The World Almanac E-Newsletter
Volume 3, Number 8 - August 2003
What's in this issue?
August 1-3 - Twins Day Festival, Twinsburg, OH
August 1 - Confederation Day, Switzerland
This Day in History - August
FEATURED LOCATION OF THE MONTH: PHOENIX, ARIZONA
Location: Capital of Arizona and seat of Maricopa County, on the Salt River, in the S central part of the state; incorporated 1881.
Population (2002): 1,371,960
Mayor: Skip Rimsza (Republican)
August Temperatures: Normal high of 103.7 degrees; normal low of 79.2 degrees
Colleges & Universities: Arizona State University West; The Art Institute of Phoenix; DeVry University; Grand Canyon University; University of Phoenix-Phoenix Campus; Western International University; AIBT International Institute of the Americas; GateWay Community College; Paradise Valley Community College; Phoenix College; South Mountain Community College
Events: Heritage Saturday, Heritage & Science Park (August 2); Your Horse's Health, Arizona Horse Lovers Park (August 9); Latino Institute Informational Fair, Latino Institute (August 16); Outdoor Sculpture in the Summer, Shemer Art Center and Museum (August 26)
Sports teams: Arizona Diamondbacks (baseball); Phoenix Suns (men's basketball); Phoenix Mercury (women's basketball); Arizona Cardinals (football); Phoenix Coyotes (ice hockey)
Places to visit: Arizona Capitol Museum; Arizona Historical Society Museum; Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum; Arizona Science Center; Civic Plaza, which includes Symphony Hall and a convention center; Deer Valley Rock Art Center; Desert Botanical Garden; Fleischer Museum; Hall of Flame (featuring the world's largest collection of fire-fighting equipment); Heard Museum; Phoenix Art Museum; Phoenix Museum of History; Phoenix Police Museum; Phoenix Zoo (1962), in Papago Park; Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum; Pueblo Grande Museum and Cultural Park; Taliesin West (home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation) in nearby Scottsdale
Tallest Building: Bank One Center (40 stories; 486 feet)
History: Settled by non-Indians in the late 1860s, the community grew around the network of irrigation ditches that had been built here by the Hohokam Indians some 500 years earlier. In 1870 the settlement was given its present name. In 1889 Phoenix was made the capital of Arizona Territory, and it remained the capital when Arizona became a state in 1912. The completion of Theodore Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River in 1911 assured the city of an adequate water supply and provided power necessary for the development of industries. The tremendous growth of the city beginning in the 1940s brought with it some urban problems, including air pollution. The city's fine climate, beautiful parks, and diversified industries have made Phoenix one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. since the 1970s.
Birthplace of: actress Lynda Carter (1951); senator Barry Goldwater (1909); singer Stevie Nicks (1948); actress Mare Winningham (1959)
Allen Jr., Ivan, 92, mayor of Atlanta, GA, 1962-70, credited with helping his city desegregate peacefully while other Southern cities were torn by racial strife; Atlanta, GA, July 2, 2003.
Carter, Benny, 95, one of jazz's greatest alto saxophonists, as well as a composer, arranger, bandleader and civil rights activist; Los Angeles, CA, July 12, 2003.
Cruz, Celia, 77, Cuban-born singer, based in the U.S. since 1960, who for many years was the undisputed queen of salsa; Fort Lee, NJ, July 16, 2003.
Ebsen, Buddy, 95, vaudevillian and star of 1930s movie musicals who later in his career was known to countless U.S. TV viewers as Jed Clampett, the patriarch of the "Beverly Hillbillies," and after that as detective Barnaby Jones; Torrance, CA, July 6, 2003.
Halaby, Najeeb, 87, onetime chairman of Pan American World Airways whose daughter Lisa Halaby became Queen Noor after she married Jordan's King Hussein in 1978; McLean, VA, July 2, 2003.
Hartke, Vance, 84, liberal Democrat from Indiana who served three terms in the U.S. Senate (1959-77) and was an early opponent of the Vietnam War; Fairfax, VA, July 27, 2003.
Heiskell, Andrew, 87, publishing executive who was chairman of Time Inc. from 1960 to 1980, and who, after his retirement, helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for low-income housing and public libraries in New York City; Darien, CT, July 6, 2003.
Hope, Bob, 100, legendary comedian, renowned for his rapid-fire delivery of one-liners, who flourished on radio and television and in the movies, entertained hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops overseas from the 1940s till the 1990s, and hosted or co-hosted Hollywood's Academy Awards ceremony 18 times; Toluca Lake, CA, July 27, 2003.
Mann, Herbie, 73, innovative jazz flutist who incorporated a host of international styles into his work, from Brazilian to Japanese to Middle Eastern; Pecos, NM, July 1, 2003.
McCrary, Tex, 92, New York City public relations man who with his second wife, actress and model Jinx Falkenburg, was a talk-show pioneer on radio and television in the 1940s and 1950s; New York, NY, July 29, 2003.
Phillips, Sam, 80, founder of Sun Records, who recorded a young Elvis Presley and discovered other pioneer rock and country artists as Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and Charlie Rich; Memphis, TN, July 30, 2003.
Sankoh, Foday, 65, leader of Sierra Leone's rebel Revolutionary United Force, which tortured and killed thousands during a decade-long civil war; he had been in United Nations custody since 2000, and was awaiting trial on murder and war-crimes charges; Freetown, Sierra Leone, July 29, 2003.
Schlesinger, John, 77, openly gay British film director who brought gay and bisexual characters into mainstream cinema in such films as the Oscar-winning Midnight Cowboy (1969) and Sunday, Bloody Sunday (1971); Palm Springs, CA, July 25, 2003.
Schonberg, Harold C., 87, longtime New York Times senior music critic who in 1971 became the first journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for music criticism; New York, NY, July 26, 2003.
Schramm, Tex, 83, innovative general manager of the Dallas Cowboys football team from the NFL team's 1960 inception until 1989, who, working with Tom Landry as his head coach, guided the team to 20 straight winning seasons (1966-85); Dallas, TX, July 15, 2003.
Segundo, Compay, 95, singer, guitarist and songwriter who late in life became known worldwide as an elder statesman of traditional Cuban music through the Buena Vista Social Club album (1997) and film (1999); Havana, Cuba, July 13, 2003.
Shawcross, Lord (Hartley), 101, Britain's chief prosecutor of Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg, Germany trials of 1945-46; Cowbeech, England, July 10, 2003.
Shields, Carol, 68, U.S.-born Canadian author (she maintained dual citizenship) known for her sympathetic portraits of middle-class housewives who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for her novel The Stone Diaries; Victoria, BC, July 16, 2003.
Tureck, Rosalyn, 87, pianist and harpsichordist who was a renowned interpreter of, and authority on, the music of Johann Sebastian Bach; New York NY, July 17, 2003.
Welch, Elisabeth, 99, racially mixed expatriate American entertainer who flourished on the London theater and cabaret scene for decades before being rediscovered by American audiences in the mid-1980s; outside London, England, July 15, 2003.
White, Barry, 58, deep-voiced rhythm and blues singer whose seductive versions of 1970s romantic ballads made him a disco-era superstar; Los Angeles, CA, July 4, 2003.
By Joseph Gustaitis
Forty years ago, on August 28, 1963, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr delivered one of the most memorable orations in American history-in a class with Patrick Henry's patriotic exhortation, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and FDR's first inaugural. The occasion was a civil rights march on Washington, D.C., in which some 200,000 people converged at the Lincoln Memorial to demonstrate for equal rights for African-Americans.
Less than five years later, King was dead, felled by an assassin's bullet in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. Racial violence broke out in at least 125 cities across the nation, and as the nation entered a period of unrest, the public realized that King, as a consistent advocate of peace, had been a leader of rare qualities.
The subsequent years have considerably broadened our knowledge of Dr. King. He has been shown to be a man with all-too-human failings, but his eminence as a historical figure has grown. Countless streets, school, parks, and other public amenities were named after him, and the recognition of his stature led to the establishment in 1983 of a federal holiday in his memory, celebrated on the third Monday in January. At the same time, controversy over his murder flourished, and, especially after it became known that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had had him under surveillance for years, many began to wonder if he had been the victim of a wide conspiracy, perhaps even involving some elements of the federal government.
In March 1969, James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to King's murder and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. Ray later recanted his plea and claimed to be innocent, saying that he had been framed by a man named "Raoul." In 1978, a House panel on assassinations failed to find evidence supporting Ray's story, but it did suggest that there was a "likelihood" of a conspiracy in the killing, perhaps involving Ray's two brothers, although it added that "no federal, state or local government agency was involved in the assassination of Dr. King." Ray died in 1998.
The findings by the House panel by no means settled the controversy over whether King had been killed by a lone gunman or had been the victim of a wider conspiracy. The King family came to support Ray's plea of innocence and maintained that a conspiracy had indeed occurred. In 1999 a jury in Memphis ruled that King's death had been the result of a conspiracy involving former Memphis restaurant owner, Lloyd Jowers, and "others, including governmental agencies," but that conclusion did not find widespread acceptance. [President Bill Clinton at the urging of the King family, then launched a federal probe into the matter. In June 2000, the Justice Department, after an 18-month investigation, announced that it had found no evidence to support the conspiracy theory. The King family rejected this finding, arguing that the government was incapable of investigating itself, but said that it would seek no further investigations. There the matter rests.
Another contentious issue arose about the famous address that King delivered in Washington 40 years ago. When CBS News used footage of the speech in a documentary, the King family sued, contending that the speech was protected by copyright and that CBS had no right to use it. In 1998 a U.S. District judge ruled in CBS's favor, stating that the speech belonged to the public and that King forfeited any copyright interest when he distributed advance copies without copyright notice, imposed no restrictions on the use of the speech, and encouraged distribution. In November 1999, however, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision, thus rendering one of the most famous orations in history unreproducable without permission. In January 2003, however, to mark the speech's 40th anniversary, the King family reached an agreement with the retail chain 7-Eleven, Inc., to make free copies of the speech available on the front counter of all 7-Eleven stores.
In 1975 it was revealed that the FBI had conducted electronic surveillance of King for a period of six years and had even sent his wife an audiotape considered by some agents to be "unsavory." This was one of the first revelations that King's private life was not faultless; he had, as subsequent biographers showed and as his one-time aide Ralph Abernathy admitted, extramarital affairs with women that had caused his wife, Coretta, great pain. In addition, the editors of King's papers discovered that he had committed plagiarism in many of his writings. As Clayborne Carson, the director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project, wrote, "King's plagiarism was a general pattern evident in nearly all of his academic writings. Although the plagiaries in the dissertation were less egregious than the press reports had suggested, they were more extensive throughout King's papers than had been reported. We found that instances of textual appropriation can be seen in his earliest extant writings as well as his dissertation. The pattern is also noticeable in his speeches and sermons throughout his career." Paradoxically, however, Carson speculates that these acts of plagiarism served a kind of educational function in King's career, exposing him to erudite language that would later enable to him to develop his own unique eloquence.
Although King's detractors pointed to the womanizing and plagiarism as evidence that the idol had feet of clay, the revelations brought little damage to his historical reputation (as John F. Kennedy's memory was but slightly besmirched by revelations of his sexual escapades). That King's standing could be lowered in any substantial way by these discoveries was unlikely. It is not at all uncommon for biographers to learn that even the most admired historical figures may have committed unpleasant actions, and people have probably learned not to expect perfection in their leaders. King's status remains unassailable because of the magnitude of his achievement in battling racial discrimination. Largely due to King's efforts, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited discrimination for reason of color, race, religion, and national origin in places of public accommodation, including restaurants, hotels, and theaters. Title VII of the act prohibited discrimination in employment, and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 dealt with discrimination in housing and real estate. When it comes to racial equality, the world of today, though far from perfect, is vastly different than it was in the 1950s, and much of that difference can be attributed to Martin Luther King, Jr.
As the civil rights movement developed after King's death, much of the impetus turned from ending legal discrimination to the issue of affirmative action, which sought to redress past injustices against minorities and women by allocating resources and establishing programs for members of specific groups. The most recent event in this long-debated process was the Supreme Court decision of June 2003 that upheld the use of race as one of many factors in university admissions. Some opponents of affirmative action pointed to the section of his famous oration in which he apparently called for a color-blind society as an indication that he would have sided with them, but members of the King family insisted that he would have been an advocate of affirmative action. Although King did not directly address the issue, since the term "affirmative action" did not come into wide use until after his death, scholars have pointed to several statements that strongly suggest that he would have favored the policy. For example, in 1964, he wrote, in Why We Can't Wait, "Whenever the issue of compensatory treatment for the Negro is raised, some of our friends recoil in horror. The Negro should be granted equality, they agree; but he should ask nothing more. On the surface, this appears reasonable, but it is not realistic."
Today, Martin Luther King's memory is preserved at the King Center in Atlanta, Georgia, which was established by his widow in 1968 and which draws some 650,000 visitors every year, and at Atlanta's Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, which includes the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was baptized and where his funeral was held, and his birth home at 501 Auburn Avenue. King's gravesite lies within a memorial park just east of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. His body rests in a marble crypt in the center of a reflecting pool. The crypt bears an inscription that includes the final words of his 1963 speech: "Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929-1968, 'Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I'm free at last.'"
SCIENCE IN THE NEWS
Excess Weight May Lead to Alzheimer's
Elderly women who are overweight are at a greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease than those who maintain a healthy weight, a new study suggests. Alzheimer's is a progressive, devastating condition that typically sets in during later life. It destroys brain cells, resulting in memory loss and confusion. In the study, American and Swedish researchers closely monitored the physical and mental health of 392 elderly Swedes. Each volunteer underwent an initial screening at age 70, and then received additional screenings periodically over the next 18 years.
The researchers found that women who were overweight in their 70s were more likely to have developed Alzheimer's by age 88. Among those who were overweight, every one-point increase in body mass index (BMI) corresponded to a 36% increase in the chance of getting the disease. (BMI is a measure of body fat based on the relation between one's height and weight.)
The number of overweight men in the study who lived long enough to develop Alzheimer's was too small to yield any significant results. But some scientists see this as an indication that being overweight negatively affects men's health even more severely than it affects women's. "It very well may be that obesity is so toxic in men that they die from it [excess weight] before they can develop Alzheimer's," is what Bill Thies, vice president of medical and scientific affairs for the Alzheimer's Association, told the Washington Post.
This was the first study to demonstrate a direct correlation between a high body mass index and Alzheimer's. Previous studies have only linked the disease to symptoms of being overweight, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. The researchers don't yet know why being overweight is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's. It's possible that by raising blood pressure and narrowing arteries, a high BMI may reduce blood flow to the brain, thereby starving neurons, or brain cells. Or, having too many fat cells in the body might damage the brain directly: for instance, fat cells may produce substances that damage neurons.
Regardless of the reason for this correlation, it is clear that the elderly now have one more reason to stay trim. "Sometimes as people age they think they don't need to worry about their weight any more," said lead author Deborah Gustafson, a researcher at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. "But this study shows that maintaining a healthy weight, even to the oldest ages, helps to ensure good health." Gustafson and her colleagues' study appeared in the July 15 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Amazon Rainforest Disappearing Faster Than Ever
The Amazon rainforest of Brazil was deforested 40% faster in the 12-month period ending August 2002 than in the previous year, according to new satellite images released by the Brazilian government. About 25,900 square kilometers (10,000 square miles)--or an area slightly larger than Vermont--were lost to activities such as illegal logging and increases in pasture land and soybean plantations.
"It is terribly serious," Luis Meneses, coordinator of the World Wildlife Fund's Amazon project, told the New York Times. "Our fear is that the period for 2002-2003 could be even worse." In the previous 12-month period, 2000-2001, 18,300 square kilometers (7,000 square miles) were lost. According to environmentalists, the 2001-2002 deforestation was the fastest loss since the 1994-1995 period.
The Brazilian government has promised to deal with the increasing loss of the rainforest. "We are going to take emergency action to deal with this highly worrying rise in deforestation," Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva told reporters at a news conference. But the actions of the previous government contributed to the loss. A program to pave roads through the forest has been blamed, in part, for the increase in deforestation. While the program has been halted and is under review by the Brazilian government, one-third of the planned roads are already completed.
Scientists estimate that a total of one-fifth of the Amazon rainforest has disappeared so far. Up to 30% of the world's plants and animals live in the Amazon and the area plays a large role in the management of the atmosphere's carbon dioxide. Its many plants convert the greenhouse gas into oxygen. The loss of the rainforest could speed up global climate change as it sucks up less carbon dioxide.
The Brazilian government has found it very difficult to control the rainforest's deforestation due to its size: the forest is larger than Western Europe. And many of the country's poor have found the rainforest, and its supply of rare timber species such as mahogany, to be very profitable.
Unemployment and Deficit Estimates Rise - The Labor Dept. reported July 3 that June unemployment had climbed to a 9-year high of 6.4%. Since Feb. 2001, the economy had lost almost 2.6 mil jobs. The White House Office of Management and Budget July 15 foresaw a $455 bil deficit for 2003 fiscal year, $475 bil for fiscal 2004; the highest previous deficit had been $290 bil in fiscal 1992. Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan told a House committee July 15 that he was optimistic about the economy but that the Fed would keep interest rates low. He told a Senate committee July 16 that mushrooming budget deficits could slow economic growth.
White House Admits Mistake in Iraq Nuclear Claim - The White House became embroiled in a dispute over a sentence in the January State of the Union speech, in which Pres. George W. Bush said the British government had "learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium [for nuclear weapons] from Africa." Subsequently, key documents supporting this claim had proved to be forgeries. On July 6, in the New York Times, retired diplomat Joseph Wilson 4th wrote that the Bush administration had sent him to Niger in 2002 to investigate the claim but that his conclusion that it was likely bogus apparently did not reach top officials. An unattributed White House statement July 7 said the claim "should not have been included" in the speech.
CIA Director George Tenet July 11 accepted responsibility for the sentence as having been cleared by his agency. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld argued that the January statement remained technically accurate, as being the British conclusion. British Prime Min. Tony Blair said July 14 that his government stood by the British intelligence on the issue. Bush's deputy national security adviser said July 22 that he had received 2 CIA memos warning about a lack of evidence, but had forgotten them.
2nd Test Supports Theory on Shuttle Disaster - A 2nd simulation test conducted by NASA July 7 supported the theory that a piece of insulating foam from an external tank had fallen off and created a hole in the heat shield of the space shuttle Columbia. On reentry into the atmosphere, it was concluded, superheated gases had entered the wing, causing the shuttle's disintegration on Feb. 1. In the test, in the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, TX, a piece of foam was fired at a wing at 530 mph; it created a hole about 16x16 inches.
Bush Routs Rivals in Fund-Raising, as Campaign Continues - In reports filed with the Federal Election Commission July 15, Pres. Bush had a huge lead over the Democratic aspirants. He raised $34.4 million in the 2nd quarter. Former Gov. Howard Dean (VT) led the Democrats with $7.6 mil; Sen. John Kerry (MA) placed 2nd with $5.9 mil. Dean, a harsh critic of the Iraq war, was showing success at utilizing the Internet to raise money and recruit volunteers.
All but 3 of the 9 Democratic candidates appeared at a July 14 forum sponsored by the NAACP; NAACP Pres. Kweisi Mfume excoriated the absentees-Sen. Joseph Lieberman (CT), Rep. Richard Gephardt (MO), and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH). At a July 15 forum conducted by the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization, 3 of the candidates- Kucinich, former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (IL), and the Rev. Al Sharpton-endorsed gay marriage.
Blair Addresses Congress - Speaking to a joint session of Congress July 17, British Prime Min. Blair defended the coalition decision to invade Iraq. He said that even if weapons of mass destruction were not found, "history will forgive" the allies because a brutal dictator had been overthrown. He admonished his listeners, "Don't give up on Europe. Work with it."
California Governor Faces Recall Election - Gov. Gray Davis (D), elected to a 2nd term as governor of California only 8 months earlier, learned July 23 that he would soon face an election seeking to remove him from office; a separate question on the ballot would allow voters to choose a successor should he be recalled. Sec. of State Kevin Shelley announced he had certified the validity of 1.3 million signatures for the recall vote, 400,000 more than required by law; the vote was set for Oct. 7, with suits against it considered unlikely to succeed. Many Californians were shocked by the state's huge $38 bil budget deficit, and its belated disclosure, and many believed Davis had mishandled the 2000 state energy crisis. The campaign for the recall election was financed in large part by U.S. Rep Darrell Issa (R), who also planned to be a gubernatorial candidate.
Report on Sept. 11 Cites Intelligence Failures - A report from the Senate and House intelligence committees on the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack, released July 24, said that the FBI and CIA had disregarded warnings that al-Qaeda planned to strike directly at the U.S. and had failed to take note of "significant and relevant" information on some of the hijackers. Although the agencies circulated internal warnings of a possible plot, they missed chances to deny entry to or arrest prospective hijackers or to perform surveillance. A lengthy account in the report identifying a possible role by a foreign country was kept classified; Saudi Arabia was believed to be the country. In statements July 24, Pres. Bush and FBI Director Robert Mueller claimed the U.S. government had done much since the attack to prevent a recurrence.
Banks Agree to Fines for Enron Fraud - The 2 largest U.S. banks, J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup, agreed July 28 to pay nearly $300 mil in fines and penalties to settle charges they had aided Enron in deceiving investors as to its financial health, even while performing no transactions that were technically illegal.
Middle East Quieter as Talks Continue - Discussions among Middle East leaders and U.S. officials aimed at advancing the so-called road map to peace continued in July, and violence between Israelis and Palestinians declined. Prime ministers Ariel Sharon of Israel and Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority met in Jerusalem July 1. On July 2, Israeli forces withdrew to the edge of Bethlehem but continued to surround the city. Pres. George W. Bush July 25 met with Abbas at the White House for the first time; he echoed Abbas's concern over Israel's erection of a security fence cutting into Palestinian areas, while at the same time calling for compromises on both sides. At a meeting in Washington, DC, July 29 between Bush and Sharon, Sharon rebuffed calls to halt construction of the fence and called for progress by Palestinians in curbing terrorism; Bush reaffirmed commitment to Israel's security, while calling for Sharon to show restraint. Prior to the Bush-Sharon meeting, the Israeli cabinet July 27 agreed to free a few hundred jailed Islamic militants, but none with "blood on their hands."
50 Killed in Attack on Mosque in Pakistan - Three attackers killed 50 people at a Shiite mosque in Quetta, Pakistan, July 4. First they opened fire and then one set off a grenade strapped to his waist. The 3 attackers also died, and dozens of people were wounded; Sunni Muslim militants were suspected.
Suicide Bombers Kill 14 in Moscow - A July 5 explosion at a rock-music festival on the outskirts of Moscow killed 14 people in addition to the 2 bombers. Both bombers were women; one was identified as Chechen.
Liberian Civil War Continues, as President Clings to Power - Pres. Charles Taylor of Liberia failed to make good on a promise to resign, as rebel forces scored victories and casualties mounted. A cease-fire barely held in early July as government soldiers and rebels roamed the capital, Monrovia, looting and committing random acts of violence. Taylor said July 6 that he had accepted an invitation to go into exile in Nigeria, then said he would not depart until a multinational peacekeeping force took over. A 32-member U.S. Defense Dept. delegation arrived in Monrovia, July 7, to investigate humanitarian and security problems and the Americans were welcomed enthusiastically in the streets. Pres. George W. Bush said, July 8, that he had not decided what role the U.S. would play in stabilizing Liberia-a nation founded in the 1800s by freed American slaves.
One rebel group broke the cease-fire July 19, attacking the capital in force. Twenty-one U.S. marines landed in Monrovia July 21 to protect the U.S. embassy, hit by mortar fire that day. Rebels seized the capital July 28, in continuing heavy fighting that by the next day had reportedly caused 600 civilian casualties. The Economic Community of West African States said July 23 that it would send peacekeepers to Liberia when possible. Pres. Bush July 25 ordered a naval force that included 2,300 marines to sail to a position off the Liberian coast. On July 28 a major rebel group that had previously observed a cease-fire captured the city of Buchanan.
Iraqi Governing Council Starts Work - On July 7, leading Iraqi political groups endorsed a U.S. plan for a governing council. A 37-member council began its work that day, and L. Paul Bremer 3d, civilian administrator for Iraq, introduced a new national currency. The governing council, representing all major ethnic and religious groups, met in Baghdad July 13. It was granted authority to operate government ministries, name diplomats, approve a budget, and create a commission to draft a new constitution. A Shiite politician was appointed July 30 as the first to serve in a rotating presidency.
Bush Visits 5 African Countries - Pres. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush began a visit to 5 sub-Saharan African nations July 7. Earlier, the president had repeatedly urged Pres. Taylor of Liberia to resign to spare his nation more violence. Bush had also announced a plan to provide $100 mil in counterterrorism aid to 5 East African countries. During the trip Bush also emphasized his proposals to spend $15 bil in Africa to suppress AIDS and $5 bil in African countries progressing toward democracy and capitalism.
In Senegal, Bush met with leaders of 8 countries and the Bushes visited Goree Island, whence one million slaves had been taken to America. The president called slavery "one of the greatest crimes of history." He met with Pres. Thabo Mbeki in South Africa July 9, supporting his diplomatic efforts to mediate a violent civil confrontation in Zimbabwe. The next day he met with Pres. Festus Mogae in Botswana, where the adult AIDS virus infection rate was 39%, highest in the world. Bush's last stops, July 11-12, were in Uganda and Nigeria.
North Korea Says It Is Building Nuclear Bombs - North Korean diplomats reportedly revealed July 8 that the Communist regime had enough plutonium for 6 nuclear bombs and that the building of the weapons was underway. The diplomats reportedly said that they had finished reprocessing fuel rods on June 30 and had begun to produce weapons using the fuel.
U.S. Troops Suffer Continuing Casualties in Iraq - Supporters of the overthrown Iraqi regime continued to launch attacks on U.S. troops. Gen. John Abizaid, new head of the U.S. Central Command, July 16 described Iraqi resistance as a "classical guerrilla-type campaign"; by July 30 a totals of 50 U.S. troops had been killed in hostile fire since the end of major combat operations was announced May 1. On July 4, U.S. forces killed 11 Iraqis who had attempted a highway ambush. At a graduation ceremony July 5 for U.S.-trained Iraqi policemen, a bomb killed 7 of the recruits and wounded 74. In an audiotape played July 4 by the Al Jazeera network, a voice believed to be Saddam Hussein's urged Iraqis to resist the coalition forces occupying the country.
Gen. Tommy Franks, who retired July 7 as head of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate committee July 9 that the U.S. military force in Iraq likely could not be reduced "for the foreseeable future." Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld told the committee U.S. operations in Iraq were costing $3.9 bil a month. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, coalition ground commander in Iraq, said July 20 that 8 battalions of Iraqis would be trained and become the first part of an Iraqi defense force.
British Scientist in Iraq Dispute Commits Suicide - Amid a continuing dispute over the accuracy of British intelligence reports on Iraq, British scientist David Kelly, a government adviser and former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, was found dead, an apparent suicide, July 18. Kelly had emerged as the most likely source for a May BBC report, which claimed that a Sept. 2002 intelligence dossier, presented to Parliament to buttress claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, had been "sexed up" at the insistence of the government's communications director, Alistair Campbell. The dossier had warned that Iraq could deploy chemical and biological weapons within 45 minutes. A 2nd report to Parliament. in Feb. 2003, proved to have been based in part on an old university doctoral thesis picked off the Internet and used without attribution.
A report by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, July 7, had cleared Campbell and British Prime Min. Blair of attempts to manipulate intelligence. But after the Defense Ministry said July 10 that Kelly had been a BBC source, the committee reopened its investigation. Testifying July 15, Kelly, receiving a harsh interrogation, said he did not believe he had been the principal BBC source. The Defense Ministry said Kelly had been reprimanded for talking to the BBC. The BBC July 20 said Kelly had been the principal source for their report. Some members of Parliament called on Blair and Campbell to resign.
U.S. Troops Kill 2 Sons of Saddam Hussein - Tipped off by an informer, U.S. soldiers laid siege to a home in Mosul in northern Iraq, July 22, and in a gun battle killed its 4 occupants, including 2 once powerful sons of deposed Pres. Saddam Hussein. The brothers, Uday and Qusay, were notorious for their sadism and corruption. Qusay had run the Special Republican Guard, and Uday, found with $400,000 in U.S. currency, led a paramilitary organization, the Saddam Fedayeen. An informant was to receive the two $15 mil rewards offered for the brothers. Seeking to convince Iraqis that the brothers were in fact dead, the U.S. released photographs of their bodies July 24. On a videotape released July 29, a voice purporting to be that of Saddam Hussein praised the sons as martyrs for the cause. With their deaths, 36 of the 55 former Iraqi leaders on the U.S. "most wanted" list had now been killed or captured. U.S. forces launched continuing raids in the Tikrit area, capturing suspected loyalists of Saddam Hussein as they hunted for Saddam himself.
Vatican Appoints New Boston Archbishop - The Vatican announced July 1 that the Bishop Sean O'Malley would succeed Cardinal Bernard Law as Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston; he was installed July 30. O'Malley, a Capuchin friar, had been named bishop of the troubled Palm Beach, FL, diocese in Sept. 2002; he was regarded as a peacemaker and at the same time as a traditionalist. Law had resigned amid widespread criticism for allegedly protecting priests who had abused children; nearly 500 alleged victims were suing the archdiocese, which was also suffering financially from reduced contributions. Massachusetts Atty. Gen. Thomas Reilly July 23 made public an investigation concluding that at least 789 children had been abused by 250 priests and other church personnel in the archdiocese since 1940. He said an "institutional culture" of secrecy had protected the abusers.
Twins Joined at Head Die After Operation - Doctors in Singapore July 8 separated 29-year-old twins who had been joined at the head at birth. However, the 54-hour operation failed after doctors were unable to stop the loss of blood, and both women died. The Iranian sisters, Laden and Laleh Bijani, both law school graduates, had determinedly sought the operation despite the serious risks involved.
Car Driver, 86, Kills 10, Injures 40 - Ten people were killed and about 40 injured July 16 when a car driven by an 86-year-old man plowed into an outdoor market in Santa Monica, CA.. The accident prompted a national discussion about safety risks and elderly drivers.
Basketball Star Indicted for Sexual Assault - Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers was charged with one count of sexual assault July 18. A young woman had filed a complaint against him July 1, following their meeting at a lodge in Edwards, CO. Bryant, who was married and the father of an infant daughter, admitted he had had sex with the woman, but claimed it was consensual.
2 Men Shot Dead in New York's City Hall - A member of the New York City Council was shot dead at a council meeting July 23 inside City Hall in lower Manhattan. James Davis, a councilman from Brooklyn, and Othniel Askew, who was planning to challenge him in the next election, had entered the building together without having to pass through metal detectors; within minutes after their arrival, Askew shot Davis several times with a pistol, before Askew in turn was shot dead by police officer Richard Burt.
Defending champ Serena Williams defeated her sister Venus, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, for a 2nd consecutive year in the singles final at Wimbledon on July 5. In the men's final, July 6, Switzerland's Roger Federer defeated Mark Philippoussis (Australia), 7-6, 6-2, 7-6, to win his 1st Wimbledon singles title.
On Monday, July 7, Hilary Lunke became the 1st qualifier ever to win the Women's U.S. Open when she sank a birdie putt on the 18th hole of a 3-way playoff at the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, OR. Lunke finished with a score of 70, 1 under par. Angela Stanford was 1 stroke back. Kelly Robbins finished with a 73.
A pinch-hit home run by Texas Ranger Hank Blalock in the 8th inning gave the American League a 7-6 victory over the National League in Baseball's All-Star Game at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago on July 15. For the 1st time in baseball history the winning league was awarded home field advantage in the World Series. The win was the 7th in a row for the American League.
Playing in his 1st major championship, Ohio's Ben Curtis-the 396th-ranked golfer in the world-won the British Open golf tournament at the Royal St. George's Golf Club in Sandwich, England, on July 20. Curtis finished with 283, 1 under par, a stroke ahead of Vijay Singh and Thomas Bjorn, and 2 strokes ahead of Tiger Woods and Davis Love, III.
On July 27, Lance Armstrong won the 100th anniversary Tour de France, the world's premier cycling event, for the 5th straight year-tying a record for consecutive victories set by Spain's Miguel Indurain (1991-95). Three other riders have won the Tour 5 times, but not consecutively. Armstrong finished the three-week, 2,128-mile tour with an overall time of 83 hours, 41 minutes, 12. The 1997 Tour winner, Jan Ullrich of Germany, was 1:01 behind, the closest any rider has come in Armstrong's 5 wins.
At the FINA World Swimming Championships (July 20-27) in Barcelona, Spain, American Michael Phelps won 3 individual gold medals and set 5 world records in 6 days. Phelps set 2 records in the 200 meter individual medley, 1 in the 200 butterfly, 1 in the 100 butterfly, and 1 in the 400 individual medley. The 18-year-old Phelps eclipsed Mark Sptiz's 4 world records in the 1972 Olympics. In all, 13 world swimming records fell at the FINA meet.
The Tony Awards were held in New York City, Jun. 8. Hairspray, picked up 7 awards; Best Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical: Harvey Fierstein, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical: Marissa Jaret Winokur, Best Direction of a Musical: Jack O'Brien, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical: Dick Latessa, Best Original Score: Scott Whittman and Mark O'Donnelle, and Best Book of a Musical: Thomas Meehan and Mark O'Donnell. Take Me Out, won 3 awards; Best Play, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play: Denis O'Hare, and Best Direction of a Play: Joe Mantello. Additional awards included, Best Revival of a Musical: Nine: The Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play: Vanessa Redgrave for Long Day's Journey into Night, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play: Brian Dennehy for Long Day's Journey into Night, Best Revival of a Play: Long Day's Journey Into Night, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical: Jane Krakowski for Nine: The Musical, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play: Michele Pawk for Hollywood Arms, Best Choreography: Twyla Tharp for Movin' Out, Best Scenic Design: Catherine Martin for La Boheme, Best Lighting Design: Nigel Levings for La Boheme, Best Orchestrations: Stuart Malina and Billy Joel for Movin' Out, and Best Special Theatrical Event: Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam on Broadway.
Emmy nominations were announced on July 17, in Los Angeles. The funeral home drama "Six Feet Under" received a leading 16 Emmy nominations Thursday, followed by three-time best drama winner "The West Wing" with 15. The key award nominations for the 2003 Primetime Emmys are:
Outstanding drama series
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Outstanding comedy series
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Outstanding Reality/Competition program
AFI's 100 Years....100 Passions: America's Greatest Love Stories
Lead actor in a comedy
Bernie Mac - Bernie Mac Show
Lead actor in a drama
Vic Mackey - The Shield
Lead actor in a miniseries or movie
William H Macy - Door to Door
Lead actress in a comedy
Patricia Heaton - Everybody Loves Raymond
Lead actress in a drama
Jennifer Garner - Alias
Lead actress in a miniseries or movie
Thora Birch - Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story
Supporting actor in a comedy
Peter Boyle - Everybody Loves Raymond
Supporting actor in a drama
Victor Gaber - Alias
Supporting actor in a miniseries or movie
Peter O'Toole - Hitler: The Rise Of Evil
Supporting actress in a drama
Lena Olin - Alias
Supporting actress in a comedy
Cheryl Hines - Curb Your Enthusiasm
Guest actor in a drama
Don Cheadle - ER
Guest actor in a comedy
Fred Willard - Everybody Loves Raymond
Guest actress in a drama
Sally Field - ER
Guest actress in a comedy
Betty Garrett - Becker
Offbeat News Stories
Banned from Filene's
The next time you go to a store, consider checking your attitude at the door.
It doesn't happen often, but stores exercising their private property right can bar individuals from their premises. Filene's Basement, a department store, has officially banned two sisters from shopping at any of their 21 locations. Nancy Singer and her sister, who has asked that her name be withheld, were regular customers at Filene's flagship store in downtown Boston. A company spokesman said that bans on customers were "extremely rare" but that the sisters had returned an "incredible" number of items. The sisters acknowledge frequently returning items, occasional complaints, and isolated verbal sparring with managers. They insist, however, that their actions did not warrant the ban, which was well-publicized on local news programs and later featured in segments on the "Today" show and "The View." The sisters were considering hiring an attorney to represent them in negotiations with the company.
Meanwhile, management at Borders Books and Music in Fredericksburg, VA, told singer-songwriter Julia Rose she was no longer welcome at that Borders location. The offense cited was Rose's banter during a performance there on July 18, when she remarked to the audience that, "George Bush has chicken legs. He needs to pump some iron." Rose, who is also a fitness advocate, said she had meant nothing by the joking reference, which she had made during performances at other Borders locations without negative feedback. She is still allowed at Borders' other Virginia stores.
2003 Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, a Swiss native, was presented with a cow by Swiss Open organizers to celebrate his Grand Slam victory and the honor he brought to Switzerland. He has since named the 7-year-old cow Juliette and taken a turn milking her, the only condition set by officials if he wants to receive cheese made from her milk. "I didn't know how to do it, but the little farm girl showed me how," Federer said after his barnyard venture.
Winning Wimbledon isn't the only way to have access to a Swiss cow, though. Paul and Helga Wyler, owners of a 50-head cattle farm in Switzerland, are now offering a special lease agreement on the Internet. For 380 Swiss francs ($275), plus 40 Swiss cents per liter, you can get milk from your very own cow. Farmhands tend to the cow, who continues to live on the Wylers's farm. But the Wylers do require that you work at least one day in the meadow to earn the cheese produced from the cow's milk in the fall.
Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief
At MIStupid.com, the online knowledge magazine, http://mistupid.com/contents.htm I found all sorts of useful information. If I have a room 10W x 14L with 12 foot ceilings, and I want to give it two coats of paint, I now know that I require 2.88 gallons (there is a paint calculator). I learned what part of a cow various cuts of beef come from, how to carve a turkey, how to do a mail merge in Microsoft Word, how long you should retain paycheck stubs (I'm going home and throwing out years worth), and I also got to play some games (not on work time of course).
August 19th would have been the 97th birthday of Philo T. Farnsworth? Who? At the age of 14, while plowing a field, young Philo conceived the idea of electronic television. By the age of 21, in 1927, Farnsworth, who had found some investors, and had his own lab, produced the first electronic television image ever transmitted. To learn more about Farnsworth visit http://philotfarnsworth.com/. To see video of Farnsworth's appearance on the 1950s "I've Got A Secret," as well as other programs, visit the Farnovision Video Library at http://www.farnovision.com/videolibrary.html.
Okay, I'll admit it, I did taste coffee once, when I was in my late 20s, but I didn't like it. I can safely make this statement knowing that it will not have any effect on the multi-billion dollar coffee industry. My parents always had cups of coffee in the morning, but who knew that coffee would become so big? At CoffeeUniversity (no degree required) http://www.coffeeuniverse.com/, I learned the flavor characteristics, like nutty (an aftertaste similar to roasted nuts), delicate (a subtle flavor perceived on the tip of the tongue), and fruity (an aromatic characteristic reminiscent of berries or citrus). At this site, you can learn about the history of coffee, get tips on purchasing it, and find out exactly what coffee actually is.
This summer, New York City's Central Park, is celebrating its 150th year (in 1853, the New York Legislature set aside the 843 acres, to build the park). Designed in 1858 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, this park was transformed from a treeless, swampy, rocky terrain, to a wooded urban wonderland. Today the park has nearly 26,000 trees, and 58 miles of pathways, on 843 acres of land (that's 6% of Manhattan's total acreage), right in the heart of the city. It draws 25 million visitors a year. Whether it's bird watching you like (with 275 species), riding a carousel (mid-park at 64th Street), standing atop a castle (Belvedere), viewing live theatre (Shakespeare in the Park), or just sitting outside (on the Great Lawn), Central Park is the place to visit. For more information about the park, where you can take a virtual tour, visit: http://www.centralparknyc.org/.
I ate at a Latin American restaurant in my town several weeks ago, and on my plate was an edible flower. I did not eat it (I know, you're wondering what else I don't eat or drink, aren't you?), but I did find a source on the web that talks about plants that are edible. At One Cook http://www.onecook.com/reference/flower2.htm, you find out that anise adds a subtle licorice taste, and that daisies add a tangy, leafy flavor to food. The site has a variety of information ranging from making appetizers, to making a great chocolate cake.
My stream of consciousness entry: Here in New York, summer offers a variety of free entertainment. Bryant Park (behind the main branch of the New York Public Library, on 42nd Street & 6th Avenue), has Monday night movies, Thursday afternoon performances of Broadway musicals, as well as Friday morning (7:00 a.m.) concerts http://bryantpark.org/calendar). The last morning concert (August 15th), features the singer Meatloaf. Who can forget his performance as Eddie in The Rocky Horror Picture Show? To learn more about this cult movie classic, visit http://www.rockyhorror.com/. Speaking of meatloaf, if you'd like some great meatloaf recipes, visit: http://members.aol.com/nedtalk/personal/FrameSet2.html.
Unusual Site of the month: You've no doubt heard the phrase, "I'd bend over backwards for you," but could you? At the Contortion Home Page http://www.contortionhomepage.com/, you'll see people who can do just that!
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