The World Almanac E-Newsletter
Volume 2, Number 6 - June 2002
What's in this issue?
June is Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and National Safety Month
June 1-2 -- Eel Festival, Denmark
National and International HolidaysJune 1 -- International Children's Day, China
June 2 -- Republic Day, Italy
June 5 -- Constitution Day, Denmark; World Environment Day
June 7 -- Labor Day, Bahamas; National Day, Malta
June 11 -- King Kamehameha I Day, Hawaii
June 12 -- Independence Day, The Philippines
June 13 -- Orthodox Ascension Day
June 14 -- Flag Day
June 15 -- Dragon Boat Festival, China
June 16 -- Father's Day
June 17 -- Independence Day, Iceland
June 21 -- National Day, Greenland
June 23 -- Midsummer Eve, Baltics, Scandinavia; Orthodox Pentecost
This Day in History - June
Featured Location of the Month: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Location: Capital of Oklahoma and seat of Oklahoma County, on the Canadian and North Canadian rivers, in the central part of the state. Incorporated 1890.
Population (2000 Census): 506,132
Mayor: Kirk Humphreys
June Temperatures: Normal high of 87.3 degrees; Normal low of 66.1 degrees
Colleges & Universities: Oklahoma Christian University; Oklahoma City Community College; Oklahoma City University; Oklahoma State University; University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center; University of Phoenix-Oklahoma City Campus
Events: Sunday Twilight Concert, Will Rogers Park Amphitheater (June 2, 9, 16, 23, 30); Red Earth Festival, Cox Business Services Convention Center (June 7-9); Kids Conservatory, Myriad Botanical Gardens (June 11-13); Non-Pro Cutting Horse Event, State Fair Park (June 11-16); Aerospace America International Airshow (June 14-16); Father's Day in the Rain Forest, Myriad Botanical Gardens (June 16); The International Gymnastics Hall of Fame-Induction Ceremony, International Gymnastics Hall of Fame (June 21); National Appaloosa Horse Show, State Fair Park (June 24-July 6)
Places to visit: Coles Garden; Express Ranches Clydesdale Center; Farmers Public Market; 45th Infantry Division Museum; Frontier City Theme Park; Governor's Mansion; Harn Homestead Museum; International Gymnastics Hall of Fame; Kirkpatrick Science and Air Space Museum at Omniplex, part of a multi-museum complex that includes the Hands-On Science Museum, Kirkpatrick Planetarium, OmniDome Theater, International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum, and Red Earth Indian Center; Martin Park Nature Center; Myriad Botanical Gardens; National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum; National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum; Oklahoma City Museum of Art; Oklahoma City National Memorial, which contains the Symbolic Memorial, the Memorial Center, and the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism; Oklahoma City Zoo; Oklahoma Firefighters Museum; Oklahoma Heritage Center; Oklahoma Opry; Overholser Mansion; Paseo District; State Capitol; State Museum of History; Stockyards City; White Water Bay; Will Rogers Park; World of Wings Pigeon Center
Tallest Building: Liberty Tower (36 stories; 500 feet)
History: From early times the Oklahoma City region was inhabited by Indian groups including Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. In 1889 the area was opened to settlement with a famous land run for staking out claims. In a single day (April 22) a tent city of nearly 10,000 inhabitants was built at the site of the city. The railroad stop at that site (opened in 1887) also may have encouraged settlement here. By 1910, when Oklahoma City replaced Guthrie as the state capital, it was the largest city in Oklahoma, with a population of about 64,000 persons. Only in 1923 did the U.S. postal service officially recognize the city's name, which had been in popular use since 1889.
Oklahoma City enjoyed economic growth after oil and gas fields in and near the city were discovered in 1928. The skyline became marked by oil derricks, some on the lawns of homes and near public buildings (notably the Capitol). In the 1970s the center city was renewed according to a plan by architect I. M. Pei; another major downtown development project was launched in 1993.
In April 1995 a truck bomb explosion destroyed the nine-story Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in the downtown area, damaged about 350 other buildings, and killed 168 people. In June 1997, Timothy J. McVeigh, a U.S. Army veteran with anti-government beliefs, was convicted and sentenced to death for conspiracy and murder in carrying out the bombing; he was executed by lethal injection at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, in June 2001. After a separate trial, his co-conspirator, Terry L. Nichols, was found guilty in December 1997 of involuntary manslaughter rather than murder. The Oklahoma City National Memorial was established on the site of the bombing in 1995. It contains the Symbolic Memorial, the Memorial Center, and the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism.
Birthplace of: Suzy Amis (1962); Johnny Bench (1947); Brian Bosworth (1965); Tisha Campbell (1968); Joe Carter (1960); Lon Chaney Jr. (1906); Ralph Ellison (1914); Kay Francis (1899); Vince Gill (1957); Bobby Murcer (1946); Sean O'Grady (1959); Ted Shackelford (1946)
Obituaries in May 2002
Banzer Suarez, Hugo, 75, Bolivia's military dictator (1971-78) who later (1997-2001) held the presidency democratically; Santa Cruz, Bolivia, May 5.
Benson, Mildred Wirt, 96, children's author who write the first 23 books featuring teenage girl detective Nancy Drew; Toledo, OH, May 28.
Bonanno, Joseph, 97, founder of the New York City-based Bonanno crime family and its leader for three decades; Tucson, AZ, May 11.
Cobb, Joe, 85, child actor who in the 1920s played a chubby, beanie-wearing boy named Joe in dozens of the films in the Our Gang comedy series; Santa Ana, CA, May 22.
De Saint Phalle, Niki, 71, French-born artist famed for her large, colorful sculptures of women called Nanas; San Diego, CA, May 21.
Gould, Stephen Jay, 60, Harvard University evolutionary biologist and author of lucid science essays for the general public; New York, NY, May 20.
Lord, Walter, 84, popular historian who wrote A Night to Remember (1955), the definitive book on the 1912 sinking of the Titanic; New York, NY, May 19.
Mudd, Dr. Richard, 101, physician who spent decades trying to clear his grandfather, Dr. Samuel Mudd, who treated President Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, for a broken leg, of complicity in the assassination; Saginaw, MI, May 21.
Riesman, David, 92, Harvard sociologist best known for his book The Lonely Crowd (1950), which enriched the English language with such terms as "other-directed" and "inner-directed"; Binghamton, NY, May 10.
Sidney, George, 85, leading director of Hollywood musicals during the golden age of the genre at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studios; Las Vegas, NV, May 5.
Snead, Sam, 89, golfer who won a record 81 PGA Tour events and shot a 66 at age 67; Hot Springs, VA, May 23.
Special Feature: Stars and Stripes--The American Flag
By Rogene Fisher
The United States will observe Flag Day on June 14. Americans, who have enjoyed decades of peace and security have, often overlooked Flag Day. Will the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 change that?
The U.S. flag, the "Stars and Stripes," holds an important place in American history and is arguably the country's strongest symbol of national pride and patriotism.
Flag & Country Grow Up Together
The flag's symbolic importance, as well as its design, has changed considerably since the time of Betsy Ross, who is credited with having sewn the first American flag in May of 1776. Ross' flag, which was the banner for the original 13 colonies in the American Revolution, included 13 alternating red and white stripes and a circle of 13 stars on a field of blue.
Although Ross may have sewn the flag, many scholars believe Francis Hopkinson, a New Jersey delegate to the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, designed it.
On June 14, 1777 John Adams introduced a resolution in the Continental Congress describing the future flag of the United States.
Most Americans know that the 13 stripes on the flag represent the original colonies, but the flag actually had 15 stripes on it for nearly three decades. In 1795, after Vermont (1791) and Kentucky (1792) had become states, the flag grew to 15 stars and 15 stripes.
In 1818, when Tennessee (1796), Ohio (1803), Louisiana (1812), Indiana (1816) and Mississippi (1817) became states, a flag with 20 stars and 13 stripes was introduced. That year Congress passed a measure calling for the number of stripes to be reduced and kept to 13 and for a star to be added to the banner for each state. New stars would be added on the July 4th that followed the establishment of a new state. This remains the law today. The flag gained its 50th star July 4, 1960, after Hawaii became a state.
The flag is at the heart of America's national anthem. Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner" during the War of 1812. Key was inspired to write his composition, initially just a poem, when he saw that the American flag was still flying atop Baltimore's Fort McHenry, which had endured a three-day assault by British forces in September 1814. When he saw the flag, Key knew that the fort had not surrendered. In 1916, President Wilson called for "The Star-Spangled Banner" to become the national anthem. Congress officially designated it as such in 1931.
Since 1892, schoolchildren have been learning the "Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag," a promise to uphold the ideals of the nation symbolized by the flag. The pledge was first published in a magazine called The Youth's Companion and was probably written by Francis Bellamy, one of the magazine's editors. The patriotic pledge, regularly recited in schools, has become central in the public prayer issue over the years, particularly since the words, "under God" were added. Responding to a campaign by the Knights of Columbus organization, Congress passed a bill adding "under God" to the pledge in June 1954. The addition spurred a challenge by groups who felt it violated the First Amendment's "establishment clause," which mandates a strict separation between church and state. Requiring children in public schools to recite these words, they argue, amounts to state endorsement of religion. But the Supreme Court in 1964 refused to hear the challenge, and the pledge has remained unchanged ever since.
The Stars and Stripes has also figured in the continuing exploration of our world, as a sort of American calling card: Robert Peary planted a flag his wife had sewn at the North Pole in 1909. Barry Bishop in 1963 brought the first U.S. flag to the summit of the world's tallest mountain, Nepal's Mount Everest. In 1969, Neil Armstrong placed the American flag on the moon during his historic walk there.
President Woodrow Wilson designated June 14 as Flag Day in 1916. But June 14 wasn't an official legal holiday until President Harry S. Truman signed legislation on Aug. 3, 1949. Less than a year later, Laura Prisk, who had led the successful campaign to make June 14 a legal holiday, known as the "Mother of Flag Day," passed away. President Dwight D. Eisenhower followed up Truman's action by signing a presidential proclamation in June 1955 calling for Americans to display the flag on June 14.
Pride and Protest
>From its establishment as the U.S. standard, the flag has inspired symbolic but also material respect. People have displayed and handled the flag carefully, to show their national pride and patriotism. In 1942, Congress passed the Flag Code, which spelled out proper etiquette for handling and displaying the American flag. Some states, like New York, passed laws that made it illegal to "publicly mutilate, deface, defile or defy, trample upon or cast contempt upon either by word or act."
A few years later, amid the dramatic domestic conflicts in the 1960s and 70s, the handling of the flag became itself a point of conflict between Americans. Anti-war protesters, already seen as disrespectful and "un-American," went even further by burning and otherwise desecrating flags. More conservative voices demanded that those activities be legally stopped, but the protesters and other supporters argued that the freedom to commit such acts is the core of America's greatness and of the First Amendment's protection of free speech.
The intensity on both sides remains at the heart of one of the most contentious debates in Congress today. Courts have repeatedly upheld flag-desecration as a form of speech protected by the First Amendment, but flag-protection advocates in Congress are pushing to amend the Constitution and make burning the flag a punishable crime. In March 2000, the Senate fell just two votes short of approving a flag-desecration measure.
Southern Comfort and Conflict
Another flag-centered controversy in recent years has been the public display of the Confederate flag. African Americans and civil rights activists have protested the display of the Confederate flag in Southern states as a symbol of slavery and racism. Some Southerners, on the other hand, view the flag as an emblem of regional pride and a tribute to fallen Civil War soldiers.
In May 2000, South Carolina's governor, Jim Hodges, agreed to relocate a Confederate flag that had flown over the state capitol building in Columbia after numerous and escalating protests. But other Southern states remain embroiled in disputes stemming from the display of the "Stars and Bars" symbol of the Confederate flag.
A Changed Nation
The terror attacks of September 11, 2001 sparked a huge upsurge in Americans' desire for national unity. The most visible expression of this was the display of the flag. Flag manufacturers in the New York region reported an inability to keep pace with the increased demand for flags. Across the country, flags were displayed on front lawns, on cars, in shop windows as a gesture of sympathy for the September 11 victims and a statement of pride and national resolve.
In a departure from protocol, a special ceremony was held at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. A tattered American flag, which had been found in the rubble of the World Trade Center in New York City, was carried into Rice-Eccles Stadium by an honor guard of U.S. Olympians and New York police officers and firefighters. President George W. Bush, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, and Mitt Romney, head of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, stood in view of the flag during the traditional playing of the host nation's national anthem.
As the U.S.-led war on terror continues, this coming Flag Day will likely take on a significance not seen in America in decades.
SCIENCE IN THE NEWS
Prehistoric Insects Found Living in South Africa
By Czarina Agojo
Science textbooks may need to be revised after April 2002. A new insect order, Mantophasmatodea, has recently been declared, causing an excited frenzy within the science community. An order is one of the categories used to divide organisms into groups within the taxonomical hierarchy, a classification system based on animals' morphological (structure) and physiological (function) characteristics. It is preceded by kingdom, phylum and class, and is followed by family, genus, and species. Such a discovery has not occurred since 1915--it was so unexpected that it has been compared to "finding a living mastodon or saber-tooth tiger" by Piotr Naskrecki, the Director of Conservation International's Invertebrate Diversity Initiative.
It all started when Oliver Zompro, a graduate student at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, came across a 45-million-year-old insect encased in amber last year. Described as a cross between a praying mantis and a walking stick, with a body length of about 1.6 inches, this insect could not be identified despite the 1.2 million insect species already known. However, with the help of amber samples containing similar insects from different museum and private collections, the researchers were able to establish that these wingless and carnivorous organisms are related and are representative of an insect order that was previously unrecognized.
Another milestone followed when Zompro and his advisor, Joachim Adis, received a message--from Africa. It appears that a living population of the insect of interest exists in Brandberg Mountain, Namibia. This came as a surprise, not only for scientists, but for conservationists as well. Naskrecki, who also participated in the mission, contends that Brandberg is one of Earth's "protective pockets, preserving tiny glimpses of what life was like a million years ago."
Insects make up about 80% of all organisms on Earth. With this new finding, the numbers should further increase. Mantophasmatodea raises the total number of insect orders to 31. Although not much is known about this group presently, that is expected to change. As of now, research expeditions, led by the Namibian National Museum and the Max-Planck Institute, are currently under way to unravel the characteristics and life processes of the various species included in this order.
China Rushes to Save Women's Language
By Emily Wang
A special language spoken only by the women of the Yao ethnic group in Hunan Province in China is the subject of a new 1 million dollar restorative and protective project. The language, sometimes referred to as "Nu Shu" (literally, "female writing"), said to be linked to inscriptions on animal bones and tortoise shells from more than 3,000 years ago, is spoken only by the Yao's older female population -- one that is rapidly dying off. Language experts hope to save the language in written form before it becomes extinct.
The Yuelu Publishing House is hoping to create a dictionary that would catalog the history, pronunciation, meaning and written style of the language, 2,000 characters of which have so far been identified. Experts believe that a sizable amount of the written heritage of the language, preserved on silks and fans, has already been lost. The origins of the language are still murky, but may be related to traditional Yao women's customs. In addition to the dictionary, the Chinese plan to set up a protection zone and a museum documenting the language and its origins in Jiangyong county, where the Yao live.
The language could possibly be one of the oldest in the world, say some linguists. Regardless of age, it is believed to be the only language in the world that is used exclusively by women, handed down from mother to daughter, as a way of communicating shared experiences and troubles under a dominant male culture. Men, who saw the language as inferior, did not bother to learn it.
Chronology -- Events of May 2002
Unemployment Hits 8-Year High--Amid some signs of a gradual economic recovery, it was reported May 3 that the U.S. national unemployment rate, often regarded as a lagging economic indicator, had hit 6.0% in April, the highest rate since summer 1994.
Clues to Attacks Were Available Before Sept. 11--Revelations during May suggested that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks might have been anticipated and possibly averted if government officials had collated and analyzed reports on suspicious activity. Robert S. Mueller III, who had become the FBI director a few days before the terrorists struck, told a Senate committee May 8 that the FBI paid insufficient heed to a July 2001 memo from an FBI agent in Phoenix. The agent, Kenneth Williams, warned that Arab men with possible terrorist ties were taking flight lessons, and called for a nationwide review. Mueller testified that he did not believe that agents investigating Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker who had been arrested in August, had been told of Williams’s report.
Officials revealed May 14 that the Phoenix agent had specifically named Osama bin Laden in connection with his suspicions. The White House said May 15 that Pres. Bush had received a CIA briefing in August 2001 warning that bin Laden was planning to hijack airplanes, but the warning did not predict that the planes would be crashed into buildings. Condoleezza Rice, Bush’s national security adviser, said May 16 that the government had received many threats during the summer of 2001, but that the information was nonspecific. House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D, MO) and other Democrats called for an investigation, while maintaining that their aim was to better guard against future attacks, rather than to cast blame on Bush and others. Vice Pres. Dick Cheney and other Republicans deplored any suggestion that Bush might have had information that could have prevented the attacks. The new revelations triggered debate on whether the intelligence lapses should be investigated and whether Congress or an independent commission should conduct any such investigation.
Mueller warned May 20 that suicide-bomber attacks similar to those in Israel were "inevitable" in the U.S. On May 23 he ordered an internal inquiry into charges by a Minneapolis FBI agent that the Sept. 11 terror attacks could have been thwarted. The agent, Coleen Rowley, writing to a congressional committee, asserted that officials had held back Minneapolis agents seeking to investigate Moussaoui aggressively. She said evidence was sufficient to show that bin Laden was planning an attack. It was reported May 25 that, according to Rowley’s letter, a request from the FBI in Minneapolis for a warrant to search Moussaoui’s computer had been watered down by an unidentified Washington FBI agent, resulting in a denial of the search. Mueller acknowledged May 29 that the Sept. 11 attacks might have been prevented if the FBI had acted on the available information. He announced a new primary mission for the agency--preventing terrorist attacks--and said more than 400 analysts would be added to "a redesigned and refocused FBI."
Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft announced May 30 that the FBI would have expanded powers to monitor religious, political, and other organizations, as well as Internet and other media, to gain knowledge about possible terrorist threats. Unless engaged in an explicit criminal investigation, agents had been barred from such monitoring, under guidelines adopted to prevent infringements of civil liberties such as had occurred under former FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover. Aschcroft said the old guidelines hampered agents "from taking the initiative to detect and prevent future terrorist attacks." Some newspaper editorials and civil rights advocates voiced concern about a potential for abuse under the new changes.
Ex-FBI Agent Gets Life in Prison for Spying--Robert Hanssen, the FBI agent who had spied for the Soviet Union and Russia, off and on, for more than 20 years before his arrest in 2001, was sentenced on May 10 to life in prison without possibility of parole. The sentence, imposed by Chief Judge Claude Hilton in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA, resulted from a plea bargain with the government in which Hanssen, in order to escape the death penalty, had agreed to cooperate in telling the story of his espionage.
Bush Signs $83 Billion Farm Subsidy Bill--Pres. Bush May 13 signed a bill that would increase federal payments to farmers by at least $83 billion over 10 years. Congressional critics called the bill a budget-buster that would help bring back big federal deficits. Bush argued that the bill, backed by farm-state politicians alarmed at declining prices, would provide a safety net without encouraging overproduction.
Last Suspect in 1963 Killing of 4 Black Girls Convicted--An Alabama jury closed the book on a 38-year-old murder case, May 22, convicting a former member of the Ku Klux Klan in a bombing that killed 4 young black girls. The defendant, Bobby Frank Cherry, 71, was found guilty of 4 counts of murder and would remain in prison for the rest of his life. The explosion on Sept. 15, 1963, at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, at the height of the civil rights conflict, had killed the girls. Two other defendants were convicted in 1977 and 2001, the former dying in prison. A 4th suspect died without being tried. At his trial, Cherry maintained his innocence, but testimony showed he had boasted of his part in the crime. The conviction, by a Jefferson County jury of 9 whites and 3 blacks, was subject to an automatic appeal.
Remains of Missing Intern Found in DC Park--A year-long mystery took a dramatic turn May 22 with the discovery of the remains of Chandra Levy, a 24-year-old government intern last seen Apr. 30, 2001. A man walking his dog and looking for turtles saw a skull in an unfrequented spot in Rock Creek Park, a 1,700-acre preserve in northwest Washington, DC. Police found scattered bones and pieces of a woman’s clothing; dental records confirmed the remains were those of Levy. During the past year, police had questioned Rep. Gary Condit (D, CA) several times after he acknowledged having had a close relationship with Levy. Both had apartments within several miles of the park site. Condit’s connection with Levy made big news, and he was defeated for renomination to the U.S. House in a March 2002 primary. The police had twice searched nearby in the park to no avail, after seeing on Levy’s computer that she had sought directions to a historic mansion in the park the day after she was last seen. On May 28, the District’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Jonathan Arden, ruled Levy’s death a homicide, but could not say how she had been killed.
Israel Frees Arafat; Bombings Continue--Israeli forces pulled out of the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 2, allowing Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to leave his compound. By agreement, 6 prisoners who had been found guilty by a Palestinian court in April were taken to Jericho, where their imprisonment was to be overseen by U.S. and British monitors. Five of the 6 - including Ahmed Saadat, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - were responsible for the 2001 assassination of the Israeli tourism minister.
In Bethlehem, fire broke out briefly May 1 in the compound of the Church of the Nativity, after Palestinians inside exchanged shots with Israelis. Also on May 1, United Nations Sec. Gen. Kofi Annan said he would disband an investigation into the conduct of Israeli forces at the Jenin refugee camp. Israel had challenged the makeup of the proposed mission and had demanded immunity from prosecution for Israeli soldiers and officials. Sec. of State Colin Powell said May 2 that the U.S. would join the UN, European nations, and Russia in a Middle East peace conference in the summer. On May 2 the U.S. Senate, 94-2, and the House, 352-21, supported resolutions backing Israel’s recent military operations.
A meeting in Washington, DC, May 7 between Israeli Prime Min. Ariel Sharon and Pres. Bush was jarringly interrupted by a suicide bombing in Rishon le Zion, Israel. The explosion, at a gambling and billiards club, killed 15 and injured 58; Sharon quickly returned home. Arafat May 8 ordered his forces to "confront and prevent all terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians." On May 9, Palestinian forces arrested 16 members of Hamas, thought to be responsible for the bombing. Israeli tanks moved toward the Gaza Strip, where Hamas was based.
Most Palestinians left the Church of the Nativity May 9 after an agreement with Israel that 26 would be sent to the Gaza Strip; 13 Israeli-described "senior terrorists" also eventually left, to be dispersed throughout Europe. On May 10, Israeli forces ended their 39-day siege and left Bethlehem. On May 12, the Likud Party, the main component of Israel’s ruling coalition government, approved a resolution never to allow creation of a Palestinian state.
In Netanya May 19, a bomber disguised as an Israeli soldier killed himself and 2 others and wounded 50 in a crowded market. In the following days, more bombings and attempted bombings occurred. Israeli forces went back into Bethlehem May 27.
French President Re-elected, Routing Right-Winger--Pres. Jacques Chirac of France was re-elected May 5 with 82% of the vote. He defeated Jean Marie Le Pen, a right-wing extremist who had qualified for the runoff in an upset. Chirac drew broad support, even from the political left, which had been left with no viable alternative.
Foe of Myanmar Regime Released from House Arrest--A longtime advocate of democracy in Myanmar was freed from house arrest, the government said May 6. Daw Aung San Sou Kyi, who won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, had been barred from organizing a political opposition to the authoritarian regime. In 1990, her party had won a landslide victory in parliamentary elections, which the military government rejected. Many of her political allies had been arrested. The government had suffered international isolation, including economic sanctions from the U.S. and Europe.
Dutch Candidate for Prime Minister Assassinated--A candidate for prime minister in the current election campaign was shot dead in the Netherlands May 6. Pim Fortuyn, whose views were pronounced but hard to classify, was killed after giving an interview in Hilversum. Labeling Islam a "backward culture," he opposed immigration by Muslims; he had also been critical of environmentalists. Fortuyn was one of several opponents of immigration to gain prominence in elections across Europe. Generally seen as a populist, he was openly gay and had hoped to become the country’s first gay prime minister. Police May 6 arrested a Dutch citizen, Volkert van der Graaf, an advocate for animal rights, for the shooting.
Tensions Heighten Between India and Pakistan--In India’s Gujarat state, 16 were killed and nearly 50 wounded May 7-8 in Hindu-Muslim violence. On May 14, in Jammu, capital of the disputed state of Kashmir, 3 gunmen killed 32 and wounded more than 40. Indian officials blamed a Pakistan-based militant group. Militants killed 3 soldiers and a policeman, as soldiers from both countries exchanged fire in the mountains of Kashmir. By May 20, as reports came of combat deaths and killings from several sectors, thousands of villagers in Kashmir fled, seeking safety. On May 21, a moderate Kashmiri leader, Abdul Goni Lone, was assassinated, with India and Pakistan blaming each other for the killing. Prime Min. Atal Behari Vajpayee of India told his army May 22 to prepare for a "decisive battle" against terrorism. On May 23, Pakistan said it would shift troops from the search for Qaeda and Taliban fighters to the Kashmir front. Pakistan May 24 began a series of missile tests.
In St. Petersburg, Russia, the next day, Pres. Bush urged Musharraf to "stop the incursions" by militants into Kashmir, while Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin criticized Pakistan’s missile tests. There were widespread concerns that war could break out between India and Pakistan, 2 bitter adversaries with nuclear capability. A million soldiers from both sides were already facing each other along a 1,800-mile border. The U.S. State Dept. May 31 urged all Americans other than key diplomatic personnel to leave India in view of the growing tensions.
On May 1, Pakistani Pres. Pervez Musharraf had claimed victory in an Apr. 30 referendum that extended his term for 5 years. Political opponents disputed the government’s assertion that 71% of the people had voted, 98% for Musharraf.
Terrorist Bombers Strike in Pakistan and Russia--A bomber stopped his car next to a bus and set off an explosion in Karachi, Pakistan, May 8, killing 14 and injuring more than 20. Most of the victims were French civilians working on a submarine project.
A bomb exploded next to a military marching band in Kaspitsk, in the Russian republic of Dagestan May 9, killing 41, at least 17 of whom were children, and injuring more than 100. Dagestan is next to the breakaway province of Chechnya.
Carter Visits Cuba--Former Pres. Jimmy Carter arrived in Cuba May 12 for an unofficial visit, becoming the first U.S. president in or out of office to visit the island since the Communists seized power there in 1959. On May 13 he visited a biological research center, where he said his briefings by the Bush administration had not touched upon allegations that Cuba was developing biological weapons - despite public U.S. State Dept. charges that such weapons were being developed. The same day Carter also met with Cuban dissidents. Allowed by Cuban Pres. Fidel Castro to speak live and uncensored on television May 14, Carter, in Spanish, criticized Castro’s one-party rule and urged the regime to allow opposition movements and basic freedoms. At the same time, he called on the U.S. to end its trade embargo and ease travel restrictions. In Miami on May 21, the 100th anniversary of Cuban independence, Pres. Bush declared he would not lift the embargo until Cuba made progress toward democracy.
U.S., Russia Sign Treaty to Cut Nuclear Warheads--Pres Bush announced May 13 that he and Pres. Putin of Russia would sign a treaty committing the U.S. and Russia to reduce their nuclear arsenals by two-thirds. The reductions, to take place over 10 years, would leave each nation with 1,700 to 2,200 strategic warheads. Decommissioned warheads would not be destroyed, just placed in storage where they could be reactivated. Bush and Putin signed the "Treaty of Moscow" in the Kremlin May 24. The U.S. president said the event marked the end of "a long chapter of confrontation."
On May 14, in Reykjavik, Iceland, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which had been formed to resist Soviet aggression, opened its doors to Russia as a sort of junior partner. Russia would not formally join the recently expanded 19-member organization, and would not be bound by its collective defense agreement, but would have a seat at the table to deal with terrorism and other major security issues. On May 28, in Rome, presidents and prime ministers of the NATO countries signed the agreement bringing Russia more or less into the fold.
Ireland Re-elects Ahern--Pres. Bertie Ahern of Ireland was decisively re-elected May 17. His Fianna Fail party ran far ahead of Fine Gael, getting nearly an absolute majority in Parliament. Sinn Fein, the political arm of the Irish Republican Army, won 5 seats. Ahern had played a principal role in advancing the peace process in Northern Ireland.
East Timor Joins Roster of Nations--East Timor, a small and poor Pacific Ocean nation, became independent May 19. Portugal had pulled out in 1975, and neighboring Indonesia had then annexed the area, allegedly practicing widespread repression and fueling civil unrest that led to massive numbers of deaths in the largely Roman Catholic population. In a 1999 UN-organized referendum, 78% of the voters supported independence. Pres. Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia and former U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton were among those at the independence ceremony.
U.S. Soldier Killed in Afghanistan--A U.S. soldier, Sgt. Gene Arden Vance, Jr., was killed in the eastern mountains of Afghanistan, May 19, when his unit was attacked while on patrol.
Bush, in Europe, Defends Anti-Terror Strategy--Pres. Bush arrived in Berlin May 22, beginning a European trip in which he defended his handling of the war on terrorism. Addressing the German parliament in the historic Reichstag building May 23, Bush likened contemporary terrorist groups to those who had killed in the past in the name of racial purity - an apparent reference to the Nazis. He said Europe, Russia, and the U.S. had to defeat rogue nations that would give weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. Bush went to Paris, May 26, and sought to downplay differences with Europe on the environment, relations with Iraq, and other issues. On May 27, Memorial Day in the U.S., Bush visited the Normandy battlefield. On May 28, he met privately in the Vatican with Pope John Paul II.
Colombians Elect Hard-Line Foe of Rebels--Alvaro Uribe, who had promised to step up efforts to defeat leftist rebels, was elected president of Colombia May 26. He won a majority in the first round of voting, finishing more than 20 percentage points ahead of Horacio Serpa of the Liberal Party, his nearest challenger. The source of 80% of the cocaine consumed in the U.S. and the 3d-largest recipient of American aid, Colombia had been torn by internecine fighting for decades.
Libya Said to Offer $2.7 Billion to Plane Crash Victims--Libya May 28 offered to pay $10 million each to the families of the 270 who died when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded and crashed in Scotland in 1988, according to U.S. officials and a lawyer representing the families. Some Libyan officials, however, denied that such an offer had been made.
The $2.7 billion total settlement, a record, would settle a civil suit. In return, Libya wanted economic sanctions lifted. Negotiations with the victims’ families would continue, with an admission of responsibility by Libya still a possibility. In 2001 a Libyan intelligence officer was convicted of murder in a Scottish court in connection with the bombing of the plane.
Ceremony Marks End of WTC Clean-Up--A ceremonial last girder was removed May 30 from the site in lower Manhattan where the World Trade Center towers had stood before the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, signaling the end of a massive clean-up operation. The solemn event began at 10:29 A.M., the time the second tower had collapsed. There were no speeches. As public officials and thousands of others looked on in silence, workers filed out and an empty stretcher was carried out of the pit, followed by a truck hauling the flag-draped 58-ton steel column. The clean up had involved the removal--and sifting for human remains--of some 1.8 million tons of debris. As of May 31, 2,823 were killed in the attack at the World Trade Center; about 1,100 victims have been identified.
Catholic Church Continues to Face Abuse Scandal--On May 3, the finance council of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Boston withdrew from an agreement to settle claims by 86 abuse victims against a former priest, John Geoghan. The council said the archdiocese, led by Cardinal Bernard Law, could not afford the agreement, which would cost up to $30 million, while at the same time facing large numbers of additional claims from alleged victims.
The Rev. Paul Shanley, a former priest arrested in April, pleaded not guilty in Cambridge, MA, May 7 to 3 counts of raping a boy. The following day, in Malden, MA, another retired priest, Ronald Pacquin, pleaded not guilty to a similar charge. Cardinal Law, responding in a court-ordered deposition May 8 in Boston, said he had known in 1984 of accusations against Geoghan but had turned the inquiry over to aides and never followed up. He said he took the advice of a deputy and doctors when he assigned Geoghan to a new parish 2 months after having removed him from another parish following complaints.
On May 13, the Rev. Maurice Blackwell was wounded by 3 shots outside his home in Baltimore. Dontee Stokes, arrested by police, said Blackwell had abused him when he was 17. A Connecticut priest, the Rev. Alfred Bietighofer, hanged himself May 16 at the St. Luke Institute in Chevy Chase, MD, a treatment center for priests accused of molestation. He was the 2d priest to commit suicide since the scandal broke.
On May 23, Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee acknowledged he had paid $450,000 in church funds in response to a claim that he had sexually assaulted a graduate student, then 33; the acknowledgement came hours after the secret 1998 settlement was reported on TV. Though he denied any sexual misconduct, Weakland, 75, asked the Vatican to grant him immediate retirement, which was approved May 24.
Student Arrested in Planting of Pipe Bombs--Luke John Helder, 21, a student at the University of Wisconsin at Menomonie, was arrested May 7 near Reno, NV, for planting pipe bombs in or near rural mailboxes. Eight bombs had been found in Illinois and Iowa May 3. Six detonated, injuring 4 mail carriers and 2 residents. An anti-government message left with the bombs had promised more "attention-getters." Seven bombs were found in Nebraska May 4 and 5, and one each in Nebraska, Colorado, and Texas May 6.
2 Smash Sci-Fi Movies Pack in Fans--"Spider-Man," a science-fiction adventure based on the comic-strip character, broke a box office record May 3-5, raking in $114.8 million on its opening 3-day weekend. The previous high, $90.3 million, had been set in 2001 by "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone." Released by Columbia Pictures, "Spider-Man" starred Tobey Maguire as the adolescent superhero.
"Star Wars: Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones," which opened on Thursday, May 16, tallied $116.3 million in ticket sales over its first 4 days. "Spider-Man" had gotten good reviews, but "Star Wars" - the 5th in the sequence despite its subtitle - was panned by most critics.
On May 4 at the Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, KY, War Emblem (20-1) led wire-to-wire, winning by more than 4 lengths in the 128th running of the Kentucky Derby. War Emblem ran the mile and a quarter in 2:01.13. Proud Citizen finished second, and Perfect Drift was third. On May 18, Derby-winner War Emblem went on to take the second leg of the Triple Crown, winning the 127th Preakness Stakes at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD. War Emblem covered the mile and three-sixteenths in 1:56.36, edging 45-1 long shot Magic Weisner by three-quarters of a length. Derby runner-up Proud Citizen finished third.
In one of the closest votes in NBA history, Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs) was named MVP over the New Jersey Nets' Jason Kidd on May 9. Rick Carlisle, of the Detroit Pistons, was named the NBA's Coach of the Year, May 7, giving his team three postseason awards. Earlier winners for Detroit were Ben Wallace (Defensive Player of the Year) and Corliss Williamson (Sixth Man of the Year). Indiana Pacer Jermaine O'Neal was the Most Improved Player of the Year and Pau Gasol, of the Memphis Grizzlies, was the first European player ever to be named Rookie of the Year. The Nets made it into their first NBA finals on May 31, after a 98-88 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Ryan Newman held off a late-charging Dale Earhhardt Jr. to win The Winston, NASCAR's all-star race, at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC, on May 18. Newman was the second rookie ever to win The Winston. Earhardt Jr., the 2000 winner, was the first.
Brazilian Helio Castroneves won his second consecutive Indianapolis 500 on May 26, in Indianapolis, IN. Castroneves is the fifth driver to win consecutive races, and the first since Al Unser in 1970-71.
Offbeat News Stories
By Mark Schepp
ABC Gum--If the price of a new stick of gum is about 5 cents, how much is it worth after it's already been chewed? Could be a lot, if the right person chewed it. The winning bid on a piece of bubble gum chewed by Luis Gonzalez, hero of the 2001 World Series, was exactly $10,000 according to Jason Gabbert, who auctioned the gum from his website. The whole thing started when Gabbert claimed to have picked a piece of gum up off the field at a March 7 spring training game in Tucson, AZ. However, after word of the infamous gum had spread, Tom Vigilante, owner of the security firm in charge of the Tucson ballpark, said he had a signed affidavit from one of his security officers, identified only as "Ponytail John," disputing this story. "Ponytail John" claimed Gabbert had just picked a random piece of gum from the stands after security would not hand him Gonzalez's gum. Gabbert countered that Vigilante was lying to protect his firm's security contract. But his credibility was tainted when it was revealed he had been previously convicted of forgery and fraud, although he did promise all the proceeds from the auction would go to charity. Over the next few weeks, the argument became so heated there was talk of a possible DNA test to determine if the gum was legit. That's when, on April 11, Gonzalez decided to resolve the situation himself by chewing a new piece of gum in front of witnesses during a Denver radio talk show. Both pieces of gum went to the winning bidder.
Bone Chips for Sale--Not to be outdone by colleague Luis Gonzalez, Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Jeff Nelson put a little piece of himself on the line for charity. Literally. Nelson put bone chips, removed from his elbow during surgery, for sale on eBay. The bidding reached $23,600 before eBay employees removed the chips from the site. Kevin Pursglove, senior director of communications for eBay, said the bone chips violated a company policy prohibiting the sale of body parts. Nelson's teammates believed he was encouraged by the sale of Gonzalez's chewed gum for $10,000. Mariners second baseman Brett Boone put it in perspective: "If there's a moron out there willing to pay a lot of money for them, and the money goes to charity, then I guess there's nothing wrong with it."
Top of the Class--David Letterman, host of The Late Show on CBS, invited anyone who graduated in 2002 from Harrold High School in Harrold, SD, to appear on his show on May 22. Luckily for Dave, that narrows it down to one student. April Kleinschmidt is the lone member of Harrold High's Class of 2002. Kleinschmidt was thrilled about her appearance on The Late Show, and was not intimidated by the notion that Dave would inevitably poke fun at her home state and town. She is determined to have a comeback. The town of Harrold, SD has a population of 209. Kleinschmidt is already well on her way to validating that "Most Likely to Succeed" award, as she plans to attend Black Hills State, where she will receive a four-year scholarship. Harrold High class reunions, normally held every five years, will not be necessary for the Class of 2002.
75 Years Ago in the WORLD ALMANAC:
Because he taped a dog's mouth for several hours to prevent barking in an experiment at the Jewish Hospital, Brooklyn, Dr. J.H. Shelling was found guilty of cruelty to animals in a Magistrate's Court, under an 1867 law. Sentence was suspended.
A parrot at Regents Park, London, laid an egg on its 100th birthday.
President Coolidge caught 7 trout in Squaw Creek, Black Hills, S. Dak. with worms for bait.
The Duke and Duchess of York returned to London from their 25,000-mile journey around the world.
King Fuad of Egypt, on his first visit to Europe, stopped at Paris.
Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief
Edmund Burke said, that "the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Do you want to speak out, and don't know exactly what forum to choose? A visit to The Petition Site (www.thepetitionsite.com/) gives you the opportunity to "sign" a variety of petitions, which are then forwarded to the appropriate individuals/organization. Whether it is a petition to help support the rights of gays and lesbians, or the desire to stop snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, you can voice your opinion by giving your name, address, and other information, and adding your comments (you may still choose to be anonymous on the public list of petitioners that goes on the site).
It must be twenty years since I first heard an Alberta Hunter song. Wow, what a blues and jazz singer! Born in 1895, she left Tennessee at the age of 12 to become a singer, and worked in cabarets before launching her recording career in the 1920s. She wrote many of the songs she performed. She performed abroad during World War II and in the 1950s retired to care for her ailing mother. She then embarked on a career in nursing for 20 years, only to return to singing late in life. She was a staple at the Cookery in Greenwich Village until her death in 1984. To hear some of the songs that made Hunter famous, pay a visit to www.redhotjazz.com/hunter.html.
Have you ever wondered how stories that occur in the United States, or elsewhere in the world, are covered by newspapers other than the one you read? At www.onlinenewspapers.com/ you can read up-to-date newspapers online, ranging from the Airdrie Echo, (Alberta, Canada), to The Standard (Zimbabwe), and hundreds in between.
If you were interested in viewing the artistic creations of Michelangelo (Buonarroti), you would need to travel the world, as his paintings, drawings, and sculptures are scattered in museums in the United States, Europe, and Russia. There is an easier way, and it's at your fingertips. A visit to search engine ArtCyclopedia http://artcyclopedia.com offers direct links into museum websites, as well as articles about artists and genres, as well as other interesting websites. In fact, it led me to one, devoted to Michelangelo www.michelangelo.com/buonarroti.html.
Two British men, Peter and Gary, whom I ride the train with, were joking the other day, about a one sentence update on soccer that appeared in a daily newspaper. With the 2002 World Cup upon us, they thought it was funny that Americans are more interested in baseball than in the sport that stops traffic in England. Held every four years since 1930 (interupted by World War II), the World Cup will take place from May 31 to June 30 in Korea and Japan, with 32 nations competing. For more information on the games, visit: http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/en.
Most unusual website of the month: www.streetmattress.com/.
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