World Almanac Newsletter Archive
May 2005 Newsletter
The World Almanac E-Newsletter
Volume 05, Number 05 — May 2005
What's in this issue?
May Holidays — National and International
This Day In History — May
Travel: Springfield and Its Lincoln Museum
Obituaries - April 2005
Special Feature: V-E Day
Chronology - Events of April 2005
Science in the News: Lucky Break: T. Rex Bone Yields Soft Tissue
Offbeat News Stories
From The World Almanac — The Ten Most Significant Works of Art of the Second Millennium
Links of the Month
How to reach us
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Clean Air Month, Get Caught Reading Month, and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
May 2-8 — National Wildflower Week
May 5-7 — Tulip Time Festival (Pella, IA)
May 6-7 — Bubbles Over Colorado Festival (Manitou Springs, CO)
May 7 — Kentucky Derby (Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY)
May 8 — Race for the Cure® (Pittsburgh, PA)
May 11-22 — Cannes Film Festival (Cannes, France)
May 12-15 — Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival (Gettysburg, PA)
May 13-15 — Morel Mushroom Festival (Muscoda, WI)
May 16 — Dicing for Bibles (St. Ives, Huntingdonshire, England)
May 19-22 — Aspencash Motorcycle Rally (Ruidoso, NM)
May 20 — National Bike to Work Day
May 20-22 — Viking Fest (Poulsbo, WA)
May 21-22 — You Gotta Have Park (Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY)
May 24-27 — Chelsea Flower Show (Chelsea, London)
May 26 — PGA Seniors' Championship
May 26-29 — Mudbug Madness (Shreveport, LA)
May 27-29 — Jazz Banjo Festival (Guthrie, OK); Riverfest (North Little Rock, AR)
May 28-29 — Tea Party Festival (Chestertown, MD)
May 28-30 — Lobsterfest (Mystic, CT)
May 29 — Mad City Marathon (Madison, WI)
May 1 — Orthodox Easter; May Day; Lei Day (Hawaii)
May 3 — National Teacher Day
May 4 — Youth Day (China)
May 5 — Ascension; Cinco de Mayo (Mexico)
May 8 — Mother's Day; World Red Cross Day
May 10 — Vesak Day (Singapore)
May 13 — Friday the Thirteenth
May 14 — National Windmill Day (The Netherlands)
May 15 — Birthday of Buddha (China); Pentecost
May 21 — Armed Forces Day
May 23 — Victoria Day (Canada)
May 26 — Sorry Day/National Day of Healing (Australia)
May 30 — Memorial Day
IT'S A FACT!
The largest suspension bridge in North America is the Verrazano-Narrows in New York, NY, with a main span 4,260 feet long.
|01||1707||England and Scotland unite to form Great Britain.|
|02||1945||The Nazi government surrendered to the Soviet Union.|
|03||1979||Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female prime minister of Britain.|
|04||1970||At Ohio's Kent State University, 4 students are shot and killed by the National Guard during a protest against the Vietnam War.|
|05||1862||The Mexican army defeated the French army in the battle of Puebla; this day later became the "Cinco de Mayo" holiday.|
|06||1915||Babe Ruth hits his first major league homer for the Boston Red Sox in a game against the NY Yankees.|
|07||1915||The British ship Lusitania, traveling from New York to Liverpool, is torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland.|
|08||1945||Americans celebrate V-E (Victory in Europe) Day.|
|09||1961||Newton Minow, newly appointed chairman of the FCC, gave a speech to broadcasters in which he described network TV as a "vast wasteland."|
|10||1775||The Green Mountain Boys under Col. Ethan Allen capture Fort Ticonderoga, NY, from the British.|
|11||1969||The Battle of Hamburger Hill, in which Americans suffer heavy casualties, begins in Vietnam.|
|12||1949||The Soviet blockade of West Berlin, begun in June 1948, is lifted.|
|13||1981||Pope John Paul II is seriously wounded by an escaped Turkish murderer, Mehmet Ali Agca, while riding in an open vehicle through Rome's St. Peter's Square.|
|14||1796||English physician Edward Jenner begins an experiment that leads to his discovery of the smallpox vaccine.|
|15||1970||Pres. Richard Nixon names the first 2 female generals in U.S. history.|
|16||1868||President Andrew Johnson was acquitted in his impeachment trial by one Senate vote.|
|17||1875||The first Kentucky Derby is run at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY.|
|18||1980||Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington after lying dormant for 123 years.|
|19||1984||The Edmonton Oilers win the Stanley Cup, ending the NY Islanders' streak of 4 consecutive NHL titles.|
|20||1902||Cuba gained its independence from Spain.|
|21||1991||Former Indian Prime Min. Rajiv Gandhi is assassinated by a bomb during a campaign rally.|
|22||1807||Former vice president Aaron Burr was indicted for treason.|
|23||1533||England's King Henry VIII is divorced from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.|
|24||1844||Samuel Morse sends the first official message over a telegraph line—"What hath God wrought?"—from Washington, DC, to Baltimore.|
|25||1946||Transjordan (later called Jordan) is proclaimed an independent kingdom under King Abdullah.|
|26||1865||The last rebel troops fighting the Civil War surrender.|
|27||1937||The Golden Gate Bridge is opened in San Francisco.|
|28||1588||The first of 130 ships in the Spanish Armada set sail from Lisbon bound for the English Channel.|
|29||1453||In a battle that marks the end of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople falls to the Turks, who rename it Istanbul.|
|30||1431||Joan of Arc is burned at the stake by the English after having been convicted of heresy.|
|31||1793||The Reign of Terror begins in France, targeting opponents of the French Revolution.|
|01||1925||Scott Carpenter, astronaut (Boulder, CO)|
|02||1945||Bianca Jagger, actress/activist and ex-wife of singer Mick Jagger (Managua, Nicaragua)|
|03||1974||Jewel (Kilcher), singer (Payson, UT)|
|04||1930||Roberta Peters, opera singer (New York, NY)|
|05||1943||Michael Palin, actor/comedian and member of Monty Python (Sheffield, England)|
|06||1945||Bob Seger, singer/songwriter (Ann Arbor, MI)|
|07||1950||Tim Russert, TV journalist (Buffalo, NY)|
|08||1975||Enrique Iglesias, singer (Madrid, Spain)|
|09||1918||Mike Wallace, TV journalist (Brookline, MA)|
|10||1965||Rony Seikaly, basketball player (Beirut, Lebanon)|
|11||1963||Natasha Richardson, actress (London, England)|
|12||1971||Sofia Coppola, director (New York, NY)|
|13||1923||Beatrice Arthur, actress (New York, NY)|
|14||1925||Patrice Munsel, opera singer (Spokane, WA)|
|15||1910||Constance Cummings, actress (Seattle, WA)|
|16||1955||Olga Korbut, Olympic champion gymnast (Grodno, USSR)|
|17||1972||Mia Hamm, champion soccer player (Selma, AL)|
|18||1955||Yun-Fat Chow, actor (Hong Kong)|
|19||1945||Pete Townshend, musician/singer/member of the Who and writer (Chiswick, England)|
|20||1972||Busta Rhymes, rapper (Brooklyn, NY)|
|21||1951||Al Franken, comedian/actor/writer (New York, NY)|
|22||1943||Betty Williams, British peace activist, 1976 Nobel laureate (Belfast, N. Ireland)|
|23||1954||Marvelous Marvin Hagler, champion boxer (Newark, NJ)|
|24||1955||Rosanne Cash, country singer (Memphis, TN)|
|25||1971||Sheryl Swoopes, basketball player (Brownfield, TX)|
|26||1955||Wesley Walker, football player (San Bernardino, CA)|
|27||1915||Herman Wouk, novelist (New York, NY)|
|28||1945||John Fogerty, rock singer (Berkeley, CA)|
|29||1959||Rupert Everett, actor (Norfolk, England)|
|30||1963||Lisa Kudrow, actress (Encino, CA)|
|30||1965||Brooke Shields, actress/model (New York, NY)|
Springfield has the sorts of attractions one might expect of a relatively young (less than two centuries old) moderate-sized (about 100,000 people) town that is the capital of a major state like Illinois — museums, the state capitol, a botanical garden, a zoo. But it also has something that can be found nowhere else: a number of sites and mementos devoted to Abraham Lincoln, who, as the 16th U.S. president, presided over the most strife-torn and momentous period in the country's history. Springfield was Lincoln's home when his political career started to take off. On April 19, 2005 — the 140th anniversary of Lincoln's funeral at the White House — a major new attraction, the resolutely high-tech, high-showmanship Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, had its grand opening here. The ceremony, held in brilliantly bright weather, was attended by U.S. President George W. Bush and other dignitaries.
Super presidential library-museum
The new museum is part of a $150 million four-block complex devoted to Lincoln in downtown Springfield. One major segment, the Lincoln Presidential Library, opened in 2004. Still to be completed are a park and a parking garage/visitor center in a renovated 1890 train station. The complex, the largest and most expensive library-museum ever created for a U.S. president, is owned by the state of Illinois. The library and associated archives house more than 12 million documents, books, and artifacts concerning Illinois history as well as tens of thousands relating to Lincoln.
The museum part of the complex is more unusual. The building itself is an unassuming structure, designed by the noted American architect Gyo Obata, whose works around the world include the U.S. National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.; King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; and the Taipei World Trade Center. The museum's 46,000 sq ft (4300 sq m) of exhibit space and two theaters, however, offer the visitor not only a traditional museum opportunity to see artifacts and reconstructions of the past but also a chance to experience the past and interact with it in an entertaining way. To bring Lincoln and his times to life, planners made extensive use of holography, animation, and other special-effects technologies. In a controversial move, they resorted to dramatizations that occasionally creatively rework documented history. The 1860 election campaign, for example, is presented as if it were taking place in today's world of sound bites and TV newscasts. In the words of Richard Norton Smith, the museum's executive director, "If you want to see marble icons, go to Washington." The museum declares that its intention "is not to fully explain all of the issues that confronted Lincoln but to inspire in the visitor a deep sense of personal connection and empathy with the man." It also includes a special kids' area, called Mrs. Lincoln's Attic, where children can sample clothes, toys, and books of Lincoln's time and try their hand at the chores he did as a boy.
Other Lincoln sites
Several other Lincoln-related sites are located quite close to the presidential museum. The Lincoln Home National Historic Site features the restored Quaker-brown house, where Lincoln and his family lived from 1844 to 1861. The parks service is restoring the surrounding neighborhood to make it look as it did in the mid-19th century. The Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site is believed to be the only surviving building where Lincoln practiced law. Also nearby is the Lincoln Depot Historic Site, where Lincoln gave his famous farewell address as he was leaving for his inauguration in the national capital ("Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when or whether ever I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington.") In addition to exhibits it offers a video on Lincoln's journey to the inauguration. The Old State Capitol is also worth a visit. It was here that Lincoln delivered the celebrated 1858 speech in which he declared, "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free." It is also where his body lay in state before being buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery.
The Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site in the cemetery, located roughly 2 mi (3 km) north of the Capitol, contains the remains of Lincoln and several family members. The accompanying monument stands 117 ft (36 m) tall. About 20 mi (30 km) northwest of Springfield is Lincoln's New Salem Historic Site, a reconstruction of the village where the future president lived from 1831 to 1837.
For sightseers craving a respite from things Lincoln, Springfield has several other destinations worth visiting. Not far from the Lincoln Museum, and located close to each other, are the home of the popular poet Vachel Lindsay and the Dana-Thomas House (1904), a fine example of the early Prairie-house style of Frank Lloyd Wright. The Illinois State Museum has extensive art, history, anthropology, and natural history collections focusing on the Midwest, particularly Illinois. Especially impressive are the museum's archaeological holdings, numbering more than 7.5 million artifacts from over 2,000 sites; its collection of North American mammal fossils from the late Quaternary period; and its holdings of Pleistocene-aged fossils from the American Midwest.
The Museum of Funeral Customs, at the entrance to Oak Ridge Cemetery, is said to be the leading institution of its type in the U.S.; some of its exhibits pertain to Lincoln's death. Museums associated with the Civil War-era, without necessarily focusing on Lincoln, include the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Museum and the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War Museum. And firefighting buffs will want to stop by the Illinois Fire Museum.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum http://www.alincoln-library.com/intro.html/
Lincoln Home National Historic Site http://www.nps.gov/liho/
Illinois State Museum http://www.museum.state.il.us/
Dana-Thomas House http://www.dana-thomas.org/
Illinois Bureau of Tourism http://www.enjoyillinois.com/3-day/pkg_1.html
IT'S A FACT!
France was the world's top tourist destination in 2002 with 77.1 million visitors.
Bellow, Saul, 89, U.S. Nobel laureate in literature (1976) who created a host of memorable characters in such novels as The Adventures of Augie March (1953), Henderson the Rain King (1959), Herzog (1964) and Humboldt's Gift (1975); Brookline, MA, April 5, 2005.
Bronfman, Edward, 77, Canadian businessman who with his younger brother, Peter Bronfman, created what was once one of North America's largest corporate enterprises, Edper Investments Ltd.; Toronto, ON, April 4, 2004.
Conroy, Frank, 69, author of the critically acclaimed memoir Stop-Time (1967) and director of the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop for nearly two decades; Iowa City, IA, April 6, 2005.
Dworkin, Andrea, 58, radical feminist and antipornography crusader; Washington, D.C., April 9, 2005.
Heath, Percy, 81, bassist who anchored the seminal Modern Jazz Quartet for four decades, until the group permanently disbanded in the late 1990s; Southampton, NY, April 28, 2005.
Hilleman, Maurice R., microbiologist who was the most prolific vaccine developer in medical history; Philadelphia, PA, April 11, 2005.
Houston, James A., Canadian-born author, artist, glass designer and filmmaker who helped popularize Eskimo art worldwide; New London, CT, April 17, 2005.
Hussey, Ruth, actress nominated for an Oscar for her supporting role in the Philadelphia Story (1940), one of more than 40 films she appeared in between 1937 and 1960; Newbury Park, CA, April 19, 2005.
Iakovos, Archbishop, primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America from 1959 to 1996; Stamford, CT, April 10, 2005.
John Paul II, Pope, 84, leader of Roman Catholic Church for 26 years, the third longest papal reign in history. Born Karol Wojtyla in Wadowice, Poland, in 1920, he served as archbishop; of Krakow and participated in the Second Vatican Council. He was 58 years old when he ascended to the papacy in 1978, making him the youngest pope to be elected in the 20th century, and the first Polish pope in history. A charismatic figure, he drew huge crowds in his record-breaking journeys to nearly 130 countries around the world. A conservative in matters of doctrine and morals, he was also ecumenical in his approach. The first pope to visit Palestine, he made an apology for Christian persecution of Jews in the past and greatly improved relations between Catholics and Jews; Vatican City, April 2, 2005.
Johnson, Johnnie, rollicking pianist who worked closely with rock-and-roll legend Chuck Berry and to whom Berry paid tribute in his song "Johnny B. Goode."; St. Louis, MO, April 13, 2005.
Messick, Dale, 98, pioneering female comic-strip artist whose best-known creation was intrepid reporter Brenda Starr, introduced in 1940; Penngrove, CA, April 5, 2005.
Mills, Sir John, 97, British actor who appeared in more than 100 films and in scores of plays both in London and on Broadway; a 1971 Oscar winner (for a supporting role in Ryan's Express), he was the father of actresses Juliet and Hayley Mills; Denham, England, April 23, 2005.
Morrison, Philip, 89, physicist who helped develop the atom bomb, made important contributions to astrophysics, and helped popularize science both in print and on public television; Cambridge, MA, April 22, 2005.
Perdue, Frank, 84, one of the U.S.'s largest poultry marketers, who, as a longtime pitchman for his company, was identified with the slogan "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken"; Salisbury, MD, March 31, 2005 (some sources said he died on April 1).
Rainier III, Prince, 81, ruler of the principality of Monaco since 1949 and Europe's longest-reigning monarch; he had been married to U.S. film star Grace Kelly from 1956 until her death in 1982; Monaco, April 6, 2005.
Schell, Maria, 79, Austrian-born actress who during the 1950s starred in U.S., British and European films but who never achieved the international recognition of her younger brother, actor Maximilian Schell; Preitenegg, Austria, April 26, 2005.
Trotman, Alexander J. (Lord Trotman of Osmotherly), 71, Briton who rose through the ranks at Ford Motor Co. to become the giant automaker's first non-American chairman and chief executive in 1993; he remained at Ford's helm through 1998; Yorkshire, England, April 25, 2005.
Weizman, Ezer, 80, Israeli military leader and cabinet minister who from 1993 to 2000 served as his nation's seventh president, he was a nephew of Israel's first president, Chaim Weizmann; Caesarea, Israel, April 24, 2005.
by Mary Funchion
Sixty years ago, on May 8, 1945, millions of people around the world celebrated V-E, or Victory in Europe, Day. On May 7, Germany signed an unconditional surrender with representatives of the Allied forces, ending almost six years of conflict on an unprecedented scale that had engulfed most nations of the world. Although the defeat of Nazi Germany and its dictator Adolf Hitler meant victory for the Allied troops, it did not mean the end of World War II. Japan was still very much involved in the global conflict, and the war in the Pacific would not come to an end until August 1945.
A Widening War
When World War I ended, more than twenty years before World War II began, Germany, on the losing side, was one of the countries deeply dissatisfied with the outcome. In accordance with the Treaty of Versailles, Germany had lost more than 13 percent of its territory. It also had to reduce its army and navy, stop all importation and exportation of war material, and make substantial financial reparations for its part in the war. Many German citizens felt humiliated and resented the limitations that had been imposed on them. They were also beset by extreme economic inflation, which undermined the stability of the Weimar Republic government. This mood set the stage for the emergence and eventual dominance of Hitler and the Nazi (National Socialist) party. Hitler, who was appointed chancellor in 1933, promised to overturn all terms of the Versailles Treaty and to gain more Lebensraum ("living space") for the German people.
Italy and Japan had been victors in World War I, but were unsatisfied with the amount of territory granted to them. Italy wanted additional territory, and Japan wished to gain control of China. The three countries made a formal treaty in 1936-38, bringing about the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis. The "Axis" became the collective term used when describing the three countries and their allies.
In March 1938, Hitler's forces annexed Austria (where he had been born and brought up). Hitler struck again in September 1938 when he annexed the Sudetenland, part of Czechoslovakia. The Czechs attempted to appease Hitler, giving up this part of their land in return for Hitler's promise not to take any more territory. However, in March 1939, Hitler invaded and took over the remaining section of Czechoslovakia.
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division (Reproduction #LC-USZ62-48839)
Hitler now threatened to take over Poland. The French had a defense treaty with Poland, and promised help if the Germans invaded. Britain also agreed to come to Poland's aid. On September 1, 1939 Hitler's forces invaded Poland. On September 3, Britain and France declared war on Germany, but did not immediately come to Poland's aid. By September 20, most of Poland was occupied by German or Soviet forces. The Soviet Union had signed a pact with Germany the previous August, in which both countries agreed not to go to war against each other.
In the spring of 1940, Germany invaded Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France. Britain was now the only active European enemy of Germany to the west, and its Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, was determined to continue fighting. Hitler attempted to invade Britain by bombing its cities, but the German forces did not cause enough damage to British air forces, so Hitler this plan was abandoned in September 1940. Though sympathetic to the Allies, the United States was not willing to enter the war.
In the early 1940s, Romania, Hungary, and Bulgaria joined the Axis, and Hitler invaded an additional two countries -- Yugoslavia and Greece. In June 1941, Hitler broke his agreement with the Soviet Union and invaded it. The Germans took thousands of prisoners, and covered much ground on their way to Moscow. However, the cold Russian winter and determination of the Soviet forces kept the Germans from taking over the country.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor -- a naval base in Hawaii. The attack, which caught U.S. forces completely off guard, brought the U.S. into the war allied with the British and Soviet forces. These three countries and their supporters became known as the Allies.
By 1942, the Axis forces appeared to be in command of the war. On the eastern front in Europe, Hitler's forces had almost reached Stalingrad in Russia; and Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, one of Hitler's commanding officers, was steadily gaining ground in North Africa.
However, the Allied forces continued to fight and Rommel's troops were pushed back by British forces under the command of General Bernard Law Montgomery. In Russia, Soviet forces successfully defended the city of Stalingrad against a months long siege that ended with a German surrender in January 1943. In Italy, after a series of military defeats and a successful Allied invasion in the south, the king stripped the country's dictator, Benito Mussolini, of power that summer and in September concluded an armistice with the Allies.
Army troops wade ashore on "Omaha" Beach, 6 June 1944
On June 6, 1944, Allied forces crossed the English Channel and invaded the beaches at Normandy, France. Commanded by U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the mission was officially named "Operation Overlord," and marked a significant victory for the Allies. Fighting was intense, in particular at Omaha Beach where around 2,400 U.S. soldiers died. However, the victory allowed the Allies to move further into France, and by August 25, Paris was liberated. The Allies continued to move further into Europe, freeing parts of Belgium and the Netherlands on their way east into Germany.
The Beginning of the End
By January 1945, Soviet troops were beginning to march towards Germany from the west and the north. In February, Allied armies reached Germany from the west. To do so, they had to cross the Rhine River. Almost all of the bridges had been destroyed, but by March 22, the U.S. Third Army crossed the Rhine. More of the Allied forces followed, including the British Second Army and the U.S. Ninth Army.
Though Allied forces continued to gain ground in Germany from both directions, Hitler still hoped to be able to defend the German capital, Berlin. He also hoped that the Allies would falter with the death of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, on April 12.
On April 16, the Soviet forces started towards Berlin, and on April 22 captured Treuenbrietzen, a town south of the city. Berlin was almost entirely encircled, and Hitler and his associates knew that the war was over. On April 25, U.S. and Soviet forces met at the Elbe River in the middle of Germany. Berlin had been completely encircled by Soviet forces, and the Allies now controlled half of Germany.
On April 29, U.S. forces entered and captured the cities of Munich in Germany, and Turin in Italy. Rumors began to circulate that Germany had surrendered, but this was denied by U.S. President Harry Truman and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF). In fact, Heinrich Himmler, head of the German Secret State Police, had offered to surrender on April 21, but only to the western allies. The Allied forces would only accept unconditional surrender, and so refused this offer.
On April 28, Mussolini was captured and shot dead by Italian partisans while trying to escape to Switzerland. Two days later, Hitler died in his Berlin bunker. Before his death, he named Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz as his successor. At first, Dönitz maintained that Hitler had died during the Battle of Berlin, but it later emerged that he had committed suicide.
Berlin finally fell on May 2, when German General Helmuth Weidling surrendered to Russian Generals Chuikov and Sokolovskii. On the same day, more than a million German soldiers in Italy and Austria surrendered. Two days later, four German officers surrendered all troops facing General Montgomery's army -- this included soldiers in the Netherlands, north Germany, and Denmark.
The final surrender of all German troops came on May 7 at 2:41 a.m. General Alfred Jodl flew to Reims, France where he signed an unconditional surrender of all German land, sea, and air forces at Eisenhower's office. General Walter Bedell Smith signed for SHAEF, General Ivan Susloparov signed for the Soviet High Command, and General François Sevez acted as a witness for France. The surrender was to come into effect at 11:59 p.m. on May 8. Eisenhower telephoned Churchill's office to inform him that the Germans had surrendered. However, the message did not reach him until the following morning because he had left strict instructions with his secretary that he was only to be woken if Britain was being invaded!
U.S. Naval Historical Center
Newspaper headlines from V-E Day
Churchill and Truman wished to announce V-E Day on May 7, but Soviet leader Joseph Stalin refused to recognize the signatures on the first surrender, and asked for a second notice of surrender to be signed in Berlin. On May 7, the German Foreign Minister Count Schwerin von Krosigk made an announcement that Germany had surrendered, and the news was broadcast around the world. Even though the surrender had not been officially declared, crowds in the United States and Britain began to celebrate. Churchill and Truman realized it would be impossible to delay announcing the surrender of the Germans, and so made an official statement on May 7 that the following day would be "treated as Victory-in-Europe Day." On the same day, all German troops in Norway surrendered.
On May 8, a second and final unconditional surrender was signed in Berlin with Marshal Zhukov acting as the representative of the Soviet High Command according to Stalin's wishes. Although the surrender was now completely official, some German troops refused to surrender. The Allied and Soviet forces had to quell these uprisings in northern Germany, Denmark, and Czechoslovakia. By the end, Allied and Soviet forces had captured more than one million German prisoners.
As the Allied and Soviet forces gained ground through German territory, they liberated concentration camps. These camps were first established by Germany in the 1930s as a place for people that the Nazi party objected to. These people were placed under "preventative arrest" and included Jews, gypsies, communists, disabled persons, trade unionists, and Soviet prisoners.
In January 1945, Soviet forces reached the camp of Auschwitz in Poland. The camp was empty of German troops, but 7,000 prisoners remained -- all in a state of starvation. A further 58,000 prisoners had been forced to march to another camp on a "death march."
Allied forces also freed many camps, and found much evidence of the horrific mistreatment and murder of the prisoners, of whom a huge percentage were Jewish. On April 4, U.S. forces arrived at the labor camp of Ohrdruf, but did not find any survivors. They liberated the camp of Belsen on April 15, and the camp at Dachau on April 29. One camp, Theresienstadt, was liberated on V-E Day.
Prisoners in the Mauthausen concentration camp near Linz, Austria welcome the allied troops.
The Allied and Soviet forces attempted to help the prisoners and nurse them back to health, but many did not survive simply because they had gone beyond the point of physical recovery. The sheer horror of these camps can be seen from camps such as Treblinka, where fewer than 300 of 750,000 Polish Jews transported there survived the war.
"It's Over, Over Here"
The first V-E Day was celebrated in the United States and Britain on May 8. In many places, celebrations had started the evening before with people lighting bonfires around Britain to celebrate the fact that they no longer had to obey blackout restrictions.
In New York, thousands of people gathered in celebration in Times Square, singing and dancing while showers of ticker tape rained down on them from surrounding office buildings. Some of the biggest celebrations took place in London, where more than 8 million people gathered in the capital to celebrate the end of the war in Europe. People sang and danced in the streets while church bells rang. The British king and queen made eight appearances on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, and their daughters, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, left the palace for several hours to join in the street celebrations.
In some places, V-E Day ended in riots. In Nova Scotia, Canada, a riot broke out when civilians and military personnel broke into two liquor stores. In Dublin, Ireland, a riot broke out at Trinity College when students there celebrated by flying the British, American, Russian, and Irish flags. Ireland was a neutral country during the war, and some people thought that this show of pro-Allied feeling was inappropriate.
Although celebrations were widespread, V-E Day was one of sadness and reflection for many others. Truman reminded the American public that this day was one of "sorrow and heartbreak in the homes of so many of our neighbors," while New York's Governor Thomas E. Dewey asked that people spend the day in "thanksgiving, work, and prayer." Many people spent the day in remembrance of those they had lost, or simply thankful that this stage of the war was over.
The knowledge that war with Japan was ongoing also muted the celebrations. Truman said, "our victory is but half-won. When the last Japanese division has surrendered unconditionally, then only will our fighting job be done." In countries closer to Japan, people did not understand why celebrations were taking place. One Australian newspaper asked its readers "since when has it been customary to celebrate victory halfway through a contest?"
Some Allied soldiers celebrated V-E Day by burning effigies of the swastika or having a party, but for many the celebrations were subdued as they remained aware that they may be sent to fight in the Pacific.
With the end of World War II in Germany, came the division of the country into four sectors. In 1949, the U.S., French, and British zones were joined to become the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) while the Soviet-occupied zone became the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). On May 5, 1955 -- fifty years ago -- West Germany was acknowledged as a sovereign nation, ending its status as an occupied country, and joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
In response, East Germany and six other communist nations signed the Warsaw Pact. These events would eventually lead to the Cold War. Germany did not become a reunited country until the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.
V-E Day is a day to be remembered in honor of the more than 20,000 people killed each day during a war that changed the shape of the world.
IT'S A FACT!
The Seikan tunnel in Japan is the world's longest railway tunnel, at 33.5 miles long.
Former National Security Adviser Pleads Guilty — Samuel Berger, who served as national security adviser to Pres. Bill Clinton, pleaded guilty Apr. 1 to intentionally removing classified documents from the National Archives and destroying others. As a penalty, he agreed to pay a fine of $10,000. His motive remained unclear.
Opponent of Abortion Pleads Guilty to Bombings — Eric Rudolf, who had eluded capture for over 5 years in the mountains of North Carolina, pleaded guilty Apr. 13 to 4 bombings that in total killed 2 people and injured more than 120. Rudolf, who had been arrested in 2003, pleaded guilty to bombing a clinic in Birmingham in 1998 where abortions were performed. Later on Apr. 13, in Atlanta, Rudolf pleaded guilty to 3 other bombings including the explosion at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta that had killed 1 person and injured 111. He also pleaded guilty to 2 other bombings, in 1997 in Atlanta, at a gay and lesbian nightclub and at a family-planning clinic that performed abortions.
Senate Nears Showdown Over Judicial Nominees — Tension mounted in April as the U.S. Senate moved toward a confrontation over Pres. Bush's judicial nominees. The Senate had approved 205 of 215 nominees for the federal appellate and district courts, but others had been blocked by Democrats who filibustered to prevent an up-or-down vote on the nominees. Republicans had been unable to muster the 60 votes required to stop the filibuster.
Bush Feb. 14 renominated 7 of his blocked candidates. Amid Democratic opposition, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R, TN) had signaled his intention to change Senate procedural rules to require only 51 votes to end a filibuster on judicial nominees. This was dubbed the "nuclear option." Democrats Mar. 15 warned that if Republicans used the nuclear option, they would retaliate by using procedural tactics to shut down the Senate except for legislation that would keep the government and military functioning.
On Apr. 7, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R, TX) denounced "a judiciary run amok." He wanted Congress to "reassert our constitutional authority over the courts." Pres. Bush Apr. 8 distanced himself from DeLay's remarks, while Vice Pres. Dick Cheney said he opposed retribution against judges for "a decision we don't like."
Frist spoke Apr. 25 on a telecast organized by Christian conservatives who contended that the Bush judicial nominees were being opposed because of their religious faith.
Bush Nominee for UN Post Takes Heavy Criticism — John Bolton, undersec. of state for arms control and international security and Pres. Bush's controversial choice as U.S. ambassador to the UN, began his confirmation hearings Apr. 11 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Responding to suggestions that he had displayed a pattern of abuse toward others, he admitted that he had lost confidence in intelligence officials with whom he disagreed, but denied that he had sought to have them dismissed. Bolton's defenders, including Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice, declared that Bolton was just the person to shake up a UN that needed reform. With several Republicans not yet ready to endorse Bolton, and as allegations came forward, Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R, IN) agreed Apr. 19 to postpone a vote on Bolton's confirmation until May.
Suspect Admits Role in Planning U.S. Terror Attack — Zacarias Moussaoui, the defendant in the plot to attack the U.S. with hijacked airplanes pleaded guilty Apr. 22 in Federal District Court in Alexandria, VA. Moussaoui, a French citizen with Moroccan roots, was the only person facing a U.S. trial in connection with the Sept. 11, 2001 terror strikes. In a written statement, Moussaoui pleaded guilty and acknowledged that he knew of al-Qaeda's plot to fly planes into buildings and had agreed to come to the U.S. to help carry out the attacks. However, in court Apr. 22, he contradicted his signed statement, saying he had nothing to do with the events of Sept. 11. He said that he had planned to participate in a plot to fly a plane into the White House at a later date.
Bush Meets Saudi Leader -Pres. Bush met with Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in Crawford, TX, Apr. 25, with oil prices foremost on the agenda. On international markets, oil prices had recently hit new highs while the price of gasoline in the U.S. had risen well above $2 per gallon. Bush urged Abdullah to help reduce oil prices, even in the face of growing worldwide demand. In a speech Apr. 27, Bush called for constructing more nuclear power plants and urged Congress to give tax breaks for fuel-efficient hybrid and clean-diesel cars. He said he could not do anything in the short term to bring down high gasoline costs.
House Votes on Ethics Rules -The House of Representatives voted Apr. 27 to revert back to previous ethics rules, first instated in 1997, paving the way for an investigation into trips taken Majority Leader Tom DeLay which were allegedly paid for by lobbyists. The Republican majority had in January changed House rules for investigating members and staff, making it difficult for the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats) to look into ethics violations without a majority vote of the committee. Many Democrats believed this was done to protect DeLay. Under the revoked rules, if the committee could not proceed by majority vote, then complaints would be dismissed after 45 days. Now, if the committee reaches an impasse, complaints would be sent to a special investigatory committee. In addition to DeLay, several Democrats may also face committee investigation.
Bush Pitches Social Security Reform in Prime Time Press Conference -Pres. Bush, in a rare prime time press conference Apr. 28, continued to press his controversial plan for optional private investment accounts as a component of social security, while also, for the first time, proposing benefit cuts for future high-income and middle-income retirees as a key ingredient in putting social security on a sound financial footing. The benefit cuts, which were not spelled out in detail, were expected to cover about 70% of the projected shortfall in future social security revenues; Bush said he would work with Congress on other proposals provided they did not raise the payroll tax or endanger the economy. Democrats responded that Bush's cuts would impact heavily on the middle class. Also during the press conference Bush addressed the problem of soaring gas prices by calling for greater use of alternative energy resources and pledging to encourage oil-producing nations to increase production. He called on Congress to get an energy bill to through before the summer.
Bush said he disagreed with charges made by a conservative lobby group—the Family Research Council — that judicial appointments were being held up by Senate Democrats because of religious faith issues. On another controversial issue, Bush defended his support for UN ambassador nominee John Bolton.
Parliament Accepts Kyrgyzstan President's Resignation — The political leadership in Kyrgyzstan remained in turmoil as the month began. Pres. Askar Akayev, who had been in Moscow since a popular uprising in March, met with legislators Apr. 3, and on Apr. 4 offered to resign. The Kyrgyz parliament did not initially accept the offer because Akayev would have been immune from prosecution for alleged wrongdoing in office. Finally, parliament did accept it Apr. 11 and scheduled a presidential election for July.
Iraq Makes Headway in Forming a Government — Three months after the Iraqi people chose the members of a national assembly, political leaders were still struggling to form a transitional government. The assembly Apr. 6 chose a president, Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani. Two vice presidents, a Shiite Muslim and a Sunni Muslim, were also chosen Apr. 6. For the more powerful position of premier, the 3-member presidential council Apr. 7 nominated Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shiite Muslim who had the support of the United Iraqi Alliance, which controlled a majority of the seats in the assembly.
Insurgent attacks continued, now shifting somewhat more strongly toward Iraqis themselves. U.S. forces, however, were the targets of an Apr. 2 assault on the Abu Ghraib prison, which wounded 23 U.S. soldiers and 13 prisoners. Bombs in Kirkuk Apr. 13 killed 9 policemen. Two bombs Apr. 14 killed 19 in Baghdad. A bomb in a Baquba restaurant Apr. 16 killed at least 13 Iraqis, mostly policemen. Police Apr. 20 found 58 bodies in the Tigris River. That same day, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad, people in Haditha found 19 people shot to death in a stadium. Insurgents shot down a civilian helicopter north of Baghdad Apr. 21; all 11 aboard, including 6 American contractors, were killed. Bombs in Baghdad and Tikrit Apr. 24 killed 21 and wounded scores. A roadside bomb killed 4 American soldiers and wounded 4 others Apr. 28 150 mi. north of Baghdad.
Insurgents launched a coordinated series of deadly car bomb and mortar attacks in Baghdad and nearby areas Apr. 29 killing at least 41 people and wounding at least 90 more. Included among the casualties were 3 American soldiers killed. Another car bomb near Diyarah killed at least 2 American soldiers. Several more were American soldiers were wounded in a separate incident when their humvee rolled into a ditch near Abu Ghraib. A statement issued by coalition forces said that the attacks were a desperate attempt to discredit the new Iraqi government.
Five insurgent car bombings in the Baghdad area Apr. 30 left at least 11 Iraqis dead and more than 40 wounded. That same day in Mosul, insurgent attacks killed at least 3 and wounded 9, including 1 American soldier.
A military jury at Fort Bragg, NC, Apr. 28 sentenced army Sgt. Hasan Akbar to death for killing two fellow soldiers at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait in March 2003. Using grenades and a rifle, Akbar, a Muslim, also wounded 14 other soldiers in the said by prosecutors to have been driven by religious extremism.
Prince Rainier of Monaco Dies — Prince Rainier III, ruler of the Mediterranean principality of Monaco since 1949, died Apr. 6 at age 81. Long known as a gambling resort, Monaco had enjoyed a boom in tourism and development during his reign. Rainier in 1956 had married American actress Grace Kelly, who died in 1982. Prince Albert, their only son (they also had 2 daughters), succeeded his father.
Bush Meets Israeli Prime Minister in Texas — Prime Min. Ariel Sharon met with Pres. Bush Apr. 11 at his ranch in Crawford, TX. Bush supported Sharon's decision to evacuate Jewish settlers living in the Gaza Strip. However, Sharon said that in any final settlement with the Palestinians — large Israeli population centers — would remain in the West Bank. Bush disapproved of the planned expansion of the largest Israeli West Bank settlement, which would eventually touch the eastern edge of Jerusalem.
Indictments Announced in UN Oil-for-Food Scandal -Several indictments were handed down Apr. 14 as the oil-for-food scandal continued to unfold. U.S. Atty. David Kelley announced in New York that David Chalmers Jr. and his Houston-based company, Bayoil USA had been charged with paying kickbacks to Iraqis to win contracts under the oil-for-food program. Chalmers and another of his companies, Bayoil Supply and Trading Ltd., faced additional charges. Also, South Korean businessman Tongsun Park, was charged with trying to bribe a UN official.
President of Ecuador Flees His Palace — Pres. Lucio Gutierrez Apr. 20 fled from his palace in Quito, Ecuador , after the Ecuadorian Congress voted to remove him, and sought refuge at the Brazilian embassy. Gutierrez, elected in 2002 as a leftist, had angered his supporters by embracing free-market policies. Accusations of nepotism and corruption had been leveled against his administration causing large crowds to demand his resignation. After his departure, Vice Pres. Alfredo Palacio was sworn in as president Apr. 20.
A high-level delegation from the Organization of American States Apr. 27 began an investigation into Gutierrez's ouster and the justification for the congress's action.
Syria Completes Troop Withdrawal from Lebanon — Syria Apr. 26 fulfilled its pledge to withdraw its troops from Lebanon. They departed with a farewell ceremony at the international border. The Syrians had entered Lebanon in 1976, ostensibly as peacekeepers during a civil war, but had remained while Syria exercised great influence in Lebanon's politics. The impact of the Feb. 14 assassination of former Prime Min. Rafik al-Hariri continued to be felt in the Lebanese government. Prime Min. Omar Karami resigned Apr.13. Pres. Emile Lahoud Apr. 15 named Najib Mikati, a pro-Syria business man, as acting prime minister. His government would serve until parliamentary elections later in the spring.
Iraq's Assembly Accepts Cabinet — Three months after national elections, Iraq's National Assembly approved a Shiite-led cabinet Apr. 28, despite tension from Sunnis. A number of gaps remained in positions to be filled; Prime Min. Ibrahim al-Jaafari said the remaining positions would be filled in less than a week. The new government drew immediate opposition from Sunni members of the Assembly, some of whom accused the Shiites of trying to divide the country. One third of the National Assembly was absent from the vote.
Taiwan Opposition Leader Meets With Chinese President — In the highest level meeting between the two sides in almost 60 years, the chairman of Taiwan's opposition Nationalist Party, Lien Chan, met with Chinese Pres. Hu Jintao Apr. 29 to discuss a possible easing of hostilities between the People's Republic and Taiwan.. The Taiwanese government, led by Pres. Chen Shui-bian, criticized the talks saying they did nothing to improve relations. Lien urged leaders from both governments to "maintain the status quo," meaning the unwritten arrangement under which China refrains from invading Taiwan while Taiwan refrains from proclaiming independence.
Pope John Paul II Dies at Age 84 — Pope John Paul II, supreme pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church for more than a quarter century, died April 2 in his apartment at the Vatican. Already afflicted with arthritis and Parkinson's disease, he suffered in his last weeks from a urinary tract infection and a bacterial infection that led to organ failure. Having chosen not to return to the hospital, he received last rites on Mar. 31. The Vatican said Apr. 1 that he remained lucid, but he lapsed into unconsciousness the next day.
His body was carried to St. Peter's Basilica to lie in state on Apr. 4, and during the next 3 days some 2 million people passed by his bier. In Rome and throughout the world, the public mourned the passing of a widely admired figure who had been called the people's pope.
Some 200 world leaders attended services for the pope. The U.S. contingent which included Pres. Bush and former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, arrived in Rome Apr. 6. The pope's body was taken outside the basilica for the funeral mass Apr. 8, with 300,000 in attendance, including a large Polish delegation, in St. Peter's Square. Many chanted for the pope to be proclaimed a saint. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gave the homily. John Paul II was then buried in the church's crypt.
North Carolina Wins Men's College Basketball Title -The University of North Carolina Tar Heels Apr. 4 won the men's NCAA Division I basketball championship, defeating Fighting Illini of Illinois 75-70 in St. Louis, MO. The title was the 4th for the Tar Heels and the first for Coach Roy Williams, who had reached the Final Four four times while coaching at Kansas. After trailing by 15 points, the Illini tied the game at 70, but failed to score again. Carolina's Sean May was named the outstanding player of the Final Four. North Carolina, which finished 33-4, won its 4th title. Illinois ended its season at 37-2.
Baylor won the women's title in Indianapolis, IN, Apr. 5, over Michigan State, 84-62. Baylor was coached by Kim Mulkey-Robertson.
Prince Charles Marries His Longtime Companion -Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, married Camilla Parker Bowles in a civil ceremony Apr. 9 at the Guildhall in the town of Windsor. They had been romantically involved off and on since the 1970s. She would be known as Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall. After the ceremony, the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, blessed the couple at Windsor Castle. Queen Elizabeth II, mother of the groom, attended only the latter event. The wedding had been postponed by one day by the funeral of Pope John Paul II, which Charles attended.
Tiger Woods Wins His 4th Masters Title — Tiger Woods, who had not won a major golf title since 2002, broke his slump Apr. 10 by taking his 4th Masters tournament title. He beat Chris DiMarco by sinking a 15-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole after the 2 had tied for the lead at 12 under par over 72 holes. In all, Woods had now won 9 major titles.
Cardinal Ratzinger of Germany Is Elected Pope — Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, already one of the most powerful leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, was elected pope in Rome on Apr. 19. He was chosen on the 4th ballot in voting by the Church's College of Cardinals. Since 1981, he had headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which enforced doctrinal orthodoxy. He was also a close adviser to Pope John Paul II, and was seen as someone who would continue to implement the late pope's conservative policies. The new pope chose to be called Benedict XVI. Cardinal Ratzinger, who had observed his 78th birthday Apr. 16, was the oldest pope at the time of his election since 1730.
On Apr. 18, the cardinals began their conclave in which they would choose the new pope. Voting was limited to the 115 cardinals who were present and under age 80. Meeting in the Sistine Chapel and pledged to secrecy, they reached a quick decision, giving Ratzinger the required two-thirds majority. The decision was signaled by the release of white smoke from a chimney above the stove in which the ballots were burned, and by a clanging of bells throughout Rome.
Shortly thereafter, Benedict XVI appeared on a balcony above St. Peter's Square and greeted a huge crowd that had awaited the outcome. In celebrating his first mass as pope, Apr. 20, he said he would continue John Paul's policies. On Apr. 24 he was formally installed as the 265th pope.
A team of paleontologists has discovered what seems to be intact soft tissue in the bone of a 68-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex. The finding, reported in the March 24 issue of Science, is extremely surprising, since this degree of preservation of soft tissue has never been seen in such ancient remains. Although the finding is unlikely to lead to real-life cloning (a scenario famously portrayed in the book and movie Jurassic Park), it could dramatically enhance our understanding of the physiology of dinosaurs — particularly if proteins and maybe even some DNA can be recovered from the tissue.
The discovery of the tissue was "serendipitous," according to paper co-author Jack Horner, a paleontologist at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana. The femur, or thighbone, of the dinosaur was excavated in 2003 from the remote Hell Creek Formation in Montana. Although the femur came from a relatively small T rex, the 107-centimeter-long (3½-foot-long) bone was too big to be flown out by helicopter in one piece. So team members broke the bone in half, while still in the field, and did not apply any preservatives, which could have contaminated the specimen. It was the need to break the bone that led to the discovery of the tissue.
At her lab at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, paleontologist and lead author Mary Schweitzer examined small pieces of the broken bone and found tissue fragments along the bone cavity, the narrow, hollow region at the center of bones. In order to identify the tissue, Schweitzer tried to "work backwards," she told the Washington Post. She and her colleagues bathed an 8-centimeter (3-inch) fragment of the specimen in a chemical bath for a week to remove the fossilized calcium part of the bone, exposing a network of blood vessels, osteocytes and a collagen matrix. (Bones are living tissue and are thus richly infused with blood vessels. The continuous blood flow supplies osteocytes, which are cells specific to bones, and calcium, which is the inorganic substance that makes bones hard. The blood vessels also remove waste products from the bone. Collagen is a structural protein that binds cells together to form connective tissue.)
The blood vessels and the tissue were so well-preserved that they even retained their original elasticity — when they were stretched apart, they snapped back into place. "Tissue preservation of this extent, where you still have this flexibility and transparency has never been noted in a dinosaur before," Schweitzer said at a press conference. In fact, when Schweitzer compared the soft tissue she found in the T. rex to that of recent ostrich remains, she found extraordinary similarities in blood vessel structure and content. (She used ostriches since current theory suggests that modern birds are dinosaurs' closest living relatives.) "Ostriches that died six months ago are producing structures that are similar to dinosaurs that died 70 million years ago," she told the Los Angeles Times. The scientists believe that there could be intact red blood cells inside the blood vessels, based on the fact that small reddish-brown "dots" — resembling red blood cell nuclei — are visible. However, conclusive proof needs to come from further testing.
The researchers acknowledge that the possibility of recovering fully intact T. rex DNA (the material that contains an organism's genetic code) is highly unlikely, although retrieving fragments may be possible. There is a much greater chance of recovering proteins, however, since proteins are sturdier and more abundant than DNA. These could provide invaluable information about the dinosaurs. Hans-Dieter Sues, associate director of research and collections at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., told the Washington Post that soft tissue could give scientists "insight into all kinds of things—diet, sexual maturity, whether the specimen is the male or female. There's a lot of biological information locked up in this material."
The discovery also raises some questions about the fossilization process. Fossilization occurs when mineral-laden water flows through organic material, and minerals come to replace the original substances in that material. Scientists have long thought that organic matter cannot withstand fossilization for more than 100,000 years, but the new finding is a direct challenge to this assumption. Horner suggested that the dense bone in which the T. rex tissue was found may have accounted for its preservation; it may have been so dense that water could not seep into its interior cavity. (The femur is one of the densest bones in the body of a two-legged organism because it must support the bulk of the upper body.)
If Horner's hypothesis is correct, then it is likely that this T. rex bone is not an anomaly. "Other very dense bone might preserve this kind of soft tissue," Horner told the Wall Street Journal. "I think other labs will start finding things like this if they open up their bones, too." In fact, Schweitzer found similar preservation in the bones of three other dinosaurs she quickly tested—an 80-million-year-old hadrosaur and two 65-million-year-old T. rexes. "They were all preserved a bit differently than each other, but they all contained very similar material [to what] we found in the T. rex," she told the Chicago Tribune. However, soft tissue from dinosaurs in museums and labs around the world may still remain unexamined, nestled in bone cavities, since "people tend not to want their dinosaurs broken," Horner told the Los Angeles Times.
Monkey See, Monkey Do
Chimpanzees are our closest relatives in the animal kingdom and they can be almost as smart — or as dumb — as we are. Zoo officials in South Africa reported recently that Charlie, an adult chimp at Bloemfontein Zoo in Johannesburg, has learned to smoke cigarettes thrown to him by visitors. Zoo spokesman Daryl Barnes said that Charlie had probably started mimicking the actions of smoking visitors, impelling them to pass him real cigarettes. The zoo has tried to discourage Charlie from smoking, and pleads with visitors to stop winging cigarettes into his enclosure, citing the health risks Charlie could face if he doesn’t kick the habit. Meanwhile, Charlie "acts like a naughty schoolboy," according to Barnes, concealing his cigarette when a zoo staffer approaches.
Gunning the Engine
In a questionable act of automotive mercy, a 64-year-old Florida man shot five rounds into his car hood last month with a .380 caliber semiautomatic pistol, arguing that he was just trying "to put my car out of its misery." He was then arrested for discharging a firearm in public. Broward County’s John McGivney told reporters that his chronically troublesome 1994 Chrysler LeBaron had "outlived its usefulness" and, though he now admits the shooting was "dumb," he doesn’t regret it (or the $100 bail he had to pay). "I think every guy in the universe has wanted to do it," said McGivney in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, contending that it was worth every minute in jail.
Anthony F. Janson
Anthony F. Janson, revising author of the widely read History of Art (originally written by his father, H.W. Janson), has been an art history professor at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington since 1994. He was also chief curator of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, and the North Carolina Museum of Art.
In Professor Janson's words, "These works of art are ranked simply by how much they have moved me when I saw them in person. They provided me with my greatest artistic experiences to date."
1. Chartres Cathedral, 12th-13th centuries
2. Isenheim Altarpiece, Matthias Grünewald, c. 1510-15
3. Sistine Chapel ceiling, Michelangelo, 1508-12
4. Apollo and Daphne, Gianlorenzo Bernini, 1622-24
5. Mary Magdalen, Donatello, c. 1455
6. The Calling of St. Matthew, Caravaggio, c. 1599-1602
8. Mérode Altarpiece, Robert Campin, c. 1425-30
9. Moses Well, Claus Sluter, 1395-1406
10. Guernica, Pablo Picasso, 1937
My friend Pat has a birthday this month, so this month we honor Patricia's, and all the nicknames that go with that name. Born Thelma Catherine Ryan March 16, 1912, Pat Nixon acquired her nickname within hours when her father called her his "St. Patrick's babe." Married to Richard M. Nixon in 1940, she was a tireless campaigner, and saw her husband elected to the House, the Senate, as Vice President, and ultimately President. As First Lady Pat choose volunteer service as her pet project. To learn more about Pat Nixon visit: http://www.nixonfoundation.org/ TheNixons/ PatNixon.shtml. The stage and film actress Patricia Neal, star of such films as The Fountainhead, and Hud, suffered a series of massive strokes in 1966, when she was 39. Neal worked relentlessly to regain full function, and two years later she was acting again and received an Academy Award nomination. To learn more about the center that was inspired by her recovery, visit: http://www.covenanthealth.com/ aboutus/ pnrc/ pnrc-home.cfm. Patty Andrews, 87, along with her sisters Maxene and LaVerne, was part of one of America's most popular female singing groups of the 1930s and 40s. They were the first all-female group to have an album go platinum, they had 46 songs hit the Billboards top ten list, and they recorded more than 700 songs. To learn more about Patty and the Andrews Sisters visit: http://www.cmgww.com/ music/ andrews/ home.php. Publishing heiress Patty Hearst's life changed forever when the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped her in 1974. Within months, Patty, now named "Tania," was brainwashed (according to her own later accounts), and participated in a San Francisco bank robbery, at which point she made the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list. To learn more about Patty Hearst, visit: http://www.courttv.com/ trials/ soliah/ slahistory3_ctv.html. Making her debut on August 22, 1966, Peppermint Patty is the tomboyish friend of Charlie Brown she misunderstands the most obvious concepts, which leads people to think she's stupid. Generally a D minus student, she's good on the baseball field, and she has a heart of gold. To learn more about Patty and the rest of the Peanuts crew, visit: http://www.comics.com/ comics peanuts/ meet_the_gang/ meet_peppermint_patty.html.
Twenty-five years ago my sister Marie introduced me to my first Agatha Christie mystery, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. That year I read 29 more, and then began collecting them, so that I'd have them all. I stopped reading them when I'd read nearly all of the 79 novels and shorts stories that Christie had written, so that I'd have a few to read in old age. To learn more about Christie, who is the world's best known mystery writer, visit: http://www.agathachristie.com.
My co-worker Jane is getting married this month and I was steered to the ultimate wedding site, to assist me in choosing a gift. The Knot http://www.theknot.com/, is a site dedicated to helping potential brides and grooms plan their wedding, find engagement rings, find wedding gowns, cakes, invitation, and gifts> it also has a gift registry so that you can find out exactly what the bride and groom are looking for.
This is the second time Sorry Day is mentioned in this E-Newsletter. Now I'm not going to test you to find the other one, but if you missed it the first time, or just don't know what Sorry Day is, here are the details. Since 1998, a National Sorry Day has been held in Australia in acknowledgement of the appalling treatment that several generations of Aborigine children suffered, when they were taken from their parents, in a policy of assimilation into white society. To learn more about Sorry Day visit: http://www.eniar.org/ news/ sorry2005.html.
What do Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, W.C. Handy, and George M. Cohan have in common, other than the fact that they were all famed 20th century musicians? All of these entertainers are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx (NYC). Since 1863, Woodlawn's park-like 400 acres, have served as the last resting place for many of the world's most famous personalities of the last 140 years. Burials range from individual plots to recreated Egyptian Temples (the Woolworths). Check out http://www.thewoodlawncemetery.org/ to learn more about Woodlawn and some of the people buried there.
When you're out at a movie and eating popcorn, it's "butter" and the sodium chloride that makes it all so tasty. Salt (the previously mentioned sodium chloride) has a long and interesting history. Roman soldiers were paid in salt, the Chinese taxed it knowing that it would be a major revenue source, and salt was also used in the 19th century for a photographic process. Learn more about salt at: http://www.saltinstitute.org/. When I cook (which isn't too often), I don't use salt at all, just pepper. So, what's pepper? A few thousand years ago, the Chinese used pepper to treat malaria, cholera and dysentery, and Romans were considered wealthy if they consumed pepper. Learn more about pepper at the Encyclopedia of Spices http://www.theepicentre.com/ Spices/ pepper.html.
Space enthusiasts marked the 15th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope on April 25. This telescope has been orbiting the Earth in the outer edges of the universe, and for over a decade now has been sending back excellent quality images of planets and galaxies. Visit http://hubblesite.org/ to learn more about the Hubble and see some of the spectacular images.
The return of warmer weather has gotten me in the mood to be on my bicycle, and I've begun doing some biking on weekends again. I took my bike for a tune-up first to make sure everything was in tip top shape before I hit the road last month. While I will never participate in a long distance ride, or even a race, I found some helpful information about biking at the following website http://www.bicycling.com/.
My co-worker Chuck wants to prove that he can pick good websites too (after what I'd call a very lame start), so this month he offered up an interesting site that explores the musical artists who are similar to ones you already like. Let's say that you love the music of Ricky Martin, then you just might like the music of Enrique Iglesias, Marc Anthony, or Alejandro Sanz, opening up a new musical interest for you. Visit Music Plasma at http://www.musicplasma.com to discover more artists in the musical world.
Unusual website of the month — a Tombstone Generator: http://tombstone.dogcrap.net/create.php.
World Almanac E-Newsletter
Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief
Louise Bloomfield, Jane Hogan, Sarah Janssen, Walter Kronenberg, and Vincent Spadafora.
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