The World Almanac E-Newsletter
Volume 2, Number 4 - April 2002
What's in this issue?
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
April 1 - White House Easter Egg Roll
National HolidaysApril 1 - April Fools' Day; Easter Monday (Canada, Great Britain)
April 2 - International Children's Book Day
April 7 - World Health Day
April 8 - Birthday of the Buddha
April 11 - National D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Day
April 14 - Pan American Day
April 15 - Patriot's Day
April 20 - International Astronomy Day
April 21 - Birthday of Rome
April 22 - Earth Day
April 24 - Administrative Professionals Day
This Day in History - April
Featured Location of the Month: Atlanta, Georgia
Location: Capital of Georgia; seat of Fulton County and also in De Kalb County; northern Georgia, in the Piedmont Region near the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains at an elevation of about 1,000 feet; incorporated as a city 1847.
Population (2000 Census): 416,474
Mayor: Shirley Franklin (Democrat)
April Temperatures: Normal high of 72.7° Normal low of 50.2°
Colleges & Universities: Atlanta College of Art; Atlanta University Center; Clark Atlanta University; Emory University; Georgia Institute of Technology; Georgia State University; Morehouse College; Morris Brown College; Oglethorpe University; Spelman College; The Art Institute of Atlanta
Events: Atlanta Dogwood Festival, Piedmont Park (April 12-14); Sickle Cell Run (April 13); Atlanta Women's Race 5k, Grant Park (April 16); Earth Day Celebration, Piedmont Park (April 19); Africa Day, Grant Park (April 20); MS Walk 2002, Piedmont Park (April 20); Inman Park Spring Festival, Tour of Homes and Parade (April 26-28); Walkamerica (April 27); Atlanta Dog Jog, Piedmont Park (April 28)
Sports teams: Atlanta Braves (baseball); Atlanta Hawks (basketball); Atlanta Falcons (football); Atlanta Thrashers (ice hockey)
Places to visit: The Capitol; the Woodruff Arts Center; the Georgia Dome; he Cyclorama, a three-dimensional diorama commemorating the Battle of Atlanta in the American Civil War; the Fernbank Science Center and the Fernbank Museum of Natural History; The Science and Technology Museum of Atlanta (SciTrek); the Atlanta History Center; the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum; the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, which includes the grave of the slain civil rights leader; the APEX Museum; the Atlanta Motor Speedway; the Carter Presidential Center, a library-museum dedicated to the presidency of Jimmy Carter; the High Museum of Art, designed by the American architect Richard Meier; the Atlanta Symphony; the Atlanta Historical Society; CNN Center; World of Coca-Cola; and Zoo Atlanta
Tallest Building: Bank of America Plaza (55 stories; 1,023 feet)
History: The site of the city of Atlanta was ceded to Georgia by the Creek Indians in 1821. The community (then named Terminus) was laid out in 1837 at the southern end of a proposed railroad to Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was incorporated as the town of Marthasville in 1843, and two years later it received its present name, a feminine version of Atlantic. By the Civil War, the city, with a population of only 15,000, had become a major rail hub.
As a vital Confederate supply depot, it was the objective of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman in his campaign from Chattanooga. Several bloody battles were fought on the outskirts of the city before it was taken on Sept. 1, 1864. On November 15 Sherman burned nearly the entire city before his march to the sea. Atlanta recovered quickly after the Civil War and was made temporary state capital in 1868, a position conferred permanently by popular vote in 1877. It became the largest city in the state after 1900. Although the population of the city proper has declined since the 1970s, the population of the entire Atlanta metropolitan area increased dramatically between 1980 and 1990. The city hosted the 1996 Summer Olympic Games during which a bomb explosion at Centennial Olympic Park caused the deaths of 2 people and injured more than 100.
Birthplace of: Daniel Boorstin (1914); Barbara Cook (1927); Jeff Foxworthy (1957); Bobby Jones (1902); Vernon Jordan (1935); Martin Luther King Jr. (1929); Gladys Knight (1944); Brenda Lee (1944); Spike Lee (1957); Jerry Reed (1937); Nipsey Russell (1924); Steven Soderbergh (1963); Chris Tucker (1972); Jane Withers (1926).
Obituaries in March 2002
Berle, Milton, 93, comedian nicknamed "Mr. Television," (for his popularity in the infancy of television), who had a 88 year career including acts in vaudeville, nightclubs, radio and film; Los Angeles, CA, March 27, 2002.
Cannon, Howard, 90, four-term Democratic U.S. senator from Nevada (1959-83); Las Vegas, NV, March 6, 2002.
Elizabeth, the British Queen Mother, 101, who became queen consort upon the abdication of Edward VIII in 1936, and won the hearts of the British people by staying with her family at Buckingham Palace during the course of World War II, Royal Lodge, Windsor, England, March 27, 2002.
Farrell, Eileen, 82, U.S. dramatic soprano who excelled in everything from opera to choral music to jazz to Broadway standards; Park Ridge, NJ, March 23, 2002.
Kyprianou, Spyros, 69, Greek Cypriot who was president of Cyprus from 1977 to 1988; Nicosia, Cyprus, March 12, 2002.
LeNoire, Rosetta, 90, black actress and theater producer who broke all sorts of racial barriers and late in life achieved great popularity in the TV show "Family Matters"; Teaneck, NJ, March 17, 2002.
McIntire, Carl, 95, fiery U.S. radio evangelist once listened to by millions who was forced off the air by the FCC in 1973; Voorhees, NJ, March 19, 2002.
Moore, Dudley, 66, diminutive British-born actor and comedian who gained fame in the satirical revue "Beyond the Fringe" then went on to star in such movies as 10 and Arthur; Plainfield, NJ, March 27, 2002.
Riopelle, Jean-Paul, 78, Canada's best-known 20th-century painter; Ile-aux-Grues, Quebec, March 12, 2002.
Talmadge, Herman, 88, Democratic Georgia governor (1948-55) and U.S. senator (1957-81) who began as a staunch segregationist but gradually moved closer to the political center; Hampton, GA, March 21, 2002.
Tobin, James, 84, Nobel Prize-winning U.S. economist who was one of the leading advocates of the theories of British economist John Maynard Keynes; New Haven, CT, March 11, 2002.
Wilder, Billy, 95, the writer and director who won six Academy Awards and international acclaim as one of the world's great filmmakers, died on Wednesday at his home in Beverly Hills, CA, March 27, 2002.
Winship, Thomas, 81, liberal editor of the Boston Globe newspaper, 1965-84; Boston, MA, March 14, 2002.
Worth, Irene, 85 or 86, U.S.-born actress, best known for her work in the theater, who rose to fame in London and thereafter had a splendid transatlantic career; New York, NY, March 10, 2002.
Special Feature: Earth Day
By Rogene Fisher
April 22, 2002 will mark the 32nd anniversary of Earth Day, a day considered by many to mark the birth of the environmental movement in America. The idea for Earth Day was born in the early 1960s, when Americans were just beginning to take note of the damage that industrialization was unleashing on their environment.
The publication in 1962 of Rachel Carson's landmark work Silent Spring, which condemned the widespread use of pesticides, was instrumental in rousing public awareness and concern about environmental degradation. Despite this growing concern, environmental issues had no place on the national political agenda. Frustrated by this, then-Senator Gaylord Nelson (D, Wisc.) began a concerted effort to put them there. Nelson persuaded President John F. Kennedy to deliver a series of speeches on environmental issues. In September 1963, Kennedy visited 11 states on a five-day Conservation Tour." While Kennedy's tour marked a significant step toward giving the environment in a prominent place on the national agenda, the timing wasn’t right. The nation was preoccupied with the growing civil rights movement and the burgeoning conflict in Vietnam.
Antiwar 'Teach-Ins' Provided Model
By 1969, a groundswell of opposition to the Vietnam War had spread across the country. Anti-war activists launched a series of demonstrations they dubbed "teach-ins" on college campuses, protesting America's military campaign in Southeast Asia. These peaceful protests gave Nelson the idea to spearhead a similar grassroots movement to protest the neglect and abuse of the environment. In September 1969, Nelson announced the idea that became Earth Day: he would organize a nationwide demonstration, an environmental teach-in, the following spring.
The response to Nelson's idea was overwhelming. The Senator and a small staff in Washington, D.C. fielded calls from across the country. People expressed concern about land, air, and water pollution in their communities and asked what they could do about it.
Noticing the momentum and bipartisan political support behind this new environmental initiative, President Richard M. Nixon responded. In January 1970, the president signed the country's first major piece of anti-pollution legislation, the National Environmental Protection Act, and pledged his administration's commitment to the environment. The 1970s, Nixon said, "absolutely must be the years when America pays its debt to the past by reclaiming the purity of its air, its waters and our living environment. It is literally now or never."
On April 22, 1970, the first "Earth Day was observed, in what is now often referred to as the birth of the environmental movement. Nelson and Rep. Paul N. McCloskey Jr. (R, Calif.) served as honorary co-chairmen of the event. An estimated 20 million people participated in events across America. Rallies were held in major cities, communities organized clean-up projects and schools held various activities for students. In Washington, both houses of Congress were adjourned as legislators spoke at rallies across the country. The event’s success revealed the presence a broad-based and vocal group of Americans who shared a passionate concern for environmental issues, but had not yet had an opportunity to rally around their cause together. Earth Day gave them the forum and galvanized the movement.
Environmentalists were now a visible presence that could not be ignored. In the months that followed the first Earth Day numerous anti-pollution and conservation initiatives were adopted at the state and federal level. Perhaps the most notable was Nixon’s creation of a new federal agency responsible for environmental policy; the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
With environmental policy under the umbrella of a single federal agency, the 1970s witnessed passage of a several key pieces of environmental legislation that remain in force today: The Clean Air Act (1970, Clean Water Act (1972), and the Endangered Species Act (1973).
Success Spurs Counter-Movement
As the environmental movement gained mainstream acceptance in the 1970s, myriad environmental regulations were adopted. Environmental issues began to shape debate on everything from local zoning ordinances automobile emissions standards. By the mid-1980s a growing number of people were bristling at what they viewed as unreasonable and costly environmental rules. Battles over regulations addressing wetlands conservation, logging curbs, and species habitat protection pitted environmentalists against people who felt the laws jeopardized their livelihoods and property values.
Endangered species protection has been among the most hotly debated issues. When it originated in 1973, the endangered species list included 122 species. As of August 2001, there were 972 plant and animal species from the United States on the list. During President Bill Clinton’s administration, the protection of the spotted owl spurred one of the fiercest battles over environmental regulation. Protection of the owl’s habitat required sharp curbs on logging in Western states. Small logging towns suffered significant job losses. After court battles and countless public protests, the administration was forced to rethink its policy and allow limited logging in the owl’s habitat. Conservative legislators have largely sided with the “property rights” movement, and have been engaged in a continuing drive to scale back what they see as overly intrusive and costly federal environmental regulation.
In 1990, Earth Day went global. Two decades after Earth Day’s inception, environmental groups were powerful political forces in nations around the world. The spread of industrialization, ballooning population growth, devastating losses of huge swaths of rainforest and increasing evidence of around the globe pointed up the need for a coordinated international response.
Some 200 million people in 141 countries participated in Earth Day events in 1990. A new sense of urgency for nations to work together on the environment was kindled, helping to pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. A subsequent U.N. conference on global warming was held in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, with the aim of adopting a measure that would oblige nations to reduce emissions of greenhouse-effect gases to certain levels by specific dates.
On the 25th annual Earth Day observance, President Clinton honored Gaylord Nelson’s contribution to the environmental movement by awarding the Earth Day-founder the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
With the arrival of a new millennium, the Internet facilitated the organization of Earth Day 2000 activities. The Net helped link activists around the world, and resulted in the coordination of events held by 5,000 environmental groups around the world. Hundreds of millions of people in 184 countries took part in Earth Day activities, making Earth Day one of the most widely observed days. The theme for Earth Day 2002 is “Protect Our Home.” To find out about Earth Day events in your area, or learn how to plan your own, visit the Earth Day Network Website at http://www.earthday.net/.
SCIENCE IN THE NEWS
Archimedes Key to Bermuda Triangle Mystery
By Elizabeth Barden
The power of bubbles may lie behind cases of missing ships in the Bermuda Triangle, scientists have recently shown.
The theory has been around for a while. In fact, the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes realized that for something to float, the density of the liquid it is floating in has to be greater than the density of the object itself. He didn't know about the Bermuda Triangle since the New World had not yet been discovered, but many ships had been mysteriously lost in the Mediterranean Sea, and this was one possible explanation.
Pockets of methane known to lie under large portions of the Bermuda Triangle could release bursts of methane gas that would form bubbles and rise to the surface. The theory goes that the release of enough bubbles into the water below a ship could lower the average density of the water enough to sink the ship. People have suggested that releases of methane gas underwater could be to blame for ships disappearing in both the Bermuda Triangle and the North Sea.
Bruce Denardo at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California decided to test this theory. He argued that rising bubbles often also carry currents of water up with them. The rising currents would exert an upward force on a floating object that might cancel out the effect of the density being lowered by any but the largest, most violent bubble storms.
In order to test his theory, Denardo and his colleagues filled a 4-liter glass beaker with water and fed air into the bottom at varying speeds. For floating objects they used steel balls filled with varying amounts of water and air. They dropped them in to see how easily the balls sank. They found that if the ball barely floated when the water was calm, then turning on the air (causing bubbles in the water) made it sink.
Upward currents might not have had time to form in the closed container, so more experiments need to be done. Currents might rise more easily in open water, while the water would flow downwards again not far away. This might help a ship stay afloat for a while, but if the boat drifted slightly to one side, it might encounter a downward current and sink anyway.
"If a phenomenon can be made to occur in a lab, it probably occurs somewhere in the natural Universe," Denardo told the journal New Scientist.
Large pockets of methane and methane hydrates lie under the seabed in many places around the world. Organic matter deep under the seafloor generates methane, which works its way up through the sediments over thousands of years. Once in a while, the pressure builds up so much that the gas explodes out of the seabed, rushing up towards the ocean surface.
Gas hydrates are made up of gas and water in a crystalline structure that forms only at cold temperatures and high pressures, conditions found in seafloor sediments. Under these conditions, water molecules freeze and form tiny crystal "cages," each containing a single molecule of natural gas. These cages are packed together so closely that they squeeze the gas molecules into a small area. Free gas molecules usually disperse. Hydrates can compress 50 cubic meters (164 cubic feet) of free gas into 0.30 cubic meters (one cubic foot) of hydrate. The gas is most often methane, but other natural gases, such as propane or ethane, also form hydrates.
Enormous amounts of methane are known to lie just off the coast of North and South Carolina--potentially the world's largest fossil fuel reservoir. They can't yet be reliably tapped since most large pockets lay in deep water, often well below the seabed. Currents and unstable ground make them difficult to access--more so than oil pockets mined by oilrigs. (Most oilrigs are in relatively shallow water.)
Last year, a group of scientists found large reserves of methane gas in the North Sea, off the eastern coast of Scotland (about 150 kilometers northeast of Aberdeen). Alan Judd from the University of Sunderland found a trawler on the ocean floor that had sunk straight down. It showed no signs of tipping, or coming down either bow or stern first, as most sunken ships do. Instead, it looked as though it had sunk straight down like an elevator in a shaft. Surveys of the surrounding seabed showed pockmarks suggesting methane gas releases in the recent past.
Releases of methane gas into the water have also been blamed for the disappearance of airplanes in the Bermuda Triangle. Once the storm of methane bubbles reaches the surface of the water, it explodes into the air and can create strange air currents that could create enough turbulence to down a plane. This phenomenon has not been experimentally verified, but scientists agree that it could happen.
Chronology -- Events of March 2002
Congressman Linked to Missing Intern Defeated--Rep. Gary Condit (D, CA), who had admitted having had a "very close" relationship with Chandra Levy, a missing government intern, lost his bid for renomination in his redrawn district, Mar. 5. The winner in the Democratic primary was Dennis Cardoza, 55% to 37%. Statewide, in the Republican gubernatorial primary, businessman Bill Simon Jr. upset former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, whom many GOP voters apparently viewed as too moderate. Simon spent $5.5 million of his own money and benefited from a $10 million advertising blitz aimed at Riordan by Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, who preferred to face a more conservative candidate in the general election.
2 Reports End Investigations of Clinton--Two reports issued by the office of Robert Ray, who followed Kenneth Starr as independent counsel investigating former Pres. Bill Clinton, appeared to conclude Clinton’s legal troubles. In a report released Mar. 6, Ray said there was enough evidence to convict the former president of perjury and obstruction of justice for his actions in connection with his involvement with Monica Lewinsky, a former White House intern. However, Clinton had agreed on Jan. 19, 2001, to admit he had given false testimony under oath, and with that avoided prosecution.
In another report Mar. 20, Ray’s office said that there was not enough evidence that either the former president Clinton or his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, had committed any crimes in connection with the failed Whitewater real-estate venture in Arkansas. The investigation had sought to determine whether the Clintons knew of, or had been involved with crimes committed by one of their business partners in the development, James McDougal.
Enron’s Accountant Indicted for Obstruction of Justice--The Justice Dept. announced Mar. 14 that Arthur Andersen, the accounting firm, had been indicted for destroying thousands of documents related to the investigation into the collapse of a client, Enron, the energy-trading company. The indictment alleged there had been a concerted effort in 4 cities to shred documents on a wide scale. Andersen denied any wrongdoing. Paul Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman who is heading an oversight committee seeking to reform Andersen, proposed a management shakeup Mar. 22. On Mar. 26, Andersen CEO Joseph Berardino announced that he would resign in order help restore confidence in the firm.
Campaign-Finance Reform Bill Signed by Bush--Pres. George W. Bush Mar. 27 signed into law the campaign-finance reform bill approved by the House in February and the Senate Mar. 20. To avoid having to send the bill to conference committee, Senate supporters brought the House-passed bill to a vote, and prevailed by a 60-40 margin. Prior to the final vote, the Senate had voted, 68-32, to end a filibuster against the bill. Senate sponsors John McCain (R, AZ) and Russell Feingold (D, WI) had first introduced a bill in 1995, but the issue didn’t seem to catch on until McCain made reform the centerpiece of his spirited, if unsuccessful, run for the 2000 GOP presidential nomination. The collapse of the Enron Corp., which had made huge political donations, gave further impetus to the bill. Opponents of the bill said they would challenge its constitutionality in court.
5 Killed in Separate Army and Navy Training Exercises--Five military personnel were killed and five others were injured in two training accidents on Mar. 21 and early Mar. 22, Navy and Army officials said. The first accident occurred about 1 p.m. on Mar. 21, when a Navy HH-1 Huey helicopter crashed into a crevice near the peak of Split Mountain, in the Sequoia National Forest, killing two crew members and injuring four. Three soldiers were killed Mar. 22 when a 120-millimeter mortar round exploded while being fired from an armored vehicle in a nighttime exercise at the Army National Training Center at Fort Irwin, in the Mohave Desert about 120 miles east of Los Angeles.
Mideast Killings Overshadow Talk of a Peace Plan--Even as violence continued at a quickening pace in the Middle East, talk of a peace agreement revived. Over three days ending Mar. 2 , Israeli ground forces raided Palestinian refugee camps, killing 30 people at 2 locations, while losing 2 soldiers. A suicide bomber killed himself and 9 others in Jerusalem Mar. 2; a sniper killed 7 Israeli soldiers and 3 civilians at a West Bank checkpoint Mar. 3; and a gunman was shot dead at a Tel Aviv nightclub Mar. 4 after killing 3 and wounding 30. In retaliatory raids by Israel the wife and 3 children of a spokesman for Hamas, the militant Palestinian group, were killed Mar. 4. Israeli Prime Min. Ariel Sharon said the same day that he aimed to kill as many Palestinians as possible in order to force them to negotiate. U.S. Sec. of State Colin Powell said Mar. 6 that this approach wasn’t likely to lead anywhere, and the Bush administration backed off from unqualified support of Sharon’s policy. Scattered incidents claimed 24 lives on both sides on Mar. 5-6. After 5 Israeli teenagers were killed Mar. 8, Israeli retaliation claimed 40 lives. Two terror attacks in Jerusalem and Netanya, Mar. 9, took the lives of 14 Israelis. Palestinians reported that 17 died during a Mar. 12 Israeli incursion into the Jabaliya refugee camp.
On Mar. 12, as Israeli attacks killed 31 Palestinians, UN Sec. Gen. Kofi Annan declared that Israel must end its "illegal occupation" of Palestinian land. That night, the UN Security Council, 14-0, passed a resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire. Pres. George W. Bush the next day called the Israeli assaults "not helpful." On Mar. 14, after a demand from Powell that the Israelis pull out of the Palestinian territories, Sharon announced that the army would leave Ramallah. By the next day the Israelis had left all West Bank towns except Bethlehem. Gen. Anthony Zinni, the U.S. mediator, met separately with Israeli and Palestinian leaders Mar. 15. U.S. Vice Pres. Dick Cheney met with Sharon in Israel Mar. 18. The Israeli army pulled out of Bethlehem Mar. 19. A suicide bomber killed 7 Israelis on a bus Mar. 20, and another killed 3 in Jerusalem Mar. 21.
Arafat said Mar. 26 that he would not attend an Arab summit in Beirut, Lebanon, because Sharon had threatened to prevent him from returning to the West Bank. The summit was deliberating a proposal by Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in which Arab nations would accept "normal relations" with Israel in return for the latter’s withdrawal from the occupied territories. Abdullah, Mar. 27, detailed his proposal in Beirut. It also called for creation of a Palestinian state and the return of Palestinian refugees. Arafat, speaking by satellite, endorsed it. That night, in Netanya, a suicide bomber killed himself and 19 Israelis attending a Passover holiday meal at a hotel; more than 100 were wounded. Israeli ground troops stormed Yasir Arafat's compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah Mar. 29, smashing through walls and battling from room to room, as Mr. Arafat holed up with aides in an office on the second floor. A Tel Aviv cafe was the scene of another suicide bomber Mar. 30, leaving dozens injured. In back to back suicide bombings, 15 Israeli's were killed on Mar. 31, causing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to declaring that Yasir Arafat is "the enemy of the entire free world," and that "this is war over our home."
8 U.S. Troops Killed During Fight in Afghanistan--Eight U.S. troops were killed during an assault by Americans and their Afghan allies against Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in the Shah-i-Kot Valley and surrounding mountains in eastern Afghanistan. Seeking to clear the region of their foes, hundreds of U.S. and Afghan troops entered the area at night, Mar. 2 and were attacked by enemy fighters armed with mortars, machine guns, and artillery. One American was killed in the initial action. On Mar. 4, a rocket-propelled grenade hit a U.S. helicopter, knocking a member of the Navy Seals out of the craft. A second copter brought U.S. soldiers in to rescue him. They were attacked on the ground; 6 were killed and 11 wounded. Other rescuers retrieved the bodies, including that of the American who fell from the helicopter. By Mar. 6, 1,200 U.S. troops were involved in the mission, Operation Anaconda. In subsequent days the enemy forces were subjected to heavy aerial pounding, and U.S. and Afghan ground forces entering the defended area Mar. 12 declared victory. It was unclear how many enemy had been killed and how many may have fled to safety.
The War on Terrorism--The Justice Department Mar. 28, that it would seek the death penalty for Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. On Mar. 28, a team of American agents stormed several houses in Pakistan, and captured five Taliban fighters and 25 Arabs suspected of having links to Al Qaeda.
600 Die in Hindu-Muslim Violence in India--More than 600 people were reported dead after violent clashes between Hindus and Muslims in the state of Gujarat, India. On Feb. 27, 58 were killed when Muslims attacked and burned a train carrying Hindu activists in the city of Godhra. In the next few days, Hindus rampaged across the state, killing hundreds. The animosity had prevailed since 1992, when Hindus destroyed an historic mosque in Ayodhya.
Cheney on Trip Seeks Support Against Iraq--Vice Pres. Dick Cheney traveled abroad in an effort to build international support for possible U.S. action against the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. In London Mar. 11, Prime Min. Tony Blair of Great Britain agreed that Saddam’s efforts to gain weapons of mass destruction might require military action by the West, but international support for action against Iraq appeared weak. In Amman, Jordan, Mar. 12, King Abdullah II warned Cheney that a U.S. attack on Iraq could destabilize the region, and he urged the United States to seek a peaceful settlement. At a meeting with Cheney Mar. 13, Pres. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt said he would seek to defuse the Iraqi crisis by urging Iraq to readmit UN weapons inspectors. In Yemen Mar. 14, Pres. Ali Abdullah Saleh told Cheney he opposed any U.S. attack on Iraq. Aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the Arabian Sea, Mar. 15, Cheney declared that the next U.S. goal was to prevent terrorist and rogue countries from getting weapons of mass destruction. Crown Prince Abdullah, the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, said Mar. 16 upon Cheney's arrival that it was not in the best interests of the United States or the region for the U.S. to attack Iraq.
Mugabe Reelected in Zimbabwe Amid Turmoil--Pres. Robert Mugabe was reelected president of Zimbabwe, Mar. 9-11. The reported returns showed him well ahead of his challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai. Once esteemed as a leader of newly independent Africa, Mugabe, who had led the country for 22 years, has been seen in recent years as a despot who condoned widespread political violence and sought to suppress opposition. Police reportedly intimidated voters in the current election, and a judge extended the voting to a third day to allow more to participate. Mugabe’s supporters declared victory, Mar. 13, but Tsvangirai denounced the election as a fraud. Pres. George W. Bush said the United States would not recognize the validity of Mugabe’s election. Canada, Mar. 14, and Germany, Mar. 15, cut off aid to Zimbabwe. The Commonwealth--a 54-nation body consisting mostly of former British colonies--Mar. 19 suspended Zimbabwe from membership for a year.
2 Americans Among 5 Killed in Church in Pakistan--Two men threw grenades inside a church in Islamabad, Pakistan, Mar. 17, during Sunday services, killing 5 people and wounding at least 40. The attack in the nondenominational Protestant International Church occurred near the U.S. Embassy. The dead included 2 Americans, an Embassy employee and her daughter.
Bomb at Embassy Kills 9 Before Bush’s Peru Visit--A visit by Pres. Bush to Peru was preceded, Mar. 20, by a car bomb explosion outside the U.S. Embassy in Lima that killed 9 and injured 30. Bush began his Latin trip in Monterrey, Mexico, at a conference on aid to the developing world attended by 50 presidents and prime ministers. In a speech Mar. 22, he said rich nations should aid only poor nations that undertake a wide range of reforms. Bush and Pres. Vicente Fox of Mexico announced plans, Mar. 21, to improve security measures along their 2,000-mile common border.
In Lima Mar. 23, Bush assured Pres. Alejandro Toledo that he would help Peru fight Marxist guerrillas and end drug trafficking in the Andes region. Bush, the first president to visit Peru while in office, restated his commitment to an Andean trade agreement awaiting approval in the U.S. Senate.
More Catholic Clergymen Linked to Abuse of Children--Revelations of the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic clergymen continued to emerge. Since the current flurry of accusations, which began in January, dozens of priests across the country had resigned or been suspended. Many dioceses began turning over to prosecutors reports of complaints about abuse. On Mar. 8, the bishop of Palm Beach, FL, Anthony O’Connell, resigned after admitting he had abused a teenage seminary student in the 1970s. His predecessor had resigned in 1999 after admitting that he had molested 5 boys. In 1996, O’Connell’s victim had won a $125,000 settlement that was not made public at the time.
The Boston Archdiocese said Mar. 12 that its insurance would not cover the estimated $100 million in settlements of lawsuits against priests resulting from instances of sexual abuse. The archdiocese said it would sell Church property, take out loans, and seek donations from wealthy supporters.
In a letter released Mar. 21, Pope John Paul II, referring briefly to the scandal, wrote that "a dark shadow of suspicion" had fallen over all priests because of the behavior of those who had succumbed to "the most grievous forms . . . of the mystery of evil." He said priests must "commit ourselves more fully to the search for holiness."
Mother Who Drowned 5 Children Gets Life in Prison--Andrea Pia Yates, who confessed to drowning her 5 children, was found guilty of capital murder Mar. 12. Tried in Houston, TX, she had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in 3 of the deaths. The jury Mar. 15 recommended that she be sentenced to life in prison.
Couple Convicted in Lethal Attack by Dog--A San Francisco couple were convicted Mar. 21 in the January 2001 death of a neighbor mauled by their dog. The victim, Diane Whipple, was attacked at the door of her apartment by the dog, a 120-pound Presa Canario. Marjorie Knoller, who was with the dog, was convicted by the Los Angeles jury of 2d-degree murder. She and her husband, Robert Noel, were both convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Both defendants are lawyers. They had cared for the dog and another of the same breed on behalf of a client, whom they had legally adopted and who bred attack dogs from within state prison. More than 30 witnesses described frightening encounters with the dogs.
U.S. Report Blames Egyptian Copilot in Crash--The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board issued a report Mar. 21 concluding that the copilot of an EgyptAir plane was responsible for the Oct. 31, 1999, crash that killed all 217 aboard. The Boeing 767 had taken off from Kennedy Airport in New York City for Cairo. The report found that "manipulation of the controls by the copilot, Gamil al-Batouti," brought the plane down. A recording of cockpit conversation indicated he had played a role in the disaster. The report did not suggest a motive for the copilot’s action. However, there were indications al-Batouti had learned shortly beforehand that he would be taken off the route because of accusations of sexual misconduct.
Earthquake Devastates Rural Area of Afghanistan--A 6.1-magnitude earthquake centered in northern Afghanistan's mountainous Burka region Mar. 25 left at least 600 confirmed dead, perhaps more than 1,200 dead in all, with tens of thousands homeless or cut off from food supplies. 80 villages were decimated, including Nahrin, 100 mi. north of Kabul, an early focus of relief efforts.
Strong Earthquake Hits Taiwan--An earthquake, estimated by the U.S. Geological Survey to be 7.1, struck Taiwan Mar. 31, killing 5 construction workers, and injuring over 200. The five workers were killed when two cranes atop a 60-story building being constructed, tumbled to the ground.
Martin Buser won his fourth Iditarod sled dog race, Mar.12, finishing the 1,100-mile course from Anchorage to Nome, AK, in a record time of 8 days, 22 hours, 46 minutes.
Russian Alexei Yagudin won his fourth World Figure Skating Championship, Mar. 21. Timothy Goebel of the United States took silver and Takeshi Honda of Japan took the bronze. In the women's competition on Saturday (March 23), another Russian, Irina Slutskaya, captured her first world title. She defeated 4-time champion Michelle Kwan, who finished second. Japan's Fumie Suguri took the bronze.
Craig Perks, ranked No. 203, won The Players Championship at Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, on Sunday, Mar. 24 after a day of wild adventures for the virtually unknown golfer. His victory brought him more than $1 million in the richest payoff on the PGA Tour and an unlikely trip to The Masters.
On Mar. 31, Annika Sorenstam defended her title at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, winning by a stroke over fellow countrywoman Liselotte Neumann. The win was Sorenstam's fourth in a major championship.
The 17th Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The seventeenth class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees was inducted on March 18, 2002, at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Those honored as Performers were: Isaac Hayes, Brenda Lee, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Gene Pitney, the Ramones, and Talking Heads. The Non-Performer honored was Jim Stewart and Sideman Chet Atkins.
The 73rd Academy Awards
Halle Berry made history on Sunday, March 24, 2002, when she became the first African-American woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress (in "Monster's Ball"). She was the third black actress to win an Oscar. The other two won in the Best Supporting Actress category: Hattie McDaniel for "Gone With the Wind" (1939) and Whoopi Goldberg for "Ghost" (1990). Denzel Washington became the second African-American actor to win Best Actor, for his role in "Training Day." Veteran actor Sidney Poitier, who was presented with an Honorary Award at the 2002 ceremonies, was the first African-American man ever to receive the top acting award; he won for "Lilies of the Field" in 1963. Washington had won as Best Supporting Actor in 1989 for "Glory." "A Beautiful Mind," the story of a mathematical genius, John Nash, who struggles through life with schizophrenia, but nonetheless wins a Nobel Prize, was a big winner in 2002. It took four awards: Best Picture, Best Director (Ron Howard), Best Supporting Actress ( Jennifer Connelly), and best screen adaptation (Akiva Goldsman). Jim Broadbent was named Best Supporting Actor for "Iris." In the category of Foreign Language film, Bosnia and Herzegovina had its first win ever, with "No Man's Land," directed by Danis Tanovic. "Shrek" won for Animated Feature Film, and Randy Newman won Best Original Song for "If I Didn't Have You," from "Shrek." It was Newman’s first Oscar, after fifteen nominations.
Offbeat News Stories
You may have heard of quirky local celebrations such as strawberry days, beer or asparagus festivals--there’s even a cow appreciation day in Vermont. But only one town observes "Frozen Dead Guy" weekend, March 9-10. Residents of Nederland, CO, got this possibly cool idea after the body of Bredo Morstoel, a Norwegian who died in 1989, was brought to Nederland by his grandson, Trygve Bauge, to be preserved frozen in a shed serving as a makeshift cryogenics facility. Bauge eventually had to return to Norway, but his grandfather’s body is still preserved, at -109 degrees F, in the backyard shed. The festival features tours of the shed, a coffin race, and a "grandpa look-alike" contest. A portion of the festival proceeds goes toward keeping the body frozen.
The taxes in Shenzhen, China, on one weekend’s pay there for Tiger Woods amounted to more than any of the city’s other taxpayers probably earned in their lifetime. The 25-year-old golf phenom received $2 million for his November 2001 appearance at a golf clinic there, where amateur players benefited from his coaching at the bargain price of $80,000 per hole. Of Tiger’s $2 million take, $483,000, or around four million yuan, had to be paid out in taxes to the city of Shenzhen. China’s annual net income per capita for all urban households is only a little over 6,000 yuan.
75 Years Ago in the WORLD ALMANAC:
The 2 producers, 20 members of the company of "Sex," and the corporation which staged the play were found guilty by a jury in General Sessions of giving an immoral performance at Daly's Sixty-third Street Theatre, N.Y. City, on Feb. 5. Miss Mae West, author and star of the play, was sentenced Apr. 19, to 10 days in the workhouse; James A. Timoney, producer, and Clarence Morganstern, manager, also got 10-day workhouse sentences. Miss West and Timoney were fined $500 each. The other members of the cast of the play were let off with suspended sentences.
Television was demonstrated in N.Y. City when Walter S. Gifford, president of the American Telephone and Telegraph Co., sat at a telephone and not only talked to Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, in Washington, but saw him as well. He also saw, before his call was put through, the telephone operator at the Washington switchboard who made the connection. Her face and later that of Secretary Hoover were framed in a rectangular aperture about two inches by two and a half.
The U.S. dirigible, Los Angeles, returned to Lakehurst, N.J., from a 3-day, 2,400-mile cruise to Pensacola, Fla.
Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief
One of my new favorite television shows is TLC's "Trading Spaces." On the show, neighbors switch homes for two days, and work with a designer, a carpenter, and $1,000 to redecorate a room in the other neighbors home. Sometimes awesome things can be done, and sometimes not --- like a living room wall made of hay. Host Paige Davis oversees what is going on in each house, and helps out. To meet the cast (my favorite is Genevieve), view a "before and after" gallery, and learn more about this show, visit: http://tlc.discovery.com/fansites/tradingspaces/tradingspaces.html.
Is there life after being a child actor? Willie Aames, who starred as Tommy Bradford in the 1980s hit Eight Is Enough, has gone on to produce and star in Bibleman, a Christian video series for kids (http://www.bibleman.com/). Despite her recent brush with the law (a bench warrant was briefly issued when she missed a scheduled court appearance in a suit with her former public-relations firm), Tina Yothers, who played Jennifer Keaton on Family Ties, is in a band called Jaded (http://www.jadedonline.com/). And Butch Patrick, Eddie Munster from The Munsters, is the host of the official website for that show (http://www.munsters.com). You better visit the site quickly before the last 26 limited edition "Woof-Woof" Werewolf dolls are sold out ($1295 + $60 shipping). To learn more about these and other former child stars, visit: http://www.formerchildstar.net.
Which of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" is still standing? That would be the Great Pyramids of Egypt, which are located in Giza, Egypt, near Cairo, Egypt. Do you remember what the other six are? To learn what they are, with details of their history, visit http://www.worldskip.com/7wonders/.
I've always thought that if I got a dog, I'd want to call him something like Jim. I mean, he'd be part of the family, so why not have a "normal" name? Others I know, have a completely different point of view when it comes to naming a pet. At Bow Wow Meow http://www/pet-tags.com there are thousands of pet names to choose from, and what the meaning of the names are. When I gave it a whirl, selecting a male dog, with the category of history, the first name to come up was Achilles. Do I want a dog who has weak heels? The site also offers naming tips, a dog & cat food calculator, and a photo gallery..
You unexpectedly have three guests coming over for dinner tonight, and you don't know what to cook? Visit: http://www.recipecenter.com/ to get some ideas. Entering a keyword, such as chicken, offered 4,827 recipes --- so it pays to be a little more specific. There is a theme of the week, each week. When I checked, it was a Caribbean menu, which included recipes for an appetizer (Steak Jamaican), side dish (classic pumpkin soup), main course (Oxtail stew) and dessert (banana nut bread).
Most unusual website of the month: Iowa State University's Tasty Insect Recipes http://www.ent.iastate.edu/misc/insectsasfood.html.
World Almanac E-Newsletter
Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief
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