The World Almanac E-Newsletter
Volume 3, Number 5 - May 2003
What's in this issue?
May is Older Americans Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and National Book Month
May 1-4 - Festival of Nations, St. Paul, MN; Festival of Saint Efisio, Cagliari, Italy
May 1 - May Day
Mother's Day was first observed in 1907, at the request of Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia, to honor her deceased mother. Two years later, Jarvis and friends began a letter-writing campaign to create a Mother's Day observance. Soon after, in 1914, Congress passed legislation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.
How Many Mothers
There are an estimated 75 million mothers of all ages.
81 - Percentage of women 40 to 44 years old who are mothers. In 1980, 90 percent of women in that age group were mothers.
How Many Children
Only about 11 percent of women end their childbearing years with four or more children, compared with 36% in 1976.
2 - Average number of children that women today can expect to have in their lifetime.
3 - Average number of children that women in Utah can expect to have in their lifetime, tops in the nation.
23,870 - Number of florists nationwide. Their 125,116 employees will be especially busy selling bouquets for Mother's Day.
The flowers you buy mom probably were grown in California or Colombia. Among states, California was the leading provider of cut flowers in 2001, alone accounting for more than two-thirds of the nation's total domestic production ($292 million out of $424 million). Meanwhile, the value of U.S. imports of cut flowers from Colombia, the leading foreign supplier to the United States, during 2002 was $289 million.
4.0 million - Number of women who have babies each year. Of this number, about 450,000 are teens, and almost 100,000 are age 40 or over.
24.8 - Median age of women when they give birth for the first time - meaning one-half are above this age and one-half are below. The median age has risen nearly three years since 1970.
40 - Percentage of births taking place annually that are the mothers' first. Another 33 percent are the second; 17 percent, the third; and 11 percent, the fourth or more.
36,000 - Number of births each year attended by physicians, midwives or others that did not occur in hospitals.
1 in 33 - The odds of a woman delivering twins. Her odds of having triplets or other multiple births was approximately 1-in-539
August - The most popular month in which to have a baby, with more than 360,000 births taking place that month in 2001.
Tuesday - The most popular day of the week in which to have a baby, with an average of more than 12,000 births taking place on Tuesdays during 2001.
55 - Percentage of mothers in the labor force with infant children, down from a record 59 percent in 1998. This marks the first significant decline in this rate since the Census Bureau began collecting the data in 1976. In that year, 31 percent of these mothers were in the labor force.
Among mothers between 15 and 44 who do not have infants, 74 percent are in the labor force.
To help juggle motherhood and careers, many mothers turn to one of the more than 67,000 day-care centers across the country. Among more than 10 million preschoolers, about 2 million were primarily cared for in such a facility during the bulk of the mothers' working hours.
10 million - The number of single mothers living with children under 18, up from 3 million in 1970.
This Day in History - May
FEATURED LOCATION OF THE MONTH: Boise, Idaho
Location : Seat of Ada County, and capital of Idaho, on the Boise River, in the southwest part of the state; incorporated 1864.
Population (2000 Census): 185,787
Mayor: Carolyn Terteling-Payne
May Temperatures: Normal high of 71.0 degrees Fahrenheit; Normal low of 43.9 degrees Fahrenheit
Colleges & Universities: Boise State University
Events: 20th Annual National Paddling Film Festival, Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy Annex (May 2); Boise's Antique & Collectible Show, Western Idaho Fairgrounds (May 2-4); Idaho City Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Western Festival (May 2-4); Treasure Valley Cinco de Mayo, Caldwell Events Center (May 2-4); Boise Music Week 2003, citywide venues (May 2-10); Blues Festival, Western Idaho Fairgrounds (May 3); Treasure Valley Women's Show, Western Idaho Fairgrounds (May 3-4); "Clay and Fire" art show, BSU Gallery 1 (May 5-7); Les Bois Soccer Tournament, Simplot Sports Fields (May 9-11); "Bitesize Science" food and science festival, Discovery Center of Idaho (May 10); Komen Race for the Cure (May 10); Boise Philharmonic Family Concert, Julia Davis Park (May 18); Idaho Great Potato Marathon, Sandy Point to Boise (May 31)
Places to visit: Basque Museum & Cultural Center; Boise Art Museum; Discovery Center of Idaho; Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial; Idaho Black History Museum; Idaho Botanical Garden; Idaho Historical Museum; Idaho Museum of Military History; Julia Davis Park (which contains cabins of early settlers); Morrison-Knudsen Nature Center; Museum of Mining and Geology; Old Idaho Penitentiary; State Capitol (1906-1912); World Center Birds of Prey; World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame; Zoo Boise
Tallest Building: US Bank Plaza (267 feet, 18 stories)
History: Attempts to settle the region in the early 19th century were thwarted by the numerous bands of Shoshoni Indians who occupied the Boise region. In 1834 fur traders built Fort Boise, but conflicts with the Indians led to the Ward Massacre of 1854 and the fort's closing. Not until 1863, following the discovery of gold in the region, was permanent settlement successful. Fort Boise, a U.S. military base, was constructed, and the site for Boise City was selected next to it. Located at the crossroads of the transcontinental Oregon Trail and routes to the gold mines, the city grew rapidly. In 1864 Boise was made capital of Idaho Territory, and when statehood was granted in 1890, it remained the seat of government. Passage of the National Reclamation Act of 1902, providing for construction of Arrowrock Dam, and the city's location (from 1925) on the main line of the Union Pacific Railroad brought further expansion. The city's name is derived from the French boisé ("wooded"), initially applied in the early 19th century to the tree-lined Boise River by French-Canadian fur trappers.
Atkins, Dr. Robert C., 72, cardiologist who, in a series of best-selling books, promoted a controversial diet high in fats and proteins and low in carbohydrates; New York, NY, April 17, 2003.
Getty Jr., J. Paul, 70, U.S. oil fortune heir who after settling in Britain in the 1970s gave away more than $200 million to various causes and institutions there; London, England, April 17, 2003.
Griffiths, Martha, 91, ten-term Democratic congresswoman from Michigan (1955-75) who was one of the most forceful women's civil rights legislators of her day; after leaving Congress, she served two terms as Michigan's lieutenant governor; Armada, MI, April 22, 2003.
Katz, Sir Bernard, 92, German-born British physiologist who shared a 1970 Nobel Prize for helping to clarify how messages are transmitted between nerves and muscles; London, England, April 20, 2003.
Olatunji, Babatunde, 75, Nigerian-born drummer and bandleader whose album Drums of Passion (1959) popularized African rhythms and helped inspire Afro-jazz fusion in the 1960s; Salinas, CA, April 6, 2003.
Simone, Nina, 70, wide-ranging singer and pianist who in the 1960s was the musical performer most closely identified with the U.S. civil rights movement; Carry-le-Rouet, France, April 21, 2003.
By Erik Gopel
On May 17, 1973, the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities of the United States Senate began its hearings on the Watergate Affair. The scandal had already implicated top members of President Richard M. Nixon's administration in a deliberate cover-up of illegal political espionage and obstruction of justice. It eventually led to the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives voting three articles of impeachment against Nixon. On August 9, 1974, after more than a year of denying his culpability in the scandal, Nixon became the first U.S. president ever to resign from the office.
The Watergate affair has often described as a "constitutional crisis," though it may be debatable whether the break-in and subsequent cover-up ever represented an immediate danger to the government's ability to function. Nixon and his administration may have violated the U.S. Constitution by seeking executive power beyond its legal limits, and threatening the basic right to free and fair elections granted to every American. With its congressional investigations and high-level court decisions, the Watergate Affair proved conclusively that the system of checks and balances laid out in the Constitution could, when necessary, work effectively to prevent abuse of power in one branch of government -- in this case, the executive branch.
The Watergate scandal began with a burglary in the early morning hours of June 17, 1972. Five people broke into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, located in the Watergate apartment and office complex in Washington, D.C., in an attempt to wiretap the committee's phones. The election campaigns for the presidential race of 1972 were under way. Senator George S. McGovern would be selected as the Democratic Party's nominee less than a month later. The five men were caught in the act, and eventually linked to President Nixon's Committee to Re-Elect the President. This was led by Nixon's first Attorney General, John N. Mitchell, who had stepped down to become Nixon's campaign manager in February 1972.
The five men who committed the burglary and two former Nixon administration aides, G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt, Jr., who helped plan it, were indicated in October 1972. At trial Hunt and four of the five intruders pleaded guilty; Liddy and the fifth burglar, James W. McCord Jr., were convicted in January 1973. Following the trial, McCord sent a letter to the judge, U.S. District Court Judge John Sirica, which claimed that the break-in had been authorized by top aides to President Nixon. McCord named presidential counsel John W. Dean III and Jeb S. Magruder, former deputy head of Nixon's re-election committee, as having prior knowledge of the break-in. Meanwhile, Nixon had been re-elected in a landslide victory, taking every state except Massachusetts.
On February 7, 1973, the Senate voted 70-0 to set up a seven-member select committee to investigate the Watergate affair and all reports of political espionage against the Democrats during the 1972 election campaign. The committee consisted of four Democrats and three Republicans, and was headed by Senator Sam J. Ervin (D, North Carolina). The other committee members were Vice Chairman Howard H. Baker Jr. (R, Tennessee), Herman E. Talmadge (D, Georgia), Daniel K. Inouye (D, Hawaii), Joseph M. Montoya (D, New Mexico), Edward J. Gurney (R, Florida), and Lowell P. Weicker Jr., (R, Connecticut).
In a nationally televised speech on April 30, 1973, Nixon assured the nation that he had not been involved in political espionage, or in any cover-up of the scandal. He then announced the resignations of White House aides John Erlichman and H.R. Halderman, Attorney General Richard Kleindienst, and White House Counsel Dean. In that address, he announced the appointment of Elliot Richardson as the new Attorney General, giving him the "absolute authority to make all decisions bearing upon the prosecution of the Watergate case and related matters," and adding "that if he should consider it appropriate he has the authority to name a special supervising prosecutor for matters arising out of the case." He told the nation that night the case would be handled "fairly, fully and impartially, no matter who is involved." "There can be no whitewash in the White House," he said. Richardson appointed Archibald Cox, a former U.S. Solicitor General, and at the time a Harvard Law School professor, as special prosecutor on May 18, 1973.
During this time, the Senate Armed Services Committee began hearings into the role of the CIA in the Watergate break-in and other matters. The first session revealed that Erlichman and Halderman had attempted to involve the CIA in domestic undercover work to end an FBI probe into Republican election campaign fund laundering. Besides constituting obstruction of justice, this also violated the 1947 National Security Act, which prohibited the CIA from carrying out its intelligence work inside the United States.
The Senate Hearings
Senator Sam Ervin, chairman of the Select Committee, opened the Watergate hearings on May 17, 1973 with this evocative statement:
"To safeguard the structural scheme of our governmental system, the founding fathers provided for an electoral process by which the elected officials of this nation should be chosen. The Constitution, later-adopted amendments, and more specifically, statutory law, provide that the electoral processes shall be conducted by the people, outside the confines of the formal branches of the government, and through a political process that must operate under the strictures of law and ethical guidelines, but independent of the overwhelming power of the government itself. Only then can we be sure that each electoral process cannot be made to serve as the mere handmaiden of a particular Administration in power."
Testifying before the Select Committee on June 25, 1973, Dean read a 245-page statement regarding the affair. He testified that Mitchell, as head of the Committee to Re-Elect the President, had ordered the burglary, and that the White House was engaged in a cover-up to hide its involvement. He also accused the administration of paying the burglars to maintain silence.
It was the testimony of a White House aide, Alexander Butterfield, on July 16 that set off the scandal's most dramatic series of events. Butterfield revealed that President Nixon had installed a bugging system in 1970 to record his White House conversations. These tapes could corroborate Dean's testimony and provide solid evidence of the administration's attempts to cover up the break-in, as well as other illicit methods of sabotaging the Democratic election campaign. Special prosecutor Cox first asked Nixon to hand over eight of these tapes, and then obtained a subpoena for them after the president refused. Nixon continued to hold out, claiming his executive privilege could prevent the release of what he considered classified information that could jeopardize national security. He had earlier refused to hand over papers to the committee.
Cox took the case to court, and on August 29, Judge Sirica ordered Nixon to hand over the tapes. Nixon appealed the decision, but on October 12, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals upheld Sirica's decision, 5-2.
Five days later, Judge Sirica was forced to dismiss a separate civil suit filed by the Senate Watergate Committee to obtain the White House tapes. Sirica said the court did not have jurisdiction, since the case was not criminal and could only be filed by the Special Prosecutor or Attorney General, or by an act of Congress. There was no precedent for jurisdiction with regard to a Senate Committee. It also did not meet the $10,000 limit required for U.S. circuit jurisdiction.
Following this ruling -- the only legal victory for Nixon in the entire scandal -- Congress passed a bill authorizing just such jurisdiction for the Senate Watergate Committee, limited only to that committee. However, since Nixon declined to take this case to the Supreme Court, he was still obligated to hand over the tapes in compliance with the appellate decision.
The "Saturday Night Massacre"
On October 19, Nixon suggested another possible alternative to surrendering the tapes, whereby, which he would provide transcripts of them, to be verified by a member of the government who was "highly respected by all elements of American life for his integrity, his fairness and his patriotism." For this, Nixon picked Senator John C. Stennis (D, Mississippi). Cox declined, saying that only the tapes themselves could be admissible as evidence in the court. What followed next came to be known as the "Saturday Night Massacre." On Saturday, Oct 20, 1973, Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire special prosecutor Cox. Richardson refused and resigned, along with Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus. The Justice Department's solicitor general, Robert Bork (who was then acting Attorney General) ultimately fired Cox. Nixon appointed a new special prosecutor, a Texas lawyer named Leon Jaworski, and on October 23 agreed to hand over the tapes. That day, House Democratic leaders agreed to have the Judiciary Committee begin an inquiry into impeachment proceedings. Republican leaders endorsed the inquiry.
More Tape Controversy
The investigation hit another hurdle when the White House revealed on November 21, 1973, that there was an 18-minute gap on one of the subpoenaed tapes -- of June 20, 1972, conversation between Nixon and Haldeman. Nixon's personal secretary Rose Mary Woods, testified that she had accidentally erased the missing portion. However, an expert panel analyzed the tapes for several months and concluded that the gap was probably the result of several rerecordings over that portion of the tape. Though the panel did not assert outright that Nixon had erased the conversation, its conclusion reduced the president's credibility. He was still withholding six tapes from the Senate Watergate Committee, on the grounds that if the tapes were released to the public as the committee suggested, the confidentiality of the president would be sacrificed, and any subsequent criminal trials might be prejudiced.
The third and final phase of the Senate Select Committee Watergate hearings opened in November 1973, and focused on investigating many of the financial improprieties that occurred during the 1972 re-election campaign. The Watergate Committee's mandate was set to run out on February 28; it voted for a new extension, though not unanimously. Some members suggested that the committee adjourn and allow the House Judiciary Committee to concentrate on its impeachment hearings. Some members suggested that the committee adjourn and allow the House Judiciary Committee to concentrate on its impeachment hearings.
By March, Erlichman was on trial for his role in breaking into the office of the psychiatrist who treated Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department aide who leaked the famous Pentagon Papers to The New York Times. Erlichman implicated Nixon during his testimony, revealing that the president had approved of the 1971 break-in.
On April 18, Judge Sirica granted Jaworski a new subpoena for tapes containing 64 White House conversations, which had been requested as early as January 9. The tapes included conversations between Nixon, Erlichman, Halderman, White House Special Counsel Charles Colson -- who had also been indicted for the break-in to Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office -- and John Dean. On May 7, Special Presidential Counsel James D. St. Clair announced that Nixon would "respectfully" cease to provide any more Watergate tapes to the House Judiciary Committee, and that White House lawyers would continue to fight Jaworski's subpoena. In a move reminiscent of the events leading to Cox's dismissal, Judge Sirica ordered Nixon May 20 to comply with the subpoena. After Nixon again refused to hand over the tapes, the case was heard by the Supreme Court. On July 24, the Court ruled, 8-0, that President Nixon was to hand over the tapes "forthwith."
Articles of Impeachment
With this second tape crisis unfolding, the House Judiciary Committee began its impeachment hearings on May 9, 1974. The committee's final deliberations, which began the day of the Supreme Court ruling, were nationally televised. Its majority report stated, "All in all, President Nixon's conduct posed a threat to our democratic republic," and it charged the president with three articles of impeachment:
- obstruction of justice
The 528-page impeachment report was accepted by the House of Representatives on August 20, 1974, by a vote of 412 to 3.
On August 5, 1974, Nixon provided transcripts of three conversations from the tapes that Jaworski had subpoenaed. They demonstrated beyond a doubt that he had been aware of the Watergate burglary just days after it happened, and had ordered Haldeman to use the CIA to get the FBI to drop its investigation. This revelation destroyed any remaining support Nixon had left in Congress. Nixon was aware that could not survive a Senate impeachment trial, and resigned the presidency on August 9. Gerald Ford assumed the presidency that afternoon.
On September 8, 1974, President Ford pardoned Nixon "for all offenses against the United States which he has committed or may have committed or taken part in" during his time in office. But the Watergate investigation continued. But the Watergate investigation continued. While Nixon was now exempt from any criminal proceedings, Erlichman, Halderman, and Mitchell, were convicted on January 1, 1975.
The Legacy of Watergate
The widespread mistrust of government and fears of government conspiracy that resulted from the actions of Nixon and his top aides had a significant impact on American politics and journalism that continues to this day. Perhaps the most significant result of the scandal was the adoption of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, which for the next twenty-three years mandated the appointment of independent counsels, with sweeping powers to investigate executive misconduct in the White House.
This led to other notable investigations; the Iran-Contra Affair and, most recently, Kenneth Starr's investigation of President Bill Clinton --which prompted the second presidential impeachment trial in U.S. History. Watergate has also shaped the relationship between the White House and Congress in other ways, visible in stricter campaign finance reform laws and increased scrutiny of the character and personal history of political nominees.
The word "Watergate" has become a fixture in the American consciousness, synonymous with corruption and conspiracy in the executive office of the U.S. government. Its influence is still apparent in the media, which often append the suffix "-gate" to the names of other scandals involving the White House. After Watergate, the media became warier of the White House, and increasingly adopted the more aggressive type of investigative reporting that Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the The Washington Post had used to break and follow up on the original the Watergate story. Since Watergate, the American people can no longer believe that the office of their president is unfailingly above suspicion.
Human Genome Fully Sequenced
The Human Genome Project has ended, an international consortium of scientists announced on April 14, 2003, because the human genome sequence has been completed. The scientists had announced in 2000 that they had completed a rough draft of the sequence, but there were many holes and errors. The latest map of the three billion letters of human DNA, completed two years ahead of schedule, is 99.99% accurate and covers 99% of the gene-containing regions. The map determines most precisely the order of the bases, or four chemical building blocks, adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T). Genes are the portions of the long string of bases that provide the blueprints for proteins, the basic units of the cell. The next step in understanding the genome is to identify all of the estimated 30,000 genes. Scientists hope that having the entire genome sequence will one day lead to cures for many human diseases.
Ancient Visitor Tours Chicago Area
The quiet slumber of Flossmoor, Illinois, resident Lawrence Grossman was broken on March 27, 2003 by loud fanfare announcing the arrival of a visitor from space. A bright blue flash was seen by residents of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, as the visitor, a Volkswagen beetle-sized meteorite, exploded in the atmosphere above the American Midwest. "I heard a detonation," said Grossman in a University of Chicago press release. Grossman is a professor of geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago and also happens to be a meteorite expert. "It was enough to wake me up." Soon the meteorite was raining down on houses, cars and open land in the Chicago area, from Park Forest, south of the city, to the northern suburb of Olympia. "The sky lit up completely from horizon to horizon. We've seen lightning storms, but this was nothing like that," said Chris Zeilenga of Beecher, Illinois. "A minute or so later, the house started rumbling and we heard all these tiny particles hitting the house."
Paul Sipiera, a professor of geology and astronomy at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that the debris field seems to be about 130 kilometers long by 30 kilometers wide (80 miles by 20 miles). Sipiera is the source of the car-sized estimate of the original, intact meteorite. The interstellar intruder was a chondrite meteorite, said Grossman. Chondrite meteorites are by far the most common type, making up 82% of all meteorite falls. They contain tiny, millimeter-sized mineral spheres called "chondrules," once-molten minerals that long ago were compressed with other space debris to form solid rock. Most chondrites are believed to come from the asteroid belt that orbits between Jupiter and Mars; they are probably among the oldest rocks in the solar system.
Meteors are rocks that remain in space -it is only when they visit Earth that we call them meteorites. Most meteorites are small to begin with-from the size of a grain of sand to a baseball - and burn up or explode in Earth's atmosphere due to "ram pressure." When a fast-moving object enters the atmosphere, it compresses the air in front of it, along with all the air's heat. The incredibly high temperature generated, around 1650° Celsius (3000° Fahrenheit), is enough to vaporize all but the largest meteorites. When giant asteroids come to Earth, like those believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs, the atmosphere can't put up much of a fight.
But the greatest damage caused by the latest meteorite to visit the Chicago area appears to be a hole in the ceiling of Kenneth and Karen Barnes's home in Park Forest. A 5-pound meteorite pounded through their roof and into their living room. Things like that don't frighten Sipiera, though. "For me, it's a dream come true," he told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "I always tell my wife that when I die, I hope I get hit in the head by a meteorite flying through the roof, and it came pretty close."
Senate, House at Odds Over Tax Cut - Disagreement among Republicans leaders in the Senate and House added to the uncertainty over Pres. George W. Bush's tax-cut proposal. On Apr. 10, just before a Senate vote, Sen. Charles Grassley (R, IA) announced a compromise with 2 Republican senators who opposed the $726 bill cut Bush favored. But the $350 bill compromise figure barely survived an Apr. 10 Senate budget-resolution vote, with Vice Pres. Richard Cheney breaking a tie for a 51-50 margin. Two other Republicans voted against it. The same day, the House approved a budget resolution, 216-211, that provided for a $550 billion tax cut. Bush said Apr. 15 that at least a $550 bill cut was essential if the economy was to get a stimulus.
Amber Alert Bill Signed - Pres. Bush Apr. 30 signed so-called Amber Alert legislation, initiating a nationwide system aimed at promptly informing the public of child abductions over radio, TV, and electronic highway signs.. The law, part of a package of child safety measures passed by Congress, was named after Amber Hagerman, a nine-year-old Texas child kidnapped and murdered in 1996.
War and Reconstruction in Iraq
U.S.-Led Coalition Routs Hussein's Iraqi Regime - The U.S.-led military coalition, consisting mainly of U.S. and British forces, crushed the armed forces of Iraq in fighting that lasted less than a month. After delays caused in part by sandstorms and thinly stretched supply lines, American forces were pressing toward Baghdad, the capital, by the beginning of April. The U.S. Army's 3d Infantry Division attacked the Republican Guard's Medina Division north of Karbala and within 50 miles of Baghdad, Apr. 1, while the lst Marine Division attacked the Baghdad Division 70 miles southeast of the capital. Both American divisions were within 30 miles of Baghdad Apr. 2. U.S. and British air assaults had reportedly reduced the divisions defending Baghdad by at least 50% by Apr. 2. Iraqi ground fire downed a U.S. Black Hawk helicopter Apr. 2, causing the deaths of 7 crewmembers.
On Apr. 3, the Marines, meeting some resistance, crossed the Tigris River and moved to within 25 miles of Baghdad. Most of Baghdad, a city of 5 million, lost electrical power Apr. 3. U.S. forces encircled Baghdad, Apr. 4, and gained control of the major airport. Iraqi television broadcast 2 tapes of Pres. Saddam Hussein Apr. 4, but the dates the tapes were made were unclear. Iraqi losses were put at between 2,000 and 3,000 Apr. 5 as the 3d Infantry moved through southwestern Baghdad. The division reached the city center, Apr. 7. A U.S. plane bombed a building in the Mansur neighborhood, Apr. 7, after a report that Hussein and his 2 sons might be there. By Apr. 8, major government buildings had been occupied. Organized resistance melted away.
Two journalists were killed and 3 wounded Apr. 8 when a U.S. tank fired at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, where many foreign correspondents were staying. U.S. officials claimed the forces were responding to enemy fire. A U.S. attack Apr. 8 hit the Baghdad offices of, the Arabic-language television network Al Jazeera, near the Iraqi Information Ministry, killing another journalist. After being stalled for weeks, British forces moved into Basra, in the south, on Apr. 6. By Apr. 7, organized Iraqi resistance had been wiped out.
Three U.S. soldiers were killed along with 2 Iraqi women who instigated a suicide explosion, Apr. 4. Meanwhile, on Apr. 1, U.S. forces announced the rescue from an Iraqi hospital of injured Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, one of a group of soldiers from the 50th Maintenance Company who had been ambushed near Nasiriyah Mar. 22. U.S. officials said that some human remains found when Lynch was rescued were apparently those of soldiers in the same convoy. On Apr. 13, five other members of that unit, along with two U.S. soldiers from a downed Apache helicopter, were found, and freed by U.S. Marines, north of Baghdad.
On the northern front, Turkey Apr. 2 agreed to let the United States transport food and nonmilitary supplies through its territory. In a friendly fire accident Apr. 6, U.S. planes bombed a convoy of U.S. and Kurdish troops, killing 18 Kurds. On Apr. 10, Kurdish fighters captured Kirkuk, a major city near the northern oil fields. Turkish leaders Apr. 10 expressed concern about Kurdish advances near the oil fields. Kurds and U.S. Special Forces took Mosul, Iraq's 3d-largest city, Apr. 11. Marines captured Tikrit, Hussein's hometown, Apr. 14, and U.S. military officials declared that the principal fighting was over.
As War Ebbs, Looting and Other Violence Occur - With the collapse of the Hussein regime, chaos flourished in Iraq. Looking to the future, the United States Apr. 6 flew Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, and 500 to 700 Iraqi fighters to southern Iraq. The INC was a London-based umbrella organization of anti-Hussein groups. The postwar mood of the people was generally exuberant, as when Iraqis, helped by Americans, toppled a 20-foot statue of Hussein in Baghdad's Firdos Square, Apr. 9. The lack of water, medical supplies, and electrical power made the work in Baghdad hospitals difficult. A shortage of drinkable water was reported elsewhere.
Looting quickly became widespread, with Hussein's palaces and government buildings being prime targets. Then offices and department stores and other stores were hit. Raids on hospitals added to the medical crisis. In Baghdad, the National Museum of Antiquities, preserving artifacts dating to the dawn of civilization some 7,000 years ago, was nearly cleaned out. Archaeologists called the loss a catastrophe. In Najaf, an Iraqi mob stormed a mosque and killed 2 Shiite clerics. After the Kurds captured Kirkuk, looting there was directed mainly at non-Kurdish ethnic groups. Many members of the former ruling Baath Party were the victims of revenge killings. U.S. Marines and Iraqi policemen began joint security patrols in Baghdad Apr. 14.
Lt. Gen. Jay Garner (ret.), head of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, whom the Bush administration had picked to run postwar Iraq, arrived there Apr. 14. He met Apr. 15 with more than 70 Iraqis and exiles invited by Americans to help set up a transitional government. Quietly entering Baghdad Apr. 21, he pledged to restore essential services.
On Apr. 18, a U.S. soldier found perhaps $600 million in cash in one of the regime's sprawling presidential palaces.
Hundreds of thousands of Shiites came from far and wide to attend ceremonies in Karbala Apr. 22 and 23 remembering the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, who was killed in A.D. 680, resulting in the schism between Shiites and Sunnis. The Hussein regime had barred the annual observance. Many on the pilgrimage declared that they wanted Americans to leave Iraq. On Apr. 27, U.S. forces arrested Muhammad Mohsen Zobeidi, who had proclaimed himself mayor of Baghdad.
No Weapons of Mass Destruction Are Found in Iraq So Far - The belief by the Bush administration that the Hussein regime possessed weapons of mass destruction had been the primary stated justification for the invasion of Iraq. As the fighting subsided, reports were being investigated but no verified WMDs had been found as of the end of April. Suspicious materials in drums at a military training site near Hindiya turned out, Apr. 9 to be a chemical used in pesticides. After denying to a German television crew that Iraq had any WMDs, Gen. Amir al-Saadi, the regime's top science adviser, turned himself in to U.S. forces Apr. 12. By Apr. 13, U.S. forces were concentrating their search for WMDs on about three dozen sites. Another suspicious site near Karbala turned out Apr. 15 to be free of proscribed weapons. A site in northern Iraq that roused concern also proved benign, a U.S. inspector said Apr. 27.
Many Top Aides to Hussein Are Captured - U.S. military officials Apr. 11 listed 55 figures prominent in the regime of Pres. Saddam Hussein who were being sought. Each was identified as a card in a deck of cards, with Hussein being designated the ace of spades. His whereabouts remained unknown. However, one by one, many of the others were picked up.
One who was not on the list, Mohammed Abul Abbas, known as Abu Abbas, was arrested Apr. 15. An Italian court had convicted him in absentia in 1986 for his leading role in the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship, during which a U.S. citizen was killed. Abbas was a leader of the Palestine Liberation Front.
On Apr. 17, U.S. special forces captured Hussein's half brother, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, a former intelligence chief and one of the 55 prime targets. Another on the list, Hikmat Mizban Ibrahim al-Azzawi, a former finance minister, was arrested Apr. 18. Also, Emad Husayn Abdullah al-Ani, who had helped develop a lethal nerve agent in the 1980s, turned himself in Apr. 18. By Apr. 23, 11 of the 55 men on the U.S. list were in custody. Tariq Aziz, the regime's deputy foreign minister and a veteran diplomat whose face was familiar on the international scene, surrendered to U.S. forces Apr. 24.
U.S. Leaders Warn Syria, Sponsor Move Toward New Iraqi Government - Pres. George W. Bush said Apr. 13 that Syria had chemical weapons and was accepting Iraqi leaders. On Apr. 14, Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the United States had "no war plan right now" for Syria or other nearby nations. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Apr. 14 that some Iraqi leaders had been allowed to enter Syria, and he warned Syria not to harbor them. Syria declared Apr. 14 that it did not have weapons of mass destruction and would not allow WMDs or Iraqi leaders into Syria from Iraq. Rumsfeld said Apr. 15 that the United States would shut down an Iraq-to-Syria oil pipeline that violated U.N. sanctions. The Bush administration said Apr. 23 that it had warned Iran not to interfere with efforts to form a government in Iraq. Iranians had reportedly been crossing into Iraq to agitate for an Islamic state. An Iranian cleric had issued a call for Shiite mullahs in Iraq to "fill the power vacuum" there.
About 300 Iraqis met in Baghdad Apr. 28 under the sponsorship of the United States and Britain and decided to call a national conference within a month that would choose a transitional government.
Shootings at Anti-U.S. Rallies Fuel Tensions - Iraqis said that 15 people died, and about 65 were wounded, after U.S. soldiers opened fire on a crowd holding an anti-U.S. demonstration Apr. 28 in Falluja. U.S. officials said the soldiers were responding to gunfire from provocateurs in the crowd; Iraqis at the scene claimed the soldiers had not been attacked. In another disputed incident Apr. 30 in the same town, U.S. troops firing into an anti-U.S. crowd; Iraqis claimed two people were shot dead. Earlier, on Apr. 15 and 16, U.S. forces had shot a disputed number of Iraqis in protesting crowds; estimates of deaths ranged form 10 to 17; again, U.S. soldiers said they had responded to fire.
Coalition Casualty Totals Reported - As of Apr. 29, U.S. forces had suffered a reported 135 deaths in the Iraq conflict, and British troops had 32 dead. These totals included those killed by friendly fire, accidents, and terrorist attacks, as well as in conventional combat. U.S. officials did not attempt to estimate Iraqi military casualties; media reports put Iraqi military deaths in the thousands.
Other International Developments
Hundreds Reported Killed in Congolese Villages - Based on reports by witnesses, UN officials said Apr. 6 that at least 966 people had been killed Apr. 3 in a dozen Congolese villages in an area rich with minerals. The attacking force was unknown. Various factions had been fighting in the region during Congo's civil war. The U.N. estimate of dead was later lowered to 150 to 350.
Bin Laden Purportedly Calls for 'Martyrdom' - The Associated Press Apr. 7 got a taped message reportedly containing the voice of the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. On it, the speaker called on his Islamic supporters to seek martyrdom through suicide attacks on Americans and Britons. The speaker mentioned the invasion of Iraq.
Israel Attacks Kills Hamas Leader - Missiles from Israeli helicopter gunships killed Said Al-din al-Arabid, a local leader of the militant Hamas group, in Gaza City Apr. 8. The strike killed at least 5 other Palestinians and wounded at least 47. Other Isareli military actions on Apr. 3 and Apr. 19 resulted in a total of 13 Palestinian deaths.
North Korea Exits Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty - Making good on its January announcement, North Korea Apr. 10 formally withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. North Korea became the first signatory to withdraw from the treaty. U.S. and North Korean officials met in Beijing, Apr. 23 to discuss the status of North Korea's weapons program. On Apr. 24, the North Koreans said they had nuclear weapons and had begun making bomb-grade plutonium. The talks ended abruptly Apr. 25.
Nigeria's President Re-elected - Olusegun Oasanjo, the president of Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, was easily re-elected Apr. 19, with a reported 62% of the vote. His nearest challenger charged fraud, and gunfights between factions erupted in one city. International monitors expressed concern Apr. 21 about fraud and intimidation in some parts of Nigeria.
New Palestinian Cabinet and Prime Minister Are Chosen; Road Map Conveyed - After a 10-day stalemate, Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and his choice for prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, reached agreement Apr. 23 on the makeup of a new cabinet. Arafat succeeded in gaining the inclusion of several of his loyalists. On Apr. 29 the Palestinian parliament voted to approve the new prime minister and government, a key step in moving toward a U.S.-backed peace plan. Not long after the vote, in the early morning hours of Apr. 30, a Palestinian suicide bomber killed himself and three others outside a pub in Tel Aviv; over 50 people were wounded. Despite the incident, the peace process reached a new stage the same day, as the U.S.-backed peace plan, aiming to establish Palestinian statehood by 2005, was presented to the Israelis and Palestinians. The so-called road map, drawn up in collaboration with the European Union, Russia, and the UN, lays out conditions Israelis and Palestinians must meet to form a future Palestinian state.
U.S. Sets Military Withdrawal from Saudi Arabia - American officials said Apr. 29 that the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia would be virtually eliminated in the next few months, with all combat troops being withdrawn from the kingdom. Some 400 to 500 U.S. soldiers would remain in Saudi Arabia for training purposes.
The U.S. cited the elimination of Iraq as a threat as the basis for the withdrawal. The presence of U.S. troops near Islamic holy sites had also been a source of irritation to elements of the Muslim world and part of the rationale for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Suspected Al Qaeda Terrorists Captured - Pakistani authorities Apr. 30 announced the arrests of six suspected al Qaeda members, including Whalid ba Attash, also known as Tawfiq bin Attash or Khallad, a man believed to have been a key figure in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, as well as the September 11th attacks.
New Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread - Initial efforts to contain the newly identified ailment known as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) were unsuccessful. In Hong Kong, Apr. 1, authorities evacuated 240 residents of a housing complex where 213 people had developed flu-like symptoms resembling those of SARS. Schools were closed in Hong Kong, where many people were wearing masks. The World Health Organization (WHO), Apr. 2, advised travelers to stay away from Hong Kong and China's Guangdong province, where the ailment had apparently originated. Chinese Health Minister Zhang Wenkang said, Apr. 3, that SARS in China was essentially under control. However, Jiang Yanyong, a former military physician, said Apr. 9 that the government was under-reporting cases in Beijing. WHO specialists, after completing an investigation in China Apr. 8, expressed concern Apr. 9 about China's reports on cases and the effectiveness of its control measures. Malaysia Apr. 9 banned Chinese and Hong Kong tourists. The Chinese government admitted Apr. 20 that it had substantially understated its total of SARS cases. From 80% to 90% of SARS patients improved within a week. The disease's death rate was a subject of debate, with estimates ranging from 3% up to 15%; the elderly or enfeebled were considered most at risk. Canada, the nation 2d-most hard hit, reported 97 likely cases, including 10 deaths, mostly in or near Toronto. In a move that angered Canadian officials, the WHO Apr. 23 added Toronto to a list of places that travelers should avoid; the advisory was rescinded a week later.
Reported cases in Beijing rose rapidly late in the month to 1,199 on Apr. 28. Thousands of people rioted in Chagugang, Apr. 28, after a report spread that a building there would become a ward for patients.
In the women's NCAA Final Four on Apr. 6, Connecticut defeated Texas, 71-69, and Tennessee won, 66-56, over Duke. In the championship game on Apr. 8, Connecticut captured its 2nd straight title, defeating Oklahoma, 82-70. Connecticut's Diana Taurasi was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
In the Men's NCAA Final Four Apr. 5, Kansas defeated Marquette, 97-88, and Syracuse beat Texas, 95-84. Syracuse topped Kansas, 81-78, for the national championship on April 7. Syracuse freshman Carmelo Anthony was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
Mike Weir became the first Canadian to win the Masters championship at Augusta National Golf Club on Apr. 13. Weir pulled even with leader Len Mattiace to force the first sudden-death playoff at the Masters in 13 years. Weir and Mattiace both finished at 7-under 281. On the 1st playoff hole Mattiace 3-putted for a double bogey. Weir tapped in for a bogey and the win. Weir is the first left-hander to win a major tournament since Bob Charles won the 1963 British Open. Tiger Woods, looking for his 3rd Masters championship in a row, finished tied for 15th.
In the London Marathon on Apr. 13, Great Britain's Paula Radcliffe smashed her own world best for the marathon, winning in 2 hours, 15 minutes, and 25 seconds. Her previous record of 2:17:18 was set at the 2002 Chicago Marathon in October. Kenya's Catherine Ndereba finished 2nd in 2:19:55. American Deena Drossin finished 3rd in a U.S. record time of 2:15:16, five seconds under Joan Benoit Samuelson's 1985 mark. In the men's race, Ethiopia's Gezahegne Abera edged out Italy's Stefano Baldini and Joseph Ngolepus of Kenya for the victory. Abera and Baldini were both timed in 2:07:56. Ngolepus was one second back.
In the 107th Boston Marathon, Apr. 21, Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot (Kenya) won in 2 hours, 10 minutes, and 11 seconds. The top five runners were all from Kenya. Benjamin Kosgei Kimutai (2:10:34) and Martin Lel (2:11:11) finished 2nd and 3rd. Kenyan Rogers Rop, the 2002 champion, finished 7th. Russia's Svetlana Zakharova was the women's champion, with a winning time of 2:25:20. Lyubov Denisova, also from Russia, finished 2nd in 2:26:51. Third went to Kenya's Joyce Chepchumba Koech (2:27:20).
The Cincinnati Bengals made USC quarterback Carson Palmer, the 2002 Heisman Trophy winner, the first overall selection in the NFL Draft on Apr. 26. Two days earlier, Palmer had signed a 7-year deal with Cincinnati that included some $14 million in bonuses.
OFFBEAT NEWS STORIES
- Kevin Seabrooke
IF YOU BRING IT, WILL THEY COME?
The Colossal Colon Tour-featuring a 40-foot long, 4-foot-tall model of a human colon-is making a 20-city tour of the U.S from February to November to promote colorectal cancer awareness and prevention. Visitors can either crawl through the giant colon to see examples of various colon diseases, or view them through windows. To make this "hands on" experience as realistic as possible, its creators used actual footage from a colonoscopy. The Colossal Colon is the brainchild of Molly McMaster, herself a colorectal cancer survivor. While the idea is admittedly silly, it does draw attention to a serious concern. The exhibit is dedicated to a young colon cancer victim, Amanda Sherwood, who joined forces with McMaster in colon cancer prevention work (and succumbed to the disease in January 2002). McMaster was inspired by Katie Couric, who told her that if she did something "crazy" for National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, that the Today Show would cover it. The tour also provides information about the disease from healthcare professionals and cancer survivors. At a mid-April stop in Little Rock, Arkansas, some 1,800 people turned out during the colon's four-day stay.
IS FRANKFURT NEXT?
In April, the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) offered the city of Hamburg, Germany, 10,000 euros (about U.S. $10,980) to change its name to "Veggieburg." In a letter to Hamburg's mayor, PETA claimed that changing the name of the medieval city-from which the ubiquitous ground beef sandwich originated- would "promote animal welfare and court sympathy for animals." PETA also claimed that the name represented "unhealthy beef patties made of pulverized dead cattle," and that "millions of people fall ill each year...from eating hamburgers." Officials in Hamburg, Germany's second largest city were not convinced and declined the offer. On the same day, officials in Hamburg, NY (near Buffalo), refused a similar offer from PETA for $15,000 worth of veggie burgers for its school district if it also changed its name.
Jane Addams, 1860-1935, (U.S.) cofounder of Hull House; won Nobel Peace Prize, 1931.
Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief
I was doing some research for our World Almanac for Kids book the other day, and was looking for information about a television show. I found a great television site, TV Tome http://www.tvtome.com/ that is a guide to over 1,200 current shows and classics from the past. Once I found it, I put an oldie show in the search engine, "My Mother The Car," and was surprised with all the information that is provided -- episode descriptions, cast information (did you know that Ann Sothern's sister Marion was the secretary to Dear Abby?), a crew guide, a message board, and links (I was able to download the theme song). Oh by the way, I saw this show in reruns, not during its brief 1965-66 run!
Have you ever forgotten your wristwatch, and felt at a complete loss, not knowing exactly what time it was? This has happened to me despite the fact that there are five clocks in my office (most are thematic -- a Cracker Jack clock, a large wrist watch clock, an Alka Seltzer pill clock & a Judy Wall clock), as well as the time on my phone and computer. I'm not quite sure what my fascination with time is, but I was curious to learn the history of keeping time, and found an interesting site at, A Walk Through Time http://physics.nist.gov/GenInt/Time/time.html.
How would you like to know what the headlines read on the day you were born? Or, how much a car cost, or who else was born on your birthday? At dMarie Time Capsule http://dmarie.com/timecap/ you can find out this information and much more. On the day I was born, there was a great deal of sports news, including an announcement that the Washington Senators were moving to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (hey, I'm not going to tell you the year), Etch-A-Sketch's were a popular toy, and Russian cosmonaut Vladimir Mikhailovich Beloborodov was celebrating his 21st birthday.
I have visited the Great Pyramids in Egypt, but I now have a completely new perspective on them, thanks to Space Imaging http://www.spaceimaging.com/gallery/. This site has a great selection of satellite photographs of different locales around the world; see images of Mt. Pinatuba in the Philippines, Santorini, Greece, Venice, Italy, the Indy 500, as well as photographs of the World Trade Center site before, and after its collapse.
Okay, here are the "brief" reviews; can you guess the movie? "All's unfair. Love. War." "Obsessed brat survives herself." "Tomorrow is another day." For those who guessed the 1939 film "Gone With The Wind," you are correct. These are just a sampling of the reviews I found at The Four Word Movie Review at http://www.fwfr.com/ a site where you are encouraged to review or sum up a film, in just four words.
The impact of a photographic image, freezing a moment in time, can be very powerful. At the Digital Journalist http://digitaljournalist.org/, you can not only see the images photojournalists take, but hear and read their words about taking the photographs, and the background of what they have witnessed. If you visit http://dirckhalstead.org/feature.html you'll have the opportunity to see past photo essays, with subjects ranging from "An Evening With Marilyn (Monroe)," to "Alfred Eisenstaedt: Photojournalist of the Century."
Oddest website of the month: Enter text and have different computer generated voices read your statementhttp://www.research.att.com/projects/tts/demo.html
World Almanac E-Newsletter
Louise Bloomfield, Erik Gopel, Walter Kronenberg, Chris Larson, Bill McGeveran, Kevin Seabrooke and Lori Wiesenfeld
Comments and suggestions can be sent to: email@example.com
If you have enjoyed this newsletter, and would like your family and friends to subscribe for free, have them send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Change of e-mail address? Send to email@example.com