The World Almanac E-Newsletter

Volume 05, Number 06 — June 2005

What's in this issue?

June Events
June Holidays — National and International
This Day In History — June
June Birthdays
Travel: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Obituaries - May 2005
Special Feature: CNN Turns Twenty-Five
Chronology - Events of May 2005
Science in the News: Daredevil Ants Skydive to Safety
Offbeat News Stories
From The World Almanac — Historical Anniversaries, 100 Years Ago
Links of the Month
How to reach us

June Events

June is National Safety Month and Gay and Lesbian Pride Month

June 1-2 - National Spelling Bee (Washington, DC)
June 3-4 - Chicken and Egg Festival (Prescott, AR)
June 3-5 - Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival (Little Chute, WI)
June 4-5 - Capitol Hill People’s Fair (Denver, CO)
June 5-11 - German Fest (Fort Wayne, IN)
June 8-11 - NCAA Division I Men's & Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championships
June 9-12 - Superman Celebration (Metropolis, IL)
June 10-11 - Banana Split Festival (Wilmington, OH)
June 10-18 - Riverbend Festival (Chattanooga, TN)
June 11- Belmont Stakes (Belmont Park, NY)
June 14-19 - Burlington Steamboat Days (Burlington, IA)
June 16 - U.S. Open Golf Championship (Pinehurst, NC)
June 17-26 - Red River Valley Fair (Fargo, ND)
June 18 - Longest Dam Run (Fort Peck Dam, Fort Peck, MT)
June 20-July 2 - Wimbledon Tennis Tournament (London, England)
June 20-25 - Donna Reed Performing Arts Festival (Denison, IA)
June 21 - First Day of Summer (Northern Hemisphere)
June 23-26 - Watermelon Thump (Luling, TX)
June 24-26 - Helen Keller Festival (Tuscumbia, AL)
June 26 - Singing on the Mountain (Linville, NC)
June 28-July 4 - Boston Harborfest
June 30-July 10 - Summerfest (Milwaukee, WI)

June Holidays — National and International

June 2 - Republic Day (Italy)
June 5 - UN World Environment Day
June 11 - King Kamehameha I Day (Hawaii)
June 14 - Flag Day
June 15 - Magna Carta Day
June 19 - Father’s Day, Juneteenth
June 24 - Bannockburn Day (Scotland)


The first large-scale automatic digital computer was built by IBM and Harvard professor Howard Aiken in 1944. It was 55 feet long and 8 feet high.

This Day In History — June

Day Year Event
Day Year Event
01 1980 CNN, the Cable News Network, goes on the air.
02 1953 Queen Elizabeth II is crowned in London's Westminster Abbey.
03 1965 Astronaut Edward H. White makes the first spacewalk by an American during a Gemini 4 mission.
04 1989 Chinese troops crush pro-democracy student demonstrations in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, killing hundreds.
05 1947 Sec. of State George Marshall makes the proposals that come to be known as the Marshall Plan, to extend U.S. aid to war-torn European countries.
06 1944 D-Day: U.S. and Allied forces invade Europe at Normandy on the north coast of France, in the greatest amphibious landing in history.
07 1975 Sony introduces the VCR, selling the Betamax for $995.
08 1789 James Madison proposes adding the Bill of Rights to the Constitution.
09 1993 In Japan, Crown Prince Naruhito marries Masako Owada, a commoner and former diplomat.
10 1935 Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith establish Alcoholics Anonymous.
11 1770 Captain James Cook discovers the Great Barrier Reef off Australia.
12 1978 David Berkowitz, the New York City "Son of Sam" killer is sentenced to 365 years in prison.
13 2000 The leaders of North and South Korea meet for the first time ever, beginning a 3-day summit meant to foster an eventual rapprochement.
14 1985 A TWA jet is seized by terrorists shortly after taking off from Athens; the terrorists will hold the 153 passengers and crew for 17 days.
15 1215 England's King John seals the Magna Carta, guaranteeing the privileges of nobles and the church against the monarchy and assuring jury trials.
16 1963 Soviet Valentina Tereshkova, flying on Vostok 6, becomes the first woman in space.
17 1885 The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York harbor.
18 2000 Golfer Tiger Woods wins the 100th U.S. Open by 15 strokes, the largest margin ever for a major golf tournament.
19 1865 With the arrival of federal troops, slaves in Texas are informed of their freedom; the day is celebrated as the holiday "Juneteenth."
20 1973 Juan Perón returns to Argentina after nearly 18 years in exile.
21 2004 For the first time, a privately owned craft carries a human being into space.
22 1897 Queen Victoria celebrates her Diamond Jubilee.
23 1894 The International Olympic Committee is founded in Paris.
24 1509 In England, Henry VIII is crowned king.
25 2002 Telecommunications giant WorldCom says it hid $3.8 billion in expenses, in the largest write-down in U.S. history.
26 1917 The first U.S. troops arrive in Europe to fight World War I.
27 1969 In an incident that marks the birth of the homosexual rights movement, police clash with the patrons of a gay bar, the Stonewall Inn, in NYC.
28 2000 Six-year old Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez is returned to his father in Cuba after his Florida relatives lost a 7-month legal battle to keep him in the U.S.
29 2001 The UN General Assembly unanimously reelects Kofi Annan for a second term as Secretary-General.
30 1966 NOW (the National Organization for Women) is founded.

June Birthdays

Day Year  
Day Year  
01 1974 Alanis Morisette, singer (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
02 1955 Dana Carvey, actor (Missoula, MT)
03 1925 Tony Curtis, actor (New York, NY)
04 1975 Angelina Jolie, actress (Los Angeles, CA)
05 1949 Ken Follett, novelist (Wales)
06 1935 The Dalai Lama, Tibetan spiritual leader (Takster, China)
07 1958 Prince (The Artist), musician/singer (Minneapolis, MN)
08 1966 Julianna Margulies, actress (Spring Valley, NY)
09 1956 Patricia Cornwall, mystery writer (Miami, FL)
10 1965 Elizabeth Hurley, model/actress (Hampshire, England)
11 1925 William Styron, novelist (Newport News, VA)
12 1924 George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States (Milton, MA)
13 1935 Christo (Javacheff), conceptual artist (Babrovo, Bulgaria)
14 1969 Steffi Graf, tennis champion (Bruhl, West Germany)
15 1958 Wade Boggs, baseball player (Omaha, NE)
16 1955 Laurie Metcalf, actress (Carbondale, IL)
17 1965 Dan Jansen, Olympic champion speed skater (West Allis, WI)
18 1942 Paul McCartney, singer/songwriter/musician and member of the Beatles (Liverpool, England)
19 1962 Paula Abdul, dancer/choreographer (San Fernando, CA)
20 1945 Anne Murray, singer (Springhill, Nova Scotia, Canada)
21 1953 Benazir Bhutto, Pakistani political leader (Karachi, Pakistan)
22 1933 Dianne Feinstein, CA senator (San Francisco, CA)
23 1943 James Levine, conductor/pianist (Cincinnati, OH)
24 1942 Mick Fleetwood, musician and member of Fleetwood Mac (Cornwall, England)
25 1925 June Lockhart, actress (New York, NY)
26 1915 Charlotte Zolotow, children's author (Norfolk, VA)
27 1930 H. Ross Perot, entrepreneur and presidential candidate (Texarkana, TX)
28 1960 John Elway, football quarterback (Port Angeles, WA)
29 1947 Richard Lewis, comedian/actor (New York, NY)
30 1955 David Alan Grier, actor (Detroit, MI)

Travel: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga has a storied history. Established as a trading post and port on the Tennessee River in the early 19th century, it served as a principal departure point for the mass expulsion of Cherokee Indians, an event now memorialized by the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. Later, the area was the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting in the Civil War. The town developed into a major railroad nexus - eventually inspiring one of the most famous songs of all time, Chattanooga Choo Choo (1941). It also became an industrial stronghold. By the mid-20th century it boasted the highest number of manufacturing workers per capita in the U.S., and by the late 1960s its air quality was rated among the country's worst.


Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Photographs (Reproduction #LC-USZ62-124517)

Bessie Smith

Then came a remarkable turnabout. Chattanooga cleaned up its air and proceeded to remake itself into a greener city whose claims to fame rested not only on its historic past, or its famous native sons and daughters (such as blues legend Bessie Smith), but also on the parkland, trails, picnic areas, cultural facilities and festivals (notably the Riverbend Festival, slated in 2005 for June 10-18th), and other amenities that it could offer locals and visitors alike. The most recent restoration effort, the 21st Century Waterfront Project, a $120 million three-year program covering 129 acres (52.2 ha) of waterfront that was completed in spring 2005, included major expansion or refurbishing of such Chattanooga mainstays as the Tennessee Aquarium, the Creative Discovery Museum, and the Hunter Museum of American Art. It concluded with the creation of an underground pedestrian walkway stretching from downtown to the river and marking the head of the Trail of Tears.

Natural splendor

Today's Chattanooga is a moderate-sized city - the entire metropolitan area has fewer than half a million people - rimmed on three sides by wooded ridges and mountains. There are plenty of opportunities in the region for outdoors enthusiasts, ranging from white-water streams to sites for birding, fishing, caving, hiking, and climbing. Prentice-Cooper State Forest begins just outside the city limits, and nearby Lookout Mountain affords superb views of the city and the surrounding region - you can see six states. Attractions at the picturesque mountain include caverns, the gardens and sandstone formations of Rock City, and Ruby Falls, which at 145 ft (44 m) is reputed to be the highest underground waterfall in the U.S. Another record breaker is the railway to the top of the mountain. With an inclination (grade) of up to 72.7 percent, the Incline Railway, as it is called, ranks as the steepest passenger line in the country. It is both a National Historic Site and a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.

Looking back

Speaking of railroads, Chattanooga is no longer a passenger hub; there is no Amtrak service. But the city still has a variety of attractions for the train buff. Besides the Incline Railway, there's the Tennessee Valley Railroad, whose steam trains can take you on a picturesque 6-mi (10-km) ride. The beaux arts Southern Railroad Terminal, built in 1909 a few miles to the north of the riverfront, still stands but is now a hotel, run by Holiday Inn. The spacious waiting room, 85 ft (26 m) high, serves as the hotel's lobby; refurbished train cars in the platform area are used as hotel suites (traditional rooms are also available). The hotel is part of a 30-acre (12-ha) Chattanooga Choo Choo theme park, which includes an enormous model railroad exhibit.



Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park

Those fancying a comprehensive look at local developments from prehistoric times on up should visit the Chattanooga Regional History Museum, located downtown. Destinations of particular interest for Civil War buffs include the Battles for Chattanooga Museum, the Chattanooga National Cemetery, and the Confederate Cemetery, along with the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, which covers 8200 acres (3300 ha) in Georgia and Tennessee and encompasses the sites of several important battlefields.

The most historically focused aspect of the 21st Century Waterfront Project was the underground passageway to the river. Called the Passage, it honors Native American history and culture, highlighting the Trail of Tears, along which thousands of Cherokee were deported to Oklahoma in the 1830s. For many, the trek ended in death. Seven doors in the memorial's west wall stand for the seven Cherokee clans. Water drops over them, representing a "weeping wall" - the tears shed in the Cherokee expulsion. Seven 6-foot (1.8-m) ceramic disks, or medallions, in the wall relate Cherokee history. A shallow pool under Riverfront Parkway holds a large stainless steel sculpture of the Little Water Spider, the bringer of fire to humans, according to Cherokee belief. Commenting on the memorial, Cherokee Nation Chief Chad Smith said, "The Trail of Tears is the most tragic event the Cherokee Nation has ever experienced, but with the creation of the Passage, Chattanooga is sending to the Cherokee people a message of hope. I hope the Passage is the first step towards a new relationship between Native Americans and the U.S. government."

More must-sees


21st Century Waterfront Projects

Creative Discovery Museum

Among other components of the Waterfront Project, the Tennessee Aquarium, already renowned as the biggest freshwater aquarium in the U.S., gained a new building, "Ocean Journey," devoted to the sea; among its attractions is a coral reef replica. The revamping of the Creative Discovery Museum, an interactive museum for kids, included enhancement of existing exhibits as well as the addition of new space - "RiverPlay." This features a climbing structure made of nets and walkways that stands two and a half stories tall and is linked to a two-story riverboat. Down below is a watercourse where children can sail boats, spin wheels with water pressure, and learn about locks, dams, and river currents. Changes at the Hunter Museum, which had its grand reopening in April, included the remodeling of 20,000 sq ft (1900 sq m) of old space and the addition of 27,000 sq ft (2500 sq m) of new space. The newly enlarged museum's first major show was devoted to Georgia O'Keeffe and was slated to run through mid-June.

An unexpectedly intriguing destination is the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum. (Chattanooga lays claim to the birth of the towing industry in the city in 1916.). Exhibits include restorations of antique tow trucks and equipment. "Poetry in auto bodies," commented one reviewer.

Chattanooga Fun
Chattanooga African American Museum/Bessie Smith Hall
Riverbend Festival
Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park
21st Century Waterfront Projects


Between 2 weeks and 3 months after quitting smoking, lung function improves 30%.

Obituaries in May 2005

Albert, Eddie, 99, versatile actor who starred in the TV situation comedy "Green Acres" (1965-71) and made many movies, winning Oscar nominations for Roman Holiday (1953) and The Heartbreak Kid (1972); Los Angeles, CA, May 26, 2005.

Clark, Kenneth B., 90, educational psychologist whose pioneering research into the harmful effects of racial segregation on black schoolchildren was cited in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregated public schools were unconstitutional; Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, May 1, 2005.

Cutler, Lloyd N., 87, politically influential Washington, D.C. lawyer who served as White House counsel to Democratic Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton at times when both men badly needed sound legal advice; Washington, DC, May 8, 2005.

Goodpaster, Andrew J., 90, U.S. general who served as supreme allied commander of NATO for five years (1969-74) and was called out of retirement in 1977 to head the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and help extricate it from a cheating scandal; Washington, DC, May 16, 2005.

Gorshin, Frank, 72, impressionist and character actor who played the villainous Riddler in "Batman" on U.S. television in the 1960s and impersonated comedian George Burns in the one-man Broadway show Say Goodnight Gracie (2002); Burbank, CA, May 17, 2005.

Hackworth, David H., 74, prominent U.S. military analyst who as a colonel during the Vietnam War became a combat legend before turning against the war in 1971 and turning in all his medals; Tijuana, Mexico, May 4, 2005.

Laredo, Ruth, 67, concert pianist known for her landmark recordings of music by the Russian composers Alexander Scriabin and Sergei Rachmaninoff; New York, NY, May 25, 2005.

Merchant, Ismail, 68, Indian-born film producer whose longtime partnership with director James Ivory brought to the screen sumptuous adaptations of such literary works as E.M. Forster’s A Room With a View (1985) and Howard’s End (1992) and Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day (1993); London, England, May 25, 2005.

Rodino Jr., Peter W., 95, longtime Democratic congressman from New Jersey who as House Judiciary Committee chairman led the 1974 impeachment inquiry into President Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal-related activities; West Orange, NJ, May 7, 2005.

Special Feature: CNN Turns Twenty-Five

by Mary Funchion

On June 1, 1980, a new network was launched that would forever change the world of journalism. Just as the advent of radio had an impact on newspaper circulation, so the founding of the first 24-hour news network, Cable News Network (CNN), had a major impact on broadcast journalism.

Behind the Scenes

The concept of a 24-hour network solely dedicated to news originated in 1978 with two people: Georgia businessman and communications tycoon Ted Turner; and Reese Schonfeld, former vice president of United Press International Television News and founder of the Independent Television News Association.

Turner had begun building his media empire with the acquisition of an independent ultrahigh frequency (UHF) station, Atlanta’s Channel 17, in 1970. Turner held the rights to broadcast Atlanta Braves baseball games, as well as a selection of television shows and movies. On December 17, 1976 WTBS began broadcasting via satellite to thousands of households around the nation creating the first "superstation" and setting a precedent for today’s cable service. Turner could see that a market existed for "niche" channels, and set about planning a new 24-hour news network.

Plans for CNN were formally announced to the public in May 1979. Shortly before the launch of the groundbreaking service, Turner stated that, "We intend to cover all the news all the time and since we're going to be on for such a long period continuously -- we sign on in June -- and barring satellite problems in the future, we won't be signing off until the world ends. We'll be on, and we will cover the end of the world, live, and that will be our last event." Despite some minor obstacles (losing the satellite signal just before broadcast) CNN was officially launched at 6 p.m. (EST) on June 1, 1980 at which point it reached a total of 1.7 million households. Schonfeld served as the network’s first president and CEO. The new network had a staff of 300, and nine bureaus around the world, including Atlanta, Rome, and London.

At first, critics derided the idea of CNN. The three major networks -- NBC, CBS, and American Broadcasting Company (ABC) -- were spending more than $100 million each year on their news programs. At that time, each network broadcast one 30-minute news segment every evening. Turner proposed spending less than $50 million to run a 24-hour news channel. Many did not believe that a market existed for around-the-clock news, and mockingly referred to CNN as the "Chicken Noodle Network." During its infancy the new station suffered losses of $2 million each month, but Turner transferred earnings from the profitable WTBS to CNN believing that it would be a success.

Turner had formulated a plan for what he believed news coverage should be. The concept was that news, not the anchor, should always be the focus of the newscast. The news was delivered in a "wheel" format where major stories were repeated on a cyclical basis throughout the day. Thematic shows were also a part of the "wheel" -- these shows focused on areas such as politics, sports, economic news, and entertainment. Breaking news always took precedence, and at any stage could interrupt regularly scheduled programming. Early on, Turner had decided that CNN should be a global news network and part of the "global village." To help meet this objective, in 1990 he banned the word "foreign" from all CNN newscasts replacing it with the term "international."

The Rise of CNN

CNN first began to achieve widespread success in the mid-1980s. Although the network had received some acclaim for being the first American network to report on the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in May 1981, its coverage of the Democratic and Republican conventions in 1984 lent the network much more credibility and respect.

On January 28, 1986 CNN filmed the launch of the space shuttle Challenger. By 1986, space-shuttle launches were considered routine by many other networks, so CNN was the only network providing live coverage. The shuttle exploded one minute after launch, killing all 7 crew members, including teacher Christa McAuliffe. Millions of CNN viewers (including First Lady Nancy Reagan) saw the explosion as it occurred, and turned to the network to find out more about the tragic event.

CNN’s coverage of the Gulf War in 1991 is the event most often associated with the network’s elevation to a status of a reputable news source for breaking-news stories and around-the-clock coverage. The Iraqi government had ordered all foreign television networks to leave the country just before war began -- CNN was the only network permitted to remain. The network’s uninterrupted coverage of the beginning of the Allied bombing of Iraq’s capital, Baghdad garnered much respect. CNN correspondents based in Baghdad, notably Peter Arnett and Bernard Shaw, reported on the bombing campaign as it happened while viewers could watch raw, unedited footage. Not only did the public rely on CNN for most of their information about the Gulf War, but U.S. government officials the likes of Defense Secretary Richard Cheney and General Colin L. Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that they were receiving much war information from CNN. Even President George H.W. Bush admitted that "I learn more from CNN than I do from the CIA."

In 1994, CNN’s 24-hour coverage of O.J. Simpson’s trial attracted a huge number of viewers. Simpson, a former football star, had been accused of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. The constant media coverage of the case caused it to be coined the "trial of the century."

By the mid-1990s, CNN had built a solid reputation as the most respected and trusted source for news and current events. Wherever a story was unfolding in the world, a CNN correspondent was present and ready to send back a live report. One CNN international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, often jokes that people begin to look worried when they see her as they know a huge story is about to develop -- and it is usually not good news! Surveys conducted in the 1990s declared that viewers found CNN to be the "most fair" and "most trusted" of all television networks. Turner continued to build his media empire through the 1980s and 1990s, extending CNN to CNN International, CNN en Español, CNN-SI (sports), CNN Newsource, CNN Airport Network, CNN Radio, and -- the first major news and information website on the Internet.

By 1998 CNN reached 184 million households worldwide. Meanwhile, on October 10, 1996 TBS and Time Warner Inc. shareholders agreed to a merger between the two companies. On December 14, 2000, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved the merger of America Online Inc. (AOL) and Time Warner Inc. thereby creating the largest media conglomerate in the world.

The growth of cable television is synonymous with the growth of CNN. In 1980, there were just over 17 million cable television subscribers. By 1985, the same year that CNN introduced CNN International which transmitted live broadcasts to Europe, the number of cable subscribers had soared to almost 40 million. In 1995, when and the U.S. edition of CNN International were launched, the number of subscribers had again jumped to almost 63 million. According to recent surveys, today there are over 74 million cable subscribers in the United States.

As viewership increased for CNN so did its advertising revenues. In 1985, CNN generated $56.5 million in advertising revenue. In 2002, this amount had increased to just over $400 million. Despite declining ratings, the networks maintained a steady flow of advertising revenue until 1985 when revenue fell for the first time since 1971. The networks experienced a further decline in 1999-2000 when advertising revenues fell by 6%.

Two competing 24-hour news networks debuted in 1996. At the end of 1996, Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the Australian media conglomerate News Corp. Ltd., began broadcasting with its U.S. television subsidiary, Fox Broadcasting Co., to compete with what he stated was "CNN's liberal bias." On December 14, 1995 Microsoft Corp. and NBC announced that they were joining forces to form MSNBC, a 24-hour news network to compete with CNN. They also launched in 1996. Some critics did not believe that a market existed for so many 24-hour newscasts, but they were proved wrong.

By that time, a large proportion of the public had already come to rely on the 24-hour news networks as a primary source of news coverage -- all of which began with the establishment of CNN. And now, this dominance by the cable-news suppliers has caused a decrease in viewership for the networks’ newscasts -- exactly as radio and early TV news reduced newspapers' circulation decades ago. In response, the networks added more soft news with an emphasis on the sensational, as well as entertainment stories in an attempt to attract viewers. Many analysts have bemoaned the end to the golden age of journalism.

Although the public may appear to be saturated by an abundance of news available through various formats, the thirst for up-to-date news and current events information has not been quenched. On September 11, 2001, CNN became the first network with breaking news about the terrorist attacks on the United States when CNN anchor Carol Lin stated, "This just in. You're looking at obviously a very disturbing live shot there. That is the World Trade Center and we have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center." In the weeks following the attacks, the public remained riveted to television news with all news networks seeing a huge jump in their ratings. At this time, the media were once again seen as a source of timely, trustworthy information -- a reminder of the golden age of broadcast journalism.

Effects of CNN

However, not all television critics are supporters of 24-hour news networks. The competition among the networks brings much pressure on each station to be the first to release a breaking news story. Often, it can be tempting to report these breaking news stories without first checking on sources or facts, increasing the potential of a report being incorrect. Critics of the 24-hour network also dislike the coverage of "non-news" stories which are broadcast when nothing newsworthy is occurring. The networks need viewers to stay tuned, and so exaggerate the importance of some stories to keep the public watching. A 24-hour news channel cannot suddenly decide to stop broadcasting simply because it is a slow news day.

Some television critics also note that support for foreign relief activities is directly in proportion to the amount of coverage a particular event is given. This is so often the case that former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali referred to CNN as "the sixteenth member of the Security Council." With coverage of developing news stories as they happen, the public knows more than ever before and expects the government to distribute aid as it is needed. Some analysts believe that, had CNN and its counterparts been available during the Vietnam War, the conflict would have ended much sooner.

The military in several countries has also been influenced by the CNN effect. All involved with a war, from the commanders down, are very much aware that they are under the scrutiny of the public through around-the-clock news coverage. Military commanders have been known to use CNN as a strategic tool in their military operations. For example, in 1994, the White House announced its intention to attack Haiti after Brigadier General Raoul Cedras overthrew Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. It is believed that live footage of U.S. airborne forces en route to Haiti led to General Cedras’s decision to surrender.

Not only the U.S. administration used CNN to broadcast messages, some foreign politicians and leaders followed suit. In 1991, Boris Yeltsin became famous for jumping atop a tank to rally the Russian people against a coup. He knew that even though Soviet television networks might not air his denouncement of the coup, CNN would broadcast it, and his message would get through to the Russian people.

The Future of News Coverage

With the advent and growing popularity of the Internet in the 1990s, the future of news coverage has been the subject of some question. With 24-hour news networks, supporters believe that Internet news coverage benefits readers and viewers allowing them to form their own opinions on news and current events as it happens. Critics fear that this "explosion of news" will further weaken traditional journalism creating a market where speed is more important than fact-checking.

To celebrate its twenty-five years of service, CNN will air a special show on June 1 hosted by reporters Paula Zahn, Anderson Cooper, Larry King, and Aaron Brown on the top 25 moments that define history. It is certain that CNN changed the face of journalism, and in particular broadcast journalism, forever.


A group of cats is known as a clowder.

Chronology — Events of May 2005


     Mistrial Declared in Iraq Prisoner Abuse Case - On May 2 at Ft. Hood, TX, Pfc. Lynndie England pleaded guilty to 7 criminal counts related to her alleged mistreatment of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, shown in photos that came to symbolize the prisoner-abuse scandal. However, after her plea, on May 4, Pvt. Charles Graner, who had been convicted in the same case, testified that England had obeyed his order in bringing a prisoner from his cell on a leash. Army Judge Col. James Pohl declared a mistrial the same day, and threw out England’s guilty plea, saying it was not certain she understood she was acting illegally. Graner is the father of a child recently born to England.
     The Army announced May 5 that it had demoted Gen. Janis Karpinski, commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade, to colonel, for dereliction of duty and for failing to disclose an arrest for shoplifting; she had been responsible for the Abu Ghraib prison and other detention centers. The Army May 5 confirmed reports that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, former commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, had been cleared by an investigation. The Army said May 11 it had reprimanded and fined Col. Thomas Pappas for dereliction of duty in mishandling interrogations. At Ft. Hood on May 16, Army Reserve Spec. Sabrina Harmon was convicted of abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib; she was sentenced May 17 to 6 months in prison and given a bad-conduct discharge. On May 25, Amnesty International accused the Bush administration of what it called "atrocious" human rights violations.

     Bush Nominee to UN Post Stalled in Senate - Pres. George W. Bush’s nominee for U.S. representative at the UN languished in May. The ambassador-designate, John Bolton, barely survived a vote May 12 in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which sent the nomination on to the full Senate but without a positive recommendation. One Republican, George Voinovich (OH), joined Democrats in refusing to recommend his nomination. In the Senate some Democrats called for the White House to make available classified documents that they said might have bearing on Bolton’s conduct. An attempt (requiring 60 votes) by Republicans on May 26 to cut off debate failed, 56-42.

     Pentagon Seeks to Close 33 Major Military Bases - The Defense Dept. revealed the names May 13 of 33 major military bases that it wanted to close to save money - nearly $50 billion over 20 years. The realignment of personnel at 29 other bases was part of the plan. Members of Congress strongly objected to closings in their states. Sen. John Thune (R, SD), who had been elected in part on a promise to keep Ellsworth Air Force Base open, was among those protesting. Coastal New England was hard hit, with the projected loss of the Portsmouth (ME) naval shipyard and the New London (CT) submarine base. The proposed closings were subject to further review.

     British Foe of Iraq War Rebukes U.S. Senators - A member of the British Parliament, facing a U.S. Senate subcommittee May 17, turned an inquiry about the oil-for-food scandal into a confrontation over the Iraq war. The witness, George Galloway, had been ousted from the Labour Party in 2003 after calling Prime Minister Tony Blair a war criminal. Then starting his own party, he had just been reelected to Parliament. Evidence suggested Galloway might have made millions of dollars on Iraqi oil through a complex arrangement of front companies and a charity. He denied the accusations, and in turn called the senators a "pro-war lynch mob."

     Hispanic Elected Mayor of Los Angeles - On May 17, Los Angeles got its first Hispanic mayor since 1872. Antonio Villaraigosa (D), a member of the City Council, defeated the incumbent mayor, James Hahn (D), 59% to 41%. Both were Democrats.

     Compromise Averts "Nuclear Option" in Senate - Fourteen U.S. senators reached a compromise averting a deadlock over judicial nominees that could have stalled legislation for months. Democrats had indicated they would filibuster to prevent an up or down Senate vote on nominees they described as extreme. As the Senate began debate May 18 on one nominee, Justice Priscilla Owen of the Texas Supreme Court, Majority Leader Bill Frist (R, TN) said he was prepared to invoke what others nicknamed the "nuclear option." He would seek to reduce from 60 to 51 the number of senators whose votes would be required to cut off debate. Sen. Harry Reid (D, NV), the minority leader, warned that if the Republicans changed the rules Democrats would use parliamentary tactics to prevent transaction of regular business and thus thwart what he called a radical right-wing agenda. The showdown was averted on May 23 when a group of 7 senators from each party came up with a compromise; the Democrats would allow 3 of the 10 currently stalled judicial nominees to come to a vote, while Republicans would not support the rule change proposal. The Democrats said they would filibuster judicial nominees in the future only in "extraordinary circumstances." With that, the Senate, May 24, voted 81-18 to end the debate over Owen, and the next day she was confirmed, 55-43, to a seat on the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

     Andersen Conviction Overturned - The U.S. Supreme Court, May 31, unanimously overturned the 2002 conviction of the accounting firm Arthur Andersen LLP for obstruction of justice in hindering an SEC investigation into Enron Corp., especially by destroying documents. The justices found that jury instructions did not make clear that the company had to be conscious that its actions were wrong.

     Deep Throat Speaks Out - After a more than 30-year silence, Mark Felt, 91, revealed that he was "Deep Throat" - the source who guided and advised Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they followed the story of the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington all the way to the top of the Nixon administration. At the time, Felt was the No. 2 official at the FBI. The Post reports led to an impeachment inquiry in the U.S. House and to Nixon’s resignation from office in the face of an expected conviction by the Senate. Felt’s identity was revealed May 31 in a Vanity Fair article, and the story was confirmed by Woodward and Bernstein. Felt’s identity as Deep Throat had been suspected by many, including Nixon himself, as revealed in the Watergate Tapes.


     Nuclear Nonproliferation Session Fails - Some 150 of the 187 nations that had signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty sent representatives to a treaty review conference, which opened at the UN in New York City May 2, but the conference ended in stalemate May 27. While the U.S. sought to focus attention on nuclear proliferation threats posed by Iran and North Korea, nonnuclear nations insisted on addressing reductions in nuclear armaments by the U.S. and other nuclear states. U.S. Asst. Sec. of State Stephen Rademaker, in a May 2 speech, said that Iran’s nuclear program should be curtailed because Iran had concealed it for almost 2 decades; Iran claimed its program was directed at producing energy for civilian use. Talks between Iran and the European Union had broken down, and an Iranian spokesman said May 3 that Iran would restart some of its nuclear activities. On May 25, 3 European foreign ministers persuaded Iran to continue a temporary freeze.

     Pakistan Captures Terrorist Leader - Pakistani forces May 2 captured the man believed to be the 3rd-ranking leader in the al-Qaeda terrorist network, Abu Faraj al-Libbi. He was thought to have played a leading role in 2 attempts to assassinate Pres. Pervez Musharraf. The capture was announced May 4.

     Iraqi Cabinet Sworn in; Violence Surges; Officials Visit - On May 3, more than 3 months after the January elections, an Iraqi cabinet was sworn in. The new cabinet, headed by Prem. Ibrahim al-Jaafari, had 7 vacancies: 5 ministers and 2 deputy premiers. Some vacancies were filled May 8. Meanwhile violence continued. A car bomb May 1 killed 25 at a funeral near the Syrian border. Prospective Kurdish police recruits were most of the 60 who died May 4 when a bomb exploded in Erbil. A bombing in Baghdad May 5 killed 22. In a U.S. offensive in northwestern Iraq, first reported May 9, some 125 insurgents were killed, 9 U.S. troops involved in the operation also died. On May 11, 79 Iraqis died in attacks in 3 cities. On May 15, the bodies of 46 Iraqi soldiers and civilians were found in and around Baghdad. U.S. officials said May 18 that more than 450 Iraqis had been killed during the month so far. An aide to the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani was killed May 15.
     Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice, in Iraq May 15, urged the appointment of more Sunnis to the government. Two days later, Iranian Foreign Min. Kamal Kharrazi came to Baghdad, signaling the possibility of closer ties between Iran and Iraq. On May 21 in Baghdad, 1,000 Sunnis agreed to form an alliance and join the political process. Beginning May 24, reports spread that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a top al-Qaeda leader, had been wounded. On May 25, U.S. marines and Iraqi forces began a new offensive in Haditha, 180 miles west of Baghdad.

     British Voters Return Blair to Power - The Labour Party, led by Prime Min. Tony Blair, retained control of Parliament in the May 5 election. Labour won 356 seats in the 646-member House of Commons, the Conservatives 197, and the Liberal Democrats 62. The nationwide popular vote was closer among the 3 largest parties: Labour 35%, Conservative 32%, and Liberal Democrat 22%. Labour had never before won 3 straight elections; at the same time, no winning party had ever polled so small a portion of the popular vote. Labour’s majority in Commons had shrunk to 67 seats over the combined total of all other parties, less than half its previous advantage. In Northern Ireland, the militant Democratic Unionist Party led by the Rev. Ian Paisley won 9 seats and became dominant there.
     Blair’s declining support was attributed in large part to his handling of the Iraq war issue. He campaigned with Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, his rival within the Labour Party and expected successor. Michael Howard, the Conservative leader, had called for controls on immigration and lower taxes. On May 6, Howard said he would step down as Conservative leader. David Trimble, winner of a Nobel Peace Prize and leader of the moderate Ulster Unionist Party, resigned May 7.

     Leaders Mark Anniversary of End of World War II - Leaders of many nations came to Moscow May 9 to observe the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. Pres. George W. Bush was among those at a Victory Day parade in Red Square. While maintaining cordial relations with Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin, he spoke out against past Soviet and Russian policies. In a letter to Pres. Vaira Vike-Freiberga of Latvia, released May 4, Bush had recalled the suffering caused by the Soviet occupation and annexation of Baltic nations after the war. And in a speech in Riga, Latvia, May 7, he also criticized the 1945 Yalta agreement that, with U.S. and British concurrence, had effectively legitimized Soviet control of Eastern Europe. On May 8, at Margraten, in the Netherlands, Bush visited a cemetery for U.S. troops. In Tbilisi, Georgia, May 10, he spoke in the capital of another former Soviet republic that still felt intimidated by Russia. Bush urged that all nations respect Georgia’s "sovereignty and territorial integrity." Authorities then found a hand grenade lying 100 feet from the stage where Bush had stood; investigators May 18 confirmed that the grenade had been live, perhaps failing to explode because of a soft landing.

     Riots in Afghanistan Follow Magazine Report - Sixteen people were killed during riots that erupted in Afghanistan and elsewhere beginning May 10. The demonstrations occurred a week after a report in the May 9 issue of Newsweek contending that interrogators at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay had flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet. Most of the deaths occurred when Afghani police fired on demonstrators. Saying that its source could no longer confirm the Koran incident, Newsweek May 15 apologized for the report, and on May 16 issued a retraction. An Army investigation, reported May 26, found "no credible evidence" that the incident ever occurred, but five incidents involving some deliberate or unintentional mishandling of the Koran were found. The reported mishandling sparked anti-American protests in Muslim countries, May 27. On May 20 the Sun, a British newspaper, and the New York Post published photographs of imprisoned Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in his underwear; the photographs and their publication aroused some criticism as inappropriate.

     Canadian Prime Minister Survives Parliament Votes - Liberal Party Prime Min. Paul Martin of Canada barely held on to his job in May. Opponents in Parliament May 10 prevailed, 153-150, in a vote that they said forced Martin to call a new election, but he discounted the vote as only procedural. On May 19, a confidence vote ended in a 152-all tie, but the presiding Speaker, a Liberal, then voted in Martin’s favor. Martin had also been saved by a defection from Conservative Party ranks by Belinda Stronach, who was promised a cabinet seat.

     Uzbek Troops Shoot Hundreds of Civilians - Government troops shot hundreds of civilians in Uzbekistan in May following an uprising. Protests had been building in Andijon in early May during the trial of 23 businessman accused of belonging to an Islamic movement. On the night of May 12-13 residents of Andijon seized arms from a garrison and freed 2,000 inmates from a prison. Troops moved into a square May 13 and opened fire. Reports of the death toll, including refugees who had fled the city, ranged from 169 to 745. Pres. Islam Karimov said May 14 that 10 troops had been killed.

     First Lady Visits Middle East - First Lady Laura Bush traveled to the Middle East, beginning in Jordan, where on May 20 she spoke to the World Economic Forum, emphasizing the importance of women’s rights and education. She met with Palestinian women’s leaders in the West Bank on May 22, and with Jewish women in Jerusalem, May 22. Some Muslims objected to her presence at the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine, and some Jewish protestors badgered her during her visit to the Western Wall, where she left a written prayer. In Egypt May 23, she congratulated Pres. Hosni Mubarak for scheduling an open presidential election. In Washington, May 26, Pres. Bush met with Palestinian Authority Pres. Mahmoud Abbas, the first visit by a Palestinian leader during Bush’s presidency.

     French Voters Reject European Constitution - In a nationwide referendum May 29, French voters refused to ratify the European Union constitution, which requires unanimous approval by member nations in order to go into force. The 55% vote against the constitution was a harsh rebuff to Pres. Jacques Chirac, who had campaigned vigorously for its approval. Nine of 25 EU member countries had previously given their approval; France became the first country to turn down the constitution. Opponents contended that the constitution would jeopardize French sovereignty and bring on an influx of cheap labor. On May 31, Jean-Pierre Raffarin was replaced as French premier by Interior Min. and former Foreign Min. Dominique de Villepin.

     Blast Kills Muslim Pilgrims - A suicide bomb at a crowded Muslim shrine in Islamabad, Pakistan, exploded on May 27, the last day of a Shiite-Sunni religious festival, killing 19 people.


     50-1 Long Shot Wins Kentucky Derby - A 50-1 dark horse, Giacomo, emerged from far back in a field of 20 horses to win the Kentucky Derby in Louisville May 7. He finished in 2 minutes, 2.75 seconds, a half-length ahead of Closing Argument, who was 71-1 to win. Only Donerail in 1913 had overcome greater odds (91-1) to win the Derby. Giacomo, winner of only one previous race, was ridden by Mike Smith and trained by John Shirreffs. In the Preakness in Baltimore May 21, the 2nd leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown, the favorite, Afleet Alex, prevailed in one minute, 55.04 seconds. Giacomo was third. At the head of the stretch, Afleet Alex had nearly fallen after colliding with the 2nd-place horse, Scrappy T.

     Koreans Score Breakthrough in Stem-Cell Research - Science magazine’s web site reported May 19 that scientists at Seoul National University in South Korea had achieved a major advance in stem-cell research. They had cloned embryos from patients with serious injuries and illnesses and then extracted stem cells matching the patients’ cells. The patients’ immune systems would accept these matched cells. Pres. George W. Bush said May 20 that he would veto a bill then in Congress that would fund research using new human embryonic stem cell lines. Opponents of such research objected to any destruction of human embryos. On May 24, the House, 238-194, approved the bill Bush had criticized.

     Wheldon Outduels Woman Driver to Win Indy 500 - Dan Wheldon won the Indianapolis 500-mile auto race May 29, twice taking the lead from a woman driver, Danica Patrick, during the last few dramatic laps. Patrick reduced her speed near the end to save gas. Wheldon, also low on fuel, ran out after crossing the finish line. Patrick, the only female contestant among the 33 starters, led 19 of the race’s 200 laps, the first woman driver ever to head the pack. The Wheldon car co-owner was Michael Andretti, who had never won the race as a driver; his father, Mario Andretti, had won in 1969. Wheldon was the first Englishman to win the 500 since 1966.

Science in the News — Daredevil Ants Skydive to Safety

Tree-dwelling ants in Central and South American rainforests have taken to skydiving in order to avoid nasty falls from 30-meter-tall trees.

Worker ants of the species Cephalotes atratus have the unusual ability to glide belly-up back to their tree of origin when they fall off, according to new research published in the February 10 issue of Nature. Lead author Steve Yanoviak of the University of Texas first noticed this surprising behavior while conducting field research two years ago. "I was climbing trees to collect mosquitoes when I was attacked by these ants. I brushed 20 or 30 of them off; they fell down and made a nice J-shaped curve back to the tree," he told

Intrigued, Yanoviak and his colleagues returned to forests in Panama, Costa Rica and Peru to videotape the flight of the ants. They marked a few ants with paint and dropped them from the canopy of a tree. The tapes showed that the ants fly backwards, with their abdomens facing forward, back to the tree they fell from. "We still don't understand exactly what mechanisms the ants use to change direction and to maintain a steady glide path through the air," Yanoviak told the London newspaper the Independent. One possibility is that their anatomy is designed to accommodate controlled flight - they have flattened heads surrounded by collar-like protrusions, or flanges, which they could use as rudders.

Although the researchers don't quite know what the mechanism is, it certainly works. The ants they videotaped had an 85% success rate in returning to their native tree and could even get back to their own colonies on a single branch within 10 minutes.

The researchers believe that the unique skydiving skills may be an evolutionary adaptation to living so high off the ground. Even if an ant survives a fall to the ground, it is essentially lost in the thick, dense environment of a rainforest floor, which is flooded for six months out of the year. An ant has a much better chance of survival by avoiding the floor entirely. The behavior may also be especially important to C. atratus, which typically lives in very small colonies. The loss of a single worker ant is much more detrimental to a colony when there are few workers to begin with.

Although other animals, such as squirrels and frogs, have been known to "fly" by gliding, the ants are the first example of wingless insects known to control their fall. Co-author Mike Kaspari, of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., notes that C. atratus may not be all that unique. "Gliding is definitely the way to go, and we won't be surprised if we find more examples of this behavior among wingless, canopy insects," he told the Independent.

Offbeat News Stories

Toddler Trap

Most parents quickly learn that anything can happen when their back is turned even for a few seconds. Danielle Manges learned that lesson the hard way outside of a Wal-Mart in Elkhart, IN, when her 3-year-old son, James, climbed up the chute of a crane toy vending machine and became stuck. Upset that his mother wouldn’t let him use the machine, James threw his juice bottle, distracting his mother. "I bent over to clean it and within two seconds he had climbed through the hole, into the chute, and pushed the door shut so we couldn’t get him out," Manges said. Onlookers bought disposable cameras and took pictures of the toddler, who was "playing with all the toys and hanging from the bar like a monkey," according to Manges. The keys to the machine were not at the store, so the fire department had to be called. Unfortunately, James was liberated from the machine without any of the coveted stuffed animals.

Burger "King"

An intense interstate battle over hamburgers is booming across the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border. Two restaurants have taken extreme measures recently for the right to claim the world’s biggest burger title. Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, PA, recently added the 15-pound "Beer Barrel Belly Buster," to its menu, reclaiming the burger crown it had lost earlier this year to Clinton, NJ’s "Zeus," a 12.5-pound behemoth made at Clinton Station Diner. The Belly Buster squeezes 10.5 pounds of ground beef, 25 slices of cheese, a head of lettuce, two onions, three tomatoes, and 1.5 cups each of banana peppers, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, and relish, between halves of a custom-made bun. Denny Liegey Sr., the restaurant’s owner, described the $30 burger as sufficient to "feed a family of 10." Clearfield resident Steve Hepburn, who teamed up with three friends to try the Belly Buster, put it somewhat differently: "It’s like trying to eat half a cow," he said. The quartet brought parts of the burger home in doggie bags.

From The World Almanac — Historical Anniversaries, 1905 - 100 Years Ago

1905 * 2005 **
Total population 83,822,000 288,368,698
Foreign born 13.6% 11.5%
Male 51.3% 49.1%
Women in labor force 18.8% 59.5%
Median age 22.9 35.3
Number of states 45 50
Center of population 6 mi. SE of Columbus, IN 2.8 mi. E of Edgar Springs, MO
Average annual wage $550 $33,000
Unemployment rate 4.3% 6.0%
President Theodore Roosevelt George W. Bush   

* Data from 1905 except for women in labor force, median age, and center of population (1900).
** Data for 2004 except for % male, women in labor force, median age, unemployment rate (2003); center of population (2000).

Imperial guards at Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, fire into a crowd of unarmed petitioners, killing more than 100 on Jan. 22, "Bloody Sunday." The massacre led to widespread strikes and riots.

The world's 1st rotary club is founded, Feb. 23 in Chicago.


Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [Reproduction # LC-USZ62-231]

President Roosevelt taking the oath of office, Mar. 4 1905

Theodore Roosevelt is inaugurated Mar. 4 for his first full term as U.S. president.

An earthquake measuring 8.6 on the Richter scale kills nearly 20,000 people Apr. 4 in and around Kangra, India.

The Industrial Workers of the World (nicknamed "Wobblies") forms in Chicago June 27.

Mutiny breaks out on the Russian battleship Potemkin June 27-28, stemming from sailors' refusal to eat rotten meat.

A yellow fever epidemic, the last in the U.S., sweeps New Orleans July-Oct., infecting some 3,000 and killing more than 400.

On Sept. 1, Alberta and Saskatchewan become Canada's 8th and 9th provinces.

Russia and Japan sign the Treaty of Portsmouth in New Hampshire Sept. 5, following negotiations mediated by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt, and bring an end to the Russo-Japanese War. (In 1906, Roosevelt received a Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation.)

Norway's parliament votes June 7 to dissolve the union between Norway and Sweden; the 2 countries reach an agreement Sept. 23 to maintain a neutral frontier.

In response to revolutionary political pressures, Czar Nicholas II of Russia on Oct. 30 issues the so-called October Manifesto, nominally allowing certain civil rights and creating a legislature. It is followed by general strikes in support of reform, and a peasants' revolt.

Arthur Griffith, an Irish nationalist, organizes the political party Sinn Fein ("We Ourselves") Nov. 28, with the goal of independence for all of Ireland.

Henri Matisse's The Green Line; Pablo Picasso's Family of Saltimbanques; Die Brücke expressionist movement begins in Germany; Fauvism takes shape in Paris.

E. M. Forster's Where Angels Fear to Tread, Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel, Mark Twain's King Leopold's Soliloquy, Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth. Jules Verne dies Mar. 24.

The first movie house (nickelodeon) designed exclusively to show films opens in Pittsburgh in June. Using child actors, Thomas Edison produces The Little Train Robbery, a parody of Edwin S. Porter's Great Train Robbery (1903).

Debussy's La Mer; Gustav Mahler's Symphony 7; Richard Strauss's Salome.


Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division (Reproduction # LC-USZC4-6987)

Ty Cobb

George Santayana's The Life of Reason; Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.

Popular Songs
Jean Havez's "Everybody Works But Father"; "How'd You Like to Spoon With Me?" recorded by Corinne Morgan and the Haydn Quartette.

Science and Technology
Albert Einstein publishes his first scientific papers, enunciating his "special theory of relativity"; Robert Koch is awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for "inventions and discoveries relating to tuberculosis."

Ty Cobb makes his major league baseball debut in August with the Detroit Tigers. The New York Giants defeat the Philadelphia Athletics in 5 games to take the second World Series. Harvard loses to Haverford, 1-0, in the first official intercollegiate soccer game in the U.S.

George Bernard Shaw's play Mrs. Warren's Profession, about a prostitute, is closed down in NYC, Oct. 31, after one performance, at the insistence of morals watchdog Anthony Comstock; James M. Barrie's Pantaloon/Alice Sit-by-the-Fire, starring John, Lionel, and Ethel Barrymore, opens on Dec. 25 in NYC.

The Cullinane Diamond, world's largest gem-quality diamond at over 3,100 carats (more than a pound), is discovered in South Africa and bestowed upon Britain's King Edward VII.

Links of the Month — Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief

My cousin José, in Brazil, has a birthday in June, so this month we celebrate Josés. The victim of congenital glaucoma, singer José Feliciano has been blind since birth. Born in Puerto Rico, he grew up in Spanish Harlem (NYC), where his musical interests began. Singing and playing the guitar, he had his first hit in 1966, and he became a household name after composing and singing Feliz Navidad which has become a Christmas classic. To learn more about Feliciano visit José Antonio Navarro was born in San Antonio in 1795 of Spanish heritage. He became a leading Mexican participant on the side of Texas in the Texas Revolution, and in the subsequent development of the Republic and then the State of Texas. When the U.S. Congress proposed annexing Texas in 1845, an assembly called the Convention of 1845 was adjourned, with Navarro was the sole Hispanic in attendance. To learn more about Navarro visit José Carreras, born in Barcelona, Spain, was the youngest of the "Three Tenors" (the others being Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti), his opera career was sidelined in the late 1980s when he received a diagnosis of acute lymphocytic leukemia. Since recovered, and singing again, he founded the José Carreras International Leukemia Foundation for leukemia research. Learn more about Carreras and his foundation at the following sites and José Julian Martí, (1853-95), was Cuban writer and patriot, whose death in battle made him the martyred symbol of Cuban aspirations to independence. At the age of 16 he was imprisoned in Cuba as a revolutionary and then banished to Spain; there he published the first of many pamphlets advocating Cuban independence from Spain. As a writer Martí was a precursor of modernismo in Spanish letters; he was noted for his simple, fluent style and his personal, vivid imagery. To learn more about Martí visit Baseball player José Canseco was born in Cuba, and as a player was the first (and one of only three) to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a single season. In 2005, Canseco admitted to using anabolic steroids in his New York Times bestselling book "Juiced." To learn more about Canseco, visit his website

The death of the producer Ismail Merchant ended a 44-year professional and life partnership with director James Ivory. Teaming with screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala in 1961, Merchant and Ivory made 40 films together and won six Academy Awards. The team filmed three of E.M Forster's novels, including Maurice, a gay coming of age story. Many of their films dealt with individuals who were trapped by their society's strict conventions, and their attempts to break free. To learn more about Merchant Ivory Productions visit

One of my co-workers who was one of the first people in New York City to see Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" the morning it opened, was quoted on Fox News as saying, "I love Star Wars - it’s like a lifestyle for us." Put the words "Star Wars" into the Google search engine, and you get 91,600,000 results. There are a lot of people out there living and breathing these epic films, and if you need a daily dose of Star Wars in your life, visit

The Francis Martin Branch of the New York Public Library, on University Avenue in the Bronx, was my first exposure to books as a child. There is no doubt that a librarian or two helped answer my questions, and pointed me towards books that would assist me, and be of interesting to read. Librarians can also help you online. At sites run by the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, and the UK Public Libraries, you can instant message questions and they will answer them for you. Visit,, and

Google recently introduced Google Maps, which provide directions, interactive maps, as well as satellite/aerial imagery of the United States. All you do is type in an address, and a street map will appear. It asks if you want directions to or from that location. There is also a "Satellite" tab in the upper right hand corner which allows you to see the address from space. Some of the pictures are clear enough to see the house you grew up in, or where you work. Visit

Since January I've kept track of where the reader requests for the E-Newsletter come from, and I'm happy to report that the newsletter is being received in at least 36 U.S. states, and 25 nations around the world. One way I discovered the countries of origin was through the country codes that appear at the end of an e-mail address. To see a listing of electronic mail Internet country codes, visit:

One of the E-Newsletter readers lives Nigeria, a country which dates back to at least 700 B.C. Portuguese and British slavers appeared from the 15th to 16th centuries. The British seized control in the 1860s, but Nigeria became an independent republic in 1963. To learn more about this country, check out the Nations section of The World Almanac. To get the latest news, and learn more about the country of Nigeria, visit

Once in awhile I receive e-mails that have favorite quotes as a signature at the end of the e-mail. I'm going to begin including our reader's quotes starting with this issue. Quote of the Month: "Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." -William James. Do you have a favorite quote?

Stupid website of the month: The Salary Timer - compare your salary to what celebrities get -

© World Almanac Education Group

World Almanac E-Newsletter
Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief

Newsletter Contributors:
Louise Bloomfield, Jane Hogan, Sarah Janssen, Zoë Kashner, Walter Kronenberg, and Vincent Spadafora.

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