular events during fetal development. Lead scientist Mark Westhusin stressed that cloning "is reproduction, not resurrection."
However, despite this disclaimer, the estimated market for people who are willing to pay to have their beloved pets "restored to life" is huge. And both researchers and capitalists know this. In fact, a man named John Sperling, who initiated this pet-cloning project by donating $3.7 million to Texas A&M to have his dog cloned, already has patent rights on any resulting pet-cloning technology that is developed. He hopes to use these techniques to advance his self-created cloning company called Genetic Savings and Clone, which aims to capitalize from the genetic replication of not only pets, but endangered species and specialized animals (such as search-and-rescue dogs) as well.
Chronology -- Events of February 2001
Enron Executives Criticized in Report and Called Before Congressional Committees--A report requested by the board of directors of the Enron Corp., released Feb. 2, blamed top executives for the company's bankruptcy. William Powers, dean of the University of Texas Law School, led the investigation. The report asserted that executives had inflated profits by almost $1 billion, enriched themselves at the expense of stockholders, and disregarded federal securities laws. It cited partnerships controlled by then-chief financial officer Andrew Fastow that had no purpose other than to misrepresent profits. Other failures of responsibility were attributed to Kenneth Lay, former chairman and chief executive officer, and Jeffrey Skilling, who was CEO before resigning in August 2001. The report also criticized Enron lawyers and Arthur Andersen, Enron's accounting firm, for going along with improper procedures.
On Feb. 3, Lay ended his connection with Enron by resigning from its board. On Feb. 7, Skilling testified before a House subcommittee, declaring he had been unaware of dubious financial practices. Fastow and other executives appeared but declined to testify, citing 5th amendment rights. On Feb. 12, responding to a subpoena, Lay appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee, but like others declined to testify on 5th Amendment grounds. Sherron Watkins, an Enron executive who had warned of an accounting scandal in August 2001, testified Feb. 14 that she had tried to inform Lay of improprieties but that he did not seem to appreciate their seriousness. She put blame mainly on Skilling and Fastow.
Bush Budget Boosts Military Spending, Cuts Taxes--On Feb. 4, Pres. George W. Bush submitted to Congress a $2.13 trillion budget for the 2003 fiscal year. He proposed an 11.7% increase ($38.3 billion) in defense spending, and a near doubling ($18 billion in new spending) on homeland security. The latter would entail preparedness for bioterrorism and an increase in border security. Bush also called for more tax cuts, including a permanent extension in the $1.35 trillion, 10-year tax cut that he got from Congress in 2001.
Campaign-Finance Reform Bill Advances in Congress--Campaign-finance reform edged closer to approval Feb. 14 when the House gave its support to the Shays-Meehan bill, 240-189. The GOP leadership was unable to prevent 41 Republicans from supporting the bill; only 12 Democrats opposed it. The bill would bar national political parties from accepting so-called soft money, but would increase from $1,000 to $2,000 the amount an individual could give directly to a candidate. Unions, corporations, and not-for-profit organizations would be barred from paying for broadcast ads in the last 60 days of a general-election campaign. The Senate had adopted a similar, but not identical, bill and would need to take action again.
Hundreds of Bodies Found Near Crematory--Investigators found hundreds of bodies in a woodsy site near a crematory in northwest Georgia. A woman walking a dog Feb. 15 reported seeing a human skull, and by Feb. 22 authorities had turned up remains of more than 280 bodies piled in sheds and in the woods. Apparently the remains were those of persons who family members had arranged to have cremated. Funeral homes in the area had given the remains to the Tri-State Crematory in Noble, near the borders with Tennessee and Alabama. Police Feb. 16 charged Ray-Brent Marsh, manager of the crematory, with multiple counts of theft by deception.
General Accounting Office Sues Vice President--The General Accounting Office, the investigatory arm of Congress, sued Vice Pres. Dick Cheney Feb. 22. The suit, filed in Federal District Court in Washington, DC, sought information from Cheney on who met with him and other members of his task force as they developed a proposed national energy policy. Cheney had not provided the information voluntarily, contending the names and views of such advisers should be kept secret so as to allow them to offer candid advice.
Investigation Into Anthrax Deaths Narrows--White House Press Sec. Ari Fleischer said Feb. 25 that the FBI had several suspects in the anthrax-poisoning deaths of 5 people in the fall of 2001. Other officials said that "suspect" was too strong a term to use, but that there was a list of about 18 to 20 people who had the means, opportunity, and possible motive to mail letters carrying the anthrax.
Conviction of 2d Officer in Louima Police Torture Case Overturned--A federal appeals court in New York City, Feb. 28, overturned the 1999 conviction of former police officer Charles Schwarz as an accomplice in the torture of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima in August 1997. Convictions of two other officers for conspiracy to obstruct justice were also overturned. Justin Volpe, the main defendant, was unaffected by the action; he had ultimately pleaded guilty and was serving a 30-year prison term. In the incident, a national symbol of police brutality, Volpe had rammed a broken broomstick up Louima's rectum in the bathroom of a Brooklyn station house; Schwarz was convicted of having held Louima down. Schwarz has maintained (as Volpe also later claimed) that it was a different officer who participated. The appeals court reversed the Schwarz conviction on the grounds that the jury had been exposed to prejudicial information and that Schwarz's defense attorney had had a conflict of interest. A new trial for Schwarz was expected; the other convictions were struck down for insufficient evidence, with no possibility of retrial.
Milosevic Trial on War Crimes Begins--The war crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic, former president of Yugoslavia, began Feb. 12 at The Hague, the Netherlands. An appeals panel of the international UN tribunal ruled Feb. 1 that he would face a single trial on charges related to the wars in Kosovo, Bosnia, and Croatia. The chief prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, addressing the tribunal Feb. 12, attributed to Milosevic "a calculated cruelty that went beyond the bounds of legitimate warfare." The prosecution Feb. 13 continued to outline a long account of executions, deportations, and other alleged human-rights abuses. Milosevic, acting as his own counsel, charged that the prosecution and the media were engaged in "a parallel lynch process." He spoke for several hours on Feb. 14 and 15, charging the Clinton administration with genocide against Serbia. On Feb. l9, he began cross-examining witnesses.
Wall Street Journal Reporter Murdered in Pakistan--A videotape delivered to Pakistani officials Feb. 20 reportedly provided graphic evidence that Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter abducted by terrorists in Pakistan on Jan. 23, had been murdered sometime thereafter. Pearl had been the subject of an intense search. A telephoned demand for a $2 million ransom was made Feb. 1. An email sent to news organizations that day claimed he had been killed, but amid conflicting indications the FBI and Pakistani officials had continued to search for him. Pakistani police said Feb. 13 that the chief suspect, Ahmed Omar Sheikh, who had been arrested, had provided no solid information on his fate.
Near-War Between Israel, Palestinians Continues--Exchanges that approached outright warfare continued between Israel and Palestinians. In retaliation for an attack on a Jewish settlement and a military outpost, Israel, Feb. 2, shelled a naval base in the Gaza Strip. Israel Feb. 4 denied responsibility for an explosion that killed 5 Palestinians riding in a car in the Gaza Strip. A mother and child were among 3 Israelis killed in a Feb. 6 attack by militants on a remote settlement. Israeli planes then bombed a compound of the Palestinian Authority.
Hamas militants launched 2 rockets at towns in southern Israel, Feb. 10, and Israeli planes then attacked a Palestinian security compound in the Gaza Strip. Israelis in armored vehicles and tanks raided 3 towns in Gaza, Feb. 13, killing 5 Palestinians. Three Israeli soldiers were killed Feb. 14 when a bomb exploded under their tank at Karni Crossing, Two Israeli teenagers died and 20 more people were injured in a suicide bombing at a Jewish settlement in the West Bank Feb. 16. A suicide bomber shot and killed an Israeli woman in Gaza Feb. 18, then blew himself up, killing 2 soldiers.
After a 24-hour period in which 16 were killed on both sides, Palestinian gunmen Feb. 19 killed 6 Israeli soldiers at a West Bank outpost, Ein Ariq, then got away. On Feb. 20, Israelis attacked the official compound of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat in Gaza City, killing 4 guards. Arafat was in Ramallah, where his movements were restricted by Israeli tanks. On Feb.28, Israeli troops raided two West Bank Arab camps, killing at least 11 Palestinians.
Venezuelan Currency Plunges in Value--The bolivar, the currency of Venezuela, skidded in value after Pres. Hugo Chávez Feb. 12 abandoned a controlled devaluation plan and allowed the currency to float against other currencies. To attack an $8 billion budget deficit, he also announced a 7% cut in government spending.
Minister's Death Clouds Afghan Government's Future--The violent death Feb. 14 of Afghanistan's minister of air transport and tourism underscored sharp divisions within the country's post-Taliban leadership. Abdul Rahman, had reportedly been killed after being pulled from a plane by pilgrims angered by a delay in their departure for the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. On Feb. 15, Hamid Karzai, chairman of the interim government, claimed that senior government officials pursuing a vendetta had been responsible. He said that some had been arrested and that others had left for Saudi Arabia.
On Feb. 17, the U.S. Central Command in Afghanistan said that U.S. planes Feb. 16 and 17 had bombed "enemy troops" attacking forces loyal to the Afghan interim government. For the first time, the targets of U.S. bombings were not al-Qaeda or Taliban but rather militias opposed to the Karzai government.
Rebels Kill 199 in Nepal--Maoist rebels launched a series of attacks in Nepal Feb. 17 that killed at least 167 people. The rebellion had claimed 2,400 lives since 1996. Prime Min. Sher Bahadur Deuba had imposed a state of emergency in November 2000. Officials reported Feb. 22 that rebels had killed 32 policemen at a remote post.
Bush Visits Japan, South Korea, and China--Pres. Bush, on the first stop of an Asian trip Feb. 18 in Japan, called Prime Min. Junichiro Koizumi "a great reformer." At a joint press conference, Koizumi was more conciliatory than Bush toward North Korea, which Bush had described as part of an "axis of evil." Addressing the Japanese parliament Feb. 19, Bush said the United States nation would, if necessary, come to the defense of South Korea, the Philippines, and Taiwan.
In Seoul, South Korea, Feb. 20, Bush said that the United States had no intention of attacking North Korea and that he supported reunification efforts by both Koreas. Bush and Pres. Jiang Zemin of China met Feb. 21 and agreed to work together to unify Korea. In a Feb. 22 speech at Beijing's Tsinghua University, broadcast across China, Bush said religious freedom should be welcomed, not feared, and called the United States "a nation guided by faith."
Angolan Rebel Leader Jonas Savimbi Is Killed--Jonas Savimbi, who had fought for decades to free Angola from Portuguese rule and then to overthrow its black governments, was killed in ambush in Moxico province, according to a report Feb. 22 by local government officials. Savimbi had led the rebel group known as Unita.
More Than 370 Die in Fire on Egyptian Train--More than 370 persons aboard a train running south of Cairo, Egypt, died Feb. 20 when some of the cars caught fire. It was thought that the fire started when a small stove used to make tea or cook food exploded.
The underdog New England Patriots won one of the most exciting Super Bowl games ever, Feb. 3, when Adam Vinatieri kicked a 48-yard field goal as time ran out. They defeated the St. Louis Rams, champions just 2 years earlier, 20-17. St. Louis had trailed 17-3 with 10 minutes to play, but scored 2 touchdowns, the 2d with 1 minute and 37 seconds left, to tie the score. New England then moved the ball from their own 17-yard line to the St. Louis 30, and Vinatieri kicked the decisive 3-pointer.
Ward Burton won a wild Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, in Daytona, FL. An 18-car crash on lap 149 took 10 drivers out of the race. Then six laps from the finish, after another accident, leader Sterling Marlin was penalized for working on his car while the race was stopped for a red flag. Marlin was sent to the back of the pack. Last year's Winston Cup champion, Jeff Gordon, was penalized for entering pit lane before it was open. He was sent to the back of the pack on the final restart of the race. It was the first Daytona 500 win for Burton and the first by a Dodge since 1974.
The 2002 Olympic Winter Games
Pres. George W. Bush officially declared the Olympic Winter Games open on Feb. 8 in Salt Lake City, UT. The $37 million opening show featured performances by hundreds of ice skaters. A tattered American flag recovered from the World Trade Center after the September 11 attack was carried into the stadium. Athletes from 77 nations marched into the arena. Members of the 1980 U.S. men's hockey team, who had upset the Soviet Union to win a gold medal, lighted the Olympic cauldron.
In snowboarding, in the women's halfpipe, Kelly Clark of Dover, VT, prevailed Feb. 10 with a score of 47.9 and the first U.S. gold medal. Ross Powers of South Londonderry, VT, matched her gold in the men's halfpipe, Feb. 11, scoring 46.1.
On Feb. 11, the judging of the figure skating pairs created an international uproar when 5 of 9 judges named Yelena Berzhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze (Russia) as winners, leaving the silver medal to Canadians Jamie Salé and David Pelletier, the overwhelming crowd favorite. The crowd booed the decision. The International Skating Union voted Feb. 14 to award duplicate gold medals to the 2 Canadian skaters. The vote of the French judge--who was suspended by the ISU--was thrown out, leaving the remaining judges divided 4-4, with western countries, except France, all voting for the Canadians, and judges from Communist and former Communist countries all picking the Russians. Russian officials were angered at seeing their athletes obliged to share the gold medals and threatened to pull out of closing ceremonies, but did not.
American Casey FitzRandolph won the gold in the men's 500-meter speedskating, Feb. 12, by 0.03 seconds. Aleksi Yagudin, a Russian, won the men's free style in skating on Feb. 14.
American Chris Witty (U.S.) won the women's speedskating 1,000 meters Feb. 17 in 1:13.83. The gold medal for the pairs dance in figure skating went to Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat of France, Feb. 18.
The Americans Jill Bakken (pilot) and Vonetta Flowers (brakewoman) upset 2 German teams and another U.S. team to win the 2-women bobsled gold medal Feb. 19. Flowers, the only African-American on the U.S. team, were the first black athlete ever to win a gold in a winter Olympics. Former inline skater Derek Parra, from Orlando, FL, won the men's 1,500-meter speedskating title, Feb. 19.
In a stunning upset, Sarah Hughes, 16, of Great Neck, NY, won the women's figure skating gold Feb. 21, after doing 2 triple-triple leaps. Michele Kwan (US), a favorite, settled for the bronze after falling out of a triple.
In the men's 1,500 meters in the short-track speed skating, Apolo Anton Ohno of Seattle was declared the winner Feb. 20 after the first-place finisher committed a foul.
Canada won the women's hockey gold Feb. 21, defeating the United States in the final, 3-2. In alpine skiing Feb. 21, Germany took the women's 4x5K relay. Claudia Pechstein of Germany took the women's 5,000-meter speedskating gold in the world-record time of 6:46.91, Feb. 23. Germany Feb. 23 won the 4-man bobsled gold, with U.S. teams 2d and 3rd. Canada took the men's hockey title, Feb. 24, defeating the United States 5-2.
In the end Germany won 35 medals; the United States was close behind, with 34, and Norway came in 3d, with 24. The gold-medal count was even closer: Germany 12, Norway 11, and the United States 10.
Selected Grammy Award Winners for 2001
Record of the Year (single): "Walk On," U2
Offbeat News Stories
Enron Ethics Code To Be Enshrined in the Smithsonian--It may not be Lincoln's top hat or Archie Bunker's chair, but curators at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History have gotten hold of a booklet containing a code of ethics for Enron employees. The acquisition is part of a grand plan to collect Enron memorabilia, so as to document this infamous chapter in American history. The Political History division of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History will use the memorabilia in an effort to examine "the contest between business and the public for government's favor," a spokeswoman said. In all, the Smithsonian, in Washington, DC embraces 16 different museums, holding more than 140 million artifacts of various kinds.
Royal Racer--One athlete stood out in his own way among the 2,500 or so who competed at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Prince Albert of Monaco, entered under his family name of Grimaldi, raced in the bobsled event, in what was his fifth, and almost certainly last, appearance. Son of the late Hollywood movie star Grace Kelly, who became Princess Grace of Monaco, Albert is a third-generation Olympian. At 43, he also qualified as the oldest bobsled driver in Olympic history. While his room in the athlete's village came with special luxuries of telephone and television, he faced the same competitive pressures as everybody else. Hampered by a pulled hamstring, he tipped over in the third heat, and his team end up placing a valiant 28th.
Calling All Dunlops--The Dunlop Tire Company has allocated a total of $16,000 (Canadian) in reward money to Canadians named Dunlop who are willing to extend their surnames legally to the company's full moniker. A poll of 2,000 Canadians indicated that 37% of them would trade their family name for a corporate brand name if the price was right. The size of the award actually will depend on how many real-life Dunlops can agree to be named after a tire; the $16,000 offered by the company must be shared equally among participants. There are at least 1,000 potential "Dunlop-Tire" families in Canada.
75 Years Ago in the WORLD ALMANAC:
Babe Ruth, at N.Y. City, signed a contract at $70,000 a year for 3 years to play baseball with the Yankees.
A letter signed by Button Gwinnett and five other signers of the Declaration of Independence was sold for $51,000 at N.Y. City, to Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach. The Gwinnett signature appears with those of John Hancock, Robert Morris, Francis Lewis, George Head and Arthur Middleton, constituting a Marine Committee organized at Philadelphia at the time the Declaration of Independence was drawn. The letter was dated July 12, 1776.
Albert Snyder, art editor of the magazine "Motorboating," was found dead from chloroform, and blows on the head, a picture wire twisted deep into his neck in his home, 222d Street, Queens Village, Queens. His wife, Mrs. Ruth Snyder, and -Henry Judd Gray, a married salesman of E. Orange, N.J., were arrested, the latter at a hotel at Syracuse, N.Y. They were indicted on March 29, on a joint charge of murder, and were put on trial at Long Island City, April 18. Mrs. Snyder testified in her own behalf on April 29, May 2. Gray testified May 3, 4. The jury on May 9, found both guilty of first degree murder, and on May 13, they were sentenced to die in the week of June 20. They appealed; the Court of Appeals upheld their conviction and they were resentenced to die, in week of Jan. 9, 1928. (Editor's Note: Murderer Ruth Snyder was executed in the electric chair at Ossining, N.Y. on January 22, 1928. Photographer Thomas Howard, of the "New York Daily News," caught the moment of death with a camera secretly strapped to his ankle, and the photo runs on the front page of the "News." Gray met his death ten minutes later in the same chair).
Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief
Marie Curie (1867-1934) was one of the great scientists of the 20th century, winning two Nobel Prizes (1903 in Physics and 1911 in Chemistry). She performed pioneering studies with radium and contributed profoundly to the understanding of radioactivity. To learn more, visit: www.aip.org/history/curie/.
Anne Frank (1929-1945) was a Jewish teenager forced to hide out with her family and four others in a secret hiding place in an Amsterdam factory during the Holocaust. Ultimately betrayed to the Nazis (by an unknown informant), the eight were sent to concentration camps, where Anne died in Bergen-Belsen shortly before its liberation by the British. But a poignant diary of her time in hiding had been saved by one of the family's helpers, Miep Gies, and was published in 1947. It offers a candid self-portrait of experience, and a memorable testament to the human spirit. To learn more, visit: www.annefrank.nl/ ned/default2.html.
Helen Keller (1880-1968), was a remarkable woman who though unable either to see or, hear, conquered the worlds of sight and sound. With the help of her devoted teacher, Annie Sullivan, she learned communication, and went on to become a renowned author and lecturer, devoting her life to work on behalf of the blind and deaf. The American Foundation for the Blind, at www.afb.org/information.asp offers information and pictures from Helen Keller's life, along with advice on how to help eliminate the boundaries of the visually impaired.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1994-1962), a renowned reformer, worked to promote the rights of women, youth, blacks, and the poor. Born into privilege, she was the niece of one president (Theodore Roosevelt), and the wife to another (Franklin D. Roosevelt). As First Lady from 1933 to 1945, she provided counsel from behind the scenes; later as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, she was instrumental in the drafting of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. For more information visit: www.gwu.edu/~erpapers/.
Harriet Tubman (c. 1820-1913) was born a slave, but escaped to freedom in the 1840s and between 1850 and 1860, led as many as 300 slaves to freedom on the Underground Railway, a network of safe houses. She went on to nurse soldiers during the Civil War, and work for women's rights and other reform movements. To learn more about her life and work, visit: www.nyhistory.com/ harriettubman/ life.htm.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1914-1956) is considered one of the greatest female athletes of the 20th century. Besides winning medals in the 1932 Olympics in the 80 meter hurdles, javelin, and high jump, she excelled at baseball and tennis. But she is best known for her golf career, in which she won 82 amateur and professional tournaments. Visit www.babedidricksonzaharias.org for more information.
Most unusual website of the month: Snap Bubbles.com www.snapbubbles.com/.
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Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief
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