The World Almanac E-Newsletter

Volume 06, Number 04 — April 2006

What's in this issue?

April Events
April Holidays — National and International
This Day In History — April
April Birthdays
Travel - Sark
Obituaries - March 2006
Special Feature: The Fall of Milosevic
Chronology - Events of March 2006
Sports Feature
Science in the News: An Ancient Chamber, Unearthed
Offbeat News Stories
Links of the Month
Quote of the Month
How to reach us

April Events

April 1 - April Fool’s Day
April 2 - Daylight Saving Time (most of U.S.)
April 3 - NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship (Indianapolis, IN)
April 4 - NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship (Boston, MA)
April 5-23 - Dogwood Arts Festival (Knoxville, TN)
April 6-8 - National Library Week
April 6-9 - Masters Golf Tournament
April 7-9 - Poteet Strawberry Festival (Poteet, TX)
April 8 - Prairie Dog Chili Cookoff and World Championship of Pickled Quail-Egg Eating (Grand Prairie, TX)
April 9-16 - Dallas Cup soccer competition (Dallas, TX)
April 13-16 - Morione’s Festival (Marinduque Island, Philippines)
April 15 - World Cow Chip-Throwing Championship Contest (Beaver, OK)
April 16-22 - Merrie Monarch Festival and World’s Largest Hula Competition (Hilo, HI)
April 17 - Boston Marathon
April 18-23 - Scottsdale Culinary Festival (Scottsdale, AZ)
April 19-23 - International Whistlers Convention (Louisburg, NC)
April 21 - Aggie Muster (Texas A&M, College Station, TX)
April 25-May 7 - Tribeca Film Festival (New York, NY)
April 26 - Administrative Professionals Day
April 26-30 - Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival (Champaign, IL)
April 27 - Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day
April 27-May 7 - Apple Blossom Festival (Wenatchee, WA)
April 28-30 - Rattlesnake Derby (Mangum, OK)
April 29-30 - Main Street Festival (Franklin, TN)

April Holidays — National and International

April 1 - April Fool’s Day
April 12-20 - Passover (begins at sunset)
April 14 - Good Friday
April 16 - Easter
April 22 - Earth Day
April 23 - Orthodox Easter
April 28 - Arbor Day

A World Almanac Book of Records Fact

A pair of lightsabers wielded by Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Darth Vader (David Prowse) were sold at auction in Beverly Hills, CA, on July 29, 2005. In this instance, the force was with the son, not the father; Luke's lightsaber (used in Star Wars, 1977) sold for $206,600, Lord Vader's (used in The Empire Strikes Back, 1980) for $118.000.

This Day In History — April

Day Year Event
Day Year Event
01 1945 In World War II, U.S. forces invade Okinawa on the Japanese mainland.
02 1974 French Pres. Georges Pompidou dies and is succeeded by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing.
03 1936 Bruno Hauptmann is executed for the 1932 kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh, Jr.
04 1949 A treaty is signed authorizing NATO.
05 1792 George Washington casts the first presidential veto, concerning representative apportionment among the states.
06 1896 After a lapse of 1,500 years, the first modern Olympic Games open in Athens, Greece.
07 1994 A civil war breaks out in Rwanda, following the death in a plane crash of the presients of that country and Burundi.
08 1973 Artist Pablo Picasso dies at age 91.
09 1939 After not being allowed to sing in the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall, black opera singer Marian Anderson delivers an open-air concert from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
10 1938 Nazi Germany annexes Austria
11 1979 Dictator Idi Amin is overthrown in Uganda.
12 1981 The first space shuttle, Columbia, is launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
13 1598 Huguenots are granted religious tolerance when Henry IV of France promulgates the Edict of Nantes.
14 2002 Two days after his ouster in a bloodless coup by the military, Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chávez returns to office.
15 1998 Cambodian despot Pol Pot, the leader of the Khmer Rouge, dies.
16 1947 Nearly 600 are killed after an explosion on the nitrate-laden freighter Grandcamp at Texas City, TX.
17 1989 The Polish government grants legal status to the Solidarity labor union.
18 1906 A huge earthquake and subsequent fires begin in San Francisco, with 500 dying in the earthquake and another 200 in the fires.
19 1943 A revolt begins by Jewish residents of Poland's Warsaw Ghetto against German troops.
20 1770 Captain James Cook discovers Australia.
21 1918 The Red Baron--German flying ace Baron Manfred von Richtofen--is shot down and killed during World War I's Battle of the Somme.
22 1500 Pedro Cabral becomes the first European to see what is now Brazil.
23 1910 Sicily's Mount Etna erupts.
24 1795 Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle composes "La Marseillaise," the French national anthem.
25 1859 Work began on the Suez Canal.
26 1986 A major explosion occurs at the Soviet Union's Chernobyl nuclear power plant, sending radioactive material into the air that exposes many to dangerous radiation levels.
27 1992 The formation of a new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is proclaimed by Serbia and Montenegro.
28 1789 Fletcher Christian leads a mutiny against Capt. William Bligh aboard the HMS Bounty.
29 1429 Joan of Arc lifts the siege of Orleans, France.
30 1900 An act of Congress establishes Hawaii as a U.S. territory.

April Birthdays

Day Year  
Day Year  
01 1980 Randy Orton, wrestler (Knoxville, TN)
02 1961 Christopher Meloni, actor (Washington, DC)
03 1934 Jane Goodall, anthropologist (London, England)
04 1979 Heath Ledger, actor (Perth, Australia)
05 1926 Roger Corman, filmmaker (Detroit, MI)
06 1928 James D. Watson, biochemist and codiscoverer of the structure of DNA (El Paso, TX)
07 1944 Gerhard Schroeder, German chancellor (Mossenburg, Germany)
08 1955 Barbara Kingsolver, author (Annapolis, MD)
09 1966 Cynthia Nixon, actress (New York, NY)
10 1959 Babyface (Kenneth Edmonds), singer/songwriter (Indianapolis, IN)
11 1948 Ellen Goodman, columnist (Newton, MA)
12 1926 Jane Withers, actress (Atlanta, GA)
13 1946 Al Green, singer (Forrest City, AR)
14 1963 Cynthia Cooper, basketball player (Chicago, IL)
15 1951 Heloise (Cruse Evans), household hints columnist (Waco, TX)
16 1965 Martin Lawrence, actor/comedian (Frankfurt, Germany)
17 1972 Jennifer Garner, actress (Houston, TX)
18 1956 Eric Roberts, actor (Biloxi, MS)
19 1965 Natalie Dessay, opera soprano (France)
20 1943 John Eliot Gardiner, orchestra conductor (Fontmell, Dorset, England)
21 1926 Queen Elizabeth II, queen of the United Kingdom (London, England)
22 1976 Reese Witherspoon, actress (Nashville, TN)
23 1928 Shirley Temple Black, child actress and diplomat (Santa Monica, CA)
24 1940 Sue Grafton, mystery writer (Louisville, KY)
25 1976 Tim Duncan, basketball player (St. Croix, Virgin Islands)
26 1933 Carol Burnett, actress/comedian (San Antonio, TX)
27 1922 Jack Klugman, actor (Philadelphia, PA)
28 1926 Harper Lee, author (Monroeville, AL)
29 1936 Zubin Mehta, conductor (Bombay, India)
30 1926 Cloris Leachman, actress (Des Moines, IA)

Travel - Sark

It isn't too often you can truly talk about the end of an era. But with Sark, you can. In early 2006 it took the decisive step of ending its status as the last feudal state in Europe. Sark is a tiny 1350-acre (545-ha) island in the English Channel. (It’s spoken of as one island, though it is technically two, Big Sark and Little Sark, that are linked by a narrow isthmus called La Coupee.) For centuries Sark has been run mainly by a small group of landholding families, who lease their property from the hereditary "seigneur," the chief of state. Under pressure to submit to the universal suffrage principles embodied in the European Convention on Human Rights, Sark's legislature, the Chief Pleas, on March 8 voted to adopt a more democratic form of government. It remained to be seen what the long-term consequences of the reform would be for the secluded isle, whose 600 or so inhabitants make their living mainly from farming, fishing, and tourism. For tourists, Sark's appeal has long rested in the quiet respite it affords from big-city hurly-burly. There is no airport, motor vehicles (aside from a few tractors) are nonexistent, and natural beauty is present in spades.

Sark's unusual status dates back to the 16th century, when England's Queen Elizabeth I granted the island to Helier de Carteret as a "fief haubert." Since then, its seigneur (currently Michael Beaumont) has been subject directly to the British monarch, but the tiny island fiefdom is, strictly speaking, not a part of the state known as the United Kingdom.

The new arrangement, which is subject to approval by the queen's Privy Council, would leave landholders with some say in governance. It would reduce the Chief Pleas from 52 seats (one for each of the 40 land-holding families plus, since 1920, 12 elected seats) to 28, half to be held by landholders and half by representatives of the people. Both groups of deputies would be chosen by popular vote. Some islanders seemed hesitant about the move, however. "Feudalism is a great system and has worked very well for the island," commented one.


Not only has Sark been feudal, but it was once upon a time Norman French. That heritage has spawned some beguiling traditions that may or may not survive the new democracy. For example, a person who believes his or her rights have been infringed can claim legal protection by saying the Lord’s Prayer in French, crying out, "Haro, Haro, Haro! A mon aide mon Prince, on me fait tort!" (literally "Shame, Shame, Shame! To my aid, my Prince! Someone does me wrong!"), and registering the complaint with the Greffe Office within 24 hours.

Sark is located about 20 mi (30 km) from France and about four times that distance from England. To get there, you have to take a boat from one of the other Channel Islands - Guernsey, which lies about 6 mi (10 km) away, or Jersey, some 14 mi (23 km) distant. Right at the start you will sense a change of pace and scale - the ferry will not be large, as Sark's harbors are small. Once you've arrived, you can settle in at one of the local hotels or stay in a "self-catering" cottage or at a campsite. Automobiles are banned on the island, which is a paradise for hikers. To get around faster, try a bicycle or a horse and carriage.

There are also boat trips around the island. The jagged coastline, measuring some 40 mi (65 km), is broken up by occasional white sand beaches and lots of inlets and coves. The island is rimmed by cliffs - most of it averages roughly 250 ft (75 m) above sea level - that are penetrated by caves. Every spring the landscape bursts into bloom with blue, yellow, and pink blossoms. Beginning in late April, Sark observes Wild Flower Fortnight, featuring daily Wild Flower Walks and a special exhibition at the island's visitor center. The walled gardens at La Seigneurie, the seigneur's residence, are also a popular attraction. And visitors in late June can enjoy the annual Midsummer Show, where the island's gardeners show off the fruits of their labors.

Sark offers a number of other special events each year. Given its maritime setting, a major focus is the sea. The two-week-long festival Undersea Sark usually begins in late May; offerings include an exhibition at the visitor center, diving trips, and tide pool walks. A two-week Sark Seafood Festival is held every year in June, with local restaurants featuring special dishes that take advantage of the local catch. September brings Celebration of the Sea, providing sea-related music, entertainment, and competitions like of Toss the Fish and Catch the Mermaid, along with a tug-of-war, a rod-casting contest, and a competition for the best sand castle.

Sporting events include two in July. The Lord's Taverners Cricket Match draws in celebrities and raises money for charity. The Sheep Race Meeting gives you a chance to bet on the sheep of your choice.

One of the best-attended events is the Sark Carnival. Held on a weekend in August, it raises money for the island's medical fund. Features include a Miss Sark Pageant, live music by local bands, a fancy dress parade, and an afternoon of competitions and games, including a tractor pull, an egg-catching contest, and children's races.

Island of Sark:

A World Almanac Book of Records Fact


Brazil is the world's leading producer of coffee. The official estimate for Brazil's coffee production in 2004-05 is 36.1 million to 40.5 million bags, or about 423 billion cups of coffee per year. Brazil by itself accounts for about a third of world coffee production.

Obituaries in March 2006

Caldwell, Sarah, 82, Boston-based opera impresario and conductor who in 1976 became the first woman to conduct at New York City’s Metropolitan Opera; Portland, ME, March 23, 2006.

Cassini, Oleg, 92, fashion designer who created more than 300 outfits for First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, including the one she wore at the January 1961 presidential inauguration of her husband, John F. Kennedy; Manhasset, NY, March 17, 2006.

Fleischer, Richard, 89, director of dozens of Hollywood films in many genres, including the musical Doctor Doolittle (1967) and the true-crime thriller The Boston Strangler (1971); Woodland Hills, CA, March 25, 2006.

Geoffrion, Bernie (Boom Boom), 75, Hall of Fame hockey player who helped lead the Montreal Canadiens to six Stanley Cup titles between 1953 and 1960; Atlanta, GA, March 11, 2006.

Lacoste, Bernard, 74, French businessman who expanded the clothing line created by his father, tennis champion René Lacoste, into a multinational enterprise; Paris, France, March 21, 2006.

Lem, Stanislaw, 84, widely translated Polish author known for his cerebral science fiction, including the novel Solaris (1961); Krakow, Poland, March 27, 2006.

McGahern, John, 71, Irish author who wrote poignant fiction about Irish farm life; Dublin, Ireland, March 30, 2006.

McLean, Jackie, 74, jazz saxophonist, composer and educator who used music to help rehabilitate drug addicts; Hartford, CT, March 31, 2006.

Meri, Lennart, 76, Estonian author and filmmaker who was the first president (1992-2001)of his country in the post-Soviet era; Tallinn, Estonia, March 14, 2006.

Milosevic, Slobodan, 64, onetime Yugoslav president and Serbian nationalist leader who had been on trial for genocide since 2002; Scheveningen, the Netherlands, March 11, 2006.

Moffo, Anna, 73, soprano who made about 200 appearances at New York’s Metropolitan Opera from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s; New York, NY, March 10, 2006.

Nofziger, Lyn, 81, Republican political operative closely linked to the political career of Ronald Reagan, as both governor of California (1967-75) and president of the U.S. (1981-89); Falls Church, VA, March 27, 2006.

Owens, Buck, 76, 1960s country music superstar who co-hosted the TV show "Hee Haw" from 1969 to 1986; Bakersfield, CA, March 25, 2006.


LOC P&P Rep#LC-DIG-ppmsca-05823

Photograph taken by Gordon Parks: Mrs. Ella Watson, a government charwoman, with three grandchildren and her adopted daughter

Parks, Gordon, 93, first black staff photographer for Life magazine who later became Hollywood’s first major black director; his films included The Learning Tree (1969) and the pioneering "blaxploitation" movie Shaft (1971); New York, NY, March 7, 2006.

Profumo, John, 91, British cabinet minister at the center of a 1963 sex scandal that nearly brought down the Tory government of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan; London, England, March 9, 2006.

Puckett, Kirby, 45, star center fielder for the Minnesota Twins who led the team to two World Series titles, in 1987 and 1991; forced to retire in 1996 after developing glaucoma, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001, his first year of eligibility; Phoenix, AZ, March 6, 2006.

Reeve, Dana, 44, actress and singer who suspended her career to help care for her husband, actor Christopher Reeve, from the time he was paralyzed in a fall from a horse in 1995 until his death in 2004; she became a leading advocate for spinal paralysis research; New York. NY, March 6, 2006.

Stapleton, Maureen, 83, award-winning stage, screen and TV actress known for her portrayals of down-to-earth, strong-willed women; she was the female lead in the Broadway premieres of two plays by Tennessee Williams, The Rose Tattoo (1951) and Orpheus Descending (1957); Lenox, MA, March 13, 2006.

Touré, Ali Farka, 66 or 67, Malian guitarist, songwriter and singer who fused African traditions with the blues; Bamako, Mali, March 6, 2006.

Weinberger, Caspar W., 88, high-ranking Republican government official whose most prominent post was as secretary of defense from 1981 to 1987, during the Reagan administration; Bangor, ME, March 28, 2006.

Special Feature: The Fall of Milosevic

Joe Gustaitis

In what may be considered an odd coincidence, Slobodan Milosevic died almost five years to the day after he was arrested and imprisoned. The onetime ultranationalist Balkan leader, who had been on trial before the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, was found dead in his cell at the Scheveningen detention center in The Hague, the Netherlands on the morning of March 11, 2006.

On April 1, 2001--five years ago--Milosevic surrendered to Serbian authorities, officially ending a period of power that had lasted nearly 12 years from the day the hard-line nationalist leader swept into power on a platform of xenophobia, vengeance for the "persecution" of Serbs, and cultural pride. After his death, Newsweek carried a story on Milosevic entitled "The Death of a Monster" while CNN’s headline was "'Butcher of the Balkans' Found Dead." Who was this man who inspired such terrible descriptions?

The Former Yugoslavia

Milosevic’s actions were possible only because history had come to one of its turning points: the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. The fall of Communism terminated the Soviet hegemony over the region and permitted the emergence of truly independent nations from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. In some countries the transition was for the most part peaceful; in others political liberation was accompanied by the surfacing of ethnic tensions.

Yugoslavia had been cobbled together from the ashes of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy after World War I, and was an uneasy coalition of ethnic groups. From 1945 to 1980 it was held together by the strong hand of the dictator Josip Broz Tito, who also managed to maintain a cautious measure of self-determination with the Soviet Union. Even Tito found it necessary to buy internal peace by granting a certain measure of autonomy to the various provinces. After Tito’s death in May 1980, Yugoslavia attempted a system of collective leadership, with an annual rotation of party offices. The economy, already suffering, grew weaker, and ethnic conflict turned into full-blown autonomist movements in the individual republics and provinces. In Kosovo the majority population of ethnic Albanians clashed with the Serbs and Montenegrins.

A Hero of Serbian Nationalism

Slobodan Milosevic was born on August 20, 1941, in the Serbian town of Pozarevec. Although his mother was a Communist, his father was an Eastern Orthodox professor of theology. After World War II, they separated, and eventually both of them (and an uncle) committed suicide, a fact that has supplied ample material for those who would psychoanalyze Milosevic from a distance.

After graduating from law school in 1964, Milosevic became friends with Ivan Stambolic, the nephew of one of the nation’s most prominent Communists. As Stambolic rose through the ranks, Milosevic was right behind him, and when Stambolic became president of Serbia, his protégé became the head of the Serbian Communist Party. However, Milosevic was not loyal, and in December 1987 he engineered a coup that led to the end of Stambolic’s rule. Two years later, in May 1989, Milosevic was elected president of Serbia. In August 2000, Stambolic was abducted by masked men while jogging in a park. His body, with two bullets in it, was found in 2003 buried on Mt. Fruska Gora, 40 miles northwest of Belgrade, Serbia’s capital. Allegedly, Stambolic was murdered on Milosevic’s orders.

The defining moment in Milosevic’s rise to power came on April 14, 1987, while he was visiting a town in the Kosovo region. Serbian protestors, angry at what they saw as mistreatment by the Albanian majority, had gathered at a rally there. When police began beating back the protestors, Milosevic, instead of calming the crowd, appeared on a balcony and thundered, "No one has the right to beat you! No one will ever beat you again!" A hero of Serbian nationalism was born, and Milosevic shrewdly recognized that nationalism, not international Communism, was his passport to supremacy. Milosevic found an enthusiastic following by proclaiming his vision of a "Greater Serbia"--an entity that would be comprised of the ethnically diverse republics of the Yugoslav federation including Serbia itself, Kosovo, Vojvodina, large parts of Bosnia and Hercegovina, sections of Croatia with a large Serbian population, and perhaps even Macedonia.

The Soviet Union collapsed at the end of 1991, but even before then Slovenia and Croatia had elected non-Communist governments. Serbia, which remained Communist under Milosevic, attempted to impose its authority over the fractious nations, but Slovenia and Croatia wished to remain independent, and declared their independence on June 25, 1991. Macedonia followed suit later that year.

However, Serbian forces were determined to keep control of those lands in Croatia and Bosnia that they said were part of the "Greater Serbia," and the nation, now truly divided, found itself in the midst of a civil war. The bloody conflict at first took place mostly in Croatia, pitting Serbian-led federal troops and Serb irregulars against Croatian forces. By the time the U.N. succeeded in establishing a cease-fire in early 1992, at least 10,000 people had been killed and 23,000 wounded. However, the civil war was not entirely over. Serbs remained in control over about one-third of Croatia until Croatian troops recaptured the Krajina region in late 1995. The Dayton Peace Accord, signed in November of that year, eventually led to the return of Eastern Slavonia to Croatian rule in January 1998, which finally ended the war.

Ethnic Cleansing

The events in Yugoslavia had dimensions well outside Croatia, however, and the world’s vocabulary soon acquired a grim new phrase--"ethnic cleansing," which comes from the Serbo-Croatian "etničko čišćenje." The term denotes a process through which members of one ethnic group, either members of the army or citizens, remove civilians of other ethnic groups from vanquished towns or regions in order to create ethnically pure enclaves for themselves. It can range from forced expulsion to actual genocide, both of which took place in the Balkans.

In 1992, following a referendum boycotted by Bosnian Serbs, the former Yugoslavian province of Bosnia and Hercegovina became an independent republic. The region was composed of three main groups--Serbs, Croats, and Muslims--all of whom soon clashed. Under Milosevic’s direction, the Serbs, who had the stronger military, removed thousands of Muslims via "ethnic cleansing." Although it was not just the Serbs who participated in this terrible crime, the greatest share of the atrocities was attributed to the Serbian forces, who rounded up Muslims, confiscated their property, and shipped them out of the region in scenes that were strikingly reminiscent of Nazi atrocities.

One of the most appalling incidents was the Srebrenica Massacre of July 1995. Although the U.N. had declared the town a "safe haven" for Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Serb forces overran the town, deported the women and children, and then slaughtered more than 7,000 boys and men between the ages of 13 and 70. The massacre is considered the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II. Milosevic unwaveringly maintained that the Srebrenica horrors were the work of Bosnian Muslim commanders and French spies to make the world hate Serbs and that other Bosnian war atrocities were the work of uncontrollable Serb militia--a claim scoffed at by international observers. Bosnia and Hercegovina was eventually divided into two main areas by the Dayton Peace Accord--a Muslim-Croat federation and a Serb republic--and a large North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) peacekeeping force was sent in to enforce the accord and suppress any violence.

Trouble in Kosovo

In the province of Kosovo, ethnic Albanians, mostly Muslim, made up about 90 percent of the population. In accordance with Yugoslavia’s 1974 constitution and under Tito’s rule, the provincial legislature enjoyed a certain measure of autonomy and Albanian culture was permitted to thrive. The Serbs, however, had claimed the region as their own since the late 12th century, and one of the most hallowed events in Serbian history was the Serbian defeat by the Ottoman Turks at Kosovo Field in 1389.

The minority Serbs complained of repression, and in 1989 Serbia revoked Kosovo’s autonomy and began ruling the province by force. As a result, Albanian secessionists proclaimed an independent republic and war broke out between the secessionist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which employed mostly guerrilla tactics, and Serbian forces. In May 1998, the Serbs mounted a major offensive, and some 800,000 ethnic Albanians began to flee from the province. Serbian police units, backed by regular army forces, began destroying ethnic Albanian villages and sending the inhabitants fleeing. It became clear that Milosevic was preparing to launch a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Albanian population, and in response the U.S. and other members of NATO ordered Milosevic to end his campaign against the KLA. NATO threatened Yugoslavia with air assaults if they did not comply, and renewed the threat in January 1999 if the Serbs did not sign a peace agreement. Milosevic and the Serbs refused to sign and in March 1999, NATO forces launched an air assault against Yugoslavia.

The NATO assault marked the beginning of the end for the "Butcher of the Balkans." Although Milosevic vowed to defy NATO, military and economic pressure increased, and in May 1999 the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague indicted him on charges of crimes against humanity in Kosovo. This made Milosevic the first head of state to be indicted as a war criminal while still in office. A month after his indictment, and after enduring ten weeks of air assaults against Yugoslavia, Milosevic agreed to withdraw Yugoslav troops from Kosovo, and NATO peacekeepers moved in. Opposition to Milosevic within Serbia, which was suffering economic decline and international isolation, increased rapidly after this defeat, and Milosevic stepped down from the Yugoslav presidency after a disputed presidential election in October 2000, in which Vojislav Kostunica was declared the victor over Milosevic.

Although Milosevic had been defeated, the former president’s political career was not over. In November 2000, he easily won reelection as head of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), officially signaling his intention of staging a comeback. However, in parliamentary elections held on December 23, voters solidly backed Kostunica's Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) while Milosevic’s Socialist Party captured only 14% of the vote. Two days later, Zoran Djindjic, who was slated to become premier, said that an investigation into Milosevic would begin soon.

International Criminal Tribunal

In late January 2001, Carla Del Ponte, the chief prosecutor of the U.N.'s International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, visited Yugoslavia to begin the process of extraditing war crimes suspects. The tribunal had been established by U.N. Security Council Resolution 827, which was passed in May 1993. It was the first international court to be set up for the prosecution of war crimes since the post-World War II Nuremberg and Tokyo trials.

At the end of February 2001, a prosecutor in Belgrade announced an investigation into Milosevic's suspected involvement in an allegedly illegal sale of gold in 2000, the first stage in what was expected to be an extensive look into Milosevic’s crimes. On March 30, Milosevic and several aides were charged with corruption and abuse of power. After a 36-hour standoff that included a failed police raid on his home, Milosevic turned himself in. At first, the intention of the authorities was to put him on trial in Yugoslavia before handing him over to the U.N., but in June 2001, following a decree by the Yugoslav cabinet, he was transferred into the custody of the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal.

Milosevic was charged with 66 counts, including genocide and crimes against humanity, in connection with the Balkan wars that had killed some 250,000 people and left a further 2.5 million homeless. The world began to recognize the ruin that his reign had brought--the death camps, the rape hotels, the ethnic slaughter, and the economic wreckage that had turned Serbia, once a thriving state, into one of Europe’s poorest countries. Milosevic defiantly conducted his own defense at his four-year trial, which was often delayed by his chronic heart problems and high blood pressure. After his death, prosecutors expressed their regret that there would be no formal conviction--Del Ponte was quoted as saying that "the death of Milosevic represents for me a total defeat."

Although Milosevic had a sizeable number of supporters in Serbia--a crowd of whom attended his funeral--there was no doubt that he would have been convicted. Even in Serbia many disdained his legacy--although more for losing Bosnia and the sacred ground of Kosovo than for the crime of ethnic cleansing.

The tribunal, meanwhile, continued, and continues, its slow process. In May 1997, Bosnian Serb Dusan Tadic became the first defendant convicted by the tribunal, and the first person to be tried internationally for war crimes since World War II. Seven years later, in April 2004, former Bosnian Serb general Radislav Krstic became the only defendant to be convicted of genocide, and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. By the end of February 2006, the tribunal had charged 161 men and had convicted 32.

It can be argued that, with Milosevic having died unconvicted and unpunished; with two of the most wanted suspects, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, the alleged architect of the Bosnian genocide, remaining at large; and with many in Serbia still a state of denial about the crimes committed in their name, the atrocities of the Balkans remain incompletely avenged.

A World Almanac Book of Records Fact


The highest price paid for a painting at auction was $104.2 million paid for Pablo Picasso's Boy With A Pipe (The Young Apprentice) by an unknown bidder at Sotheby's, New York, May 5, 2004. Painted in 1905, the work is a portrait of a teenage boy known only as "P'tit Louis." Picasso was just 24 years old when he painted it in his Paris Studio.

Chronology — Events of March 2006


     South Dakota Abortion Law Seeks to Force Legal Challenge - A ban on almost all abortions in the state of South Dakota was signed into law Mar. 6 by Gov. Michael Rounds (R). Under the new law, a doctor performing an abortion could face up to 5 years in prison. The law has an exception to allow an abortion if the mother’s life is in danger. Supporters of the ban hoped to precipitate a legal challenge that would go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

     Dubai Company Bows Out of Agreement to Manage U.S. Ports - In the face of broad opposition in the U.S., Dubai Ports World said Mar. 9 that it would transfer to a U.S. company management of 6 U.S. ports on the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coast. The Dubai company would have run the ports after it purchased British company P&O, which had previously controlled the ports. Opposition in Congress was reflected in a 62-2 vote in the House Appropriations Committee Mar. 8 to thwart the deal, which the Bush administration supported. Dubai is a component of the United Arab Emirates.

     Bush Signs Extension of Patriot Act - One day before it was to expire, Pres. George W. Bush Mar. 9 signed the renewal of the USA Patriot Act. The renewal had been stalled in Congress because of disputes over the privacy rights of U.S. citizens. The final compromise bill exempted libraries from government requests for records and added other protections. The Senate, Mar. 2, approved the compromise bill 89-10, and the House followed suit Mar. 7, 280-138 (14 abstained).

     Jury Weighs Fate of Sept. 11, 2001, Conspirator - Zacarias Moussaoui, who had pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges relating to the 9/11 attack on the U.S. faced a jury in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA, that was considering whether he should be executed or imprisoned for life. On Mar. 13, prosecutors informed Judge Leonie Brinkema that Carla Martin, an attorney for the Transportation Security Administration, had sent trial transcripts to 7 current or past aviation officials who were scheduled to testify at the trial, and had instructed them on their testimony. Because Brinkema had ordered witnesses not to follow the proceedings, on Mar. 14 she ruled that evidence and testimony concerning aviation security - thought to be critical to the prosecution, which claimed that Moussaoui’s lies after his capture in August 2001 had allowed the attack to go forward - would be excluded from the trial. She also denied a request by the defense to dismiss the death penalty option.
     Moussaoui Mar. 27 testified that he knew in advance of the Sept. 11 plot and that he was to fly another plane into the White House that day.

     Former Bush Aide Arrested - Police in Montgomery County, MD, arrested Claude Allen Mar. 9, who had resigned in February as Bush’s chief domestic policy adviser. He was charged with stealing merchandise from area stores.

     Sec. of the Interior Resigns - Sec. of the Interior Gale Norton announced Mar. 10 that she would resign at the end of the month. On Mar. 16, Bush nominated Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne to succeed her.

     Bush’s Chief of Staff is Replaced - Pres. Bush announced Mar. 28 that he had accepted the resignation of Andrew Card, his chief of staff for the past 5 years. Bush said that Card would be succeeded by Joshua Bolten, his budget director.

     Large Protests Over Immigration Legislation as Senate Opens Debate - As many as 500,000 demonstrators filled the streets of Los Angeles Mar. 25 to protest new legislation that would tighten immigration laws, specifically those aimed at illegal aliens. Other large protests took place in Denver, Milwaukee, and Phoenix. The protestors claimed that the proposed laws are inhumane. Supporters say that the new legislation is needed to stem the tide of illegal immigrants coming into the U.S. for both economic and national security reasons. The U.S. Senate began debating new immigration legislation Mar. 29. The House had already approved a bill that would tighten security along the Mexican border and would make illegal immigration a felony. The Senate Judiciary Committee, guided in part by proposals backed by Pres. Bush, Mar. 27 approved a bill that would offer upwards of 11 million undocumented workers "nonimmigrant visas" that could lead to citizenship after 11 years if they got jobs and paid fines and back taxes. The committee also approved a temporary worker program for additional immigrants.


     U.S. and India Reach Nuclear Agreement - At a meeting in New Delhi, India, Pres. Bush and Prime Min. Manmohan Singh announced Mar. 2 that India would be allowed to buy nuclear fuel and reactor components from the U.S. India in return would separate its military and civilian nuclear programs and open its civilian plants to inspection.. India, as well as Pakistan and Israel, had been barred by U.S. law from receiving assistance for their nuclear programs because they had not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The new agreement would require the approval of the U.S. Congress.

     Bush Visits Pakistan and Afghanistan Amid Violence - On Mar. 1, Pres. Bush made an unscheduled visit to Afghanistan and met with Pres. Hamid Karzai to discuss security issues. Bush then traveled to Pakistan for a visit Mar. 3-4 . Before he arrived, a car bomb exploded outside the U.S. Consulate and Marriott Hotel Mar. 2 in Karachi killed 4 including a U.S. diplomat. Clashes between security forces and militants on the Afghan-Pakistani border Mar. 4-6 claimed at least 51 lives. At a Mar. 4 joint press conference, Bush praised Pres. Pervez Musharraf for his fight against terrorism.

     Ex-President of Yugoslavia Dies During Genocide Trial - Slobodan Milosevic, who had been on trial for war crimes since 2002, was found dead Mar. 11 in his cell in The Hague, Netherlands. A former president of Yugoslavia, he had been a central figure in a series of violent struggles that occurred as that country came apart in the 1990s following the collapse of communism in eastern Europe. Some 200,000 had died while Milosevic pressed the cause of a "Greater Serbia," and the concept of "ethnic cleansing," which involved the forcible expulsion and often killing of members of other ethnic groups. Milosevic lost a bitter contest for re-election as president in 2000, and in 2001 the new government turned him over to the authorities at the International War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague, where he was charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. He had been representing himself in court, and the trial was expected to be concluded sometime in the late spring.
     A Mar. 12 autopsy found that Milosevic, 64, had died of a heart attack. The drug rifampicin, which could counter the action of other drugs, had been found in his body in January. Milosevic had written Mar. 7 that he was being poisoned. Preliminary results of a postmortem toxicology exam Mar. 17 showed no evidence of poisonous substances. Milosevic Mar. 18 was buried at his family home in Pozarevac, Serbia.

     New Labor Legislation Sparks Protest in France - Labor-market reform legislation that was being pushed through parliament by Prime Min. Dominique de Villepin sparked widespread student demonstrations and violence throughout France beginning Mar. 11. The new legislation would allow businesses to hire workers under age 26 for a two-year trial-period and fire them without cause. French law makes it difficult for businesses to dismiss workers under age 26 without showing cause. Supporters of the proposed legislation believe it will help ease France’s unemployment rate, which stood at 9.2% - the highest in Europe. Those against the new law goes too far in undermining longstanding laws that protect labor. On Mar. 14, tens of thousands of students marched in Paris and other cities. About 250,000 took to the streets Mar. 16 which led to some clashes with French authorities. A general strike Mar. 28 by students and labor unions (including teachers and transportation workers) against the new legislation paralyzed France with as many as 1 mil. people took to the streets.

     Saddam Hussein Testifies at His Trial - For the first time, former President of Iraq Saddam Hussein Mar. 15 testified at his war crimes trial in Baghdad. Seizing the chance to make a statement, he urged Iraqis to unite and resist the U.S.-led occupation, and claimed he was still president.
     As Iraqi leaders continued a contentious effort to form a government, insurgent violence continued. The body of Tom Fox, an American civilian held hostage since November, was found Mar. 10. Three other members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, who had been seized with him, were freed Mar. 23 after raids by British and U.S. forces. Britain said Mar. 13 that it would reduce its troop strength, currently about 8,000, in Iraq by 10% beginning in May. Some 1,500 U.S. and Iraqi forces Mar. 16 began an offensive, called Operation Swarmer, aimed at insurgents near Samarra. On Mar. 19, the 3d anniversary of the U.S. invasion, former Iraqi premier Iyad Allawi said that the Shiites and Sunnis were in a state of civil war. On Mar. 21, 100 insurgents attacked a jail northeast of Baghdad, killed at least 18 policemen, and freed at least 30 prisoners.
     At a Mar. 21 news conference, Pres. Bush said that withdrawal of the last U.S. troops from Iraq "will be decided by future presidents."

     Thousands Protest Belarus Elections - A disputed Mar. 19 presidential election in Belarus sparked protest in the capital Minsk and throughout the country. Results showed that incumbent president Alexander Yushenko won with 82.6% of the vote, while the main opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich took only 6%. The results were immediately disputed and protestors took to the streets in the capital. International observers declared the election invalid Mar. 20, claiming that Yushenko used state authority to intimidate voters and rig the election. The Bush administration agreed with the findings and called for new elections. Russian president Vladimir Putin, a supporter of Yushenko, dismissed the allegations. Protests continued in Minsk until a government crackdown Mar. 24 led to the arrest of at least 400 demonstrators. The move was condemned by the U.S. and European Union, and both were considering sanctions against Belarus. The head prosecutor for the Belarusian government said Mar. 29 that opposition activists who were in custody would be prosecuted for illegally staging demonstrations. Opposition leader Melinkevich could also face charges.

     Christian Facing Death in Afghanistan Is Freed - An Afghan Christian who converted from Islam 16 years ago was freed Mar. 27 after facing execution. Afghanistan’s constitution, based in part on Islamic law, or sharia, provides that conversion to Christianity is subject to the death penalty. In response to growing pressure from U.S. and European governments, Afghanistan’s attorney general ordered Abdul Rahman, the defendant, to be released. He arrived in Italy Mar. 29 where he was offered asylum. Meanwhile, terrorists continued to provoke lethal attacks in Afghanistan. Four U.S. soldiers were killed Mar. 12 by a roadside bomb.

     Basque Separatists End Their Violent Rebellion - In a video broadcast Mar. 22, masked leaders of the Basque separatist group Euzkadi ta Askatasuna (ETA) announced it would end its long violent struggle for independence. The Basque people live in north central Spain and in smaller numbers in southwestern France. Over 3 decades, ETA had killed at least 800 people in terror attacks. Declaring a "permanent cease-fire," the Basque spokesmen called for a "new framework in which our rights....will be recognized."

     New Kadima Party Finishes First in Israeli Election - The Kadima Party, founded in November by then-Prime Min. Aerial Sharon, finished in first place in the Israeli parliamentary election Mar. 28. Sharon remained in a coma after a stroke in January, and the acting prime minister and new Kadima leader, Ehud Olmert, was expected to become prime minister, possibly in a coalition with the Labor Party, which ran 2d in the election. The results made it likely that the government would continue its policy of gradual withdrawal from the West Bank. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in the Hamas government Mar. 29.

     American Journalist in Iraq Released - Kidnapped freelance journalist Jill Carroll was released to the Iraqi Islamic Party in Baghdad on Mar. 30. Carroll was kidnapped Jan. 7. Her translator who was with her at the time was killed.


     Crash Wins Best Motion Picture - Crash, a film depicting racial conflicts that followed an automobile accident, was voted best picture of 2005 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This award and others were handed out at the annual "Oscar" ceremony in Hollywood Mar. 5. Brokeback Mountain, the story of 2 gay ranch hands that had won many other best-picture awards, had been favored. Brokeback’s Ang Lee was named best director. The top 2 acting awards went to Philip Seymour Hoffman for his biographical role as deceased author Truman Capote in Capote and Reese Witherspoon for her performance as real-life deceased singer June Carter Cash in Walk the Line.

     Bird Flu Pandemic Seen as More Likely - Following reports of more birds being infected with avian influenza, Margaret Chan of the World Health Organization warned Mar. 6, "Events in recent weeks justify our concern" about a human pandemic. On Mar. 13, the WHO said that 176 cases of human infection had been documented, with 98 deaths occurring.

Sports Feature — Vincent G. Spadafora

Opening Day
Fresh from a winter of player shuffling, the World Baseball Classic, and allegations of steroid use among players, the 2006 Major League Baseball season begins April 2 when the world series champion Chicago White Sox host the Cleveland Indians. Since opening day is such a special day for baseball fans, I thought it be a good time to take a look at some of the interesting goings-on from past opening days. Most of the information comes from Major League Baseball and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

     - Cleveland Indians pitcher Bob Feller threw the first and only no-hit game on opening day. He did it against the Chicago White Sox at old Comiskey Park on April 16, 1940. The Indians won 1-0.
     - Frank Robinson holds the record for the most career opening day home runs with eight. His last came on April 8, 1975, while he was a player/manager for the Cleveland Indians. He was also the first African-American manager in MLB history.
     - Two players hold the record for the most homeruns in a single opening day with three. George Bell of the Toronto Blue Jays recorded three blasts on April 4, 1988, off of pitcher Brett Saberhagen of the Kansas City Blue Jays. Six years later, on April 4, 1994, Karl Rhodes of the Chicago Cubs hit three out of the park off pitcher Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets.
     - Pitcher Tom Seaver has made more opening day starts than any other pitcher with 16: 11 for the New York Mets, three for the Cincinnati Reds, and two for the Chicago White Sox.
     - 33 teams since 1903 have lost their opener but went on to win the World Series.
     - The Boston Red Sox at four times in their history have lost the opening game and went on to finish one game out of first place.
     - Gee Walker, Detroit Tigers outfielder, is the only person to hit for the cycle on opening day. He did it in Detroit against the Cleveland Indians on April 20, 1937.
     - On opening day, April 4, 1974, Hank Aaron, at that time of the Atlanta Braves, blasted his 714th career homerun to tie Babe Ruth’s record.
     - The Cincinnati Reds, being the first professional baseball team, were awarded the right to begin every season at home beginning in 1877. Their streak lasted until 1990 when they opened their season on the road against the Houston Astros. Twice during their 113-year streak, the game was played elsewhere because of rain (1877 and 1966).

Breakout Year for Adu?
When Major League Soccer kicks off its 2006 season April 1, Freddy Adu of DC United hopes to get his chance to show the world what he’s got. The 16-year old star (he turns 17 on June 2) will be entering his third season as a pro. So far, the young midfielder/forward has mostly lived up to his promise. At 14 years, 303 days old in 2004, Adu was the youngest MLS player ever to take to the pitch. Since then he has appeared in 55 games over his short MLS career and has recorded nine goals and nine assists with DC United. However last year, because of a lack of playing time, Adu became frustrated with United coach Peter Nowak (despite the fact that Adu started 30 of the 55 games he’s played in). After the 2005 season, tensions between player and coach came to a head when Nowak suspended Adu during the first game of the MLS playoffs after Adu openly complained about his playing time. The United ended up losing that game and the next to the Chicago Fire, ending their season. In November 2005, Adu really got the pot boiling when said that he might want to play elsewhere. But now things are different. Several months have passed and by all accounts, Adu and Nowak have ironed out their differences. According to published statements by Adu, he feels that he communicates better with coach Nowak and that will go into the season with a new attitude. But aside from getting along with his coach and winning the MLS Cup, Adu has other things to motivate him.

Earlier in 2006, Adu practiced with the U.S. team. In his short time with the team, Adu got a taste of what it would be like to play soccer at its highest level, and he liked it. On United, Adu will see more starts and increased playing time because of the departure of midfielder Dema Kovalenko. And if Adu is able to show that he is an improved player especially throughout the first month of the season, then he could land himself a ticket to the World Cup Finals in Germany in July as a reserve with the U.S. team this June. April promises to be a good time to watch Adu. You can bet he’ll do all he can to show that he belongs on the U.S. team.

Terrell Owens signing with the Dallas Cowboys may look like a disaster in waiting, but there is a tremendous amount of upside to this move. Lost in the shuffle of the media hype is the player who has the most to gain from the addition of Owens (that is, if Owens’ personality doesn’t get in the way), Drew Bledsoe. A pocket quarterback from an earlier time, Bledsoe is one of the best when he has a full complement of receivers to throw to. In 2000, Bledsoe’s last healthy year with the Patriots, he only threw for 3,291 yards, while on an offense that lacked any big-time receivers (plus it was a more spread out offense which required quicker passes, something Bledsoe has trouble with). Then in 2002, he went to the Buffalo Bills, a team that included great wide receivers such as Eric Moulds, Peerless Price, and Josh Reed, and a solid running back in Travis Henry. Bledsoe ended up throwing for 4,359 yards and went to the Pro Bowl. Since then, Bledsoe’s numbers have gone down and he ended up going to the Cowboys. Last year, he threw for 3,639 yards with a Dallas offense more suited to him. But with Owens and Terry Glenn, we could see the aging Bledsoe have one more great year. Look for Dallas to shore up their offense in the middle rounds of the 2006 NFL draft April 29-30.

Science in the News - An Ancient Chamber, Unearthed

Sarah Taber

For many years, archeologists believed that the Valley of the Kings - a treasure-trove of tombs from the time of the Pharaohs near Luxor, Egypt - had no more secrets left to yield. In February 2006, however, Egyptologist Otto Schaden and his team revealed KV63, the first new tomb discovered in the area in more than 80 years. Schaden's lucky find - he and his team stumbled upon the site - shatters the long-held belief that the Valley's riches had all been unearthed. As Mansour Bouriak, the director of Luxor monuments, told the New York Times, "This cache is important because it will tell us what the Valley of the Kings was really like. It also proves that the Valley of the Kings is not exhausted. It has a lot to offer to us just waiting to be discovered."

The Valley of the Kings, an ancient burial ground dating back to Egypt's New Kingdom (1500 to 1000 B.C.), is one of the most significant archeological sites in the world. In the past several centuries, more than 60 tombs belonging to pharaohs, queens and nobles have been discovered in the area. In 1922, British archeologist Howard Carter found the famed tomb of Tutankhamen, a boy-king who ruled between 1334 and 1325 B.C. Though the discovery of the tomb (which was filled with priceless gold artifacts) renewed popular interest in ancient Egypt, it would prove the last major find of the century. According to Kent Weeks, an American archeologist not involved with the new discovery, "For a long time, people thought that there was nothing left to find [in the Valley] and excavations seemed unlikely to produce much. So instead, they concentrated on recording what was already there."

Last year, Schaden and his team were conducting "routine digs" near a neighboring tomb when they discovered a depression in the ground that appeared to be the top of a vertical shaft. Though forced to temporarily stop working because the intensely hot off-season was approaching, the team returned to the site several months later. After opening the shaft, they discovered a hidden tomb 13 feet (4 meters) underground. According to Edwin Brock, the co-director of the team, "It was a wonderful thing. It was just so amazing to find an intact tomb here after all the work that's been done before. This was totally unexpected."

At the bottom of the shaft, behind a stone door, Schaden and his team found a single-chamber tomb about 12 feet by 15 feet wide. Though the archeologists have yet to enter the tomb, they have partially opened the door in order to see the room's contents. In the bare, undecorated chamber, Schaden and his colleagues observed five carved wooden sarcophagi - most likely containing mummies - and at least 20 clay jars used to store food and drink for the dead to consume in the afterlife. The archeologists believe that the sarcophagi date back to Egypt's 18th Dynasty, 3,300 to 3,500 years ago.

The discovery of the tomb, which has been named KV63 (the other 62 tombs in the Valley of the Kings are designated KV1-62), raises numerous questions. First, archeologists wonder whom the chamber was originally intended for. Though the tomb is located in the Valley of the Kings, the researchers believe that it is most likely too small and austere to have been the final resting place of a pharaoh. According to Zahi Hawass, Egypt's antiquities chief, "Maybe they are mummies of kings or queens or nobles, we don't know. But it's definitely someone connected to the royal family." Schaden agreed, "It's someone who had the favor of the king." The number of sarcophagi in the room - which was probably meant for only a single mummy - is also a mystery. Researchers have speculated that thousands of years ago, either priests or thieves moved the bodies into the chamber.

Schaden and his team hope that once they gain access to the inside of the tomb, they'll be better equipped to answer these and other queries. They plan to remove the contents of the chamber before the start of the next off-season, though according to Brock, "It's going to take a lot of conservation work to consolidate these things before we can take them out." In the meantime, however, the discovery of K63 has proved an important point - that the riches of the Valley are not fully revealed. As Weeks told the Associated Press, "It's ironic. A century ago, people said the Valley of the Kings is exhausted, there's nothing left. Suddenly Carter found Tutankhamen. So they said, 'Now there's nothing to find'...Now we have KV63," he said. "I wouldn't be surprised if we discover more tombs in the next 10 years."

A World Almanac Book of Records Fact


Frank Morgan played five roles in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz - the Wizard, Professor Marvel (in Kansas), the Emerald City gatekeeper, the cabbie driving the Horse of a Different Color, and the Wizard's guard.

Offbeat News Stories — Sarah Janssen

What's in a Name?
There’s more than one street named "Psycho Path" in the U.S. - but that didn’t stop it from being named the country’s weirdest street name. Several people in different cities entered the punny thoroughfare in’s Wild, Weird, and Wacky Street Names contest. Psycho Path beat out 2,500 other entries, including runners-up Divorce Court, Farfrompoopen Road (reportedly the route to Constipation Ridge), the intersection of Clinton and Fidelity Streets, and Unexpected Road, to claim first prize. Many entrants found humor in certain intersections, like the junction of Stroke and Acoma streets in a Wisconsin retirement community. But living on a street with an unusual name is not without complications. Jeff Zellar, who lives with his second wife on Divorce Court in Pennsylvania, said, "In Divorce Court, there are seven homes - and probably six of us have been divorced already once. When we first moved in, my wife said: ‘This sounds like trouble.’" But for now Zellar and his spouse are still happily married.

Prison Break
Bastoy Prison has been home to some of the Norway’s worst criminals - including its most infamous serial killer - yet prison authorities say that their biggest problem is keeping law-abiding citizens out. The penitentiary, located on a picturesque island in the Oslo fjord, has no fences or walls to keep prisoners in or curious visitors out. Of course, maybe if Bastoy didn’t seem like such a nice place, people would be more inclined to stay away. Bastoy’s 115 "residents," as the prisoners are called, sunbathe and swim on the island’s beach, which is only 150 yards from most of the buildings. They also have the opportunity to play tennis, ride horses, and ski when the season is right. During the day, prison guards work alongside the inmates on the island’s farm, and only five guards stay on the island overnight. The prisoners are largely on an honor system not to escape, but with such cushy digs, why would they try?

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


LOL P&P Rep#LC-DIG-ppmsca-09828

City Hall after the earthquake, showing the shattered foundations, San Francisco, 1906

American novelist Harper Lee, who turns is 80 April 28th, is known for her Pulitzer Prize winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, a coming-of-age story explores the moral nature of human beings, in a setting of the south of the 1930s. Born in Alabama, she worked in New York City as an airline reservation clerk, but turned her hand to writing. In 1957 Lee submitted a series of short stories about her years growing up in the south, and was later encouraged to write a novel based on these stories; thus her only known novel was published in 1960. Harper Lee rarely makes appearances and after Mockingbird had a few short stories published. She recently was portrayed in the film Capote, which covered the period in 1959, when Lee accompanied Truman Capote to Holcomb, Kansas as he conducted research for the book "In Cold Blood." Learn more about Harper Lee at:

A pair of mourning doves set up house in the crook of an open window at my apartment last summer. It was interesting to watch the "changing of the guard," as the male and female birds switched off sitting on the nest every several hours. I became a "parent" several weeks later to Lucy and Desi, the first set of several born and nutured on that windowsill. Spring arrived last week, and guess what? The doves set up house again today! While I'm thinking up names for the next set of babies, learn more about mourning doves at

April 18th is the 100th anniversary the great San Francisco Earthquake. Estimated to be 7.8 on the Richter Scale, the quake, which struck at 5:19 a.m. along the San Andreas Fault and was followed by fires which burned for 4 days, leaving more than 500 city blocks destroyed. Although only 479 deaths were reported (these numbers are believed to be incorrect, with actual estimates in the area of 3000+), and more than half of the city's population (400,000 at the time) were left homeless. San Francisco was quickly rebuilt, but the quake remains a part of its history which will never be forgotten. Learn more at:


LOL P&P Rep#LC-USZ62-105586

Biltmore House and reflections in pool, Asheville, North Carolina.

During May I'm making a trip to North Carolina to visit the famed Biltmore Estate. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt for George Washington Vanderbilt II, at 175,000 square feet, it is the largest private home in the United States. The house, modeled after three 16th century French chateaux, was built in the 1890s, includes 250 rooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, a bowling alley, an indoor pool and grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmstead. Learn more about the house at: Richard Morris Hunt (1827-1895) founded the first American architecture school in 1855, and went on to be one of the Gilded Ages best known architects, whose works included the New York City home of John Jacob Astor IV, "The Breakers," the summer "cottage" (a 70 room mansion) of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, as well as the Pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. Learn more about Hunt at: Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead (1822-1903), is well known for designing well-known urban parks, including New York's Central Park, and Brooklyn's Prospect Park. Learn more about Olmstead at


(c) Edward A. Thomas

Glass Eye

What in the world is an "ocular prosthetic?" More commonly known as an artificial eye, these devices are used to replace a missing natural eye, but do not provide vision. Most ocular prosthetics today are made of kryolite glass or medical-grade acrylic, and can be designed with a variety of pupil colors, and veins. Learn more about the history of artificial eyes at

Do you have a favorite TV character? Is it Edith Bunker, Lurch the Butler, or maybe even Arnold Ziffell? If any of these names sound familiar, a visit to TV Land will be a worthwhile visit, where you can read about shows from the past, learn about the characters on the shows, see episode synopsis's, and photographs. My favorite character is unchanged since childhood....Lucy Ricardo.

U.S. space aficionados will love Spacesounds, a website which plays actual NASA ground and spacecraft communications of the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle missions. Check it out at:

I have an interesting website which simulates past or future games in NCAA basketball, NBA, MLB, and NFL. With baseball season starting this month, this is the perfect link to forward to your favorite baseball fan. In a game I set up between the 1924 New York Yankees (Babe Ruth was number 3 in the lineup), vs. 2005 Arizona Diamondbacks, the Diamondbacks won the game 10-5. Sports fans will love this site:,

I recently watched a documentary about the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Originally opened as a labor camp for Polish political prisoners, it became the biggest of the concentration camps where the Nazis implemented German leader Adolf Hitler's campaign to eliminate the Jews and members of other ethnic or social groups he regarded as objectionable. Upwards of 1.5 million people died at Auschwitz, most of them Jews. In addition to Poles, other groups incarcerated, and often slaughtered, there included Roma (Gypsies), Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, dissidents, disabled person, and Soviet prisoners of war. Learn more about Auschwitz at:

Wacky Wesbite of the Month - .ti dnuof ev'I kniht I tub ,etisbew ykcaw a htiw pu gnimoc egnellahc laer a saw ti htnom sihT (This month it was a real challenge coming up with a wacky website, but I think I've found it) - check out:

My friend Linda brought this to my attention; on Wednesday of this week, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06. For Europeans this will occur on May 4th (where 04/05/06 represents day/month/year).

Quote of the Month

"Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."
     - C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), British Scholar and Novelist

© World Almanac Education Group

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

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