The World Almanac E-Newsletter
Volume 2, Number 11 - November 2002
What's in this issue?
November is American Diabetes Month and National American Indian Heritage Month
November 1 - All Hallows Day or All Saints' Day
This Day in History - November
FEATURED LOCATION OF THE MONTH: Billings, Montana
Location: Seat of Yellowstone County, southern Montana on the Yellowstone River, the largest city in Montana; incorporated 1885.
Population (2000 Census): 89,847
Mayor: Charles Tooley (Non-Partisan)
November Temperatures: Normal high of 44.5 degrees; Normal low of 25.6 degrees
Colleges & Universities: Montana College; Montana State University-Billings; Rocky Mountain College; Yellowstone Baptist College
Events: Preview Party, Moss Mansion Historic House Museum (November 9); Billings Area Chamber of Commerce "Business After Hours" (November 11); Christmas Tours, Moss Mansion Historic House Museum (November 11-December 31); Fall Craft Market, Billings Depot (November 22-24); Summer Camp for Kids Living History Week, Moss Mansion Historic House Museum (November 25-28); 18th Annual Holiday Parade (November 29); Carriage Rides and Tours, Moss Mansion Historic House Museum (November 30)
Places to visit: Alberta Bair Theater for the Performing Arts, Billings Symphony, Black Otter Trail, The Castle, J.K. Ralston Cabin, MetraPark, Moss Mansion Historic House Museum, Western Heritage Center, Yellowstone Art Museum, and ZooMontana are located in Billings; Glacier, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone national parks, the Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument, Magic City Speedway, Pictograph Cave State Park, and Cody, Wyoming, are nearby
History: Billings, founded in 1882 by the Northern Pacific Railway as a home for its employees, is named for one of the railroad's presidents, Frederick Billings (1823-90). Location on the railroad at the head of navigation of the Yellowstone River made it an early trading and shipping point.
Since then, Billings has enjoyed a rapid growth rate, supported by various economies, including energy (oil, natural gas and coal), agriculture (grains such as wheat, barley, and corn, sugar beets, beef and dairy cattle), and transportation (air, rail and trucking). These commercial interests have in turn supported Billings as a center for education, medical facilities, and cultural activities.
Alvarez Bravo, Manuel , 100, photographer who, along with such painters as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, led the cultural renaissance sparked by the Mexican Revolution of 1921-22; Mexico City, Mexico, Oct. 19, 2002.
Ambrose, Stephen E., 66, prolific historian who wrote best-selling books about World War II and biographies of U.S. Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon; Bay St. Louis, MS, Oct. 13, 2002.
Annenberg, Walter, 94, publishing magnate (his properties included magazines TV Guide and Seventeen and the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper), philanthropist, art collector, and U.S. ambassador to Britain during the Nixon administration; Wynewood, PA, Oct. 1, 2002.
Brown, Norman O., 89, philosopher, classicist and historian of ideas whose writings had a major impact on the youthful counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s; Santa Cruz, CA, Oct. 2, 2002.
Claus, Prince, 76, German-born consort of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, whom he wed in 1966, 14 years before she was crowned; Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Oct. 6, 2002.
Conniff, Ray, 85, bandleader and arranger whose "easy listening" sound made him hugely popular in the 1950s and 1960s; Escondido, CA, Oct. 12, 2002.
Green, Adolph, 87, lyricist who collaborated with longtime writing partner Betty Comden on such Broadway musicals as On the Town (1944) and Bells Are Ringing (1956) as well as on the screenplay for the great film musical Singin' in the Rain (1952); New York, NY, Oct. 24, 2002.
Harris, Richard, 72, hard-drinking, hard-living Irish-born actor known for his work in such films as Camelot (1967), A Man Called Horse (1970) and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001); London, England, Oct. 25, 2002.
Hay, Harry, 90, gay activist who founded the Mattachine Society, the first U.S. support group for homosexuals, in Los Angeles in 1950; San Francisco, CA, Oct. 24, 2002.
Helms, Richard, 89, first career intelligence professional to serve as director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, a post he held from 1966 through the end of 1972; Washington, DC, Oct. 22, 2002.
Jam Master Jay (Jason Mizell), 37, disc jockey responsible for the beats and scratches on the rap group Run-DMC's pioneering 1980s records; New York, NY, Oct. 30, 2002.
Longford, Lady Elizabeth, 96, historian, biographer and matriarch of a British literary dynasty; Hurst Green, England, Oct. 23, 2002.
Wellstone, Paul, 58, liberal Democrat from Minnesota who had served in the U.S. Senate since 1991; near Eveleth, MN, Oct. 25, 2002.
SPECIAL FEATURE: The Space Shuttle
By Olivia Jane Smith
The prospect of exploring the universe from earth has long appealed to the human imagination, but the notion of extended voyages into space seemed firmly rooted in the realm of science fiction. Recently, however, space and space travel have become a reality. Of all the technological developments that have led to current achievements in space exploration, perhaps none is more crucial than the space shuttle, the first reusable vehicle able to venture into space.
November 11, 2002 marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of the first fully operational shuttle flight, during which the shuttle Columbia deployed two commercial communications satellites. The decisions and technological developments that led up to that event, and the further advances made possible by the shuttle's existence, are among the crucial events in space exploration to date.
Early space exploration was made possible by technological advances produced in part by military research during World War II. Advancements were spurred by competition between the United States and the Soviet Union, in what became known as the space race. To help engineer a space program, the U.S. Congress established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, in 1958. On May 5, 1961, Navy commander Alan B. Shepard, Jr., became the first American in space. On Feb. 20, 1962, future U.S. senator John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth.
The U.S. Gemini and Apollo programs were created as stepping stones toward the goal of reaching Earth's nearest neighbor, the moon, a program that was instituted in May 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. On July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 spacecraft was launched. The LM, or lunar module, piloted by Neil Armstrong and Air Force Colonel Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin, separated from the CSM, or Command and Service Module, with Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Michael Collins on board. Armstrong and Aldrin stepped out on the lunar surface on July 20.
Thomas Paine, NASA's chief administrator in 1969, championed the erection of space stations and large space bases, and, in order to get back and forth from these orbiting stations, a space shuttle. But President Richard M. Nixon's budget director, Robert Mayo, cut a billion dollars from Paine's NASA budget request. In 1970 Congress nearly killed hopes of building a space shuttle and station, and it was only with political support from the Defense Department, which intended to use the shuttle for launching reconnaissance satellites that the shuttle won funding. In January 1972 Nixon announced the program to build a Space Transportation System, or STS, more commonly referred to as the space shuttle.
The basic shuttle design consists of a fully reusable, delta-winged orbiter, which has a potential lifetime of roughly 100 missions. This portion of the spacecraft holds up to seven astronauts and payload of up to 65,000 pounds, making it ideal for transporting satellites and other large cargo into space. The shuttle also has an expendable external fuel tank, and two solid rocket boosters. When the shuttle lifts off, three main engines inside the orbiter, as well as the solid rocket boosters, propel the shuttle into space, accelerating from zero to about 17,400 miles per hour in the first eight minutes of flight. After two minutes, the solid rocket boosters are jettisoned into the ocean, where they are retrieved and refurbished for future use. Shortly before the shuttle enters Earth's orbit, the external fuel tank drops off and burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. When the mission is complete, the Shuttle orbiter reenters the atmosphere and glides, unpowered, to a landing.
The first shuttle orbiter, the Enterprise, was a test vehicle that was borne aloft on Boeing 747s on a number of test missions that took place in 1977. It was then released at heights of approximately 20,000 feet, and glided to a landing on Earth. The Enterprise demonstrated that the shuttle could fly in the atmosphere and land on a runway, like an airplane.
Many consider the space shuttle Columbia, the Enterprise's successor, to be the first true spaceship. Columbia's maiden voyage took place on April 12, 1981. After lifting off from the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida, the Columbia orbited Earth 36 times, and landed at Edwards Air Force Base, in California, after completing her two-day mission. Columbia's first operational flight took place on November 11, 1982.
Over the next decade, the U.S. introduced a fleet of shuttles, including Challenger in 1982; Discovery in 1983; Atlantis in 1985; and Endeavour in 1991. The original Endeavour was used to make astronomical observations, and its research allowed contemporary astronomers to calculate accurately, for the first time, the distance between the sun and the Earth.
For the next several years, shuttle flights focused on the deployment of satellites. On June 18, 1983, Challenger made its second flight, notable for the presence of the first American woman in space, physicist Sally K. Ride, who served as a mission specialist.
The shuttle program continued its successful course until January 28, 1986, when Challenger, carrying seven astronauts, exploded in flames 73 seconds after takeoff. The cause of the disaster was a faulty O-ring, a seal that held together two sections of one of the Challenger's booster rockets. Extremely hot gases from the booster rocket leaked through the seal and came in contact with the shuttle's oxygen and hydrogen units, causing the fatal explosion.
After an overhaul of both shuttle design and the organization as a whole, NASA launched the space shuttle Discovery on a four-day mission on Sept. 29, 1988. The five-person crew performed a series of scientific experiments and successfully deployed a communications and tracking satellite. The updated shuttle included more that 200 safety improvements, including a new crew escape system.
Major evolutions in shuttle design continue to make the shuttle safer and more efficient. The year 2000 saw the 100th shuttle launch, as well as design innovations such as a new "glass cockpit," installed on shuttle Atlantis. The glass cockpit replaced outdated gauges and electromechanical displays with full-color, flat screen display panels that make it easier for pilots to monitor key functions. It is also 75 pounds lighter than the previous cockpit. The next-generation smart-cockpit, which NASA plans to install by 2005, will reduce the pilot's basic tasks in case of an emergency, allowing him or her to focus on critical needs.
Other improvements in the works are new sensors and computers in the main engines that will be able to troubleshoot, and shut down engines if there is a problem; a redesigned engine nozzle that will eliminate the need for hundreds of welds, and thus potential leaks; and advances in battery and electrical power, which will eliminate the need for the extremely volatile and toxic rocket fuel that currently powers the shuttle's auxiliary power units. As of 2000, operating costs have decreased by 40 percent, while cargo space has increased by eight tons.
In the past year, shuttle missions have focused on transporting crews back and forth to the International Space Station, as well as helping to construct the station by ferrying large payloads of station components and equipment. In June 2002, Endeavour delivered a new crew to the Space Station, as well as science experiments and supplies. And in a March 1-12, 2002 mission, a crew of seven astronauts on board Columbia made critical upgrades to the Hubble Space Telescope, installing a new, more light sensitive camera that will allow scientists to see further into space.
With the Space Station heralding an unprecedented era of international cooperation in space, the space shuttle seems poised to continue its central role in the U.S. space program.
The 2002 Nobel Prizes
The 2002 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology was awarded to three researchers for their discoveries in understanding how genes regulate organ development and programmed cell death, or apoptosis, in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Sydney Brenner of the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences in San Diego, California, H. Robert Horvitz of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and John E. Sulston of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, England demonstrated that C. elegans has specific genes that control the cell death program and that similar genes can be found in humans. Apoptosis (cell suicide) plays a significant role in health maintenance. Malfunction of cell suicide genes contributes to diseases like cancer, in which cells that should die continue to live, and Lou Gehrig's disease, in which essential nerve cells shut down and die.
In Physics, the 2002 Prize went to three astrophysicists for elaborate career-long projects that have redefined our understanding of the cosmos. One half of the roughly $1 million prize will be shared by Raymond Davis Jr., 87, now a professor of physics at the University of Pennsylvania, and Masatoshi Koshiba, 76, of the University of Tokyo in Japan. The two led corroborating experiments, one known as "Homestake" involving a vat of 100,000 gallons of perchloroethylene (dry-cleaning fluid) in a gold mine 1,465 meters (4,800 feet) below Lead, South Dakota and the other called Kamiokande involving a tank of half a million gallons of pure water 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) deep in a Japanese zinc mine. Together, the underground labs, free from the interference of cosmic rays, captured evidence of a chargeless, abundant, but nearly imperceptible fundamental particle called the neutrino. The findings confirmed that atomic fusion powers the Sun, and also made astrophysicists aware that cosmic explosions, like supernovas, produce neutrinos. Today, underground labs around the world hope to clarify how and why these shadowy particles toggle among three proposed "flavors" as they travel, which may hold clues to the nature of mass in the universe, and thus to its ultimate fate. The second half of the Physics prize went to Italian-born particle physicist and telescope pioneer Riccardo Giacconi, 71, now president of the non-profit Associated Universities, Inc., which runs the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Giacconi, a U.S. citizen since 1967, launched a revolution of X ray astronomy. X rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation, shorter in wavelength and higher in energy than visible or ultraviolet light or microwaves. Though Earth's atmosphere blocks virtually all extraterrestrial X rays, Giacconi convinced NASA that space-borne X-ray telescopes could yield phenomenal discoveries about the cosmos. Since 1962, astronomers have discovered and studied thousands of neutron stars, supernovas, black holes and other X ray emitters. Today, four space-based X ray observatories, inspired by Giacconi's vision, give astronomers "eyes" for unprecedented and otherwise unseen cosmic phenomena.
The three Chemistry laureates for 2002 were principal innovators in what promises to be one of the most beneficial fields of biology in the 21st century: proteomics. The discipline, named for its primary subject, proteins, has also come to encompass the study of carbohydrates, DNA and all sorts of other biological macromolecules. The identification and mapping techniques pioneered by the 2002 chemistry laureates have accelerated the development of myriad drugs; propelled the science of diagnosing cancer; and made possible the cataloging of hundreds of thousands of proteins, whose interactions most likely hold the secrets to all sorts of human disease and development. John Fenn, 85, analytical chemistry professor at Virgina Commonwealth University in Richmond, and Koichi Tanaka, 43, engineer at the Shimadzu Corporation in Kyoto, Japan, are respectively among the oldest and youngest chemistry laureates ever. Working independently, the two devised improved methods of a technique called mass spectrometry, in which proteins and other macromolecules are sorted by mass, size, shape and electrical properties. Based on their innovations, which involve classifying proteins by how fast they move through an electric field, biologists can now determine the proteins in a sample in seconds rather than weeks. The two researchers will share half the approximately $1 million prize. The other half was awarded to Kurt Wüthrich, 64, a professor of biophysics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. His innovation allows biologists not only to identify proteins but also to map their three-dimensional structure. He used the technique of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) -- the phenomenon underlying the well-known magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in medicine -- to determine the molecular structure of complex, highly folded proteins. Among the most notable structures deciphered by NMR are prions, the misfolded proteins that destroy brain tissue in mad cow disease and other disorders.
The 2002 Nobel prize in Economics honored the influence of experimental science in the development of economics theory and practice. The two laureates are Daniel Kahneman, 68, professor of psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton University and Vernon L. Smith, 75, professor of economics and law at George Mason University, in Virginia. Together with Amos Tversky (deceased in 1996), Kahneman formulated what is called prospect theory, an alternative theory of economics that better accounts for observed human behavior. With insights into intrinsic human motivation from cognitive psychology, Kahneman has addressed decision-making under uncertainty, where he has demonstrated how human decisions may systematically depart from those predicted by standard economic theory and from basic principles of probability. Smith has laid the foundation for the field of experimental economics, setting standards for what constitutes a reliable laboratory experiment in economics. He has demonstrated the importance of alternative market institutions (e.g. how the revenue expected by a seller depends on the choice of auction method) and spearheaded "wind-tunnel tests," where trials of new, alternative market designs (e.g. deregulating electricity markets) are carried out in the lab before being implemented in practice. His work has been instrumental in establishing experiments as an essential tool in empirical economic analysis.
CHRONOLOGY - Events of October 2002
Lautenberg Replaces Torricelli on Jersey Ballot - On Oct. 1, exactly 5 weeks before the general election, former Sen. Frank Lautenberg agreed to appeals by New Jersey Democrats to allow his name to be placed on the state ballot as the Democratic candidate for the Senate. Sen. Robert Torricelli, accused of accepting improper gifts, dropped out the day before after polls showed that he would likely be defeated in the election. Lautenberg had served 18 years in the Senate before retiring in 2000. Republicans, asserting that state law barred any additions to the ballot less than 51 days before the election, sought without success to stop Lautenberg's candidacy. Reading the law narrowly, the state Supreme Court ruled 7-0, Oct. 2, that the substitution could be made. On Oct. 7, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, letting the state court ruling stand. The same day, a federal district court in Trenton ruled against a related challenge by the GOP.
Former Enron Executive Charged With Fraud - The former CFO of Enron, the huge but bankrupt energy-trading company, was charged Oct. 2 with fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering. The government's complaint, in Houston, alleged that Andrew Fastow had made use of off-the-books partnerships to hide Enron's falling financial situation and obtain millions of dollars of the company's cash himself.
On Oct. 7, Buford Yates became the 2nd (after David Myers) former official of WorldCom, another megabankruptcy, to plead guilty to securities fraud.
Airplane "Shoe Bomber" Pleads Guilty - The man prosecutors charged had sought to blow up an airplane on a transatlantic flight in December 2001 pleaded guilty Oct. 4. In federal district court in Boston, Richard Reid, who is British, admitted to membership in al- Qaeda and said, "I am an enemy of your country." Prosecutors charged Reid had attempted to ignite explosives concealed in his shoes during a Paris-to-Miami flight, before being subdued by flight attendants and passengers. Reid admitted to all 8 counts in his indictment.
4 Arrested in al-Qaeda Plot - Four U.S. citizens living in Portland, OR, were arrested Oct. 4 and charged with plotting to join an al-Qaeda and Taliban jihad against the United States. The FBI began a search for 2 others thought to be linked with the Portland cell. Prosecutors said members of the cell had been training with Chinese rifles and semiautomatic pistols. One of the 2 being sought was arrested in Malaysia on Oct. 8. In another terrorist case, the leader of the Benevolence International Foundation, Enaam Arnaout, was indicted Oct. 9 for conspiracy and racketeering. The indictment alleged he had used the group as a front for funneling funds to Osama bin Laden.
Bush Acts to Reopen West Coast Docks - Pres. George W. Bush Oct. 8 invoked the Taft-Hartley Act to get West Coast longshoremen back to work. Federal District Judge William Alsup then ordered the ports reopened. The employers had shut down the docks 11 days earlier, after negotiations over a new contract seemed to be going nowhere. The cost of the shutdown was put as high as $10 billion.
Stocks Bounce Back After Another Plunge - Stock market prices continued to fluctuate widely. On Oct. 9 the Dow Jones industrial average closed at 7286.27, a 5-year low. Just 4 trading days later, on Oct. 15, the Dow had rebounded to 8255.68. For the rest of October the Dow stayed mainly between 8000 and 8500.
Company's Founder Admits Fraud, Other Crimes - Samuel Waksal, founder of ImClone Systems, admitted Oct. 15 that he had committed some of the crimes with which he had been charged by the federal government. Most charges related to the sale of ImClone stock prior to public announcement of news adverse to the company. Waksal pleaded guilty to securities fraud, perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and bank fraud.
Congress Passes Bill to Improve Voting Procedures - The Senate, 92-2, Oct. 16, following the House's lead, approved a bill that would give $3.9 billion to the states to fix shortcomings in their elections. The bill was inspired by the chaos in Florida in 2000 that left the result of the presidential election in doubt for a month. (Florida had adopted new technology and procedures to attempt to remedy the problems, but ironically the new arrangements themselves led to problems in the Florida Democratic primary voting in September.) The money would be used to replace antiquated voting machines, train poll workers, and create accurate lists of registered voters. Pres. Bush signed the legislation Oct. 29.
Ex-Mayor Found Not Guilty in Racial Murder - A jury in York, PA, Oct. 19, found 2 white men guilty of murder in the shooting death of a black woman in the city in 1969. She had driven into an area caught up in a race riot. A 3rd defendant, former York Mayor Charlie Robertson, was found not guilty. Robertson, mayor from 1994 to 2001, had been a policeman in 1969, and prosecutors charged he had provided ammunition to vigilantes and incited them to riot.
Sen. Paul Wellstone Killed in Plane Crash - Sen. Paul Wellstone (D, MN) was killed in a plane crash near Eveleth, MN, Oct. 25 along with 7 other passengers - his wife, Sheila; his daughter, Marcia Markuson; 3 aides; and 2 pilots. The Beech A100, known as a King Air, went down in a wooded area not far from the local airport during a freezing rain.
Wellstone, perhaps the most liberal member of the Senate, was concluding his 2nd term and was in a close reelection campaign against the Republican candidate, former Mayor Norm Coleman of St. Paul. He was eulogized on both sides of the aisle as a lawmaker who stood by his principles; he was the only senator up for reelection who, in what was thought to be a politically dangerous move, voted Oct. 11 against a measure backing possible U.S. military action against Iraq. Former Vice Pres. Walter Mondale Oct. 30 officially entered the Senate race as Democratic candidate replacing Wellstone. Wellstone's surviving family as well as state party leaders had urged Mondale to run.
U.S., Iraq Continue Sparring Over Inspections - The United States continued to pressure Iraq to agree to allow UN weapons inspectors unfettered access to all sites that might contain weapons of mass destruction. Iraq, in agreeing Oct. 1 that inspectors could return in 2 weeks, declined to agree to allow access to some areas, including numerous presidential palaces. On Oct. 4, Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector, backed a key U.S. demand that Iraq disclose all of its weapons programs before the inspectors returned.
In a speech in Cincinnati, Oct. 7, Pres. George W. Bush said that only Saddam Hussein's removal from office would end the confrontation with Iraq. He set out a detailed case for resorting to military action if other efforts failed. He argued that the Iraqi regime had ties to al-Qaeda terrorists and that Iraq could attack the United States and its allies at any time with chemical or biological weapons.
The House, 296-133, on Oct. 10, and the Senate, 77-23, on Oct. 11, passed a resolution authorizing Bush to use military force against Iraq, while also calling upon him to try to work through the UN before acting alone. Iraq Oct. 15 conducted a presidential election in which Saddam Hussein, the only candidate, was said by the government to have received all 11,425,638 votes cast. Hussein, Oct. 20, announced that in celebration of his election, most of the nation's prisoners would be freed, and the same day tens of thousands (according to press estimates) of prisoners were released. The action prompted some protests, as many demanded to know the fate of relatives who did not emerge from captivity. On Oct. 23, the United States presented a resolution to the UN Security Council that included a threat of military action against Iraq. Prospects that the resolution or a resolution closely similar to it would be passed remained uncertain.
Ex-President of Bosnian Serbs Pleads Guilty - A former president of the Bosnian Serbs pleaded guilty Oct. 2 to crimes against humanity. Biljana Plavsic expressed remorse for what she did. As part of her agreement with the international tribunal at The Hague, other charges against her, including genocide, would be dropped. During the 1992-95 war in Bosnia, thousands of people were killed, imprisoned, or forced from their homes. The only woman accused of war crimes by the tribunal, Plavsic had been vice president during the war, and president later.
Two American Servicemen Killed - An American soldier was killed Oct. 2 in Zamboanga City, in the southern Philippines, when a bomb exploded in front of a karaoke bar. A Filipino was killed and 21 were injured. Eleven U.S. servicemen had been killed since the United States had expanded its anti-terror effort to the Philippines. A U.S. Marine was killed Oct. 8, and a second was wounded while they participated in an urban assault exercise on an island in the Persian Gulf that was part of Kuwait. The 2 assailants were shot dead.
Mystery Explosion Sets Oil Tanker Afire - An explosion of unknown origin occurred at a French oil tanker off Yemen Oct. 6. French sources speculated that a terrorist attack was responsible. The ship was bound for an oil terminal in the Gulf of Aden. All but one of the 25 crew members were rescued; thousands of barrels of oil spilled into the sea.
13 Palestinians Killed in Israeli Raid - Israeli tanks and helicopters struck Khan Yunis, a stronghold of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, in the Gaza Strip, Oct. 7; 13 Palestinians were reportedly killed and more than 100 wounded. Israel said it had seized a Palestinian and several shells. Israelis later fired machine guns at a hospital where many wounded were taken. On Oct. 21 a sport utility vehicle carrying a bomb was crashed into a bus in northern Israel, killing 14 passengers; 50 others were wounded.
Labor Quits Sharon Government - Israel's coalition government, led by Prime Min. Ariel Sharon, shattered Oct. 30 when the Labor Party ministers broke with Sharon over the budget. The loss of Labor's 25 seats meant that Sharon would control only a minority of the 120-seat Parliament. Labor Party chairman Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said that Sharon's budget gave too much money to settlers, while short-changing Israel's poor. He also said that the government had "exhausted every possibility in the military realm" in its dealings with the Palestinians, and that it was time to focus on the "diplomatic horizon."
Bomb Blamed on Terrorists Kills Hundreds in Bali - A bomb exploded near 2 crowded discothèques on the island of Bali, in Indonesia, Oct. 12. The death toll was put at more than 180, with nearly 300 others wounded; the devastation and fire damage meant that many remains could not be identified. The Islamic extremist group Jemaah Islamiah was believed responsible for the attack, which occurred in a resort area popular with foreign tourists, and was the most serious terrorist incident since Sept. 11, 2001. Many Australians and Europeans were among the victims.
North Korea Admits to Nuclear Arms Program - The Bush administration revealed Oct. 16 that North Korea had acknowledged that it was developing nuclear arms. The admission had come earlier in the month at a meeting in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, after a U.S. diplomat had confronted his hosts with evidence of a clandestine nuclear project. The North Koreans at first denied that assertion, but later admitted it was true. North Korea and the United States had agreed in 1994 that the former would freeze all development of nuclear weapons. North Koreans said they had now nullified that agreement. During a visit to Pres. George W. Bush's ranch in Texas, Oct. 25, Pres. Jiang Zemin of China vowed to work with him to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear project.
Chechens Seize Moscow Theater, Over 100 Hostages Die - About 50 armed Chechen militants occupied a theater in Moscow, Oct. 23, and seized some 800 hostages. They demanded that Russia end its attacks on the rebellious province. At least 33 hostages, mostly children, were soon released, and the captors Oct. 24 released the body of a woman they had killed. Russian troops attacked the theater, Oct. 26, killing most of the Chechens, including their leader; 4 were taken alive. Russian authorities said the Chechen militants had threatened to start executing their hostages, and in fact had shot two before the attack was launched; they had also planted explosives throughout the theater. The government said Oct. 26 that 67 hostages and 50 Chechens, including 18 women, were dead. By Oct. 30 the hostage death toll was put at 120, all but two of whom had died from the effects of a gas released by the troops. Russian authorities at first declined to identify the drug used, but on Oct. 30 said it was an aerosol version of Fentanyl, a powerful pain-killer. The Russian authorities came under criticism for allegedly failing to arrange that medical care would be quickly available for the drugged hostages, a charge they disputed. The U.S. viewed the Russian action as a legitimate response to an act of terrorism, but questioned the initial failure to state what drug was used and the medical preparations for the siege-ending attack.
U.S. Diplomat Assassinated in Jordan - An American diplomat was assassinated in Amman, Jordan, Oct. 28. Laurence Foley, an administrator of America's development assistance program in Jordan, was shot outside his home. Terrorists were suspected.
Sniper Kills 10 in Washington Area - A skilled shooter, firing from some distance, struck terror into residents of the suburbs of Washington, DC, killing 10 and wounding 3 during the first 22 days of the month. Two suspects, John Allen Williams, known as John Allen Muhammad, and John Lee Malvo, were arrested Oct. 24. Muhammad is 41, a former soldier qualified as a marksman, while Malvo, 17, is from Jamaica and the son of an ex-girlfriend of Muhammad.
Within a 15-hour period, Oct. 2-3, 5 victims, apparently chosen at random, were killed, each with a single shot. Those struck down were going about routine activities, such as cutting grass or pumping gas. Another shot narrowly missed a store clerk. The killings occurred a few miles apart in Montgomery County, MD. Later on Oct. 3, a 6th victim was killed in the District of Columbia, just across the Montgomery County line.
On Oct. 4, 50 miles distant in Fredericksburg, VA, a woman was wounded by the sniper. On Oct. 7, a 13-year-old boy was shot and wounded at the entrance of his school in Bowie, MD. The 7th fatality occurred 30 miles southwest of Washington, in Manassas, VA, Oct. 9, when a motorist was shot at a gas station. The next victim was killed Oct. 11 while pumping gas in Fourmile Fork, VA. An FBI analyst, Linda Franklin, was shot dead at a mall parking lot in Falls Church, VA, Oct. 14, as she and her husband loaded purchases into their car. A man walking with his wife from a restaurant in Ashland, VA, was shot and wounded Oct. 19. A bus driver was shot to death outside his bus near Silver Spring, MD, Oct. 22. A note apparently from the sniper, revealed by police Oct. 22, warned, "Your children are not safe anywhere at any time."
The terror created havoc in the geographical area affected. Outdoor activities, even including school recess, were canceled or moved inside. Hotlines were swamped with calls from people reporting possible leads.
On Oct. 23, police said they were looking for Muhammad, a 41-year-old military veteran, and a juvenile traveling with him, and for a Chevrolet Caprice with a certain New Jersey license plate. The announcement followed phone tips (one possibly from one of the suspects, the other from a priest who had received a message on his answering machine) that the sniper slayings were linked to a liquor store robbery in "Montgomery." A Montgomery, AL, robbery produced a fingerprint of Malvo, and investigation of him yielded the association with Muhammad. (An encounter Muhammad had with the police before the shootings started had left a record of the automobile and its license plate on a law-enforcement database.) Authorities searched a home in Tacoma, WA, where the Muhammad had once lived and learned that shots, possibly from target practice, had been heard there. Early on Oct. 24, a traveler spotted the car parked at a rest stop off Interstate 70 near Frederick, MD, and at 3:30 a.m., police surrounded and stormed the car, arresting the 2 occupants, who were asleep. Police found a Bushmaster XM-15 .223-caliber rifle in the car, later identified as the weapon used in the shootings; it was also found that the car had been specially modified for firing a rifle from the back. Montgomery County Chief of Police Charles Moose and other lead investigators generally received praise for their efforts.
Where the 2 suspects would first be tried remained uncertain. On Oct. 25, Montgomery County filed 6 counts of first-degree murder against both. Other localities then began to file charges.
Jury Awards $28 Billion to Cigarette Smoker - A jury in Los Angeles Superior Court Oct. 4 awarded a smoker suffering from cancer $28 billion in punitive damages. The plaintiff, Betty Bullock, said that Philip Morris, Inc., had drawn her into the cigarette habit with fraudulent advertising and marketing. Philip Morris said it would ask the court to reverse the verdict. The award was nearly 10 times higher than the previous record award in a smoking case.
Jimmy Carter Wins Nobel Peace Prize - Former Pres. Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Oct. 10. The Nobel committee cited his efforts as president to bring peace to the Middle East and his post-presidential commitment to human rights and the promotion of democratic values around the world. Carter said he accepted the award on behalf of "suffering people around the world." He planned to use the $1 million prize in his Carter Center, a private foundation. Gunnar Berge, chairman of the Nobel committee, said the award should be interpreted as a criticism of the position the Bush administration had taken toward possible military action against Iraq.
Vatican Rejects U.S. Bishops' Approach to Abuse - The Roman Catholic Church, in a message from the Vatican Oct. 18, found fault with the plan worked out by U.S. bishops for dealing with the abuse of minors by priests. The letter from Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re to Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that the agreement worked out at a U.S. bishops' conference in June did not sufficiently protect the rights of priests under Church law. The letter noted that the draft policy did not provide for a statute of limitations, and said it defined abuse too broadly, to include actions not involving physical force or contact. A commission composed of both Vatican and U.S. bishops was set up to review the plan.
At the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon Oct. 13, Paula Radcliffe (U.K.) smashed the world best time of 2 hours, 18 minutes, 47 seconds set by Catherine Ndereba (Kenya) on the same course in 2001. Running in only her 2nd marathon, Radcliffe sliced 1 minute and 29 seconds off Ndereba's time, finishing in 2:17:18. Radcliffe, who now has the 1st and 3rd fastest women's marathon times in history, won the 2002 London Marathon in 2:18:56. In the men's race, Khalid Khannouchi (U.S.) won his 4th Chicago Marathon (1997, 1999, and 2000) with a time of 2:05:56, the 4th fastest marathon in history, just 17 seconds off his own world best set in the London Marathon in April 2002.
At the Ironman Triathlon World Championships in Hawaii, Oct. 19, Tim DeBoom (U.S.) defended his 2001 title, finishing the 2.4-mile ocean swim, 112-mile bicycle ride and 26.2-mile marathon in 8 hours, 29 minutes, and 56 seconds. Switzerland's Natascha Badmann won her 3rd straight women's title with a time of 9:07:54
The Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the New England Revolution in overtime, 1-0, to win the Major League Soccer Cup at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA, on Oct. 20. An MLS Cup record crowd of 61,316 saw match-MVP Carlos Ruiz score with 7 minutes left in overtime to give the Galaxy, runners-up in 1996, 1999, and 2001, their 1st championship.
At the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships Oct. 26 at Chicago's Arlington Park, 43-1 long shot Volponi upset Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem (3rd) and won the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic by 6.5 lengths over Belmont runner-up Medaglia d'Oro.
Anaheim Is Surprise Winner of World Series - The Anaheim Angels, in their 42nd season, won baseball's World Series Oct. 27, with a 4-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants in the 7th and deciding game. For the first time ever, both series opponents were wild cards; neither had won its divisional title. San Francisco had the championship within reach, Oct. 26, holding a 5-0 lead before losing, 6-5, at Anaheim. In the final, also at Anaheim, Garret Anderson hit a bases-loaded double that scored 3 runs. John Lackey, a rookie, pitched the first 5 innings and got credit for the victory after 3 relievers finished up. Third baseman Troy Glaus of Anaheim was named most valuable player. San Francisco was led offensively by Barry Bonds, who held or was in pursuit of home-run records. Mike Scioscia managed the Angels, the American League pennant winner.
With 109 yards on 24 carries, Dallas running back Emmit Smith ran into the NFL record book on Oct. 27 at Texas Stadium, when he passed Walter Payton's career rushing mark of 16, 726 yards. Smith, midway through his 13th NFL season, finished the game with 16,743 yards. The Cowboys lost to the Seahawks, 17-14.
OFFBEAT NEWS STORIES
- Kevin Seabrooke
Win or Lose, He'll Be Blue. Whenever there is an election, there must a winner and a loser. Regardless of what happens in the U.S. Senate race in Montana on Nov. 5, Libertarian candidate Stan Jones will be blue, literally. As a matter of fact, he's already blue. Actually it's more of a bluish-gray and it's got nothing to do with his emotional state. He began taking colloidal silver (believed by some to be an anti-bacterial agent) in 1999, because he was concerned that Y2K disruptions might lead to a shortage of antibiotics. He made his own solution by electrically charging pure silver wires in a glass of water. The Y2K computer glitch never materialized and Jones eventually quit taking the supplement. But in 2001, his skin began turning blue-gray; he had a permanent, but not generally harmful skin condition called argyria. "People ask me if it's permanent and if I'm dead," the 63-year-old Jones said. "I tell them I'm practicing for Halloween."
A Family That Sticks Together. It sounds more like a project for a long, cold winter. Large balls of everyday items like string and rubber bands normally achieve minor celebrity in cold-weather states, but America's fascination with size is not geographically restricted. The Raviv family of Boca Raton, FL, has ventured into the record books in a new category: the tape ball. It started in June with 12-year-old Galit, idly balling up a piece of tape. Then her 8-year-old sister got into the act and they decided to go for the Guinness Book of World Records. No mechanical help was permitted in winding the tape. Using a wooden backscratcher as a base, the Ravivs spent a month wrapping 238 rolls of clear packing tape (about 12 miles) around it until they had an 80-pound ball 2 feet high and 75 inches in diameter. Records were made to be broken and since tape balling is in its infancy (this is the 1st officially recognized by Guinness), larger tape balls are sure to follow. But it may be a while before they're ready to challenge the twine ball. The world's largest weighs about 17,000 lbs and is made up of more than 1,100 miles of string. Other record balls include rubber band (2,524 lbs.), aluminum foil (1,615 lbs.), and popcorn (2,377 lbs.).
Links of the Month
Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief
I just finished reading "Theodore Rex," the second part of Edmund Morris's planned trilogy of the life of Theodore Roosevelt. It was an excellent book, and it sent me to my computer, to research information about some of the key players of the period, 1901-1909. At the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recording Sound Division of the Library of Congress, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/trfhtml/trfhome.html I found a treasure trove of turn of the century film clips which include Roosevelt, and many other notables from his era, including Presidents McKinley, Taft, Wilson, Harding & Coolidge, Nicholas and Alexandria, Kaiser Wilhelm, and Emperor Franz Joseph. Here's the combination of two of my favorite interests; U.S. Presidents and silent films.
November 14th is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day here in the U.S (but this can apply internationally too). Come on now, admit it, there is something in the back of your refrigerator, or in the freezer, that you simply cannot identify; but out of fear, or a general I-don't-want-to-know attitude, you just won't get rid of it. Expiration dates are there for a reason. They are our friends. At the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service http://www.foodsafety.gov/~fsg/f01chart.html, you'll find a Cold Storage Chart which suggests how long something can be refrigerated, as well as frozen (for quality). After seeing this list, and thinking about what's in my refrigerator, I can say just two words, "uh oh!"
Do you know who the President of the Czech Republic is? How about the Minister of Agriculture & Irrigation of Malawi? Or the Minister of Defense & Nordic Cooperation in Finland? The CIA has an online directory of Chief of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/chiefs/index.html which is updated weekly. I think the first one was easy, it is Vaclav Havel, but the other cabinet officers are tougher -- Leonard Mangulama, and Jan Erik Enestam, respectively. This in turn had me searching for information on Malawi, a country I knew nothing about (okay, I'll fess up, I'd never even heard of the country!) This African country lies south of Tanzania and west of Mozambique, with a population of a little over 10,000,000, and is one of the least developed nations in the world. To learn more about this country, and other African nations by visiting http://www.mbendi.co.za/land/af/ma/p0005.htm. Consult your World Almanac for more extensive detail on all the Nations of the World, including the birth dates of heads of states.
When I was a kid (hey, it's not that long ago, I swear), like other kids, I would look for license plates that I had never seen before, when my family was driving on highways. These days, it's a bigger challenge, as many U.S. states have multiple vanity plates to choose from. At License Plates for the World http://www.worldlicenseplates.com/, you can check out plates from everywhere, ranging from the United Arab Emirates, to Malawi (see above), through Zimbabwe.
Earlier this month, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2002, for his decades of efforts to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, and the promotion of human rights. He was the third U.S. President to win this honor (past honorees included Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt). The Nobel Awards have been awarded since 1901 in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace. Swedish engineer Alfred Nobel (1833-1896), inventor of dynamite, requested in his will, that awards be given annually to those who "shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind." To learn more about Nobel, and the prizes, visit the Nobel E-Museum at http://www.nobel.se/index.html. For information about the Carter, since his Presidency, visit the Carter Center, at http://www.cartercenter.org/.
Imelda Marcos, if you will recall, liked to buy shoes. Lots of shoes. I myself, know several woman (and a few men too), who have more pairs of shoes in their closets right now than I will in own in my lifetime. Are you curious to know what the popular styles of womens shoes were in the 20th century? At Century in Shoes http://www.centuryinshoes.com/ you can see shoes from the 1900s to 1990s, zooming in to see them closer, and a century's worth of ads.
Unusual Sites of the Month (I couldn't select just one): http://www.mindspring.com/~surgicalsteel/tickle/tickle.html and http://dancingpaul.com/
World Almanac E-Newsletter
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