The World Almanac E-Newsletter
Volume 3, Number 2 - February 2003
What's in this issue?
February is Black History Month and American Heart Month
February 1 - Chinese New Year
This Day in History - February
FEATURED LOCATION OF THE MONTH: NEWARK, NJ
Location: Seat of Essex County, northeastern New Jersey, on the Passaic River and Newark Bay, just west of New York City; settled 1666, incorporated as a city 1836. Newark is the largest city in the state.
Population (2000 Census): 273,546
Mayor: Sharpe James (Democrat)
February Temperatures: Normal high of 40.5 degrees; Normal low of 25.4 degrees
Colleges & Universities : New Jersey Institute of Technology; Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Newark Campus; Seton Hall Law School; the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey at Newark; Essex County College
Sports teams: Newark Bears (Atlantic League baseball)
Museums: The Art Gallery; The Gallery; Halsey Street Art Gallery; the Newark Museum; New Jersey Historical Society; Richardson Gallery; the Robeson Gallery
Places to visit: Branch Brook Park; City Hall; Essex County Courthouse; First Presbyterian Church (1791); Independence Park; the Ironbound (a neighborhood known for its fine restaurants serving Portuguese and Spanish cuisine); Military Park, a drill ground in American Revolution times; Mother Cabrini Park; Mt. Pleasant Cemetery; Newark Symphony Hall; New Jersey Performing Arts Center; the North Reformed Church; the Plume House (built c. 1710); the Polhemus House (1859); the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart; Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (1743); Washington Park; the William Clark Mansion
Tallest Building: Midatlantic National Bank (465 feet, 36 stories)
History: Newark was settled and platted by Puritans from Connecticut in 1666 and was probably named for Newark-on-Trent, England. It was the site of several military engagements during the American Revolution and was George Washington's supply base during his retreat to the Delaware River in 1776. The leather industry was established here in the late 18th century, and further growth was spurred by the arrival of railroads in the 1830s. Many inventions and new industrial processes were developed in Newark in the 19th century.
Since World War II the city has experienced urban problems associated with declining population and decaying neighborhoods. A major racial disturbance occurred here in 1967. In 1970 Newark's first black mayor, Kenneth A. Gibson, was elected to the first of his four terms. Urban renewal projects, begun in the 1980s, continue to improve the city. The New Jersey Performing Arts Center opened here in 1997.
Birthplace of: actor Jason Alexander (1959); writer Paul Auster (1947); U.S. Supreme Court justice William J. Brennan (1906); Vice President Aaron Burr (1756); writer Stephen Crane (1871); director Brian DePalma (1940); singer Connie Francis (1938); Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg (1926); tap dancer Savion Glover (1973); rapper/actor Ice-T (1958); actor Jerry Lewis (1926); actor Ray Liotta (1955); architect Richard Meier (1934); basketball player Shaquille O'Neal (1972); actor Joe Pesci (1943); actor Keshia Knight Pulliam (1979); writer Philip Roth (1933); actor Eva Marie Saint (1924); dancer Ruth St. Denis (1878?); singer/songwriter Paul Simon (1941); singer Frankie Valli (1937); actor Jack Warden (1920)
Agnelli, Giovanni, 81, patriarch of Italy's Fiat auto company, often described as his nation's uncrowned king; Turin, Italy, Jan. 24, 2003.
Brumel, Valery, 60, Soviet-era Russian high jumper who from 1961 through 1963 raised the world outdoor high-jump record six times; Moscow, Russia, Jan. 26, 2003.
Carter, Nell, 54, singer and actress best known for her Tony Award-winning role in the Broadway musical Ain't Misbehavin' (1978) and for playing the housekeeper in the TV sitcom "Gimme a Break!" (1981-87); Beverly Hills, CA, Jan. 23, 2003.
Crenna, Richard, 76, veteran actor who began in radio in the 1930s and whose work included the radio and TV show "Our Miss Brooks," the TV show "The Real McCoys" and such movies as the Rambo action flicks of the 1980s; Los Angeles, CA, Jan. 17, 2003.
Dillon, C. Douglas, 93, Wall Street financier and art collector who was U.S. ambassador to France in the 1950s and secretary of the Treasury from 1961 to 1965; New York, NY, Jan. 10, 2003.
Fiedler, Leslie, 85, provocative literary critic perhaps best known for his book Love and Death in the American Novel (1960); Buffalo, NY, Jan. 29, 2003.
Galtieri, Leopoldo, 76, Argentine military ruler who in 1982 led his country into a disastrous 74-day war with Britain over the Falkland Islands; Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jan. 12, 2003.
Gibb, Maurice, 53, member, with two of his brothers, of the popular music trio the Bee Gees, which epitomized the disco era of the 1970s; Miami Beach, FL, Jan. 12, 2003.
Giroud, Françoise, 86, French journalist who in the 1970s served as France's first minister of women's affairs; Paris, France, Jan. 19, 2003.
Hirschfeld, Al, 99, artist who for most of the 20th century cornered the market in caricatures of Broadway theater personalities; New York, NY, Jan. 20, 2003.
Jenkins, Roy (Lord Jenkins of Hillhead), 82, dominant figure in Britain's Labour Party from the 1960s until 1981, when he left it to cofound the Social Democratic Party; East Hendred, England, Jan. 5, 2003.
Kerr, Jean, 80, author of the best-selling book about suburbia Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1957) and of the long-running Broadway romantic comedy Mary, Mary (1961), who also collaborated on a number of theater projects with her husband of 52 years, drama critic Walter Kerr; White Plains, NY, Jan. 5, 2003.
Mauldin, Bill, 81, cartoonist whose bedraggled characters Willie and Joe were icons for U.S. troops during World War II; Newport Beach, CA, Jan. 22, 2003.
McClendon, Sarah, 92, White House reporter for small Texas newspapers since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt who was known for her aggressive style of questioning at presidential news conferences; Washington, DC, Jan. 8, 2003.
Omarr, Sydney, 76, astrologer whose horoscopes were available in more than 200 newspapers and whose clients included a number of Hollywood celebrities; Santa Monica, CA, Jan. 2, 2003.
Simmons, Richard W., 89, actor who portrayed the title character in the 1950s U.S. TV series "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon"; Oceanside, CA, Jan. 11, 2003.
Till-Mobley, Mamie, 81, black civil rights activist since 1955, when her son, Emmett Till, was brutally slain in Mississippi; Chicago, IL, Jan. 6, 2003.
Trevor-Roper, Hugh (Baron Dacre of Glanton), 89, British historian who made his reputation with The Last Days of Hitler (1947) but tarnished it in the early 1980s by authenticating forged Hitler diaries; Oxford, England, Jan. 26, 2003.
SPECIAL FEATURE: MALCOLM X RECONSIDERED
By Erik Gopel
February was designated Black History Month as far back as 1926. Every February since then, Americans have honored individuals who devote their lives to expanding the civil rights of African Americans, and fostering social and economic parity between the races in the United States. Although this struggle has existed since the founding of the nation, the civil rights movement intensified immensely during the 1950s and 1960s. Of the many important leaders to emerge during this turbulent period in American history, no one commanded more attention or stirred more controversy than the fiery and outspoken Malcolm X.
A Tumultuous Youth
Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. His father, Reverend Earl Little, was an itinerant Baptist minister and a strong supporter of Black Nationalist activist Marcus Garvey. Reverend Little, who tended to favor Malcolm over his seven other brothers and sisters, often took him to meetings of Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). Just before Malcolm's birth, the Ku Klux Klan vandalized and attempted to burn down the Little house in Omaha. Fearing more attacks, Reverend Little moved the family several times, eventually settling in Lansing, Michigan in 1929.
There, the family was threatened by another white supremacist group, the Black Legion, and their Lansing home, too, was burned down, forcing them to move to the "Negro section" outside of town. Two years later, Reverend Earl Little's battered body was found severed in two by a streetcar. In his autobiography written with Alex Haley, Malcolm suggested that the Ku Klux Klan might have been responsible for the death of his father. After his death, Malcolm's mother, Louise, suffered an emotional breakdown, and Malcolm and his siblings were split among various foster homes. He was eventually sent to a detention hall, and then was allowed to attend a regular junior high school.
Although he graduated junior high school among the top in his class, Malcolm dropped out after a teacher dismissed his hopes of becoming a lawyer on account of his race. In 1941, he moved to Boston and eventually settled in Harlem in New York City, where he soon turned to a life of crime. Known by his street name "Detroit Red," he sold drugs, bootleg whiskey, and was involved in gambling and prostitution rings. He was arrested in Boston in 1946, charged with grand larceny and breaking and entering, and sentenced to eight to ten years in jail.
Redemption with an "X"
While in prison, Malcolm resumed his education, reading voraciously, and setting up libraries. Malcolm's younger brother Reginald visited him and told him about a black rights organization he had just joined called the Nation of Islam (NOI); Malcolm became instantly interested, and by 1949 had converted. Following the NOI custom, Malcolm discarded the last name "Little," which he considered a slave name, replacing it with "X" to signify his original tribal name that had been lost when his forbears were sold as slaves in America.
The Nation of Islam was founded in the early 1930s by a Detroit door-to-door salesman named Wallace D. Fard (later Farrad Muhammad) and after 1934 led by Elijah Mohammed. Its members are often referred to as "Black Muslims." The NOI stressed black pride through Islam, on the premise that it was the original religion of Africans, and that African Americans were descendants of a lost tribe named Shabazz. The organization created enormous controversy with its vociferous calls for racial separation, and the use of violence in self-defense against white racial aggression. Elijah Mohammed taught his followers that that whites were fundamentally evil for their suppression of African Americans. One of NOI's more extreme tenets advocates a separate country within the United States, in which African Americans could reside.
In 1952 Malcolm X, on parole, moved to Chicago to train for a ministry at NOI headquarters. After three months of personal study with Mohammed, he became Minister Malcolm X. He organized new temples (later renamed mosques) in Boston, Philadelphia, and Harlem, often retracing his steps as a member of the criminal underworld, and soon became a national spokesman for the organization. In 1956, he met Betty X, a temple member and nurse from Detroit; they were married the same year. In 1958, Attilah, the oldest of their six daughters, was born.
The Price of Fame
In July 1959, Malcolm X's rise within the NOI was featured in Mike Wallace's four-day television news special "The Hate That Hate Produced," which explored the ideas behind Black Nationalism. By 1963, he had personally recruited as many as 30,000 more members, including boxer Mohammed Ali, and future NOI leader Louis Farrakhan. As the publicity Malcolm attracted began to eclipse Elijah Mohammed's own stature as leader of the group, tensions began to rise between the two.
In 1963, Mohammed suspended and silenced Malcolm following his public statement that the assassination of President Kennedy was a case of "chickens coming home to roost." Malcolm was deeply disappointed and in March 1964 announced that he was leaving the group. He founded a new organization, the Muslim Mosque, Inc. The NOI condemned his departure, and asked that he return all property belonging to the organization, including the house where he and his family were living in Queens, NY. Malcolm refused to comply.
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabbaz
In 1964, Malcolm decided to undertake a hajj, the religious pilgrimage to Mecca required as one of the "five pillars" of Islam. This experience influenced his decision to convert to orthodox Islam, which generally eschews violence, and is quite different ideologically from the Nation of Islam. He experienced a revelation that transformed his long-held ideas about racial integration. Observing so many people of different backgrounds united by their faith, including whites, Malcolm renounced the idea that all white people were inherently evil, and came to believe that through Islam, whites and blacks could find common ground. Upon his return home, he changed his name to reflect his newfound faith and to commemorate his trip to Mecca. He became El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz and founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), a secular group devoted to black nationalism.
Threats against Malcolm's life increased, as he continued to occupy the NOI house in Queens. He persevered with his work, traveling to preach his ideas on Islam and African heritage, especially in Africa and the Middle East.
On February 14, Malcolm's house in Queens was firebombed. At approximately 3 p.m. on February 21, 1965, Malcolm X approached the podium in the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights, where he had been holding weekly open meetings. Minutes after he began his speech, a fight broke out at the back of the room. Malcolm told them to "cool it," and then according to most accounts, three men stood up in the front row and shot Malcolm X about 16 times at close range. He was pronounced dead on arrival at New York Presbyterian hospital. In March 1966, three members of the Nation of Islam--Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler, and Thomas 15X Johnson--were sentenced to life in prison for his murder.
The Shabazz Family after Malcolm
The controversy surrounding the circumstances of Malcolm X's murder has not abated with time, and many people still wonder about who ordered his assassination. The FBI disclosed more than 2,000 memos in 1979 revealing a 12-year campaign to limit Malcolm's activities. In 1995, Malcolm's daughter, Qubilah, was arrested for allegedly plotting to kill current Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan in Chicago, to avenge her father's death. In a settlement, she accepted responsibility for the plot, and agreed to a probation period of two years. In 1997, Malcolm's widow, Betty Shabazz was tragically killed when her 12-year-old grandson set fire to her house in Yonkers, NY.
In January 2003, the Shabazz family announced that they were donating a large quantity of his personal papers to the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The papers include handwritten speeches and the journals he kept while traveling in Africa and the Middle East in 1964. A legal dispute over the ownership of these papers had ensued when the storage unit that held the papers was put up for sale after Malikah Shabazz failed to make the proper fees. A man named James Calhoun bought the storage unit and tried to auction its contents. In early 2002, the Shabazz family won the dispute in court. The Schomburg Center, which is located on Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem, will keep the collection for the next 75 years, and it is scheduled to go on public display in the spring of 2004.
Malcolm X's provocative commentaries on race relations and his adept use of the media helped bring the issues of racial injustice to the forefront of American culture at the time. Beneath his fiery rhetoric that often described whites as "devils," there was a positive message for many disaffected African Americans. The importance of his work was his focus on elevating black identity and self-respect by reconnecting African Americans with their lost African heritage through the Islamic faith. Though early on his dynamic speeches were often laced with plausible threats of violent retaliation and calls for revolution against whites, his major goal was the recognition of African Americans as human beings: "We will never be recognized as citizens there until we are first recognized as humans."
Malcolm X fought to end the violence perpetrated by white supremacists, and encouraged African Americans to avoid crime and refrain from gambling and drugs, which he believed undermined their struggle. Though he was often viewed as an instigator and hate-monger, Malcolm's fervent endorsement of black pride, his rise from poverty and redemption from crime were remarkable. Although he had renounced much of his intolerant ideology, he could not escape the violence that had pervaded his life.
FDA Halts 27 Gene Therapy Trials
On January 14, 2003, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suspended 27 trials involving gene therapy, a new technique of curing illnesses caused by defects in genetic material. The FDA made this decision in response to the development of leukemia in two out of 11 boys who, in a French study conducted at Necker Children's Hospital in Paris, were treated with gene therapy for severe combined immunodeficiency-X1 (SCID-X1). SCID-X1 is also known as the "Bubble Boy" disease, in reference to the need for its victims to remain in sterile, isolated environments to avoid infection. Their bodies cannot fight off would-be invaders because they lack two kinds of important white blood cells: T cells and natural killer cells. The gene defect that causes SCID-X1 is extremely rare, and is carried on the X chromosome. Girls have two X chromosomes, so the X chromosome that doesn't carry the defect makes up for the one that does. Boys only have one X chromosome, however, so if it happens to carry the defect, they don't have a spare X chromosome to counteract it.
Gene therapy employs the natural behaviors of viruses and retroviruses to import properly functioning genes into patients' cells. Viruses are disease-causing organisms that require host cells in order to reproduce. On invading a host cell, a virus uses the cell's resources to manufacture the proteins and enzymes it needs to form new viruses and to copy its genetic material in the form of DNA. Once this manufacturing occurs, the new viruses escape the host cell by budding off of the cell membrane or by lysing, or breaking, the cell. From there, they go on to infect new host cells. Retroviruses function much like viruses, yet instead of merely taking over the cell's resources, they incorporate their genetic material into that of the host cell. They carry their genetic information in the form of RNA, and use an enzyme known as reverse transcriptase to transcribe their RNA into DNA, the genetic material of the host cell, so that their own genetic code can be implanted into the genes of the host cell. Therefore, when the host cell replicates, it passes the code for manufacturing the virus along with its own genetic material, perpetuating the production of the retrovirus. In gene therapy, scientists alter a virus or retrovirus by removing its disease-causing genes, and adding the genes that a patient's cells need to function properly. Then, they deliver the modified organism to the patient's cells. The use of retroviruses is preferable in most cases, as the change in the cell's genetic material lends itself to a permanent cure: when the cell copies its DNA and replicates, the new cells will possess the same desirable modification.
The scientists at Necker Children's Hospital exposed a modified virus to the patients' bone marrow stem cells, which-when functioning properly-eventually turn into red and white blood cells, including the T and natural killer cells that the SCID-X1 patients lack. The appearance of leukemia, a cancer involving abnormal proliferation of white blood cells, in two of the subjects in the study suggests that the new gene in the experiment interfered with another gene whose job is to prevent the overproduction of these cells. As a result, the FDA placed a temporary halt on gene therapy trials that either involve immune deficiencies like SCID-X1 or use retroviruses to modify bone marrow stem cells. Dr. Philip Noguchi, acting director of the FDA's office of cellular, tissue, and gene therapies told the New York Times that the move is only precautionary: "We see no evidence that the [several hundred] subjects involved in these 27 trials are actually at risk." The agency hopes to reinstate the halted trials once it has learned more about the two cases of leukemia. Both the gene therapy advisory committee of the National Institute of Health and an FDA advisory committee will hold meetings in upcoming weeks to discuss the situation.
CHRONOLOGY - Events of January 2003
Bush Proposes More Tax Cuts - Pres. George W. Bush Jan. 7 proposed a new tax-cut package of $670 billion over 10 years. A major component was the elimination of the tax on stock dividends; Bush said that change was aimed at abolishing the double taxation of dividends. Bush also called for putting into effect in 2003 the tax cuts for individuals approved by Congress in 2001 to take effect in 2006 and 2008. The Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution estimated that under Bush's proposal the top 1% of those earning incomes would get 28% of the benefits, while the bottom 60% would get 8%.
Democrats Announce for the Presidency - Four Democrats announced they would run for president in 2004. They joined Sen. John Kerry (MA) and former Gov. Howard Dean (VT), who had already made their intentions known. Sen. John Edwards (NC) said Jan. 2 that he would run; Rev. Al Sharpton, an African American activist from New York, declared his candidacy Jan. 3 ; Rep. Richard Gephardt (MO), who had been House minority leader until after the 2002 election, entered the contest Jan. 4; and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (CT), Al Gore's running mate in 2000, announced his candidacy Jan. 13. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (SD) said Jan. 7 that he would not seek the Democratic nomination.
Illinois Governor Spares 171 on Death Row - On Jan. 10 and 11 , a few days before leaving office, Gov. George Ryan of Illinois spared the lives of 171 convicts sentenced to death. Ryan pardoned 4 whom he said had made false confessions after being beaten by police officers, cut sentences of 3 others to 40 years in prison, and reduced the sentences of the rest to life in prison without parole.
AOL's Founder Resigns, as Losses Mount - Steve Case, founder of America Online, announced Jan. 12 that he was resigning as AOL chairman. On Jan. 16, AOL Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons took over Case's position. On Jan. 30 AOL Time Warner stated it was writing down the value of AOL by $35 billion and of its cable division $10 billion, bringing the total loss of its assets since the disastrous 2001 merger of AOL and Time Warner to nearly $100 billion. The same day, Ted Turner resigned as vice chairman; he was reportedly disillusioned with corporate management of the CNN network he had founded.
Ridge in Cabinet as First Homeland Security Secretary - The Senate, Jan. 22, approved, 94-0, Pres. Bush's nomination of Tom Ridge to be secretary of Homeland Security. Ridge, a former Pennsylvania governor, had been coordinating the national security effort since the Sept. 2001 attacks, but the department itself had just been approved by Congress. The department, which merged 22 existing agencies, would employ 170,000. Ridge was sworn in Jan. 24. Meanwhile, on Jan. 30 John Snow was confirmed by the Senate as U.S. treasury secretary.
Bush Delivers State of the Union Address - Pres. Bush, Jan. 28, delivered the annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. Seeking to address domestic concerns as part of his agenda, he restated his support for a broad new tax-cut package and called for strengthening Medicare and overhauling Social Security. He also called for a $15 billion program to combat AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean. On the key issue of Iraq, he portrayed Iraqi Pres. Saddam Hussein as a tyrant who had consistently evaded UN resolutions regarding weapons of mass destruction and had links with terrorists; Bush said that while he would consult with other nations, he was prepared, in the event Saddam did not "fully disarm," to "lead a coalition to disarm him."
Shoe Bomber Is Sentenced - "Shoe bomber" Richard Reid, who had pleaded guilty to trying to blow up a Trans-Atlantic flight with explosives in his shoes, was sentenced Jan. 30 in federal district court in Boston to life in prison.
Brazil Swears in New President - On Jan. 1, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, leader of the left-wing Workers Party, was inaugurated as president of Brazil; Da Silva, who was elected by a landslide in Oct. 2002, promised, "a new style of government," with a major focus on job creation.
General Strike Cripples Venezuela - On Jan. 2, Pres. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela proposed that other nations help resolve the internal crisis brought on by a devastating month-long general strike. Chavez appealed for international diplomacy to reach an agreement with business and labor leaders and retired military officers who opposed his regime. On Jan. 3, 2 were killed and dozens wounded in clashes between pro- and anti-government factions. Trying to help end the impasse, ex-Pres. Jimmy Carter met with Chavez and opposition leaders Jan. 20.
Bombers Kill 22 in Tel Aviv - Two Palestinian suicide bombers killed themselves and 22 others Jan. 5 in coordinated attacks in Tel Aviv. In retaliation, Israel, Jan. 6, barred Palestinian leaders from attending a conference in London. Fighting across Israel claimed the lives of 9 Palestinians and 2 Israelis Jan. 12, and 3 Israeli soldiers were shot and killed Jan. 23 near Hebron. An Israeli attack on Gaza City, Jan. 26 , claimed 12 lives.
North Korea Quits NPT - North Korea said Jan. 10 that it was withdrawing from the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Claiming its use of nuclear energy would be peaceful, North Korea said it was acting in self-defense against the U.S., which it accused of hostile intentions. On Jan. 11, after 3 days of unofficial meetings with 2 North Korean diplomats, Gov. Bill Richardson (NM), a former U.S. ambassador to the UN, said the North Koreans wanted to have better relations with the U.S. Pres. Bush said, Jan. 14, that he would offer food and energy to North Korea if the latter abandoned efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
OPEC Increases Production- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed Jan. 12 to increase production quotas by 6.5%. OPEC was responding to falling production and rising prices because of a general strike in Venezuela and concern about the possibility of war with Iraq.
As UN Weapons Inspector Cites Iraqi Non-Cooperation, U.S. Amasses Troops in the Region - A major report by UN weapons inspectors, presented Jan. 27, accused Iraq of failure to cooperate in accounting for and removing weapons of mass destruction. The report, by Hans Blix, chief inspector for chemical and biological weapons, struck a pessimistic note. A more optimistic report, by Mohamed El Baradei, chief inspector for atomic weapons, said his team had as yet found no evidence that Iraq was reviving its nuclear-weapons program; he asked the Security Council for a few more months to finish inspections. Earlier, on Jan. 16 , inspectors found 12 empty warheads capable of carrying chemical weapons, and Iraq later said it had discovered 4 more such warheads. Iraq agreed Jan. 20 to let scientists be interviewed privately by inspectors, but within the country.
Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld signed orders Jan. 10-11 deploying 62,000 troops to the Persian Gulf region; on Jan. 19 he noted, however, that the Bush administration might allow Hussein to seek a safe haven in another country as a means of avoiding a war. Britain Jan. 11 deployed an aircraft carrier to the Gulf and said Jan. 20 that it was sending 26,000 troops to the Gulf. France said Jan. 20 that it would not support a UN resolution for military action. Turkey said the same day that it would allow its bases to be used for attacks on Iraq. On Jan. 30, leaders of Britain and 7 other European nations, not including France or Germany, joined in an open letter to the Wall Street Journal calling on the international community to take a united stand against Iraq.
Israeli Voters Keep Sharon in Power - The Likud Party of Prime Min. Ariel Sharon retained power in parliamentary elections held in Israel Jan. 28 . Likud emerged with 38 seats in the 120-member Knesset, to only 19 for the Labor Party, its longtime rival.
Explosion Kills 18 in Afghanistan - A bomb destroyed a bridge near an army post, killing 18 people on a bus, Jan. 31 in Southern Afghanistan outside Kandahar; authorities blamed Taliban and al-Qaeda fugitives.
Plane Crash Kills 21 - A twin-jet turboprop commuter plane operated by Air Midwest crashed shortly after takeoff from Charlotte, NC, Jan. 8, killing all 21 people on board. Preliminary investigation suggested a possible mechanical error made in servicing the plane about 24 hours earlier.
"Chicago" Takes Top Honors at Golden Globe Award - The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's 60th annual Golden Globe Award, were held Jan. 19 in Beverly Hills, CA. "Chicago," which received 8 nominations, picked up three awards, making it the winningest film of the evening. Award winners were:
Drama: "The Hours."
Director: Martin Scorsese "Gangs of New York."
Actor, Drama: Jack Nicholson "About Schmidt."
Actress, Drama: Nicole Kidman "The Hours."
Musical or Comedy: "Chicago."
Actor, Musical or Comedy: Richard Gere "Chicago."
Actress, Musical or Comedy: Renee Zellweger, "Chicago."
Supporting Actor: Chris Cooper, "Adaptation."
Supporting Actress: Meryl Streep, "Adaptation."
Foreign Language Film: "Talk to Her," Spain.
Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, "About Schmidt."
Score: Elliot Goldenthal, "Frida."
Original Song: U2, "The Hands That Built America" from "Gangs of New York."
Drama Series: "The Shield," FX.
Actor, Drama: Michael Chiklis, "The Shield," FX.
Actress, Drama: Edie Falco, "The Sopranos," HBO.
Musical or Comedy Series: "Curb Your Enthusiasm," HBO.
Actor, Musical or Comedy Series: Tony Shalhoub, "Monk," USA.
Actress, Musical or Comedy Series: Jennifer Aniston, "Friends," NBC.
Miniseries or Movie Made for Television: "The Gathering Storm," HBO.
Actor, Miniseries or Movie Made for Television: Albert Finney, "The Gathering Storm," HBO.
Actress, Miniseries or Movie Made for Television: Uma Thurman, "Hysterical Blindness," HBO.
Supporting Actor, Series, Miniseries or Movie Made for Television: Donald Sutherland, "Path to War," HBO.
Supporting Actress, Series, Miniseries or Movie Made for Television: Kim Cattrall, "Sex and the City," HBO.
NCAA Football bowl results for Jan. 1 - Capital One (formerly Citrus) Bowl: Auburn 13, Penn State 9; Cotton Bowl: Texas 35, LSU 20; Gator Bowl: North Carolina State 28, Notre Dame 6; Outback Bowl: Michigan 38, Florida 30; Rose Bowl: Oklahoma 34, Washington State 14; Sugar Bowl: Georgia 26, Florida State 13.
Associated Press NFL Awards, announced Jan. 1-11: Most Valuable Player, Oakland quarterback Rich Gannon; Offensive Player of the Year, Kansas City running back Priest Holmes; Defensive Player of the Year, Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks; Offensive Rookie of the Year, Denver running back Clinton Portis; Defensive Rookie of the Year, Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers; Coach of the Year, Andy Reid (Philadelphia).
On Jan. 2, Southern California defeated Iowa, 38-17, in the Orange Bowl.
On Jan. 3, Ohio State won the NCAA Football national title, upsetting top-ranked defending champion Miami (FL), 31-24 in double-overtime at the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, AZ. For Ohio State, underdogs by 11.5 points, it was their first national title since 1968.
NFL Wild Card Playoffs results - Jan. 4: N.Y. Jets 41, Indianapolis 0; Atlanta 27, Green Bay 7. Jan. 5: Pittsburgh 36, Cleveland 33; San Francisco 39, N.Y. Giants 38.
NFL Divisional Playoffs: On Jan. 11, Tennessee defeated Pittsburgh, 34-31, in overtime, and Philadelphia topped Atlanta, 20-6. On Jan. 12, Tampa Bay outscored San Francisco, 31-6, and Oakland stopped the N.Y. Jets with a 30-10 win.
Michelle Kwan won her 6th straight national title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Dallas, TX, on Jan. 18. It was the 7th U.S. championship overall for Kwan, who has also won 4 world titles. Salt Lake City Olympic champion Sarah Hughes finished 2nd, and Sasha Cohen was 3rd. In the men's final, Michael Weiss won his 3rd U.S. title. Tim Goebel finished 2nd, followed by Ryan Jahnke.
On Jan. 19, Oakland defeated Tennessee, 41- 24, for the AFC Championship, and Tampa Bay won the NFC Championship, 27-10, over Philadelphia.
On Jan. 25, Serena Williams defeated her sister, Venus, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-4, at the Australian Open in Melbourne. It was the 4th Grand Slam win in a row for Serena, who faced her sister in the final each time. Serena won the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open in 2002. In the men's final, Andre Agassi defeated Germany's Rainer Schuettler, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1, on Jan. 27 . The win was Agassi's 8th Grand Slam title and his 5th in the last 3 years.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won their 1st NFL Championship Jan. 27, defeating the Oakland Raiders, 48-21, at Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego. Safety Dexter Jackson, who had 2 key interceptions, was named the game's MVP. Jackson is only the 8th defensive player to win the award. The Buccaneers intercepted Oakland quarterback Rich Gannon, the NFL's regular season MVP, a record 5 times - returning 3 for touchdowns (2 by Dwight Smith, and 1 by Derrick Brooks).
OFFBEAT NEWS STORIES
- Kevin Seabrooke
Wanted: Duckmaster. Why would a luxury hotel be in need of a bird handler? The Peabody Hotel, a Memphis, TN, landmark since 1869, is famous for its ducks. Twice a day, crowds gather in the lobby and along the mezzanine level to witness the "March of the Peabody Ducks," wherein these pampered fowl make their way to and from the fountain in the hotel lobby. The mallard ducks, 5 hens and a drake, descend from their penthouse via elevator, cross the lobby on a red carpet, and proceed to swim in the fountain, eat corn kernels, and get photographed by tourists.
In January 2003, the Peabody Memphis (there are also Peabody Hotels in Orlando, FL, and Little Rock, AR) began searching for a replacement for the current duckmaster, who resigned. Potential candidates must obviously be outgoing and good with waterfowl - as well as people of all ages -since the ducks make a number of personal appearances and pose for countless publicity shots.
Ducks have been swimming in the lobby fountain since the 1930s, but the marches didn't start until the 1940s. That's when Edward Pembroke, a former circus worker with animal training experience, began working at the hotel as a bellman. In gold-trimmed red jacket, Pembroke was the quintessential duckmaster for 50 years until his retirement in 1991.
Freelance Chickenmasters? Poultry wranglers of a different sort are making headlines in Key West, FL. Long a part of the "Conch Republic's" low-key charm, chickens have been roaming free there since the days of the settlers-in fact, all birds in Key West are protected by law. The normally laid-back island is now embroiled in a chicken fight that has divided its citizens into two groups: those who love 'em and those who hate 'em.
Mounting anti-chicken complaints from tourists and residents spurred city officials into action two years ago. About 1,000 were rounded up and relocated before it was discovered that accumulated chicken droppings in the holding area were contaminating the beach-water, so the program was shut down.
By the end of 2002, the chicken population on the 2-by-4-mile island had risen to about 2,000. In January 2003 the hunt resumed, focusing on roosters, whose seemingly constant crowing garners the most complaints. That's where the freelance chicken consultants come in, charging as much as $20 a head to lure and capture each offending fowl with a variety of state-of-the-art techniques. Most of the arrested chickens are shipped to retirement farms in central Florida.
Max Abramovitz, b 1908, Avery Fisher Hall, NYC; U.S. Steel Bldg. (now USX Towers), Pittsburgh, PA.
Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief
They'll be chanting, "Phil, Phil, Phil, Phil..." in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania this February 2nd, known in the U.S. as Groundhog Day. Origins of the day stem from an association with Candlemas Day in Europe, which marked the midpoint of the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, when it was thought that if the sun came out on that day, there would be six more weeks of winter. Thus, with Groundhog Day, if the sun is out, and the Groundhog sees his shadow, it would hurry back into its underground home, for another six weeks of winter. The Punxsutawney Spirit is credited with printing the news of the first observance in 1886, and the rest is history. Visit http://www.groundhog.org/, the official site of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.
As many Internet users know, SPAM is something you don't want to get (it's flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message). But before Internet SPAM, there was that other SPAM, you know, pork shoulder and ham, with special spices, the one that Nikita Khrushchev credited with saving Soviet troops during World War II. At http://www.spam.com/ you'll learn everything you always wanted to know about SPAM, and more.
Planning on having a dinner party this weekend to celebrate the birthday of a friend, and realize that it's too late to send out paper invitations? At Evite, the Internet invitation service, http://www.evite.com, you can select great looking templates (categorized by event), send messages to guests, include a map, track RSVPs, read guest comments, and even create online galleries for your next event. So whether you are planning a Groundhog Day party, or planning a night out on the town, you can do it here, in an organized manner.
Whether its Alan Alda, Alan Greenspan, Alan Ladd, or Alan Shepard you want to know about, a visit to Who2? http://who2.com can be helpful. This site presents a brief biography, vital stats, as well as four good links concerning the person in question. Additionally, they have some fun stuff like loops, which connect various personalities for unusual reasons, such some of those listed under "Disappearing Acts," Amelia Earhart, Glenn Miller, Jimmy Hoffa, Judge Joseph Crater, and D.B. Cooper. You can also check out the Noted Personalities column that will appear in the 2003 E-Newsletters.
Elvis is still the King in death, as he was in life. This summer Forbes magazine listed the top-earning dead celebrities, and Elvis came up on top at $37 million. Others on the list included Peanuts creator Charles Schulz at $28 million, John Lennon at $20 million, Dale Earnhardt at $20 million, and Theodor "Dr. Suess" Geisel at $19 million. This is just one nugget of information that I learned by visiting http://www.forbes.com/. Oh, and there is all sorts of other, probably more pertinent, financial information, to be learned at this site.
I don't know about you, but I'm not the handiest person around the house. Need to know some presidential historical fact, come see me; need to fix the air conditioner in your living, I'm not the guy. But help is available athttp://www.repairclinic.com/. You can pick a major appliance, learn how it works, get maintenance tips, and receive advice on fixing some common problems.
Stupid websites of the month: Type in any name or words and see pictures of people holding the letters you just typed: http://www.zefrank.com/lp1/ A similar site shows the current date and time, down to the second, being written out in pencil: http://www.yugop.com/ver3/stuff/03/fla.html. At least that one helps if you forgot your watch today!
World Almanac E-Newsletter
Newsletter Contributors: Louise Bloomfield, Erik Gopel, Walter Kronenberg, Chris Larson, Bill McGeveran, Kevin Seabrooke and Lori Wiesenfeld
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