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Jan.-Feb. / March-April / May-June / July-August / Sept.-Oct. / Nov.-Dec. 2005

    "Most newspaper article events happen anywhere from days, to months, to years before they reach publication. Consequently, most newspaper articles on this timeline are preceeded by the date of the newspaper in which they appear." [E.M.]      *Color Code

January 2005

2005 - Astronomic Configuration - January 1st, 2005: "Sun [10 Capricorn], Moon [9 Virgo], Mercury [18 Sagittarius], Venus [19 Sagittarius], Mars [4 Sagittarius], Jupiter [17 Libra], Saturn [24 Cancer R], Uranus [3 Pisces], Neptune [13 Aquarius], Pluto [22 Sagittarius], Chiron [25 Capricorn]."  

2005 - Death Toll / Indian Ocean - [....] January 1st, 2005: "Six days after the earthquake and tsunamis that ravaged 3,000 miles of coastline, the confirmed death toll passed 121,000, and 5 million people were homeless. Remote Indian islanders were said to be facing starvation. [....]" [A.P.]

*Trivia: "[....] Indonesia increased its death toll today from the earthquake and tsunamis to 94,081, raising the total number of people reported killed in 11 countries to nearly 140,000. Aid agencies have said the death toll was expected to hit 150,000. [....]" [Los Angeles Times, 01/03/05]

2005 - Strong Earthquake / Sumatra - January 1st, 2005: "A strong earthquake occurred at 06:25:44 (UTC) on Saturday, January 1, 2005. The magnitude 6.6 event has been located OFF THE WEST COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)

[Based on: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqinthenews/2005/usstak/]

2005 - Hottest Year on Record? / Northern Hemisphere - "[....] According to calculations by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.K. Meteorological Office, 2005 was the hottest year on record for the Northern Hemisphere. At roughly 1.3 degrees above the historical average, 2005 was either the hottest or second hottest year in mankind's history, according to the research. [....]" [Based on: Other Views page article, p. D11, S.L.P.D., 02/23/06]

2005 - Inquired About Firing U.S. Attorneys? / Karl Rove - Early January: "The White House dropped its contention Friday [03/16/07] that former Counsel Harriet Myers first raised the idea of firing U.S. attorneys, blaming 'hazy memories.' [NP] The latest e-mails between White House and Justice Department officials show that Karl Rove inquired in early January 2005 about firing U.S. attorneys. [....] Snow [Tony Snow] said it was not immediately clear who first floated the more dramatic idea of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys shortly after President George W. Bush was re-elected to a second term. [NP] 'This is as far as we can go: We know that Karl recollects Harriet having raised it and his recollection is that he dismissed it as not a good idea,' Snow told reporters. 'That's what we know. We don't know motivations.' Asked if Bush himself might have suggested the firings, Snow said, 'Anything's possible ... but I don't think so.' " [Based on: A.P. article (Memories are 'hazy' on firing attorneys), p. A23, S.L.P.D., 03/17/07]

2005 - Al-Qaida Video / Iraq - January 2nd, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Al-Qaida's arm in Iraq released a video Saturday [01/01/05] showing its militants lining up five captured Iraqi security officers and executing them in the street, the latest move in a campaign to intimidate Iraqis and target those who collaborate with U.S.-led forces. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Aftershock / Sumatra - January 2nd, 2005: "[....] A 5.9 quake rocked Sumatra Sunday [01/02/05], the second strong aftershock on the hard-hit island in two days. But there were no reports of further damage or injury. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Indefinite Detentions? / U.S.A. - January 2nd, 2005: "WASHINGTON - Administration officials are preparing long-range plans for indefinitely imprisoning suspected terrorists whom they do not want to set free or turn over to courts in the United States or other countries, according to intelligence, defense and diplomatic officials. [....]" [Based on: article by Dana Priest, Washington Post]

2005 - Mad Cow / Canada - January 3rd, 2005: "TORONTO - Canada confirmed  its second case of mad cow disease on Sunday [01/02/05], just days after the United States said it planned to reopen its border to Canadian beef. [....] The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said the infected cow did not enter the human food or animal feed supply and posed no risk to the public. Authorities said the cow was born in Alberta in 1996, before the introduction of the 1997 feed ban. It is suspected that the animal became infected by contaminated feed before the ban. BSE is a chronic, degenerative disorder affecting the central nervous system of cattle. Since it was first diagnosed in Britain in 1986, there have been more than 180,000 cases. Before the trade ban, animals regularly crossed the border and Canada sold more than 70 percent of its live cattle to the United States. That market was worth $1.5 billion in 2002. [....] The discovery in Washington state a year ago is the only confirmed case of mad cow disease in the United States." [A.P.]

*Trivia: "[....] Canada revealed Sunday [01/02/05] that an 8-year-old dairy cow in Alberta tested positive for the brain-wasting illness, confirming preliminary test results released last week. [....]" [News Services]

2005 - Suicide Car Bomb / Iraq - January 3rd, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents exposed the vulnerability of Iraq's security forces again Sunday [01/02/05], killing at least 22 national guardsmen and their driver in a suicide bombing and 10 other people in separate attacks with elections just weeks away. [....] It was the deadliest assault on Iraqi security forces since October [2004], when insurgents gunned down about 50 new national guardsmen at a fake checkpoint. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - "Judicial Hellhole" / Madison County, Il. - January 3rd, 2005: "When Prsident George W. Bush arrives in Collinsville [Illinois] on Wednesday [01/05/05] to deliver a policy speech on medical malpractice reform, he will be breaking with a long-standing, if unwritten, presidential custom. [....] Bush's appearance will be an invitation-only event at Collinsville's Gateway Center. It was arranged just two weeks after the American Tort Reform Association ranked Madison County for the second year as the nation's top 'judicial hellhole.' The group ranked St. Clair County second. [....]" [Based on: William Lamb, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2005 - Fire / Hazardous-Waste Incineration Plant, El Dorado, Arkansas - January 3rd, 2005: "A fire at a hazardous-waste incineration plant forced hundreds of residents to flee Sunday [01/02/05] from the southern Arkansas town of El Dorado, officials said. No injuries were reported, and officials were monitoring air quality as thick smoke rose from the Teris plant, said Union County Sheriff Ken Jones. Police estimated about 1,500 people within a few miles of the plant were evacuated, El Dorado has about 23,000 residents." [Based on: News Services, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A3, 01/03/05]

2005 - Insurgent Attacks / Iraq - January 4th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents detonated three car bombs Monday [01/03/05], including one that struck the headquarters of interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's political party, as part of a campaign to derail the nation's first free election in decades. The bombings, along with two other attacks, killed at least 21 people. [....]" [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2005 - Foreign Relations / Cuba - January 4th, 2005: "The Cuban government has resumed formal diplomatic contracts with eight European nations, including France, Germany and Britain, Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said Monday [01/03/05]. [....]" [News Services]

2005 - Trivia / U.S. Social Security Benefits - January 4th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush's administration has signaled that it will propose changing the formula that sets initial Social Security benefit levels, cutting promised benefits by nearly a third in the coming decades, according to several Republicans close to the White House. [....]" [Washington Post]

2005 - Weather Forecast / U.S.A. - January 5th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - Moisture-laden storms from the north, west and south are likely to converge on much of America over the next several days in what could be a once-in-a-generation onslaught, meteorologists forecast Tuesday [01/04/05]. [....] The last time a similar situation seemed to be brewing - especially in the west - was in January 1950, O'Lenic [Climate Prediction Center operations chief, Ed O'Lenic] said. That month, 21 inches of snow hit Seattle, killing 13 people in an extended freeze, and Sunnyvale, Calif., got an unusual tornado. The same scenario played out in 1937, when there was record flooding in the Ohio River Valley, said Wagner [Prediction Center chief meteorologist, James Wagner], of the prediction center. [....] [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2005 - Charged / David Banach - January 5th, 2005: "Federal authorities used the Patriot Act on Tuesday [01/04/05] to charge a man with pointing a laser beam at an overhead airplane and temporarily blinding the pilot and co-pilot. The FBI acknowledged the incident had no connection to terrorism but called David Banach's actions 'foolhardy and negligent.' [....] Banach was released on $100,000 bail. He could get up to 25 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000." [News Services]

2005 - Nuclear Experiments? / Egypt - January 5th, 2005: "The U.N. atomic watchdog agency has found evidence of secret nuclear experiments in Egypt that could be used in weapons programs, diplomats said Tuesday [01/04/05]. The diplomats said that most of the work was carried out in the 1980s and 1990s but said the International Atomic Energy Agency also was looking at evidence suggesting some work was performed as recently as a year ago. Egypt's government rejected claims it is or has been pursuing a weapons program, saying its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes." [Based on: News Services, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A11, 01/05/05]

2005 - Trivia / Brain-Wasting Diseases - January 5th, 2005: "Halting brain cell suicide won't stop prion diseases similar to mad cow disease, Washington University [Mo.] researchers say. The discovery suggests that drugs for human diseases related to mad cow disease must do more than keep brain cells alive to be a cure. It may also mean that prion diseases and other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, do other damage to brain cells before killing them. The results of the study appeared Tuesday [01/04/05] in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [....] The diseases result when a normal brain protein, PrP, folds into a disease-causing shape. The prion proteins clump together in fibrils and form plaques. The brain cells, especially cerebellar granule neurons, which control movement and balance, begin to die. [....]" [Based on: Tina Hesman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A4, 01/05/05]

*Trivia: "Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain in which nerve cells deteriorate and die for unknown reasons. [....] The rate of progression of Alzheimer's varies, ranging from 3 to 20 years; the average length of time from onset of symptoms until death is 8 years. [....] Alzheimer's disease affects an estimated 4.5 million Americans, striking men and women of all ethnic groups. Although most people diagnosed with Alzheimer's are older than age 60, some cases occur in people in their 40s and 50s. An estimated 10 percent of the population over age 65 have Alzheimer's, and the disease affects almost half of those over 85. In the United States, annual costs of diagnosis, treatment, and long-term care are estimated at $100 billion. [....] Treatments for cognitive and behavioral symptoms are available, but no intervention has yet been developed that prevents Alzheimer's or reverses its course. [....]" [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 94] [Link:  ] *Further Reading:  

2005 - Assassination / Governor of Baghdad - January 5th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Gunmen assassinated the governor of Baghdad province on Tuesday [01/04/05] as insurgents pressed a campaign to derail elections scheduled for Jan. 30 [2005]. The governor, Ali al-Haidari, is the highest-ranking Iraqi official slain since May [2004]. [....]" [New York Times]

2005 - Earthquake / Andaman Islands, India - January 5th, 2005: "[....] A 5.8-magnitude quake, the latest of numerous aftershocks stemming from the monstrous temblor that spawned the tsunami, rattled India's Andaman Islands early today [01/05/05]. There were no immediate reports of further injury or damage on the islands, which were hard hit by the killer waves. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Insurgent Attacks / Iraq - January 6th, 2005: "Insurgents strike with three suicide blasts [01/05/05] that kill at least 27." [Based on: New York Times]

2005 - Trivia / Heart Disease - January 6th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - Decreasing inflammation in the body appears to be just as important for fighting heart disease as lowering cholesterol, according to a pair of new studies. Patients who reduce inflammation were significantly less likely to see their heart disease get worse or to die from a heart attack, even if their cholesterol levels were already low, the studies found. [....]" [Based on: Rob Stein, The Washington Post]

2005 - Heavy Rain / St. Louis, Mo. - January 6th, 2005: "St. Louis has received more precipitation in the first five days of this month than the first five days of any January on record." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2005 - Unsolved Mystery? / King Tut - January 6th, 2005: "LUXOR, Egypt - A team of researchers briefly removed King Tut's mummy from its tomb Wednesday [01/05/05] and laid bare his bones for a CT scan [of 1,700 images] that could solve an enduring mystery: Was it murder or natural causes that killed Egypt's boy pharaoh 3,000 years ago? [....] A simpler X-ray done 36 years ago showed bone fragments inside the skull of Tut ... but that previous test wasn't sophisticated enough to determine if the bone fragments signified a blow to the head. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - African Union Troops? / Somalia - January 6th, 2005: "The African Union agreed Wednesday [01/05/05] to send troops to Somalia to help its new government set up operations, train Somali security forces and stabalize the Horn of Africa nation, officials said. [....]" [News Services]

2005 - Readiness Concern? / U.S. Army Reserve - January 6th, 2005: "The head of the Army Reserve has sent a sharply worded memo to other military leaders expressing 'deepening concern' about the continued readiness of his troops, who have been used heavily in Iraq and Afghanistan, and warning that his branch of 200,000 soldiers 'is rapidly degenerating into a 'broken' force.' In the memo, dated Dec. 20, Lt. Gen. James 'Ron' Helmly lashed out at what he said were outdated and dysfunctional policies on mobilizing and managing the force. He complained that his repeated requests to adjust the policies to current realities have been rebuffed by Pentagon authorities. A senior Army spokesman, Col. Joseph Curtin, said Helmly's concerns were not new and were being taken seriously." [News Services, p. A8, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 01/06/05]

2005 - Election Appeal / Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine - January 6th, 2005: "Losing presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych has appealed the results of last month's election to Ukraine's Supreme Court. He argued that the election be declared invalid because of massive fraud, a court spokeswoman said Wednesday [01/05/05]. [....]" [News Services]

*Trivia: "The Supreme Court rejected an array of motions from defeated Ukranian presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych on Monday [01/17/05]. It was the ex-prime minister's apparent last legal chance to fend off the inauguration of his Western-leaning rival. [....]" [News Services, 01/18/05]

2005 - Trivia / Air Fares, U.S.A.- January 7th, 2005: "An all-out price war to boost air travel erupted Thursday [01/06/05], when American Airlines said it would broadly match Delta Air Lines' initiative to slash the most-expensive fares. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A1]

2005 - Charged / Edgar Ray Killen - January 7th, 2005: "PHILADELPHIA, Miss. - More than 40 years after one of the most notorious crimes of the turbulent civil rights era - the 'Freedom Summer' slayings of three young civil rights workers - a reputed Ku Klux Klansman [Edgar Ray Killen] was arrested Thursday [01/06/05] on state murder charges in the case. [....] In 1964, James Chaney, 21, Michael Schwerner, 24 and Andrew Goodman, 20, who were helping to register black voters, were murdered as they drove to a church to investigate a fire. They were believed to have been stopped by Klansmen, beaten and shot to death. Their bodies were found weeks later buried in a nearby dam. Nineteen men - including Killen - were indicted. Seven were convicted of federal civil rights violations in 1967 and sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to 10 years. Killen was freed after his trial on federal conspiracy charges ended in a hung jury. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Toxic Train Crash / South Carolina - January 7th, 2005: "A freight train carrying chlorine gas struck a parked train early Thursday [01/06/05], killing eight people and injuring more than 240 others, nearly all of them sickened by a toxic cloud that persisted over this small textile town at nightfall. Authorities ordered all 5,400 people within a mile of the crash to evacuate in the afternoon because chlorine was continuing to leak and the gas was settling near the ground as temperatures dropped. They were unsure when the gas leak might be sealed. State Sen. Tommy Moore said Thursday night that officials at Avondale Mill, the textile plant where the crash happened, told him eight people were found dead, including five inside the mill. Eight others were in critical condition after the 2:30 a.m. wreck of Norfolk Southern trains, in which 16 cars derailed. [....]" [News Services]

*Trivia: "Crews put a temporary patch Sunday [01/09/05] on a railroad car that had been leaking toxic chlorine gas since a train wreck last week, while investigators looked into why a switching mechanism had been set to lead the train into railcars parked on a sidetrack. [....] Hersman [NTSB spokeswoman, Debbie Hersman] said the FBI was fingerprinting the switching mechanism to determine who operated it. She said there was no sign of outside tampering with the mechanism." [Based on: A.P., 01/10/05]

*Trivia: "Ten months ago, government safety officials warned that more than half of the nation's 60,000 pressurized rail tank cars did not meet industry standards, and they raised questions about the safety of the rest of the fleet as well. They were worried that the steel tanks could rupture too easily in an accident. That proved prophetic. [....] Last summer, a derailment in Texas caused a steel tank car to break open, spewing clouds of poisonous chlorine gas that killed three people. [....] Just how ruptured tank cars can endanger a community was underscored three years ago when a Canadian Pacific Railway freight train derailed just outside Minot, N.D. Five tank cars carrying a liquefied type of ammonia gas broke open, releasing toxic fumes that killed one resident and injured more than 300. [....] Among the hazardous materials carried by the tank cars are liquified ammonia, chlorine, propane and Vinyl Chloride. In most cases, chemical or leasing companies own the cars, not the railroad. [....]" [New York Times, 01/08/05]

2005 - Moderate Earthquake / India Region - January 7th, 2005: "A moderate earthquake occurred at 10:49:15 (UTC) on Friday, January 7, 2005. The magnitude 5.7 event has been located in the NICOBAR ISLANDS, INDIA REGION. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)"  

2005 - Consumer Borrowing Decline / U.S.A. - January 8th, 2005: "Keeping a watchful eye on their debt, consumers cut back on their borrowing in November [2004] by the largest amount on record, the Federal Reserve said Friday [01/07/05]. Consumer credit dropped by $8.7 billion from October, marking the largest over-the-month decrease since the Fed began keeping records in 1943. The cutback represents a 5 percent decline at a seasonally adjusted annual rate. The last time consumers trimmed their borrowing was in November 2003. The Fed's report includes credit card debt and loans for such things as boats, cars and mobile homes. It does not include real estate mortgages or home-equity loans." [Based on: Business Section, p. 3, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 01/08/05]

2005 - Directors Payments / WorldCom Fraud - January 8th, 2005: "Ten former WorldCom directors will personally pay $18 million to compensate for investor losses from an accounting scandal that caused one of the largest bankruptcies in U.S. history. They did not admit to any wrongdoing in the WorldCom fraud. The director payments, equal to slightly more than 20 percent of their combined net worth, will be supplemented by another $36 million from insurance policies taken out by WorldCom on behalf of the directors." [Based on: p. B3, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 01/08/05]

*Trivia: "A lawyer for WorldCom Inc. investors said they will cancel a $54 million settlement with outside directors and take the case to trial. Lawyer Sean Coffey made the comment Wednesday [02/02/05] after a federal judge issued a ruling invalidating a key provision of the settlement. Banks including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., which are also defendants in the case, objected to the provision. 'Regretfully, the objection raised by WorldCom's bankers will have an unfortunate consequence: lead plantiff will have to terminate the settlement rather than risk a reduction in any jury verdict against the banks,' Coffey said." [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Post-Dispatch reports.]

2005 - Snow and Floods / U.S.A. - January 9th, 2005: "LOS ANGELES - About 180 people, including some who spent more than 12 hours stuck in deep snow in the san Bernardino Mountains, were rescued Saturday [01/08/05] as the latest in a series of storms that struck California. The storms quickly moved east, closing all three major highways over the Sierra Nevada. Snow piled up 3 to 4 feet deep along a 15-mile stretch of highway between the Snow Valley ski resort and Big Bear dam, said Tracey Martinez, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County fire department. [....] Up to 15 inches of snow were reported in parts of Colorado's San Juan Mountains, as well. In the East, rain and snow that fell last week caused flooding along the Ohio River that was chasing some residents out of their homes in communities of West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky. The stormy weather had caused widespread outages in parts of Ohio, and utilities said about 100,000 homes and businesses remained without electricity on Saturday [01/08/05]. Elsewhere in California, up to four feet of snow fell overnight in the Sierra Nevada around Lake Tahoe, ski areas reported Saturday. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - U.S. Wounded Status / Iraq War - "The Pentagon reported last Tuesday [01/04/05] that the number of U.S. troops wounded in the Iraq war had passed 10,000. Of the 10,252 wounded since the war began in March 2003, about half - 5,396 - were hurt so badly they couldn't return to duty. The rest were patched up and sent back to work. [....]" [Based on: Kevin Horrigan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. B3, 01/09/05]

2005 - Volcanic Activity / Mount Etna, Italy - January 9th, 2005: "A light plume of ash and steam rose from Mount Etna on January 8, 2005, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image. Located on Sicily, not far from the southern tip of the Italian peninsula, Etna has one of the world’s longest records of documented eruptions. The volcano rises to 3,350 meters (10,991 feet) and is Europe’s largest volcano. Mount Etna’s last major eruption was in 2001, though additional small eruptions have been recorded since then. According to local news reports, the most recent eruption did not threaten local communities and seemed to end on January 8.  [....]" [Link: 1

2005 - Mistaken U.S. Airstrike / Mosul, Iraq - January 9th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - The United States military said it dropped a 500-pound bomb on the wrong house outside the northern city of Mosul on Saturday [01/08/05], killing five people. The man who owned the house said the bomb killed 14 people, and an Associated Press photographer said seven of them were children. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Run Aground / U.S. Nuclear Sub, Guam - "HONOLULU - A nuclear submarine ran aground Saturday [01/08/05] about 350 miles south of Guam, injuring around 20 sailors and sustaining severe damage, the Navy said. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Campaign Ads? / Iraq - January 10th, 2005: "[....] Far from Madison Avenue - in more ways than one - television advertisements are emerging as a significant element in Iraq's landmark election Jan. 30. The first partisan spots ran last week, produced and aired for free on U.S.-backed Al-Iraqiya, the sole channel based in Iraq that broadcasts nationwide. Bolder still, the Iraqi List, the election slate headed by interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, is buying prime-time spots on satellite and local channels. [....]" [Based on: Los Angeles Times]

*Trivia: "In the months before the Iraqi elections in January [2005], President George W. Bush approved a plan to provide covert support to certain Iraqi candidates and political parties, but rescinded the plan because of congressional opposition, current and former government officials said Saturday [07/16/05]. [....]" [Based on: article by Douglas Jehl & David E. Sanger, p. A2, S.L.P.D., 07/17/05]

2005 - Sinkhole / Florida - January 10th, 2005: "A large sinkhole opened Sunday in Orange City, destroying one house, damaging a second and forcing the temporary evacuation of 11 others. No injuries were reported. A woman fled with her baby before their home sank to the level of its roof, Volusia County spokesman Dave Byron said. [....] Sinkholes are common in central Florida. They form when erosion enlarges underground caverns and the formations collapse. [....]" [News Services]

2005 - Flooding / S. Indiana - January 10th, 2005: "[....] Indiana officials said some of the worst flooding since 1937 had isolated pockets across the southern part of the state, forcing hundreds of people from their homes." [A.P.]

2005 - Trivia / Southern Sudan - January 10th, 2005: "Africa's longest-running conflict officially ended Sunday [01/09/05] as representatives of the Sudanese government and rebel forces signed a comprehensive peace accord in Nairobi, Kenya. The deal gives southern Sudan religious and political autonomy and a share of Sudan's oil riches. Sudan's first vice president, Ali Uthman Muhammad Taha, and the leader of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army, John Garang, signed the agreement. The two-decade civil war pitted the Islamic government against rebels based in the mostly animist and Christian south. It left 2 million people dead, primarily from famine and disease, and 4 million homeless. Under the accord, Islamic law will apply to the north but not the south. The south will have a six-year interim period of self-rule, after which it will vote in a referendum on whether to remain part of Sudan or secede. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, representing the United States, also signed the agreement as a witness. Joining Powell at the ceremony was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Danforth. The deal does not address an unrelated conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan." [Based on: News Services, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A5, 01/10/05]

2005 - Heavy Snow / Sierra Nevada - January 10th, 2005: "RENO, Nev. - Areas of the Sierra Nevada, famous for paralyzing amounts of snowfall, have been hit with a dumping like they haven't seen in generations. Steep drifts stranded an Amtrak train, knocked out the Reno airport and shut down major highways across the mountains. The string of moisture-laden storms has dropped up to 19 feet of snow at elevations above 7,000 feet since Dec. 28 and 6 1/2 feet at lower elevations in the Reno area. Meteorologista said it was the most snow the Reno-Lake Tahoe area has seen since 1916. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Shipping Accident / Ohio River - January 10th, 2005: "INDUSTRY, Pa. - A towboat and three barges sank Sunday [01/09/05] after being swept over a dam spillway on the Ohio River by currents made stronger by heavy rain, killing three crew members. One person was missing and believed to be aboard the sunken boat. [....] The river normally flows at 3 to 4 mph, but the current was about 10 to 15 mph Sunday because of recent rain and flooding, said John Anderson, the lockmaster. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Mahmoud Abbas / Palestinian Authority - January 10th, 2005: "RAMALLAH, West Bank - Mahmoud Abbas claimed a landslide victory [62.3 percent] Sunday [01/09/05] as voters ushered in a new era with a Palestinian Authority president they hope will steer them beyond the turbulent reign of the late Yasser Arafat. [....]" [Cox News Service]

2005 - Mud Slide / S. California - January 11th, 2005: "LA CONCHITA, Calif.. - A huge mudslide crashed down on homes in a coastal hamlet with terrifying force Monday [01/10/05], killing at least two people and leaving up to 12 missing as a Pacific storm hammered Southern California for a fourth straight day. [....]" [A.P. - The New York Times contributed to this report.]

*Trivia: [....] "From the start of the latest dose of violent weather on Friday [01/07/05] through Monday [01/10/05] evening, several mountainous areas in Southern California had recorded more than 20 inches of rain, including more than 27 inches in the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles. [....] The average amount of winter rainfall in downtown Los Angeles is 15 inches, but nearly 22 inches had fallen as of Monday, including a Jan. 9 record of 2.6 inches, said national Weather Service meteoroligist Bruce Rockwell. [....] The train of storms that has slammed into California also spread rain, snow and ice eastward across the nation. The storms have piled up 10 feet of snow in the Rockies, where three skiers on a family outing were reported missing Monday. Last week's heavy rain and snow also produced flooding along the Ohio River that has affected communities in West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, covering riverside roads and forcing some residents to evacuate. One person died Monday in Ohio when he drove into high water." [A.P. - The New York Times contributed to this report.]

2005 - Adopt-A-Highway / Ku Klux Klan - January 11th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court rejected on Monday [01/10/05] Missouri's appeal in a long-running drive to bar the Ku Klux Klan from the Adopt-A-Highway program, possibly spelling the end of the state-sponsored litter control effort. Without comment, the court let stand a lower court ruling that said Missouri had violated the freedom of speech rights of a Klan group by refusing to enroll its members in the highway cleanup program. The court's rejection was a setback for Missouri and other states hoping to avoid being forced to let racist groups take part in highway programs and then publicly acknowledge their work. [....]" [Based on: St. Louis Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau]

2005 - Trivia / State Farm Insurance Co. - January 11th, 2005: "The nation's largest car insurer disclosed Monday [01/10/05] that it had mistakenly resold some 30,000 cars, SUV's and trucks without disclosing that they had been in wrecks. State farm Insurance also said it would pay $40 million in damages - once it finds the drivers who bought those vehicles. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2005 - Fourth-Quarter Profit  Loss / Alcoa Inc. - January 11th, 2005: "Alcoa Inc., the world's biggest aluminum maker, said fourth-quarter profit fell 7.9 percent because of costs to sell some businesses and the weaker U.S. dollar. [....]" [Bloomberg News]

2005 - Settlement / Southwest Securities Inc. - January 11th, 2005: WASHINGTON - Regional brokerage Southwest Securities Inc. of Dallas has agreed to pay $10 million to settle allegations of failing to supervise brokers who engaged in fraudulent and improper trading of mutual fund shares, it was announced Monday [01/10/05]. Three of Southwest's managers, including its former president and chief executive, have agreed to pay an additional total of $257,000. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Cancer Suit / R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. - January 11th, 2005: "R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., the No. 2 U.S. cigarette maker, must pay an Arkansas man more than $9 million for his wife's death from cancer, a federal appeals court in St. Louis has ruled. The court upheld an Arkansas jury's verdict that Pall Mall cigarettes caused the fatal lung cancer of Mary Jane Boerner, who smoked the cigarettes for 36 years. The court also cut the punitive damage award to $5 million from $15 million." [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.]

2005 - Insurgent Attacks / Iraq - January 12th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - At least 22 Iraqis were killed in a fresh round of attacks Tuesday [01/11/05] as interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi acknowledged that parts of the country were too lawless to take part in the upcoming national election. [....]" [Los Angeles Times]

2005 - FTC vs. X-Rated Spam - January 12th, 2005: "Claiming a victory against X-rated spam, the Federal Trade Commission said it had won an order to shut down illegal Internet advertising for six companies accused of profiting from sexually explicit e-mail. [....] Frank Cremen, who represents the companies named in the complaint, said that his clients have 'no quarrel' complying with the law and that the spamming had stopped before the FTC filed its complaint." [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.]

2005 - End / Iraq Survey Group - January 12th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - The hunt for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in Iraq has ended nearly two years after President George W. Bush ordered U.S. troops to disarm Saddam Hussein. The top CIA weapons hunter is home, and analysts are back at Langley, Va. In interviews, officials who served with the Iraq Survey Group said the violence in Iraq, coupled with a lack of new information, led them to fold up the effort shortly before Christmas. [....]" [Washington Post]

2005 - House Arrest / Daniel Bayly - January 12th, 2005: "The most senior of four former Merrill Lynch & Co. bankers [Daniel Bayly] convicted of helping Enron push through a bogus deal to book false earnings has been placed on house arrest pending sentencing, and his bond has been increased to $2 million from $100,000." [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.]

2005 - Mad Cow / Alberta, Canada - January 12th, 2005: "Authorities confirmed on Tuesday [01/11/05] another case of mad cow disease in Alberta, the second this month. [...] Canadian officials said no part of the cow has entered the human or animal feed system. [....] Canada's first case of mad cow surfaced in May 2003." [From News Services, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A11, 01/12/05]

2005 - Car Bomb Trivia / Iraq - January 13th, 2005: "lBAGHDAD, Iraq - Car bombs echo across Baghdad and a constellation of cities around Iraq nearly every day, inflicting slaughter and billowing oily smoke, a reminder to all who see or hear them that the country's insurgents can strike almost anywhere. [....] An Associated Press tally shows there have been at least 181 of them since Iraq's interim government took over June 28 - just a handful at first but surging to a rate of one or maore a day in recent months. Those bombs killed about 1,000 people, both Iraqis and Americans, and wounded twice as many. The tally found that 68 bombings were suicide attacks and the rest were detonated by other means. Most involved cars, but some used trucks and even motorcycles. [....] The bombing total was compiled from the AP's daily reports, based on government and police statements as well as information gathered by the AP staff. No official statistics on such attacks have been publicly released, and the number of incidents is almost certainly higher than reported. The U.S. military and the Iraqi government were asked for their figures but provided none. [....]" [Based on: Nick Wadhams, A.P.]

2005 - Launch / "Deep Impact" - January 13th, 2005: "A NASA spacecraft [Deep Impact] ... blasted off Wednesday [01/12/05] on a mission to smash a hole in a comet [Temple 1] and give scientists a glimpse of the primordial ingredients of the solar system. [....] It will be a one-way trip that NASA hopes will reach a catacylsmic end on the Fourth of July [2005]." [....]" [News Services]

2005 - Trivia / Foreign Criminals, U.S.A. - January 13th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday [01/12/05] that the government may not indefinitely detain criminals who are illegal immigrants, undercutting an administration policy applied to foreigners deemed too dangerous to be freed. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Huygens Probe / Titan - January 14th, 2005: "A 705-pound European spacecraft is scheduled early today to probe the surface of Titan, one of Saturn's moons." [E.M.]

*Trivia: "A European space probe Friday [01/14/05] sent back the first detailed pictures of the frozen surface of Saturn's moon Titan, showing black-and-white images of what appeared to be hilly terrain riddled with channels or riverbeds carved by a liquid. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Truck Bomb / Gaza Strip - January 14th, 2005: "GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Palestinian militants set off a large truck bomb as gunmen stormed an Israeli base at a vital Gaza crossing Thursday [01/13/05], killing six Israelis and wounding five in an attack that defied peace efforts by new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Unfree Speech? / Saudi Arabia - January 14th, 2005: "A religious court has sentenced 15 Saudis, including a woman, to as many as 250 lashes each and up to six months in prison for participating in a protest against the monarchy, judicial officials said Thursday. [....]" [News Services, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A9, 01/14/05]

2005 - Evolution Disclaimers Removed / Atlanta - January 14th, 2005: "ATLANTA - A federal judge has ordered a suburban Atlanta school system to remove stickers from its high school biology textbooks that call evolution 'a theory, not a fact,' saying the disclaimers are an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. [....] The stickers were added after more than 2,000 parents complained that the textbooks presented evolution as fact, without mentioning rival ideas about the beginnings of life, such as the biblical story of creation. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Asbestos Suit / St. Louis, MO. - January 14th, 2005: "The city of St. Louis and Lambert airport officials have been notified [01/13/05] that they are being sued for hundreds of violations of federal environmental laws by using an illegal asbestos removal technique to demolish homes and businesses in the path of a new runway. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A1, 01/14/05]

2005 - Word Control, Thought Control, World Control - January 14th, 2005:

Anyone familiar with George Orwell’s 1984 is already aware of the idea that controlling a people’s definition of words, controlling the meanings that those words evoke in the minds of the general public, is integral to achieving actual thought control of the populace.

[Based on: Mathew Kristin Kiel - http://signs-of-the-times.org/signs/thought_control.htm]  

2005 - Assassination / Sheik Mahmoud al-Madaini, Iraq - January 14th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Gunmen killed a representative [Sheik Mahmoud al-Madaini] of Iraq's most powerful Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, and five other people in an attack south of Baghdad on Wednesday [01/12/05], the cleric's office said Thursday [01/13/05]. [....]" [New York Times]

2005 - Social Security Trivia / U.S.A. - January 15th, 2005: "Social Security taxes will have to rise by half if lawmakers don't revamp the giant program, President George W. Bush's budget chief [Joshua Bolten] said Friday [01/14/05] [....]" [News Services]

2005 - Dirty Water? / Missouri, U.S.A. - January 15th, 2005: "[....] As reported in a Jan. 6 article, Missouri has had 20 years to comply with clean water standards, yet we have still failed to clean up over 90 percent of our waterways. According to a Jan. 9 article, the Metropolitan Sewer District is arguing that its sewage treatment plants should be exempt from disinfecting sewage before discharging it into certain streams. MSD plans to get around upgrading the equipment by claiming an exemption for waters that are too shallow for swimming. [....]" [Based on: Editorial Section, p. 30, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 01/15/05]

2005 - Bitter Cold Temperatures / U.S.A. - January 15th, 2005: "NEW YORK - Bitter cold hit the nation's midsection Friday, with temperatures falling enough to cancel an ice fishing contest in Minnesota. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Broken Contact / Israel & Palestine - January 15th, 2005: "JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cut all contact Friday with the newly elected Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas. Sharon said Abbas must halt militant attacks if he wants peace talks. The decision came on the eve of Abbas's inauguration." [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Damaged Ruins / Babylon, Iraq - January 16th.2005: "LONDON - U.S.-led troops using the ancient Iraqi city of Babylon as a base have damaged and contaminated artifacts dating back thousands of years in one of the world's most important archaeological sites, the British Museum said Saturday [01/15/05]. [....] The remains of Babylon have been occupied since the early days of the invasion by U.S. Marines and, more recently, by soldiers from Poland and other countries. Babylon is 50 miles south of Baghdad. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Crime Statistics / St. Louis, Mo. - January 16th, 2005: "Somebody is robbed in the city of St. Louis every three hours, on average. At least, that is what the official crime statistics suggest. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A1, 01/16/05]

*Trivia: "[....] The Post-Dispatch disclosed Sunday [01/16/05] that for at least two years, St. Louis police avoided writing full reports on at least hundreds of incidents called in as crimes. It meant they would not be counted in the city's crime statistics, a clear violation of FBI guidelines and department policy. [....]" [By Jeremy Kohler, St Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A1, 01/17/05]

2005 - Manpower Crisis? / U.S. Army - January 16th, 2005: "ATLANTA - The Army may not be scraping the bottom of the manpower barrel yet, but critics say the service is coming dangerously close. [....] Steve Robinson, executive director of the National Gulf War Resourse Center, a veterans advocacy group in Washington, said the Army is now dipping into its last pool of resources. 'The only thing they have left is the draft.' [....] The initial plan to stop the manpower drain was the stop-loss policy, by which the Army can keep soldiers in uniform beyond the expiration of their active duty contracts. As of Jan. 1, more than 12,000 retired soldiers were under the stop-loss orders, including 6,657 on active duty, Hilferty [Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, a Pentagon spokesman] said. Last year the Pentagon began recalling Individual Ready Reserve soldiers. They are soldiers who have fulfilled their active duty contract but remain eligible for recall for up to eight years after enlistment. Just under 4,000 Ready Reserves received mobilization orders. [....]" [Cox News Service]

2005 - Strong Earthquake / Micronesia - January 16th, 2005: "A strong earthquake occurred at 20:17:50 (UTC) on Sunday, January 16, 2005. The magnitude 6.6 event has been located in STATE OF YAP, FED. STATES OF MICRONESIA. The hypocentral depth was poorly constrained. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)"

[Based on: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqinthenews/2005/ustiaq/] 

2005 - Sentenced / Spc. Charles Graner Jr. - January 16th, 2005: "FORT HOOD, Texas - Army Spc. Charles Graner Jr. was sentenced Saturday [01/15/05] to 10 years behind bars for physically and sexually mistreating Iraqis in the first court-martial stemming from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Insurgent Attacks / Iraq - January 17th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents stepped up their attacks Sunday [01/16/05], two weeks ahead of national elections, ambushing a car carrying a prominent female candidate [Salama al-Khafaji - the second attempt on her life since May 2004] and killing 16 people in other assaults. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Insurgent Attacks / Iraq - January 18th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents kidnapped a Catholic archbishop [Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa of the Syrian Catholic Church] and targeted Iraqi security forces in a series of  brazen assaults Monday [0117/05] that killed more than 20 people. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Fatality / Zhao Ziyang, China - January 17th, 2005: "Reportedly died this date in history: Zhao Ziyang."

2005 - Oldest  Woman to Give Birth? - January 18th, 2005: "BUCHAREST, Romania - A 66-year-old professor who writes children's books claims to have become the world's oldest woman to give birth. Doctors said Monday [01/17/05] she and her day-old baby daughter were in good condition in intensive care. [....] Doctors at the Giulesti Maternity Hospital in Bucharest said Adriana Ilescu became pregnant through in vitro fertilization using sperm and egg from anonymous donors. They said she delivered her her first child, Eliza Maria, by Caesarean section on Sunday and that a twin sister was stillborn. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Trivia / COX-2 Inhibitors - January 18th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - Two studies released Monday [01/17/05] have turned up new evidence that all of the popular arthritis painkillers known as COX-2 inhibitors may put users at greater risk of heart attacks and strokes. [....]" [Washington Post]

2005 - Peabody Coal Plant? / Illinois - January 18th, 2005: "The company planning to build a controversial $2 billion power plant in Illinois' Washington County says it could begin construction as soon as the end of this year, now that it has received its air pollution permit. Illinois environmental officials overruled objections about haze, acid rain and asthma in approving the permit late Friday [01/14/05] for the large new coal-fired power plant between Marissa and Lively Grove, about 40 miles southeast of St. Louis. [....]" [Based on: Sara Shipley, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2005 - Suicide Bomber / Gaza - January 19th, 2005: "GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - In the biggest test of his brief tenure, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas visited the Gaza Strip on Tuesday [01/18/05], hoping to persuade militants to halt attacks on Israel. But in a show of defiance, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up on a settler road in Gaza, killing an Israeli security agent and wounding seven other Israelis. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Traffic Jam / Ohio River - January 19th, 2005: "Traffic on a 42-mile stretch of the Ohio River was restricted Tuesday [01/18/05] because gates used to control the water level were jammed in the open position by wrecked barges. [....] The water is normally 12 feet deep at the Belleville lock, which was built in 1968. By Tuesday afternoon, it had dropped to 6 feet, 9 inches and was expected to fall to 6 feet, the lowest level along that stretch since the late 1880s, when locks and dams were first built on the Ohio." [News Services]

2005 - John Dunham / May Dept. Stores Co. - January 19th, 2005: "NEW YORK - May Department Stores Co. shares surged 16 percent, the biggest gain in more than 25 years, after Chief Executive Eugene Kahn resigned last week amid declining sales and profit. [....] May named President John Dunham acting chief executive while it conducts a search for a successor [....]" [Bloomberg News]

2005 - Robert P. May / Charter Communications Inc. - January 19th, 2005: "Charter Communications Inc. signaled a new  emphasis on improving operations and customer service Tuesday [01/18/05] by putting Robert P. May in charge as interim chief executive and president. May takes over from Carl E. Vogel, 47, whose resignation was announced Tuesday after more than three years on the job. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2005 - Stephen F. Cooper / Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. - January 19th, 2005: "[....] Shares of Krispy Kreme jumped more than 10 percent on the news that Livengood [Scott A.], chief executive for the last seven years, will be replaced by Stephen F. Cooper, who has been overseeing the bankruptcy reorganization of Enron Corp. as interim CEO. Cooper has three decades of experience in corporate restructurings at Enron, Polaroid, TWA, Boston Chicken and Pegasus Gold. [....]" [Compiled from Associated Press and Bloomberg News reports.]

2005 - Trivia / Somalia - January 20th, 2005: "Somalia's transitional government in exile said Wednesday [01/19/05] it would start moving back to Mogadishu by the end of the month, despite threats of attack by Islamic militants. [....] Somalia has had no central government since 1991, when opposition leaders ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on eachother." [News Services]

2005 - Sun in Aquarius - January 20th, 2005: "Reported date when the Sun entered the constellation Aquarius." [Based on: http://www.astro.com/swisseph/swephae.htm - 2005 A]

2005 - Health Study / Plavix - January 20th, 2005: "BOSTON - A heart drug recommended by medical groups as an easy-on-the-stomach substitute for aspirin instead showed a much higher risk of recurrent ulcers in a small but provocative study. The study of the drug Plavix could upend the treatment guidelines for tens of thousands of Americans who must take anti-clotting drugs for their hearts but are prone to gastriointestinal problems. The study is published in today's New England Journal of Medicine. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Car Bombs / Baghdad, Iraq - January 20th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents unleashed a deadly wave of five car bombings across the capital Wednesday [01/19/05], despite stepped-up U.S. and Iraqi measures to protect this month's elections. The U.S. military put the death toll from the day's Baghdad bombings at 26, saying the number was based on initial reports at the scene. Iraqi officials gave a lower toll - 12 people killed in the bombings and one when gunmen fired at the office of a major Kurdish party. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Profit Loss / General Motors Corp. - January 20th, 2005: "General Motors Corp., the world's largest automaker, said fourth-quarter profit fell 37 percent as health costs climbed and losses increased in Europe. The company projected a decline in first-quarter profit. [....]" [Bloomberg News]

2005 - U.S. Treasurer / Anna Escobedo Cabral - January 20th, 2005: "Anna Escobedo Cabral was sworn in Wednesday [01/19/05] as the nation's 42nd U.S. treasurer. Cabral, who had served as a longtime aid to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, succeeds Rosario Marin, who resigned in May 2003. The treasurer's signature, along with that of the treasury secretary, appears on all U.S. currency." [News Services]

2005 - Cancer / Leading Cause of Death, U.S.A. - January 20th, 2005: "LOS ANGELES - Cancer is now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 85, surpassing deaths from heart disease for the first time, researchers said Wednesday [01/19/05]. [....] In 2002, the most recent year for which data are available, 476,009 Americans under 85 died of cancer, compared with 450,637 who died of heart disease, according to the American Cancer Society's annual report issued Wednesday. [....]" [Based on: Los Angeles Times]

2005 - Waksals  Settlement / Imclone Systems Inc. - January 20th, 2005: "Samuel Waksal, the former chief executive of Imclone Systems Inc., and his father said Wednesday [01/19/05] that they'll pay more than $5 million to settle charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission. [....] Sam tried to sell nearly $5 million worth of Imclone shares and tipped off his father after learning in December 2001 that the Food and Drug Administration was expected to reject the company's Erbitux drug, the SEC alleged in a civil suit." [Bloomberg News]

2005 - Bird Flu / Vietnam - January 21st, 2005: "Vietnam confirmed on Thursday [01/20/05] the sixth human death from bird flu in three weeks. Neighboring Thailand recorded its first case among poultry this year as health experts expressed concern about a possible repeat of last year's devastating outbreak. [....]" [News Services]

2005 - Trivia / Doe Run, Peru - January 21st, 2005: "About 475 years ago, Francisco Pizzaro and a small group of Spanish conquistadors arrived in Peru. They destroyed the Inca empire - then the largest and most advanced in the Western Hemisphere - and seized its gold and silver.
   "That was then.
   "This is now: About 18,000 children live in La Oroya, Peru. Virtually every one of them is lead poisoned, independent researchers concluded two years ago. About 28 percent were so severly poisoned that they should have been hospitalized immediately.
   "The source of that lead poisoning is a giant metal smelter in the town. Since 1997, it has been owned by Doe Run Resources Group of Maryland Heights [Mo.]. That's the same company that owns the smelter in Herculaneum, Mo. Coincidentally, tests conducted during 2001 found 28 percent of the children living around the Herculaneum smelter were lead poisoned, although they didn't require hospitalization.
   "The Peruvian smelter polluted long before it was purchased by Doe Run. But when Doe Run bought the La Oroya smelter in 1997, it agreed to an environmental cleanup plan. In return, it got permission to exceed Peruvian pollution standards for 10 years. The former Peruvian official who negotiated the deal later went to work for Doe Run. [....] The company's threat to close its La Oroya smelter was characterized by Hunter Farrell, an American Presbyterian missionary working in Peru, as 'economic blackmail.' The smelter employs 3,500 people, a good chunk of the local work force. If it closed, they would have no work. [....] The Roman Catholic Bishop of La Oroya recently asked St. Louis University to visit the town to assess possible contamination in workers' homes. If Doe Run is sincerly concerned about its workers' welfare, it should support the testing, tell its workers they won't lose their jobs for having their homes tested for contamination, and immediately act on the results.
   "Since Doe Run bought its Peruvian smelter, the prices of lead, copper and gold - the metals refined there - have increased by 66 percent, 74 percent and 76 percent respectively. Somewhere, Francisco Pizzaro is smiling." [Based on: Editorial Section, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. B6, 01/21/05]

*Trivia: "[....] The people of Doe Run Peru and its corporate parent, the Doe Run Company of Maryland Heights [Mo.], are compassionate, hardworking individuals doing what's right for their communities, both here and abroad. Given the complex issues in Peru, slinging accusations and placing unwarranted blame not only oversimplifies and challenges, but also insults our employees and the people of La Oroya, who continue to work hand-in-hand with the government and the company on future plans that are far from ugly." [Based on article by Bruce Neil & Barbara Shepard, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. B7, 02/01/05]

2005 - Icy Conditions / North Carolina - January 21st, 2005: "RALEIGH, N.C. - A mere inch of snow was all it took to cripple North Carolina's capital, causing gridlock and leaving 3,000 students stranded in classrooms overnight. Dry snow hit already frigid streets at midday Wednesday [01/19/05] and turned to ice as schools and businesses scrambled to close early. Thousands of drivers were on the roads before salt trucks could treat the pavement. While a TV weatherman hung his head in shame Thursday - telling viewers his forecast of a mere dusting was 'embarrassing' - the mayor criticized meteorologists for leaving Raleigh unprepared. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Research / Alzheimer's Disease - January 21st, 2005: "Some symptoms of Alzheimer's disease may be reversible, suggests new research from Washington University [Mo.]. [....] About 4.5 million people in the United States have the debilitating memory-robbing disease, and the number is expected to grow as the population ages. [....] No one knows whether antibody therapy could help people with Alzheimer's disease. Clinical trials of antibodies against beta-amyloid were halted when some people developed serious side effects. But scientists are now testing a variety of drugs aimed at stopping plaque formation or breaking them up, Gandy [Samuel Gandy, director of the Farber Institute for Neurosciences at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia] said." [....] [Based on: Tina Hesman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, pp. A1 & A12, 01/21/05]

*Trivia: "Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain in which nerve cells deteriorate and die for unknown reasons. [....] The rate of progression of Alzheimer's varies, ranging from 3 to 20 years; the average length of time from onset of symptoms until death is 8 years. [....] Alzheimer's disease affects an estimated 4.5 million Americans, striking men and women of all ethnic groups. Although most people diagnosed with Alzheimer's are older than age 60, some cases occur in people in their 40s and 50s. An estimated 10 percent of the population over age 65 have Alzheimer's, and the disease affects almost half of those over 85. In the United States, annual costs of diagnosis, treatment, and long-term care are estimated at $100 billion. [....] Treatments for cognitive and behavioral symptoms are available, but no intervention has yet been developed that prevents Alzheimer's or reverses its course. [....]" [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 94] [Link:  ]  *Further Reading:  

2005 - Flooding / Guyana, South America - January 21st, 2005: "Thousands of flood-stricked Guyanese waited for food aid along a main highway Thursday [01/20/05], as the South American country of Guyana struggled to recover from flooding caused  by the heaviest rains in a century. More than 40 inches of rain have fallen in the former British colony since Dec. 26, including 25 inches this month alone. Two people have been reported killed. [....] [News Services]

2005 - Audiotape / Abu Musab al-Zarqawi? - January 21st, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - An audiotaped message attributed to Iraq's most feared terrorist leader called on his followers Thursday [01/20/05] to show patience and prepare for a long struggle against the Americans. [....] The 90-minute message - purportedly from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and posted on the internet - appeared to be aimed at rallying his forces after the loss of their base in Fallujah and at marshaling support as Iraqis prepare for their first elections since the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime. [....] [A.P.]

2005 - Confirmation Trivia / Bush Administration - January 21st, 2005: "WASHINGTON - The Senate on Thursday [01/20/05] confirmed the first two new members of President George W. Bush's Cabinet, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Four More Years / George W. Bush - January 21st, 2005: "WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush took the oath of office for his second term on Thursday [01/20/05]...."

2005 - Research Trivia / Mad Cow Disease - January 21st, 2005: "NEW YORK - Mad cow disease has long been thought to occur in just the brains and nervous systems of infected animals. But scientists are reporting today that the proteins thought to cause the disease can travel to other organs as well. The research is based on experiments with mice, but if the finding is born out in other species, it may suggest that no part of an infected animal is safe to eat. The disease leads to a fatal brain infection in humans. [....]" [Based on: New York Times article posted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A12, 01/21/05, right beside the [rest of the] article about Alzheimer's disease - depicting a large syringe next to the head of a mouse, a nerve cell, and damaged brain tissue.]

*Trivia: "Mad cow, first diagnosed in 1986 in the United Kingdom, is thought to have resulted from the feeding of meat and bone meal containing infected sheep parts to cattle. The outbreak probably was then made worse by 'amplification'- feeding meat-and-bone meal made from those cattle to young calves. [....]" [Based on: St. Petersburg Times, 03/12/01]    *Further Reading:  

2005 - Car Bombs / Iraq - January 22nd, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - At least 16 Iraqis were killed and dozens were wounded Friday [01/21/05] in separate car bomb attacks outside a mosque in Baghdad and near a wedding party south of capital, according to Iraqi government and hospital officials. [....] [New York Times]

2005 - Chinese Hostages / Iraq - January 22nd, 2005: "[....] Eight Chinese workers were kidnapped this week, and on Friday [01/21/05], insurgents who have threatened to kill them said they would be treated mercifully' if China banned all its citizens from entering Iraq, according to a video obtained by Reuters. [....]" [New York Times]

2005 - Trivia / Muslim Hajj - January 23nd, 2005: "MECCA, Saudi Arabia - As rains lashed the Saudi Desert, tens of thousands of drenched Muslim pilgrims welcomed the deluge Saturday [01/22/05] as an act of God while they circled the cubic Kaaba shrine in this holy city's Grand Mosque, the final rite in the hajj pilgrimage. A record 2.56 million people attended this year's hajj, which all able-bodied Muslims must perform at least once in their lifetime if they can afford it. Saudi authorities, jittery over fears that terrorists might strike the event, said increased security and improved crowd management saw the pilgrimage go off without a hitch. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Died / Johnny Carson - January 23rd, 2005: "Reportedly died this date in history: Former 'Tonight' show host, Johnny Carson. He was 79."

2005 - Contaminated Stem Cells? - January 24th, 2005: "The human embryonic stem cells available for reaearch are contaminated with nonhuman molecules from the culture medium used to grow the cells, researchers have reported. The nonhuman cell-surface sialic acid can compromise the potential uses of the stem cells in humans, say scientists at the University of California at San Diego. Their study was published Sunday [01/23/05] in the online edition of Nature Medicine. [....]" [News Services]

2005 - Winter Storm / New England, U.S.A. - January 24th, 2005: "BOSTON - A powerful blizzard crashed with all its fury Sunday [01/23/05] on New England, shutting airports, closing highways, flooding streets in coastal communities, knocking out power and dumping what in some areas appeared to be a record 24-hour snowfall. The storm was accompanied by howling, hurricane-force winds that caused whiteout conditions and left snowdrifts that resembled frozen dunes. Ocean waves 30-feet high rolled over seawalls. Temperatures averaged about 10 degrees with wind chills more like 10 below. [....]" [Los Angeles Times]

2005 - President Viktor Yushchenko / Ukraine - January 24th, 2005: "KIEV, Ukraine - Before a vast crowd of supporters celebrating with a burst of orange ballons, doves and chants, newly inaugurated President Viktor Yushchenko promised Sunday [01/23/05] to steer a new course for Ukraine - away from corruption and political cronyism and into the European Union. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Revelation? / Human Hybrids - January 25th, 2005: "Scientists have begun blurring the line between human and animal by producing chimeras—a hybrid creature that's part human, part animal. Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs. The embryos were reportedly the first human-animal chimeras successfully created. They were allowed to develop for several days in a laboratory dish before the scientists destroyed the embryos to harvest their stem cells. In Minnesota last year [2004] researchers at the Mayo Clinic created pigs with human blood flowing through their bodies. And at Stanford University in California an experiment might be done later this year [2005] to create mice with human brains. Scientists feel that, the more humanlike the animal, the better research model it makes for testing drugs or possibly growing 'spare parts,' such as livers, to transplant into humans. [....] There are currently no U.S. federal laws that address these issues. [....] A chimera is a mixture of two or more species in one body. Not all are considered troubling, though. For example, faulty human heart valves are routinely replaced with ones taken from cows and pigs. The surgery—which makes the recipient a human-animal chimera—is widely accepted. And for years scientists have added human genes to bacteria and farm animals. What's caused the uproar is the mixing of human stem cells with embryonic animals to create new species." [....]  [based on article by, Maryann Mott, National Geographic News, 01/25/05 - paragraph indents removed by E.M. - see link  ]

2005 - Captured / Terrorist Aides, Iraq - January 25th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Security forces in Iraq have captured two senior aides to the most wanted militant [Abu Musab al-Zarqawi] in Iraq, bringing in his top bomb maker [Sami Muhammad Ali Said al-Jaaf] and his propoganda chief [Hasam Hamad Abdullah Muhsin al-Dulaimi] in the past 10 days, an Iraqi government spokesman said Monday [01/24/05]. [....]" [Based on: New York Times]

2005 - Plans to Raise Gas Prices? / Bolivia - January 25th, 2005: "Thousands of Bolivians took to the streets Monday [01/24/05] in Santa Cruz in the latest in a series of protests against President Carlos Mesa's plans to raise gasoline prices in South America's poorest country. [....]" [News Services]

2005 - Snowed In / Parts of Massachusetts - January 25th, 2005: "WAYLAND, Mass. - Across Massachusetts, communities struggled Monday [01/24/05] to recover from the weekend blizzard. Schools, courts, government offices and many businesses remained shut. 'We just can't handle it,' said Bob Burns, the emergency management operations officer for the town of Plymouth, which tied with Salem for the most snow in the state: 38 inches, according to the National Weather Service. [....]" [New York Times]

2005 - Dire Warning / Climate Change Panel - January 25th, 2005: "Global warming is approaching the point of no return, after which widespread drought, crop failure and rising sea levels will be irreversible, an international climate change task force warned Monday [01/24/05]. [....] The independent report was made by the Institute for Public Policy Research in Britain, the Center for American Progress in the United States and the Australia Institute. 'An ecological time bomb is ticking away,' said Stephen Byers, who was co-chairman of the task force with U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine." [From News Services, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A3, 01/25/05]

2005 - Coolant Leak / Fermi 2 Plant, Michigan - January 25th, 2005: "The reactor at a nuclear power plant in Michigan was shut down Monday [01/24/05] after a coolant leak was detected, officials said. Officials with the Nuclear regulatory Commission and DTE Energy said water leaked from a nonradioactive cooling system at the plant, about 30 miles south of Detroit. No radioactive water leaked, officials said. [....]" [From News Services, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A3, 01/25/05]

2005 - First-Quarter Costs / Norfolk Southern Corp. - January 25th, 2005: "Norfolk Southern Corp. of Norfolk, Va., the fourth-largest U.S. railroad, said it will have first-quarter pretax costs of $30 million to $40 million from a Jan. 6 derailment in Graniteville, S.C. The company said it expects to have adequate insurance to cover potential claims or settlement. The cost estimate doesn't include fines or penalties that might be imposed, the company said in a statement. In the incident, a Norfolk Southern freight train hit a parked train, causing a chemil spill of chlorine gas, the Associated Press reported. Nine people died and 250 became ill." [Compiled from Bloomberg News, Associated Press and Dow Jones reports.]

2005 - Convicted / Jeffrey Royer & Anthony Elgindy - January 25th, 2005: "NEW YORK - A former FBI agent and an Internet penny stock adviser were convicted Monday [01/24/05] of mining government computers for confidential information they used to manipulate the stock market. Former agent Jeffrey Royer was convicted of racketeering, securities fraud, obstruction of justice and witness tampering for leaking details of FBI investigations and executives' criminal histories to san Diego Stock picker Anthony Elgindy. Elgindy was convicted of racketeering, securities fraud and extortion. [....] The two men could face between 10 and 20 years in prison. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Fourth-Quarter Profit  Loss / Union Pacific Corp. - January 25th, 2005: "Union Pacific Corp., the largest U.S. railroad, said fourth-quarter profit fell 76 percent as delays and asbestos claims increased costs. The company also said flooding in California and Nevada will reduce first-quarter earnings by almost half and cost about $200 million. [....]" [From News Services, S.L.P.D., p. C3, 01/25/05]

2005 - U.S. Troop Status / Iraq - January 26th, 2005: "[....] Counting all the military services, the United states has 150,000 troops in Iraq, spends more than $1 billion a week and is continually killing and capturing suspected insurgents. Still, the level of insurgent activity is about the same as it was six months ago, U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said Sunday [01/23/05]. [....] [A.P.]

2005 - Trivia / Human Trafficking - January 26th, 2005: "VIENNA, Austria - Dealing in people for forced labor and sexual slavery has become the world's No. 2 most lucrative crime, a senior U.S. countertrafficking official warned Tuesday [01/25/05]. Human trafficking, particularly the smuggling and enslavement of young women for prostitution, is tied with weapons smuggling as the second-largest illegal moneymaking activity, said T. March Bell, the Justice department's senior special counsel for trafficking issues and civil rights. Only the narcotics trade reaps more profits for organized crime. But trasffickers are earning billions of dollars exploiting tens of millions of victims each year, Bell said. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Larceny Retrial / Tyco Execs' - January 26th, 2005: "Jury selection was completed Tuesday [01/25/05] for the larceny retrial of two former top Tyco International Ltd. executives accused of looting the company of $600 million. Opening statements begin today [01/26/05]. [....] The jurors will hear the trial of L. Dennis Kozlowski, 58, Tyco's former chief executive, and Mark H. Swartz, 44, the conglomerate's former finance chief. The men are charged with first-degree grand larceny, securities fraud, and related counts. [....]" [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.]

2005 - Settlement / James Blair Down - January 26th, 2005: "[....] Judge Philip J. Kardis approved a settlement against Canadian con man James Blair Down, who was accused of bilking 400,000 people out of an estimated $200 million in a lottery scam in the 1990s. The settlement calls for Down to pay $10 million. His victims would get full reimbursement if they have a receipt, canceled check or other proof of loss. Those without proof, but whose names are in a database Down maintained, will get $100 to $200 dollars. [....] (Down, who now lives in Canada, pleaded guilty in 1998 of conspiring to mail gambling materials. He served a six-month prison term and paid about $12 million in restitution.) [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2005 - Budget Deficits / United States - January 26th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - The federal budget deficit will hit $368 billion this fiscal year, Congress' top budget analysts predicted Tuesday [01/25/05] - and that doesn't include mushrooming spending on the war in Iraq. The Congressional Budget Office made public its projection just as the White House announced it will seek $80 billion in emergency spending for this fiscal year, most of it to pay for military operations in Iraq. [....] America's massive federal budget and foreign-trade deficits are already spawning global financial concerns and driving down the value of the dollar. The United nations warned Tuesday that the U.S. deficits are pulling the world economy off balance. Bush has promised to cut the federal budget deficit in half during his second term, but world governments and financial markets increasingly fear the United States cannot control its spending. The Congressional Budget Office projects that federal budget deficits will total $855 billion over 10 years starting in 2006, a number that also does not include the costs of war in Iraq or any of Bush's new proposals. [....]" [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2005 - Moderate Earthquakes / Turkey - January 26th, 2005: "A string of moderate earthquakes [the strongest with a preliminary magnitude of 5.5] shook Turkey's border with Iran on Tuesday evening [01/25/05] , killing two people and damaging dozens of buildings, seismologists and officials said. [....] The quakes occurred about 870 miles southeast of the Turkish capital, Ankara." [News Services]

2005 - Accounting Fraud Trial / Bernard Ebbers - January 26th, 2005: "NEW YORK - Former WorldCom Inc. chief Bernard Ebbers orchestrated an $11 billion accounting fraud, then lied about the telecommunication giant's crumbling finances to protect its stock price and his personal fortune, a prosecutor said Tuesday [01/25/05] in opening statements at Ebbers' trial. Ebbers began the lies in October 2000, painting a false picture for investors and ignoring the fact that WorldCom had not met Wall Street expectations, federal prosecutor David Anders told jurors. [....] Ebbers, 63, is accused of orchestrating an accounting fraud at WorldCom, which collapsed in 2002 in the largest U.S. bankruptcy ever. The charges - fraud, conspiracy and making false regulatory filings - include penalties of up to 85 years in prison. His attorney, Reid Weingarten,  told jurors the case reminded him of 'one of those well-crafted docu-dramas you see on television.' 'This man is not capable of committing the crimes charged,' Weingarten said." [Based on: A.P.]

*Trivia: "[....] ... Bernard J. Ebbers, the former chief executive of WorldCom Inc., is the federal government's biggest catch since it began pursuing alleged corporate wrongdoers three years ago. He could spend the rest of his life in prison. Sentencing was scheduled for June 13th. Ebbers, 63, was found guilty on Tuesday [03/15/05] of orchestrating the $11 billion fraud that sank WorldCom in 2002, the biggest corporate fraud and bankruptcy in U.S. history. As a jury forewoman read the verdict - guilty on all nine counts, including fraud and conspiracy - Ebbers' face reddened noticeably. His wife, Kristie, seated in the front row, broke into tears. [....] Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales called the conviction a 'triumph of our legal system.' He said the jury had recognized the fraud 'extended from the middle-management levels of this company all the way to its top executive.' [....] WorldCom, which had been based in Clinton, Miss., emerged from bankruptcy last year as MCI Inc. of Ashburn, Va." [Based on: A.P., 03/16/2005]

2005 - Corporate Fraud Trial / Richard Scrushy - January 26th, 2005: "BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Fired HealthSouth Chief Executive Richard Scrushy made millions from a seven-year scheme to overstate earnings by about $2.7 billion as investors large and small suffered, a prosecutor told jurors Tuesday [01/25/05] as testimony opened in Scrushy's corporate fraud trial. [....] The government also charged that Scrushy spent more than $200 million on such luxuries as waterfront mansions, opulent cars, a racing boat, bronze statues, a 21-carat diamond ring and a $3.2 million airplane. [Based on: A.P.]

*Trivia: "Fired HealthSouth chief executive Richard Scrushy told his staff to 'fix the numbers' to conceal a potential earnings shortfall in mid-1996, when a massive accounting scandal was just beginning, the company's first chief financial officer [Aaron Beam] testified Wednesday [01/26/05]. [....]" [Compiled from Associated Press & Bloomberg News reports, 01/27/05]

2005 - Settlements / Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs - January 26th, 2005: "Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs agreed Tuesday [01/25/05] to pay $40 million each to settle regulators' allegations that they improperly doled out shares of hot new stocks to certain customers to get them to buy more at inflated prices once trading began. The brokerages neither admitted to nor denied the allegations made in two civil lawsuits by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Wall Street firms also agreed to refrain from further violations. The settlements are subject to approval by federal courts in new York and Washington. The violations of securities laws and brokerage industry rules allegedly occurred in 1999 and 2000, during the height of the tech-stock boom and the frenzy of initial public offerings of stock." [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.]

2005 - Elections Trivia / Iraq - January 27th, 2005: "[....] Iraqi officials had announced this month that the country's borders would be sealed for three days around the election to try to prevent insurgents from moving in and out of the country. On Wednesday [01/26/05], Iraqi officials offered more specifics on the extraordinary security procedures planned. The Interior Ministry announced that Iraqis would not be allowed out of their homes between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. starting Friday night [01/28/05]. Vehicle traffic would be banned between provinces for three days and even inside cities and towns throughout the country on election day, unless the motorists possess special credentials. A three-day holiday has been declared, closing offices and schools Saturday, Sunday and Monday. [....]" [Cox News Service]

2005 - Trivia / Tsunami Death Toll - January 27th, 2005: "[....] Differing government tallies in Sri Lanka and Indonesia, the two hardest-hit countries, have put the total number of dead in 11 countries between 144,000 and 178,000. As many as 147,000 people are missing - many of them presumed dead - raising the possibility that more than 300,000 died. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - U.S. Helicopter Crash / Iraq - January 27th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Americans on Wednesday [01/26/05] suffered their deadliest single day in Iraq since the invasion 22 months ago. A U.S. Marine transport helicopter [53E Super Stallion] crashed during a sandstorm, killing 30 Marines and a sailor aboard. Insurgents killed six other American troops elsewhere in the country. [....] The Associated Press said the latest deaths pushed the number of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq to at least 1,409. [....] According to data from the Brookings Institution, the United States has lost 35 helicopters since May 2003, with at least 20 having been brought down by enemy fire. [....]" [Cox News Service]

2005 - Plans to Resign? / Douglas J. Feith - January 27th, 2005: "Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's top policy adviser [Douglas J. Feith] said Wednesday [01/26/05] he has informed Rumsfeld that he will leave his Pentagon position sometime this summer. [....] He offered no specific resignation date and stressed that he was leaving on his own terms. [....]" [News Services]

2005 - Guilty Plea / Kent D. Kalkwarf - January 27th, 2005: "A former chief financial officer of Charter Communications Inc. pleaded guilty Wednesday [01/26/05] to defrauding shareholders. And the prosecutor said the investigation into fraud at Charter is continuing. [....] U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson set sentencing for April 22nd. Kalkwarf faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Prosecutors agreed to drop 13 other counts against him at sentencing. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2005 - Trivia / International Space Station - January 27th, 2005: "[....] During their 225-mile-high excursion, the spacewalkers also inspected the station's vents and found a large patch of dark, oily residue and a white, honeycombed substance. It was not immediately known what the substances were. The gunk might explain the frequent breakdowns in the space station's air-supply equiptment." [News Services]

2005 - Compensation Trivia / Stanley O'Neal - January 27th, 2005: "Merrill Lynch & Co., the biggest securities firm by capital, paid Chief Executive E. Stanley O'Neal a 2004 bonus of $31.3 million in stock and a salary of $700,000, the company said in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In 2003, O'Neal's total compensation was only $28 million." [Compiled from Associated Press & Bloomberg News reports.]

2005 - Growing Violence? / U.S.-Mexican Border - January 27th, 2005: "U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza told Mexican leaders Wednesday [01/26/05] that he is concerned that growing drug-related violence and kidnappings on the border between the two countries will have a chilling effect on trade and tourism. [....] The department alerted Americans visiting Mexico that violent crime, including murder and kidnapping, has increased in its northern border region. The warning attributed the increased crime to a war between criminal organizations struggling for control of the lucrative narcotics trade. [News Services]

*Trivia: "[....] In Washington on Thursday [01/27/05], State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said 27 Americans have been abducted in Mexico's northern border region over the past six months. Two of them were killed, he said, while 14 were released. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Proposed / New Anti-Terror Powers, Britain - January 27th, 2005: "Prime Minister Tony Blair's government on Wednesday [01/26/05] proposed sweeping new powers to tackle terrorism, including electronic bugging, curfews and house arrest for terrorism suspects without charge or trial. Home Secretary  Charles Clarke said the new control orders would apply to both foreigners and British nationals. He promised to introduce legislation as soon as possible. [....]" [News Services]

2005 - Train Derailment / Glendale, California - January 27th, 2005: "A Metrolink commuter train derailed Wednesday [01/26/05] in Glendale, California. The train struck a vehicle parked on the tracks by a man who was planning to commit suicide, authorities said. The train derailed, then hit another train and a locomotive. At least 11 people were killed." [Based on: A.P.]

*Trivia: "Scores of times each year, people intentionally stand, jump and drive in front of trains, figuring it's a sure way to end their lives. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - U.S. Secretary of State / Condoleezza Rice - January 27th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - Condoleezza Rice won confirmation as secretary of state Wednesday [01/26/05] despite blistering criticism from Senate Democrats who accused her of misleading statements and said she must share the blame for mistakes and war deaths in Iraq. [....] Separately, a Senate committee voted 10-8 to send Alberto Gonzales' attorney general nomination to the full senate. Jim Nicholson and Michael Leavitt won confirmation by voice vote as the new secretaries of veterans affairs and health and human services, respectively. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Military Helicopter Crash / North Vietnam - January 27th, 2005: "A Vietnamese military helicopter crashed in northern Vietnam shortly after takeoff, killing all 16 people aboard, officials said today [01/27/05]. [....]" [News Services]

2005 - World Economic Forum / Davos, Switzerland - January 27th, 2005: "British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac urged political and economic leaders Wednesday [01/26/05] to take drastic action against poverty and global warming as the World Economic Forum began its annual meeting at Davos. [....]" [News Services]

*Trivia: "The threat of military action to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions became a central theme Friday [01/28/05] at the World Economic Forum, with Germany's leader warning that the Middle East cannot abide another war, a clear message to the United States that is being increasingly echoed throughout Europe. [....] The United States has demanded that Iran be hauled before the U.N. Security Council, and has refused to rule out military strikes against the country unless it stops enriching uranium. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Volcanic Activity / Manam Volcano, New Guinea - January 27th, 2005: "When the Manam volcano erupted explosively in the middle of the night on January 27, 2005, it sent a cloud of ash and sulfur dioxide over New Guinea. The large eruption killed at least one person, injured several others, and destroyed the volcano monitoring station on the small volcanic island. About 12 hours after the eruption (January 28), the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) flew over on NASA’s new Aura satellite. This image was produced from preliminary, uncalibrated data provided by OMI. [....]" [Link: 1

2005 - Disproportionate Sacrifice - January 28th, 2005: "The 'wave of steel' that rolled through the Iraqi desert is corroding in the swamp of occupation and insurgency, and America's citizen-soldiers are paying a high price for that. With reserves now making up 40 percent of American Army forces in Iraq and Kuwait - and heading toward 50 percent - the Pentagon's Army Reserve chief is right to warn that this force could be broken.
   "Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld owes the country and its service men and women an explanation for that disproportionate commitment of Reserve forces, instead of better redeployment of the nation's sizeable active-duty military force. While today's reserves are better trained and equipped than their predecessors, Rumsfeld's refusal to admit a need for more active-duty deployment is placing a huge burden on the nation's part-time soldiers....
   "America's combination of volunteer regular forces and skilled reserves has been a good one, but this administration's miscalculations in Iraq now have put it at risk." - The Buffalo News (N.Y.) [Editorial Section, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. C7, 01/28/05]

2005 - Insurgent Attacks / Iraq - January 28th, 2005: "[....] At least 15 Iraqis and a U.S. Marine were killed Thursday [01/27/05]. Insurgents blew up six polling places, detonated car bombs in three cities, triggered at least three roadside bombs and shot several Iraqi policemen, according to the U.S. military and Iraqi authorities. [....] Leaflets passed out to residents of several neighborhoods in Baghdad warn of more attacks that will 'strike voting centers powerfully and without mercy.' Another insurgent flier says 'a gift' is waiting for each polling place. [....]" [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2005 - Guilty Plea / Riggs Bank - January 28th, 2005: "Riggs Bank pleaded guilty Thursday [01/27/05] to a criminal charge of failing to report suspicious transactions in the accounts of foreigners, including two dictators. It will pay a proposed fine of $16 million. The guilty plea by Riggs throws into question its deal to be acquired for $779 million by PNC Financial Services Group. [- From wire services]

2005 - Trivia / Peabody Energy Corp. - January 28th, 2005: "[....] Peabody Energy, the world's largest coal-mining company, said higher prices and sales volumes helped to boost revenue for the year and quarter. The company sold 227 million tons in 2004, compared with 203 million tons in 2003. [....]" [From Staff Reports, S.L.P.D.]

2005 - Russian Raid / Southern Russia - January 28th, 2005: "Hundreds of security forces stormed an apartment building Thursday [01/27/05] in southern Russia, killing seven suspected Islamic extremists linked to Chechen rebels, Russian authorities said. [....]" [News Services]

2005 - Gun Ban / Palestinian Authority - January 28th, 2005: "RAMALLAH, West Bank - The new Palestinian Authority leadership on Thursday [01/27/05] banned civilians from carrying weapons and indicated it will appoint a new security minister known for his tough stance against militants - clear signs of seriousness about reining in violence, which is an Israeli precondition for peace talks. [....] Soon after the current round of violence started in September 2000, Israel targeted Palestinian police posts for destruction in response to allegations they were involved in violence. The Israelis declared they would open fire on any armed Palestinian - in effect disarming the police. The main result was to weaken the authority of the Palestinian Authority police forces. The vacuum was filled by large militant groups, like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, as well as small armed gangs who ruled neighborhoods by force of arms, often clashing among themselves. The northern West Bank town of Jenin is a well-known center of militant groups and gangs, and police have no authority there. [....] In local elections in 10 localities in Gaza on Thursday, meanwhile, the Islamic Hamas movement scored some big victories, according to exit polls, handily defeating Abbas' Fatah party in three of the four communities polled. [....]" [Based on: article by Mohammed Daraghmeh, A.P.]

2005 - Sentencing / Chemco Industries Inc. - January 28th, 2005: "A federal judge on Thursday [01/27/05] sentenced Chemco Industries Inc. of St. Louis and Kamal P. Yadav, its owner, after they pleaded guilty in October [2004] to violating the Clean water Act by discharging wastewater and heavy-duty chemicals into a sewer without treatment or a permit. U.S. District Judge Charles Shaw ordered the company to pay a $10,000 fine and $3,601 in restitution to the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District. Yadov was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. The company and Yadov were placed on three years of probation. The company and its owner paid $19,001 in fines, restitution and fees after sentencing. The company mainly makes soaps and detergents. It uses various petrochemicals, such as benzene and toluene, in its manufacturing processes. At the time of the violation, the company was at 4888 Baumgartner Road in Oakville. After confirming a tip that Chemco was dumping the materials without a permit, the sewer district turned the matter over to the Environmental Protection Agency. The company has moved to Manchester Avenue, east of Hampton Avenue in St. Louis. It has obtained all necessary permits, said Stephen Jeffery, attorney for Chemco. The company collects the chemicals in a holding tank. A waste-disposal company hauls the contents to its facility in Sauget [Illinois], he said. [Based on: Phil Sutin, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. B2, 01/28/05]

2005 - Sonar Testing Range? / North Carolina Coast - January 28th, 2005: "At least 37 whales beached themselves and died along the North Carolina shore earlier this month soon after Navy vessels on a deep-water training mission off the coast used powerful sonar as part of the exercise. [....] The Navy hopes to establish a 500-square-nautical-mile underwater sonar testing range off the North Carolina coast. [....]" [News Services]

*Trivia: "A toxic chemical used to prevent barnacles from clinging to ship hulls may cause deafness in marine mammals and could lead whales to beach themselves, Yale researchers say. The hearing loss would be the latest environmental hazard linked to TBT, a chemical already known to be harmful to some aquatic life. TBT is banned in many countries but is still widely used. Yale researchers based their theory on a study of guinea pigs, because mammals have similar ear structure. Since many marine mammals use sonar to get around, 'It's possible this could be contributing to whales and dolphins beaching and hitting ships,' said Joseph Santos-Sacchi, professor of surgery and neurobiology at Yale School of Medicine." [From News Services, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. 26, 01/29/05]

2005 - Female Interrogation Tactics / Guantanamo Bay - January 28th, 2005: "SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Female interrogators tried to break Muslim detainees at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay by sexual touching and by wearing a miniskirt and thong underwear, according to an insider's [former Army Sgt. Erik R. Saar] written account. [....] the book - which Saar titled 'Inside the Wire' - is due out this year with Penguin Press. [....]" [Based on article by Paisley Dodds, A.P.]

2005 - Scheduled to leave / Steve Schumm, Charter Communications Inc. - January 28th, 2005: "Charter Communications Inc. has eliminated Steve Schumm's job as chief administrative officer. Schumm, an executive vice president and former interim chief financial officer, is scheduled to leave the company today. He is the seventh top Charter officer to leave the company in the last seven months." [- From staff and wire reports, S.L.P.D.]

2005 - Trivia / Microwave Ship? - January 29th, 2005: "[....] In a forthcoming issue of the journal Acta Astronautica, the Benfords explain how a sail covered with a paint designed to emit gas when it is heated might propel a spacecraft to Mars in just a month. A rocket would take the craft to low-Earth orbit, 300 kilometres up. After the craft unfurls a solar sail 100 metres across, a transmitter on Earth would fire microwaves at it to heat it up. The Benfords calculate a one-hour burst of microwaves could accelerate the craft to 60 kilometres per second, faster than any interplanetary spacecraft to date. [....]" [Based on: Celeste Biever, NewScientist.com news, 01/29/05]

2005 - Sentenced / Bobby Collins Jr. - January 29th, 2005: "A judge sentenced former Washington University football star Bobby Collins Jr. to 540 years in prison for a home invasion and rape that she called Friday [01/28/05] 'the most heinous that I have seen during my 12 years on the bench.' [....] Last month, a jury found Collins guilty of kidnapping, two counts of forcible rape, four counts of forcible sodomy, attempted forcible sodomy, burglary, robbery and 10 counts of armed criminal action. [....]" [Based on: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 01/29/05]

2005 - Defrocked Priests / St. Louis, Mo. - January 29th, 2005: "Archbishop Raymond Burke said Friday [01/28/05] that three St. Louis priests had been laicized, or defrocked, by the Vatican. Burke had asked Pope John Paul II to return Michael McGrath, Donald Straub and Robert Yim to 'the lay state,' according to a statement issued by the archdiocese, because 'all three had credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor against them.' [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2005 - Israeli Raids Halted? / Gaza Strip - January 29th, 2005: "RAFAH, Gaza Strip - Israel's army chief ordered his troops Friday [01/28/05] to halt raids in the Gaza Strip and move against West Bank militants only with his approval. The order is a major policy change for Israel after more than four years of fighting and a step toward a truce with the Palestinians. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Sentenced / Protestant Bishop, St. Louis, Mo. - January 29th, 2005: "A former Protestant bishop [Shelby E. Shannon] was sentenced Friday [01/28/05] to at least 120 days in prison for committing sodomy with a teenage boy who belonged to his congregation in St. Louis. [....] Shannon, former bishop in three states for the Church of the Living God, pleaded guilty Dec. 13 to two counts of sodomy. He was arrested one year earlier after the boy, now 18, alleged that Shannon abused him beginning in December 2002. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2005 - Trivia / U.S. Social Security - January 30th, 2005: "[....] Even if nothing is done, Social Security's surplus would not be exhausted until 2042 to 2052. After that, there would be enough revenue from the payroll tax to fund 73 percent of scheduled benefits. [....] Looking 65 years ahead, some workers could see benefits cut by more than 50 percent over existing scheduled benefits under proposed changes. [....]" [Based on article by Jack Naudi, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A7, 01/30/05]

2005 - Ice Storm / Atlanta, Georgia - January 30th, 2005: "ATLANTA - Freezing rain and sleet coated parts of the Southeast with a layer of ice Saturday [01/29/05] canceling hundreds of airline flights, knocking out power to thousands of customers and shutting down sections of every interstate highway in the metro Atlanta area. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - "There is No Tomorrow" / Bill Moyers - January 30th, 2005:

One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington.

Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a worldview despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts.

[....]

[Bill Moyers was host until recently of the weekly public affairs series "NOW with Bill Moyers" on PBS. This article is adapted from AlterNet, where it first appeared. The text is taken from Moyers' remarks upon receiving the Global Environmental Citizen Award from the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School.] See links:
http://signs-of-the-times.org/signs/signs20050202.htm,
http://www.startribune.com/stories/1519/5211218.html

2005 - Elections / Iraq - January 31st, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Sunday [01/30/05] was a rare day of jubilation in this war-weary nation. A surprise majority of Iraqis cast ballots in their first independent elections in half a century, voting for democracy and defying the insurgency that tried to silence them with a barrage of attacks that killed at least 44 people. [....]" [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

*Trivia: "In the months before the Iraqi elections in January [2005], President George W. Bush approved a plan to provide covert support to certain Iraqi candidates and political parties, but rescinded the plan because of congressional opposition, current and former government officials said Saturday [07/16/05]. [....]" [Based on: article by Douglas Jehl & David E. Sanger, p. A2, S.L.P.D., 07/17/05]

2005 - Bomb Blast / Spain - January 31st, 2005: "A bomb exploded Sunday [01/30/05] in a resort hotel in southeastern Spain after a telephone warning from the Basque separatist group ETA, the Interior Ministry said. One person was injured. The Hotel Port Denia immediately evacuated about 160 people before the bomb exploded about 30 minutes later." [News Services]

2005 - British C-130 Crash / Iraq - January 31st, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq A British C-130 military transport plane crashed Sunday [01/30/05] north of Baghdad, scattering wreckage over a large area, officials said. At least 10 military personnel were killed, said britain's Press Association. [....] The British military has reported 76 deaths since the start of the Iraq war. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Missing U.S. Funds? / Iraq - January 31st, 2005: "WASHINGTON - The U.S. occupation authority in Iraq was unable to keep track of nearly $9 billion it transferred to government ministries, which lacked financial controls, security communications and adequate staff, a special U.S. inspector general has found. The U.S. officials relied on Iraqi audit agencies to account for the money, but those offices were not even functioning when the funds were transferred between October 2003 and June last year, according to an audit. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Trivia / Monsanto Settlement - January 2005: "[....] It's against American law for an American company to bribe officials overseas. And so, St. Louis-based Monsanto in January [2005] agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle both criminal and and civil charges brought against it by the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Monsanto wanted Indonesia to approve its genetically-modified cotton seed. Much of the money was spread around by Monsanto's Indonesian affiliates. But in one case, a senior Monsanto executive in Asia personally ordered a consultant to 'incentivize' a ranking Indonesian environmental official with $50,000. So far, the matter has not sullied Monsanto's executive suite in Creve Coeur [Mo.]. [....] In settling with the government, Monsanto agreed to hire an independent consultant to monitor its compliance with new anti-corruption controls and to cooperate in continuing criminal probes. If Monsanto complies, criminal charges will be dropped in three years. It's a fair settlement, considering the swamp of corruption in which Monsanto found itself operating." [Based on: Editorial Section, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. B6, 04/12/05]

2005 - Lee Enterprises Buys Pulitzer - January 31st, 2005: "Pulitzer Inc. has agreed to a $1.46 billion acquisition by Lee Enterprises Inc., entrusting its Journalistic legacy to a company it views as a fitting steward. The deal, announced late Sunday [01/30/05], ended two months of speculation about the fate of Pulitzer, whose holdings include the Post-Dispatch and the Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. [....]" [P. A1 St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2005 - SBC Agrees to Acquire AT&T - - January 31st, 2005: "NEW YORK - Local phone giant SBC Communications Inc. has agreed to acquire AT&T Corp. for roughly $16 billion in cash and stock, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday [01/30/05]." [A.P.]

2005 - "Created" / Human Motor Neurons - January 31st, 2005: "MILWAUKEE - Using their own line of embryonic stem cells, researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison have become the first to make human motor neurons, the spindly nerve cells that control nearly all movement in the body. [....] While there have been reports of scientists creating animal motor neurons, making human motor cells has been difficult, in part because of the complex nature of the cells. [....] The researchers started with week-old embryonic stem cells, a type of master cell that is harvested a few days after conception and which can become any of the more than 200 cell types that make up the human body. In 1998, University of Wisconsin researchers were the first to isolate human embryonic stem cells. In their new study, The Wisconsin researchers first had to coax the embryonic stem cells to become a type of premature brain cell known as a neural stem cell. That entailed using a mix of hormones and growth factors, substances that nourish brain cells. 'We used a cocktail to guide the embryonic stem cells to become neural stem cells,' Zhang [Su-Chun Zhang] said. 'It takes about two weeks.' The neural stem cells then were allowed to develop into progenitor cells of motor neurons, which became actual motor neurons in a lab dish. [....]" [Based on article by John Fauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

2005 - Jury Selection / Michael Jackson Trial - January 31st, 2005: "SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Jury selection begins today in the child molestation case against Michael Jackson - a case that has become a symbol of the American obsession with celebrity. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - U.S. Stinger Missles Collection / Afghanistan - January 31st, 2005: "Authorities are launching a new push to collect U.S.-made Stinger missles that had been distributed to Afghans fighting Soviet troops in the 1980s, an Afghan official said Sunday [01/30/05]. The goal is to keep the weapons from terrorists and governments, he said. The Afghan intelligence service is offering to buy the anti-aircraft missles for an undisclosed sum, continuing a CIA program to recover the weapons." [From News Services, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A9, 01/31/05]

February 2005

2005 - Astronomic Configuration - February 1st, 2005: "Sun [12 Aquarius], Moon [26 Libra], Mercury [2 Aquarius], Venus [27 Capricorn], Mars [25 Sagittarius], Jupiter [18 Libra], Saturn [22 Cancer R], Uranus [5 Pisces], Neptune [14 Aquarius], Pluto [23 Sagittarius]."  

2005 - Shrinking Paper? / St. Louis, Mo - February 1st, 2005:

   I am a lifelong St. Louisan. Where has my Post-Dispatch gone?
   Long ago, the Saturday edition was turned into nothing more than a "magazine" of Associated Press wire stories. Recently, the Monday paper ceased to contain a Business section. The Wall Street Journal articles that used to be carried in Sunday's Business section disappeared. The Tuesday edition is so thin, the only fish one could wrap in it would be a sardine.
   On Sunday, we were informed that the number of op-ed columns we will get from syndicated columnist will be reduced from 13 to 11 per week. The newspaper is adding five new columnists, while losing seven. The list of columnists being dropped contains some pretty big names: William Safire, who is retired, Clarence Page, George Will, Molly Ivans, Cal Thomas, E.J. Dionne and Mona Charen.
   "Although it seems we are becomming a city with zero major newspapers, fortunately we have the internet, where we can read real newspapers. Unfortunately, they all exist in other metropolitan areas.

                                                                                                                   Michael Szerzinski, St. Louis

                                                                                                              [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. B6, 02/01/05]

2005 - Trivia / Zoltek Cos. - February 1st, 2005: "Zoltek Cos. will be featured in an exchange-traded fund of environmentally friendly energy companies. The fund is scheduled to begin trading on the American Stock Exchange on Feb. 4 [....] Zoltek, of Bridgeton [Mo.] makes carbon fibers. In December, Zoltek said it had reached a lon-term supply agreement with Vestas Wind Systems AS of Denmark, a world leader in the making of wind turbines and the rotor blades that power them. Zoltek expects to provide Vestas with $80 million to $100 million worth of carbon fiber and carbon fiber materials over the first three years of the agreement. [....] The company sees the supply of carbon fibers for the growing wind energy industry as one of its most promising opportunities for growth. The exchange-traded fund will track an index of 37 companies that uses more environmentally friendly energy alternatives, such as wind and solar power. The WilderHill Clean Energy Index is benchmark calculated by the Amex. It launched in August [2004]. [....]" [Based on: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. C1]

2005 - Train Derailments / U.S.A. - February 1st, 2005: "An official stands on a Norfolk Southern tanker car that rolled into the Allegheny River after a freight train derailed Monday [01/31/05] in Creighton, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh. The train was carrying a corrosive chemical, and 200 residents were evacuated. Also on Monday, five cars of a freight train derailed in Gallup, N.M., spilling about 600 gallons of a flammable liquid. No injuries were reported." [A.P. Picture-Article, posted in S.L.P.D., p. A4, 02/01/05]

2005 - Humanitarian Crisis / Darfur - February 1st, 2005: "[....] The United Nations has called Darfur the world's worst humanitarian crisis, saying the conflict there has killed 70,000 people since March [2005] - mostly from disease and hunger - and now effects 2 million people, up from 1.8 million in September [2004]." [News Services, S.L.P.D., p. A5, 02/01/05]

2005 - Cancer Causing Trivia / U.S.A. - February 1st, 2005: "The government is adding viruses for the first time to its list of known or suspected causes of cancer. They include hepatitis B and C and a third virus that causes sexually transmitted diseases. Lead, X-rays and compounds in grilled meats also are joining the list. [....] The list now identifies 246 known or suspected cancer-causing agents. It was prepared by the national Institute for Environmental Health Sciences and was last updated in December 2002. More information, including the complete list, can be found on the Web site, http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov." [News Services, S.L.P.D., p. A4]

2005 - Chapter 11 / Falcon Products Inc. - February 1st, 2005: "Financially troubled Falcon Products Inc. of Olivette [Mo.] filed Monday [01/31/05] for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, seeking protection from creditors while it attempts to restructure its heavy debt load. The commercial furniture maker already had defaulted on $100 million worth of bonds on Jan. 14, when it was unable to pay interest. The company holds $252 million in liabilities, owing money to more than 1,000 creditors, and has $264 million in assets, Falcon said in its bankruptcy filing. [....] The company will file detailed bankruptcy documents by Feb. 15. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. C1]

2005 - Earnings Trivia / ExxonMobil Corp. - February 1st, 2005: "ExxonMobil Corp. said Monday [01/31/05] that it earned a record $8.42 billion in the fourth quarter and $25.33 billion for all of 2004, as higher prices for oil and natural gas erased a slight decline in production. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - NASD Settlement / Todd Eberhard - February 1st, 2005: "Investment adviser Todd Eberhard, who pleaded guilty in September [2004] to federal charges he defrauded clients of up to $20 million, agreed to be barred from the investment industry in a settlement with the National Association of Securities Dealers. [....] Eberhard, 40, neither admitted nor denied the allegations in his civil settlement with the NASD." [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Dow Jones News reports.]

2005 - Settlement / Marsh & McLennan Cos. - February 1st, 2005: "Marsh & McLennan Cos., the world's largest insurance brokerage, agreed to pay $850 million to settle New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's accusations that it rigged bids and took kickbacks from insurers. [....] Chief Executive Michael Cherkasky, 54, is relying on the agreement to help hold onto clients and employees after Spitzer accused the broker of staging sham bids and steering clients to insurers that paid hidden fees. Shares have fallen 30 percent since the suit. [....] The accord, which exceeds Bank of America Corp.'s $675 million settlement over improper trading of mutual funds, may be the first of many in the $2.4 trillion insurance industry. [....] Marsh finds insurance for Fortune 500 companies. [....]" [Based on: Bloomberg News]

2005 - Trivia / Guantanamo Bay Detainees - February 1st, 2005: "MIAMI - A federal judge [U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green] cleared the way on Monday [01/31/05] for captives in Guantanamo Bay to sue for their freedom, saying the Pentagon has failed to provide due process to suspects held at the prison for up to three years. [....] 'Although this nation unquestionably must take strong action under the leadership of the Commander in Chief to protect itself against enormous and unprecedented threats,' Green wrote in a 75-page ruling, 'that necessity cannot negate ... most basic fundamental rights for which the people of this country have fought and died for well over 200 years.' [....] In the Navy-run Combatant Status Review Tribunals, three military officers who are not lawyers review each captive's case to make sure he meets the minimum standard for 'enemy combatant.' But Green criticized the tribunal framework because captives are denied lawyers and cannot challenge classified U.S. intelligence against them. 'Due process requires a thorough inquiry into the accuracy and reliability of statements alleged to have been obtained through torture,' said the judge. [....]" [Based on article by Carol Rosenberg, Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2005 - Costly Request / Secret 911 Documents - February 1st, 2005: "The Justice Department says a group that wants to see secret documents about the detention of people jailed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, first must pay nearly $373,000 to cover the cost of searching for the information. And the advance payment would not guarantee that anything found would be released. [....] People for the American Way Foundation, which sued for the records last year, accused the Justice Department of making the cost exceedingly high to deter its request. [....]" [News Services, S.L.P.D., p. A4]

2005 - Trivia / Detection of Alzheimer's Disease - February 1st, 2005: "A highly sensitive new test could lead to a different way to diagnose people with Alzheimer's disease, possibly helping find the illness in its early stages when there might be time for treatment [....] The test can detect small amounts of proteins in spinal fluid. The team's findings are reported in today's issue of Proceedings of the national Academy of Science." [News Services, S.L.P.D., p. A4]

2005 - Renewed Palestinian Violence / Jewish Settlements - February 1st, 2005: "GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - The killing of a 10-year-old Palestinian girl in a gaza schoolyard Monday [01/31/05] led Islamic militants to fire mortar shells at Jewish settlements and endangered an unofficial cease-fire between Israelis and Palestinians. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Election Protests / Kashmir - February 2nd, 2005: "Violent protests erupted Tuesday [02/01/05] as thousands of people voted in municipal elections held for the first time in 25 years in Indian-controlled Kashmir. A mob attacked one polling station in Srinigar, throwing bricks and shattering its windows, police said. Elsewhere in the city, crowds of young men burned tires, attacked police vehicles and pelted officers with stones. Separatist and rebel groups had called for a boycott of the elections, which had not been held for 25 years because of fears of violence. At least two rebel groups, Al-Mansoorain and Hezb-ul-Mujahedeen, have threatened to target voters." [Based on: News Services]

2005 - State of Emergency / Nepal - February 2nd, 2005: "King Gyanendra dismissed Nepal's government Tuesday [02/01/05] and declared a state of emergency, closing off his Himalayan nation from the rest of the world. Telephone and internet lines were cut, flights diverted and civil liberties severly curtailed. [....] This was the second time in three years the king has taken control of the tiny South Asian constitutional monarchy, a throwback to the era of absolute power enjoyed by monarchs before King Birendra, Gyanendra's elder brother, introduced democracy in 1990. Nepal has been in turmoil since Gyanendra, 55, suddenly assumed the crown in 2001 after Birendra was gunned down in a palace massacre apparently committed by Birendra's son, the crown prince, who also died." [News Services]

2005 - Militant Crackdown / Kuwait - February 2nd, 2005: "CAIRO, Egypt - Police have killed a militant [Mohammed Abdel Rahman Badawi] wanted in the October bombing of an Egyptian tourist resort. He was slain on Tuesday [02/01/05], just days after Kuwaiti authorities cracked down on militants purportedly influenced by al-Qaida. [....] In three weeks of anti-terrorism operations in Kuwait in January, eight al-Qaida-influenced militants were killed and about 20 were taken into custody, including the cell's suspected ringleader. A Kuwaiti lawmaker said the cell had been planning to attack buildings housing Americans and Kuwaiti security forces, and included Kuwaitis, two Saudis, a Jordanian and four stateless Arabs. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Trivia / Melanoma Research - February 2nd, 2005: "Sunlight exposure, a major risk factor for the potentially deadly skin cancer melanoma, may also help victims survive the disease, new research [being published this week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute] indicates. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Battling the Flu / Pope John Paul II - February 2nd, 2005: "ROME - Pope John Paul II was rushed to the hospital Tuesday night [02/01/05] with breathing difficulties and an inflamed throat, the Vatican said. He has been battling the flu during an icy spell that has swept Italy. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Fraud Retrial? / Ex-Westar Execs - February 2nd, 2005: "Former Westar Energy Inc. Chief Executive David C. Witting and ex-Vice President Douglas T. Lake will be retried on fraud charges after a jury in December failed to reach a verdict, prosecutors said. Wittig, 48, and Lake, 54, were charged with 40 counts including falsifying books and records. They would face 10 years or more in prison if convicted of a scheme to loot Westar, the largest utility in Kansas. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson scheduled the new trial to start May 9." [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Post-Dispatch reports.]

2005 - FAA Contract / Lockheed Martin Corp. - February 2nd, 2005: "Lockheed Martin Corp., the top U.S. defense contractor, won a $1.9 billion contract to provide weather briefings, radio communications and flight planning for the Federal Aviation Administration. [....]" [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Post-Dispatch reports.]

2005 - Israeli Troop Pullback? / West Bank - February 2nd, 2005: "JERUSALEM - Israeli and Palestinian leaders argued Tuesday [02/01/05] over a planned troop pullback from the West Bank, with a wary Israel saying it wants to hand over one town at a time and Palestinians insisting on a large-scale withdrawal. Israel decided to slow the pullout from five West Bank towns after a day of violence Monday [01/31/05] strained an informal cease-fire. Israeli security officials threatened to stop the process altogether if Palestinians don't halt all attacks on Israeli targets. [....] Israel's attorney general ruled Tuesday [02/01/05] that a secret government decision to seize Jerusalem land of Palestinians living in the West Bank violated Israeli and international law. [....] The Palestinians hope to make east Jerusalem the capital of an independent state; Israel claims the entire city as its capital. Attorney general Meni Mazuz issued his ruling after ordering an urgent review, saying he was never consulted about the policy. The plan was secretly approved by Cabinet ministers last summer." [based on: A.P.]

2005 - Guilty of Abuses / Abu Ghraib Prison - February 2nd, 2005: "Two reservists pleaded guilty Tuesday [02/01/05] to charges involving abuse of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison, bringing the number of soldiers found guilty of abuses at the Baghdad-area prison to seven. [....]" [News Services]

2005 - Prison Brawl / Florida - February 3rd, 2005: "More than 50 inmates face charges and 102 were transferred after a prison brawl in which one guard was stabbed and 11 others were beaten. The melee at the Apalachee Correctional Institution in Sneads erupted Monday [01/31/05] when a convicted murder who was being questioned about a homeade knife attacked a guard, authorities said. More guards were sent into the recreation yard, where some of the almost 200 prisoners began attacking them. None of the 12 guards was seriously hurt, and no prisoners were injured, Corrections Department spokesman Sterling Ivey said. Officials transferred 102 inmates to other Florida prisons, and 52 of them were charged with offenses including battery on a law officer and inciting a riot." [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Investor Scam / St. Louis - February 3rd, 2005: "[....] Ending an eight-day trial, jurors in U.S. District Court here [St. Louis] issued a verdict ordering former Rep. Wester Cooley and businessman George Tannous to pay $2.2 million. [....]" [S.L.P.D., p. B1, 02/03/05]

2005 - Settlement? / WorldCom Inc. - February 3rd, 2005: "A lawyer for WorldCom Inc. investors said they will cancel a $54 million settlement with outside directors and take the case to trial. Lawyer Sean Coffey made the comment Wednesday [02/02/05] after a federal judge issued a ruling invalidating a key provision of the settlement. Banks including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., which are also defendants in the case, objected to the provision. 'Regretfully, the objection raised by WorldCom's bankers will have an unfortunate consequence: lead plantiff will have to terminate the settlement rather than risk a reduction in any jury verdict against the banks,' Coffey said." [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Post-Dispatch reports.]

2005 - Record Fine / Animal Abuse - February 3rd, 2005: "[....] C.C. Baird and his wife, Patsy, paid the $262,700 fine last week as part of an agreement settling a civil case brought by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that accused them of breaking 'practically every regulation and standard applicable to dogs and cats,' Colleen Carroll, a USDA trial attorney, said Wednesday [02/02/05]. [....]" [Based on: St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2005 - Withdrawn / IRA Offer to Disarm - February 3rd, 2005: "The Irish Republican Army Wednesday [02/02/05] withdrew its offer to disarm, a key element of Northern Ireland's peace process. But the outlawed group pledged to adhere to a cease fire. The hard-line statement from the IRA - which included another denial of involvement in a recent $50 million bank heist - confirmed it was no longer willing to scrap its weapons stockpiles. The IRA in December had offered to disarm fully as part of a wider deal to receive a Catholic-Protestant administration in Northern Ireland involving Sinn Fein, the IRA-linked party that represents most of the north's Catholics. The deal failed when the IRA refused to permit photos of its disarmament to be taken." [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Missile-Sales Inquiry / Ukraine - February 3rd, 2005: "A senior lawmaker called Wednesday [02/02/05] for Ukraine's prosecutor-general to investigate alleged sales of nuclear-capable cruise missles to Iran and China in violation of international nonproliferation treaties. [....] Omelchenko [Hrihory Omelchenko] said an investigation launched last summer proved that some 20 air-launched cruise missles with nuclear capability were exported, with six missles ending up in Iran and China." [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Assassinations / Southern Russia - February 3rd, 2005: "A top-ranking regional police officer and three bodyguards were gunned down in southern Russia late Wednesday [02/02/05], police said. The assassination was the latest attack in the troubled region bordering war-wracked Chechnya. Maj. Gen. Magomed Omarov, a deputy interior minister for Dagestan, was driving home from work with bodyguards driving behind him in a second car when unknown assailants fired on the cars." [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Fourth-Quarter Profit / Boeing Co. - February 3rd, 2005: "Boeing Co. squeaked out a small $28 million operating profit in the fourth quarter, thanks to its St. Louis-based defense business, the company said Wednesday [02/02/05]. [....] Chicago-based Boeing's full-year net profit more than doubled to $1.9 billion, as revenue increased 4 percent to $52.5 billion. [....] In 2004, Boeing's defense business, which includes making F/A-18 Super Hornets, bombs and missles in St. Louis, produced 76 percent of the profit among the company's three main divisions. Operating profit at the defense division nearly quadrupled to $2.93 billion. Revenue there surged 11 percent to $30.5 billion. [....]" [Based on: St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2005 - Fraud Indictment / John Brincat Sr. - February 3rd, 2005: "John Brincat Sr., the former chief executive of Mercury Finance Co., has been indicted on charges that he manipulated the lender's earnings in a fraud that prosecutors said caused investors to lose $2 billion. [....]" [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Post-Dispatch reports.]

2005 - Corporate Jet Accident / New Jersey - February 3rd, 2005: "TETERBORO, N.J. - A corporate jet skidded off a runway Wednesday [02/02/05] on takeoff and hurtled across a six-lane highway during the morning rush hour, smashing into two cars and punching through the wall of a warehouse. About 20 people were taken to the hospital, including two injured in their cars. [....] The cause of the crash was not immediately known. The Bombardier Challenger CL-600 had been chartered by Kelso & Co., a New York-based investment firm, to take company employees and guests to Chicago. [....] Wheel tracks, plainly visible in snow, could be seen running straight off the end of the runway, through a fence and a snowbank, and then across U.S. Highway 46. [....] Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Greg Martin said communication between air-traffic control and the aircraft was routine before the crash. The weather was clear and wind was calm, with the temperature around 20 degrees. A similar plane, a Canadair CL-601 Challenger, crashed in December in Colorado while trying to take off, killing a son of NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol and two others." [A.P.]

*Trivia: "Investigators said Thursday [02/03/05] they have found no evidence of ice on the wings of a corporate jet that skidded off a runway, crossed a busy highway and slammed into a warehouse. [....] None saw any evidence of ice on the wings or other surfaces of the plane, the National Transportation Safety Board said. The NTSB also recovered only about 10 seconds of data from the plane's flight data recorder, board member Debbie Hersman said. Investigators plan to interview the pilot of the jet today and the co-pilot as soon as possible. Both men remained hospitalized in fair condition Thursday night. [....] The ground services company that fuled the Bombardier Canadair Challenger CL-600 before the crash has said that it did not de-ice the jet. The pilots had not requested the service, the company said." [Based on: Staff and Wire reports, S.L.P.D., p. A5, 01/04/05]

2005 - Raised / U.S. Federal Funds Interest Rate - February 3rd, 2005: "[....] Chairman Alan Greenspan and his colleagues raised the target for the federal funds rate by one-quarter of a percentage point, to 2.50 percent. It was the sixth such increase since last summer. The rate is the interest that banks charge eachother and is the Fed's main lever for influencing economic activity. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Ordered to Turn Over Records / U.S. CIA - February 3rd, 2005: "A federal judge ordered the CIA on Wednesday [02/02/05] to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and turn over to watchdog groups records concerning the treatment of prisoners in Iraq. The spy agency also was given the option of explaining why it cannot release the documents. 'Congress has set the laws, and it is the duty of executive agencies to comply with them,' U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein wrote. It was the second time in six months that the judge suggested the government was impeding the American Civil Liberties Union's quest to monitor government actions in the war on terrorism. The ACLU is seeking the records to show that prisoner abuse by the United States is 'not aberrational but systemic.' The CIA had claimed that a provision in the Freedom of Information Act allowed it to retain files pertaining to national security issues or state secrets. Megan Gaffney, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan, which represents the CIA in the case, had no immediate comment." [News Services, S.L.P.D., p. A4, 02/03/05]

2005 - Fourth Quarter Profit / Northrop Grumman Corp. - February 3rd, 2005: "Northrop Grumman Corp., the world's largest builder of warships, said fourth-quarter profit rose 31 percent as it sold more surveillance aircraft, including the Global Hawk unmanned spy plane used in Iraq. Net income climbed to $294 million, or 80 cents a share, from $224 million, or 61 cents, a year earlier, the Los Angeles-based company said in a statement Wednesday [02/02/05]. Sales rose 9.7 percent to $7.85 billion. [....] Northrop shares rose 34 cents to $52.34 on the New York Stock Exchange. They have risen 6.6 percent in the last year." [Based on: Bloomberg News]

2005 - "The Debt Threat" - February 4th, 2005: "Crushing national debt in many developing nations is producing armies of 'career terrorists,' Noreena Hertz writes in 'The Debt Threat,' a chilling look at perilous trends threatening the planet's stability and viability [....] Hertz builds a case that unemployment and a lack of educational, health and other services provide the environment for fatalistic world views to grow. And those deprivations are direct results of the debt burdens many of the world's poorest nations carry, she contends. Because of the debt payments owed to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, export credit agencies, commercial banks and other lenders, the government's don't have money left to provide adequate social services or to invest in infrastructure and jobs. As a result, Hertz writes, people become susceptible to extremist groups and drug dealers. [....] But terrorism is only one part of the debt threat Hertz spells out. She also focuses on environmental perils that are growing, including global warming. Debt-burdened countries must use their cheapest resources, so they cut forests, drain wetlands and burn areas for agriculture, causing pollution and other environmental devestation." [Based on article by Cecil Johnson, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, posted in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. C5, 02/04/05]

2005 - 2nd Pulitzer Suit / St. Louis - February 4th, 2005: "A second shareholder [ James Fern] has sued Pulitzer Inc., claiming that the $64-a-share buyout offer it accepted from Lee Enterprises is inadequate. [....] Another shareholder, Todd M. Veeck, filed a similar suit on Monday [01/31/05]. [....]" [Based on: - Christopher Carey]

2005 - Indicted / James P. Bennett - February 4th, 2005: "BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - HealthSouth Corp.'s former president and chief operating officer, James P. Bennett, was indicted Thursday [02/03/05] accused of having a role in a $2.7 billion accounting fraud that prosecutors allege was directed by company founder Richard Scrushy. Bennett, 47, was charged on the eigth day of Scrushy's fraud trial in Birmingham. Bennett is the 18th executive charged in a case in which 15 executives pleaded guilty. A 39-count indictment accused him of conspiracy, securities fraud and insider trading in the sale of $17.39 million of company stock. [....] Bennett was one of the highest-ranking executives not charged before Thursday. He worked at HealthSouth from 1991 to 2000. [....]" [Based on: Bloomberg News]

2005 - "Smart" Weapons? / U.S.A. - February 4th, 2005: "Boeing Co. said Friday that a test of its laser-guided bomb kit directed a 500-pound bomb within five feet of its target after being dropped from several miles away. The Joint Direct Attack Munition kit guided the bomb to the target after it was launched from an F-16 fighter jet; the target was illuminated with a ground-based laser. Boeing's JDAM is a low-cost guidance kit that turns free-fall bombs into 'smart' weapons." [Based on: staff and wire reports, S.L.P.D., p. C2, 02/04/05]

2005 - Unfortunate Realities of War? - February 4th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - A decorated Marine Corps general [Lt. Gen. James Mattis] said, 'It's fun to shoot some people' and poked fun at the manhood of Afghans as he talked about fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. His boss, the commandant of the Marine Corps, said Thursday [02/03/05] that the comments reflected 'the unfortunate and harsh realities of war' but that the general has been asked to watch his words in public. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Abducted / Giuliana Sgrena, Iraq - "Reportedly abducted this date in history: Giuliana Sgrena." [E.M]

2005 - Fatality / Georgian Prime Minister - February 4th, 2005: "Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania was found dead Thursday [02/03/05] after an apparent gas leak from a heater, dealing a blow to the young government's efforts to wipe out corruption and resolve two simmering separatist conflicts in the former Soviet republic. [....] The prime minister was visiting the Tbilisi apartment of his friend, Zurab Usupov, deputy governor of the Kvemo-Kartli region, who also died, officials said. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Depression Implant? / Cyberonics Inc. - February 4th, 2005: "Shares of Cyberonics Inc. gained $11.53, or 42 percent, Thursday [02/03/05] after the Food and Drug Administration gave preliminary approval for a pacemaker-like treatment for depression. [....] Cyberonics' main product is a nerve-stimulating device that is approved for the treatment of epilepsy. Late Wednesday, Cyberonics said the FDA had issued an 'approvable' letter for the implant's use against depression as well. [....]" [From wire services, S.L.P.D., p. C2, 02/04/05]

2005 - Missing Passenger Jet? / Afghanistan - February 4th, 2005: "An Afghan jet with more than 100 people aboard was missing today, hours after it was diverted from Kabul's airport and sent to neighboring Pakistan, officials said. The Kam Air Boeing 737 took off Thursday afternoon [02/03/05] from the western Afghan city of Herat bound for Kabul, the capital. But it was unable to land because of a snowstorm, said Feda Mohammed Fedayi, the airline's deputy director. [....] Kabul has been hit by heavy snow, and all flights out of the capital were canceled Thursday." [Based on: News Services]

*Trivia: "As temperatures plunged overnight, fears grew Friday [02/04/05] that no one would be found alive after an Afghan passenger jet carrying 104 people, including three Americans, disappeared from the radar screens during a snowstorm near the mountain-ringed Afghan capital. [....] NATO and Afghan officials denied a report from a Turkish Foreign Ministry official in Ankara that reported wreckage had been found southeast of Kabul. French Lt. Col. Patrick Poulain, a spokesman at NATO headquarters in Kabul, said helicopters had failed to even pick up a signal from the aircraft's rescue beakon. [....] Three of those on board were believed to be American women working for Management Sciences for Health, a nonprofit group based in Cambridge, Mass., said William Schiffbauer, a company representative in Kabul." [A.P., 02/05/05]

*Trivia: "NATO units awaited a break in the weather to try to reach an Afghan jetliner that crashed on a mountain east of Kabul Friday [02/04/05] with 104 aboard." [W.S.J., p. A1, 02/07/05]

*Trivia: "All 104 people aboard an Afghan airliner that hit a snow-covered mountain last week are dead, authoritues said Tuesday [02/08/05]. NATO and Afghan soldiers managed to inspect the crash site, 20 miles east of Kabul, on Monday [02/07/05]. Human remains - but no signs of life - were found among the scattered wreckage and deep snow. The Boeing 737, operated by Kam Air, vanished from radar screens Thursday [02/03/05] after it approached the Kabul airport in a blizzard from the western city of Herat. The plane carried 96 passengers and eight crew members." [Based on: News Services, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A10, 02/09/05]

2005 - Had Offered to Resign? / Donald Rumsfeld - February 4th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld disclosed Thursday [02/03/05] that he had offered President George W. Bush his resignation twice during the height of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal last year. He said he wanted the decision on his future to be placed in Bush's hands. 'He made that decision and said he did want me to stay on,' Rumsfeld said on CNN's 'Larry King Live.' " [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Trivia / Personal & Medical Bankruptcies, U.S.A. - February 4th, 2005: "[....] Nearly half of the personal bankruptcies filed during 2001 - affecting more than 1.8 million debtors and their dependants - were caused by medical expenses. That's a 23-fold increase from 1981, when such expenses caused  about 8 percent of personal bankruptcies. The absolute number of so-called medical bankruptcies almost certainly has grown since 2001, as bankruptcy filings have increased and employers have shifted more and more health care costs onto their workers. The largest and most comprehensive study of medical bankruptcies  ever undertaken was published this week in the journal Health Affairs. It details the devestating personal toll of a healthcare system whose lifesaving breakthroughs are increasingly out of reach for growing numbers of Americans. And we are not talking about the poor or the 45 million uninsured Americans. The new bankruptcies are overwhelmingly filed by middle-class Americans.. More than half of them attended college. And three-quarters had health insurance, most through their jobs, when they became ill or were injured. [....] They [debtors in medical bankruptcies] had paid an average of just $3,686 in out-of-pocket costs during the 12 months before filing for protection. [....]" [Based on: S.L.P.D., p. B6, 02/04/05]

2005 - Slavery Trivia / Africa - February 5th, 2005: "While slavery has been outlawed across Africa, the United Nations, U.S. State Department and human rights groups have said it persists in the continent's north and west. The American Anti-Slavery Group says more than 200,000 people currently labor as slaves in Mauritania, Niger and Sudan. Those nations are on centuries-old Arab-African Saharan trade routes. Sudan denies the existence of slavery in the country but acknowledges that tribesmen 'abduct' people." [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Mad Cow Disease / Japan - February 5th, 2005: "TOKYO - Japan's first human victim of mad cow disease probably contracted it during a month-long visit to Britain in 1939, authorities said Friday [02/054/05]. The confirmation - which was revealed after the man died of the fatal brain-wasting disease in December - is likely to further alarm a public skittish about food safety. It also probably will complicate U.S. efforts to persuade Tokyo to lift a yearlong ban on American beef imports. [....] The human variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease has an incubation period of 10 years or more. A positive diagnosis often does not occur until the patient dies and can be autopsied. [....]" [A.P.]

*Trivia: "Italian scientists have found a second form of mad cow disease that more closely resembles the human Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease than the usual cow form of the illness. [....] Both the human and cattle diseases cause holes to form in the brain. The Italian researchers found that, in addition to the holes, two cows had an accumulation of amyloid plaque in their brains. Amyloid plaques are an indication of Alzheimer's disease in humans. They have also been found in people with sporadic CJD but had not been found in cattle, the researchers said. Mad cow disease is formally known as BSE - bovine spongiform encephalopathy - and the Italians named the new form with plaques BASE." [A.P., 02/17/2004]

*Trivia: "[....] Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain in which nerve cells deteriorate and die for unknown reasons. [....] The rate of progression of Alzheimer's varies, ranging from 3 to 20 years; the average length of time from onset of symptoms until death is 8 years. [....] Alzheimer's disease affects an estimated 4.5 million Americans, striking men and women of all ethnic groups. [....]" [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 94] [Link:  ]

*Trivia: "Halting brain cell suicide won't stop prion diseases similar to mad cow disease, Washington University [Mo.] researchers say. The discovery suggests that drugs for human diseases related to mad cow disease must do more than keep brain cells alive to be a cure. It may also mean that prion diseases and other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, do other damage to brain cells before killing them. The results of the study appeared Tuesday [01/04/05] in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [....] The diseases result when a normal brain protein, PrP, folds into a disease-causing shape. The prion proteins clump together in fibrils and form plaques. The brain cells, especially cerebellar granule neurons, which control movement and balance, begin to die. [....]" [Based on: Tina Hesman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A4, 01/05/05] *Further Reading:  

2005 - Major Earthquake / Celebes Sea - February 5th, 2005: "A major earthquake occurred at 12:23:16 (UTC) on Saturday, February 5, 2005. The magnitude 7.1 event has been located in the CELEBES SEA. The hypocentral depth was estimated to be 501 km (312 miles). (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)"

[Based on: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqinthenews/2005/usuda2/] 

2005 - Appeal / U.S. Tobacco Penalties - February 5th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - An appeals court dealt a major blow Friday [02/04/05] to the government's attempt to hold the tobacco industry accountable for decades of alleged deceit about the dangers of smoking, ruling that the Justice Department can't seek $280 billion in penalties. [....] Even if the decision stands, U.S. District judge Gladys Kessler could impose restrictions on the tobacco companies, such as limiting marketing or requiring the industry to fund public health campaigns or smoking cessation programs. [....] In dissent, Judge David Tatel said his colleagues ignored Supreme Court precedent, misread the law and contradicted the decision of another appeals court, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - ChevronTexaco Protest / Nigeria - February 5th, 2005: "The army quelled a demonstration at one of Nigeria's main oil export terminals Friday [02/04/05], the platform's operator said. Activists accused the soldiers of killing four protestors. [....] More than 200 demonstrators broke into Escravos on Friday and demanded that the ChevronTexaco-operated terminal be shut down until more local people are hired. They also demanded that ChevronTexaco fulfill promises it made after a similar protest in 2002, such as supplying new houses, water and electricity for Ugborodo." [Based on: News Services]

2005 - "Information Operations" / U.S. Military - February 6th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - The Pentagon's chief investigator is looking into the military's practice of paying journalists to write articles and commentary for a Web site aimed at influencing public opinion in the Balkans, officials said Friday [02/04/05]. [....] The Balkans Web site, called Southeast European Times, as well as a second aimed at audiences in Nortn Africa [Magharebia], have no immediately obvious connection to the U.S. government. But they contain a linked disclaimer that says they are 'sponsored by the U.S. European Command.' That is the military organization based in Germany responsible for U.S. forces and military activities in Europe and parts of Africa. Kaufman [Airforce Lt. Col. Derek Kaufman, a European Command spokesman] said information warfare experts at European Command do not edit the stories by contributing journalists for Southeast European Times, but they 'review' the stories after they are processed by Anteon workers and sometimes change headlines." [Based on article by Robert Burns, A.P.] 

2005 - Today's New International Version Bible - February 5th, 2005: "GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Years in the making, publisher Zondervan is releasing a new translation of the Bible this week that's aimed at young adults - accompying the effort with a $1 million media blitz. [....] The translation, called Today's New International Version - or TNIV - is one that aims to be more gender-neutral in some cases and, in others, a little more clear and plainspoken. [....] Zondervan's research indicates young adults are leaving churches in large numbers but remain more 'spiritually intrigued' than any other demographic, said Paul Caminiti, vice president and publisher of Bibles. [....] The New Testament version of the TNIV was released in 2002; the Old Testament is now being added. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Huge Assets? / U.S.A. - February 7th, 2005: "The White House is considering whether to seek limits on the huge assets of Fannie, Freddie and the Federal Home Loan Banks. [....]" [W.S.J, p. A1]

2005 - Group Suicides? / Japan - February 7th, 2005: "Japanese police found nine bodies in two cars in what they suspect is the latest example of a group suicide by people who meet on the internet." [W.S.J, p. A1]

2005 - Premier Thaksin / Taiwan - February 7th, 2005: "Thai polls show a landslide victory for Premier Thaksin's party, which could end up with four-fifths of the 500 seats in parliament. [....]" [W.S.J, p. A1]

2005 - Egyptian Hostages / Iraq - February 7th, 2005: "[....] Four U.S. soldiers died on the weekend. Four Egyptian workers and an Italian reporter were taken hostage. Rumsfeld resisted estimating a U.S. withdrawl schedule, saying Iraqi forces must meet crucial benchmarks before that could begin." [W.S.J, p. A1]

2005 - Trivia / World Debt Relief? - February 7th, 2005: "G-7 officials promised as much as 100 percent cancellation of poor countries' debts, but left unresolved how to pay for the relief. [....]" [Based on: W.S.J, p. A1]

2005 - Declined to Charge CIA / U.S.A. - February 7th, 2005: "The U.S. declined to charge four CIA agents with lying about their role in shooting down a missionary plane in a drug operation over Peru in 2001." [W.S.J, p. A1]

2005 - Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani / Iraq - February 7th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the black-turbaned cleric who was the architect of a landslide victory by Shiite Muslims in last week's landmark Iraqi elections, is now poised to shape the new government. He will control the selection of the prime minister and the drafting of the country's constitution. Al-Sistani has made it his chief cause to propel Iraq's oppressed Shiites to the leadership of one of the Middle East's most prominent countries. And he is on his way to succeeding. His hand-picked slate of candidates, the United Iraqi Alliance, appears to have won more than triple the votes of the next-highest slate, that of the secular Shiite Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. [....]" [Based on: Los Angeles Times]

2005 - Protection Treaty? / African Rain Forest - February 7th, 2005: "Leaders of seven Central African countries signed a landmark treaty over the weekend to work together to help save the world's second largest rain forest [....] The forests make up the very heart of Africa, encompassing 500 million acres stretching through 10 countries. They are also home to more than half of Africa's animal species, encluding the world's entire population of lowland gorillas. But illegal logging, poaching, ivory trafficking and a rampant bushmeat trade are destroying the forests. Environmentalists say 3.7 million acres of land in the Congo Basin are lost each year. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Super Bowl Champions / New England Patriots - February 7th, 2005: "The New England Patriots held off the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-21, to win their third Super Bowl in four years." [W.S.J, p. A1]

2005 - President Faure Gnassingbe / Togo, West Africa - February 7th, 2005: "LOME, Togo - Togo's parliament hastily amended the constitution Sunday [02/06/05] to put a legal veneer on the military's appointment of Faure Gnassingbe to replace his father as president. The move delays elections until 2008. President Gnassingbe Eyadema died Saturday [02/04/05], and within hours the military named his son president, in violation of the country's constitution that called for the speaker of parliament to succeed the head of state until elections could be held in 60 days. (Family names are often reversed in Africa.) The extraordinary session of the 81-member national assembly overwhelmingly approved the son as speaker of parliament. It then passed a constitutional amendment allowing him to fulfill his father's term, which expires in 2008. The African Union, representing 53 countries, condemned the appointment. [....] France, Togo's colonial ruler until 1960, put its troops in the region on alert in case they are needed to protect 2,500 of its citizens in the West African nation of 5.5 million. [....] Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled for 38 years - longer than any other leader except Cuba's Fidel Castro, suffered a heart attack Saturday [02/04/05] and reportedly died as he was being rushed to Europe for treatment. He was 69. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Year of the Rooster - February 8th, 2005: Many web sites say 2005 is a Chinese Rooster Year. Actually, 2005 is a Green Female Chicken (Hen) Year, because there is no male chicken year in the Chinese calendar."  

2005 - Insurgent Attacks / Iraq - February 8th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents on Monday [02/07/05] unleashed their most violent attacks in Iraq since the country's elections, killing 15 people in mortar and suicide attacks in the northern city of Mosul and 15 more in a car bombing near a police station northeast of Baghdad. [....] Also Monday. [....]" [Los Angeles Times]

2005 - Convicted / Abraham Kennard - February 8th, 2005: "A preacher was convicted Monday [02/07/05] of stealing nearly $9 million from hundreds of small, black churches across the country by promising them big returns on small investments. Abraham Kennard was found guilty by a federal jury in Rome, Ga., on 116 counts, including fraud and evasion. Prosecutors said he ran a pyramid scheme that took advantage of the tight network of black preachers to which he belonged. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Israeli-Palestinian Summit / Egypt - February 8th, 2005: "TEL AVIV, Israel - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will declare at a summit meeting in Egypt today their intention to suspend attacks after four years of conflict, Israeli and Palestinian officials said Monday [02/07/05]. [....] Israeli and Palestinian officials characterized the actions to be announced in Egypt at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik as a cease-fire. But there will be no joint declarations or signatures on a written document. [....]" [Based on: New York Times]

2005 - Convicted / Rev. Paul Shanley - February 8th, 2005: "CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The witness broke down as he told the jury how the Rev. Paul Shanley pulled him out of catechism class and raped him repeatedly, starting when he was 6. 'He told me nobody would ever believe me if I told anybody,' he said. On Monday [02/07/05], a jury believed him. Shanley, 74, was convicted of raping and fondling him over a six-year period in the 1980s. The defrocked priest could get life in prison; sentencing is set for Feb. 15. His bail was revoked and he was immediately led off to jail. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Strong Earthquake / Vanuatu - February 8th, 2005: "The following is a release by the United States Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center: A strong earthquake occurred 135 km (85 miles) N of Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu at 7:48 AM MST, Feb 8, 2005 (Feb 09 at 1:48 AM local time in Vanuatu). The magnitude and location may be revised when additional data and further analysis results are available. No damage is expected."

[Based on: http://neic.usgs.gov/neis/eq_depot/2005/eq_050208/neic_ugaz_nr.html] 

2005 - Freed Egyptian Hostages / Iraq - February 8th, 2005: "[....] U.S. troops managing a checkpoint discovered four Egyptian technicians who had been kidnapped the day before in Baghdad, an Egyptian diplomat said. They were freed and some arrests were made, he added. [....]" [Los Angeles Times]

2005 - Asbestos Suit Indictments / W.R. Grace & Co. - February 8th, 2005: "MISSOULA, Mont. - W.R. Grace & Co. and seven of its current or former top officials have been indicted on charges that they knowingly put their workers and the public in danger through exposure to vermiculite ore contaminated with asbestos from the company's mine in Libby, Mont. They are also accused of conspiring to hide the danger from the public and the government. Hundreds of miners, their family members and townsfolk have died and thousands have been sickened from exposure to ore containg asbestos, not only in the tiny Montana town but also elsewhere in the country. The health effects also threaten workers, their families and residents where the ore was shipped, including plants in St. Louis, and people living in millions of homes where it was used as insulation. 'A human and environmental tradgedy occurred in Libby,' said Montana U.S. Attorney William Mercer, in announcing the charges Monday [02/07/05]. They include criminal conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the government, wire fraud, obstruction of justice and knowing endangerment. Grace said it hadn't seen the indictment but categorically denies any criminal wrongdoing.' [....] Federal environmental officials began examining the hazards in Libby after Nov. 19, 1999, when the Seattle Post-Intelligencer began publishing a series of stories about what the government has called 'the nation's biggest environmental disaster.' [....]" [Based on article by Andrew Schneider , St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2005 - Suicide Bomb / Iraq - February 9th, 2005: BAGHDAD, Iraq - A sucide bomber blew himself up in the middle of a crowd of Iraqi army recruits Tuesday [02/08/05], killing 21 other people. The bombing was the deadliest attack in Baghdad since last week's election and highlighed a recent shift by insurgents to use human bombs instead of cars. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Wartime Government? / U.S.A. - February 9th, 2005: "DETROIT - President George W. Bush prodded Congress on Tuesday [02/08/05] to adopt what he called the most disciplined federal budget in more than 20 years, warning lawmakers that sacrifices must be made to finance a wartime government. [....] Bush's $2.57 trillion budget, which he unveiled Monday [02/07/05], calls on Congress to essentially freeze nondefense discretionary spending  in coming years to finance a more muscular national defense program. [....]" [Based on: Washington Post]

2005 - Human Cloning License / Ian Wilmut - February 9th, 2005: "LONDON - The scientist who attracted the world's attention by cloning Dolly the sheep is about to take another major step for medical research: cloning human embryos and extracting stem cells to unravel the mysteries of muscle-wasting illnesses such as Lou Gehrigh's disease. Ian Wilmut, who led the team that made Dolly at Scotland's Roslin Institute in 1996, was granted a cloning license Tuesday [02/08/05] by British regulators to study how nerve cells go awry to cause motor neuron diseases. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Car Bomb / Spain - February 10th, 2005: "A car bomb blammed on Basque separatists exploded in a Madrid office park Wednesday [02/09/05], injuring at least 43 people in the worst terrorist attack in the Spanish capital since last year's bombing  of commuter trains. The bomb exploded at about 9:30 a.m., less than an hour after a warning call purportedly made by the Basque separatist group ETA. Police did not have time after  the call to fully cordon off the area or fully evacuate workers and visitors at a sprawling convention center nearby, where king Juan Carlos later met Mexican President Vivente Fox to inaugurate an art show. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Trivia / Child Soldiers - February 10th, 2005: "Hundreds of thousands of children around the world are being used as soldiers, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Wednesday [02/09/05]. [....] The report said child soldiers are used in Burundi, Ivory Coast, Congo, Somalia, Sudan, Columbia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Uganda." [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Trivia / HIV Testing, U.S.A. - February 10th, 2005: "BOSTON - Urging a major shift in U.S. policy, some health experts are recommending that virtually all Americans be tested routinely for the AIDS virus, much as they are for cancer and other diseases. [....] 'Given the availability of effective therapy and preventive measures, it is possible to improve care and perhaps influence the course of the epidemic through widespread, effective and cost-effective screening,' Dr. Samuel A. Bozzette wrote in an editorial accompanying the studies, which appear in today's New England Journal of Medicine. [....] Nationwide, about 40,000 new HIV infections occur each year. An estimated 950,000 people are infected with the virus; about 280,000 of them don't know it [....]" [Based on, A.P.]

2005 - Trivia / A "Broken" Heart - February 10th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - As Valentine's Day approaches, scientists say they have confirmed the lament of countless love sonnets and romance novels: People really can die of a broken heart. And the researchers now think they know why. A traumatic breakup, the death of a loved one or even the shock of a surprise party can unleash a flood of stress hormones that can stun the heart, causing sudden, life-threatening heart spasm in otherwise healthy people, they reported Wednesday [02/09/05] [....]" [Based on: Washington Post]

2005 - Syphilis Outbreak? / St. Louis, MO. - February 10th, 2005: "Public health officials are on alert after a large syphilis outbreak in St. Louis. [....] Following a trend that began in fall 2003, most of those diagnosed with syphilis in the current outbreak are young men who have sex with men, and who also have HIV. Of the 15 new syphilis cases, 14 are men. [....] The incidence of the sexually transmitted disease, caused by a bacterium called Treponema pallidum, jumped 41 percent last year over 2002 levels in Missouri, DeArmitt [Nyla DeArmitt] said. The disease has been most prevalent in men who have sex with men. [....] Some people suspect that the January outbreak could be linked to three sex-orientated social events in mid-November that drew people from across the country to St. Louis. But the connection has not been proved, said Michael Herbert, STD program manager at the Missouri Health Department. [....]." [Based on, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2005 - Settlement / Bank of America Corp. - February 10th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - Bank of America Corp.'s mutual fund adviser company, brokerage and clearing firm have agreed to pay a total $375 million to settle regulator's charges of improper trading that hurt ordinary shareholders. [....] It comes in addition to a settlement in March 2004 in which Bank of America and FleetBoston Financial, which Bank of America since has acquired, agreed to pay a total $515 million and cut fees investors pay by $160 million. That deal was to settle charges of improper trading involving Nations Funds. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Rail Congestion? / Union Pacific Corp. - February 10th, 2005: "Union Pacific Corp. as much as doubled some rates in Arizona for items such as steel and copper, helping to cut demand for rail cars as the company tries to reduce congestion on its network. [....]" [S.L.P.D., p. C2, 02/10/05]

2005 - 1st Nationwide Elections / Saudia Arabia - February 10th, 2005: "In a cautious step toward democracy, Saudis began voting today in the kingdom's first nationwide elections, with a wave of local races across the country. Women are barred from running or voting, and half of the seats will be appointed by the royal family. [Based on: News Services, S.L.P.D., p. A14, 02/10/05]

2005 - Light Earthquake / Northeastern Arkansas - February 10th, 2005: "A light earthquake occurred at 14:04:54 (UTC) on Thursday, February 10, 2005. The magnitude 4.1 event has been located in ARKANSAS. The hypocentral depth was estimated to be 16 km (10 miles). (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)"

[Based on: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqinthenews/2005/nm722/]

*Trivia: "A small earthquake centered in northeastern Arkansas rattled parts of several states Thursday [02/10/05] but caused no major damage. [....] The quake hit at 8:05 a.m. about four miles east of Caraway. Over the course of the day, the U.S. Geological Survey gave varying magnitudes for the quake, from 3.9 to 4.2." [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Trivia / Palestinian Travel Restrictions, West Bank & Gaza Strip - February 10th, 2005: "JERUSALEM - Israel has agreed to lift travel restrictions in parts of the West Bank in coming weeks, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday [02/09/05]. That concession would be the strongest signal yet to Palestinians that a cease-fire with Israel is beginning to pay off. Israel also said it would allow some Palestinian workers to enter Israel from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to work. [....] Israel says it needs checkpoints to stop suicide bombers and other attackers. But in a recent report, the World Bank cited Israeli restrictions on the flow of people and goods as the main cause of economic hardship in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where nearly half of Palestinians live on less than $2 a day. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Flooding / Venezuela - February 11th, 2005: "Venezuela sent helicopters and navy ships to evacuate thousands of people stranded by floodwater Thursday [02/10/05] as torrential rain began to ease. The death toll from three days of flooding and landslides rose to 16, with thousands left homeless. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Declared Nuclear Weapons - February 11th, 2005: "TOKYO - North Korea declared Thursday [02/10/05] that it had produced nuclear weapons to defend itself from the United States and had suspended participation in multinational talks to halt its arms program. [....] North Korea is now the eighth country with currently declared nuclear weapons. The others are the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, all signatories of the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty, and India and Pakistan, which have not signed the treaty. Israel is considered by analysts to have nuclear weapons but does not acknowledge so. South Africa built a bomb in the 1970s but later renounced its nuclear program. [....]" [Based on: Washington Post]

*Trivia: "The United States rejected on Friday [02/10/05] a demand by North Korea for one-on-one talks over its nuclear program, insisting that the six-party negotiations involving the North's neighbors was the only way to deal with the issue. [....]" [New York Times, 02/12/05]

2005 - Flooding / Pakistan - February 12th, 2005: "Troops and rescue workers raced to a coastal town devestated when heavy rain burst a large dam, sending water surging through the streets and sweeping people into the Arabian Sea. At least 54 were dead and hundreds missing, officials said Friday [02/11/05]. [....] The 485-foot-long Shakidor Dam burst late Thursday near the remote Pasni village in Baluchistan province, about 1,180 miles southwest of the capital, Islamabad. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Heavy Rain / California - February 12th, 2005: "Heavy rain and wind gusting up to nearly 70 mph battered Southern California on Friday [02/11/05], triggering dozens of wrecks. At least two people died. [....] It was the region's first significant rainfall since five days of torrential storms last month killed at least 28 people." [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Insurgent Attacks / Iraq - February 12th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents shot into a crowd of people in a Baghdad bakery with a burst of AK-47 gunfire, killing at least 10 Friday [02/11/05]. A car bomb outside a mosque to the north of the capital killed 12 and wounded at least 20. [....]" [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2005 - Resignation / Margaret Chu - February 12th, 2005: "The official in charge of building the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump in Nevada has submitted her resignation, the Energy Department announced Friday [02/11/05]. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Settlement / OPI Properties Inc. - February 12th, 2005: "A subsidiary of the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis agreed Friday [02/11/05] to pay nearly $50 million in criminal and civil fines to settle claims that it violated Medicare's anti-kickback rules. Janet Conneely, president of OPI Properties Inc., waived the company's right to an indictment and trial in federal court in East St. Louis and told a judge she was authorized to plead guilty on behalf of the company. [....]" [Based on: St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2005 - Drug Resistant HIV Strain / U.S.A. - February 12th, 2005: "NEW YORK - For the first time, doctors have diagnosed a form of HIV that New York City health officials say has two striking characteristics: It is highly resistant to antiviral drugs in a patient who had never been treated with the medications, and it quickly developed into full-blown AIDS [in a matter of months]. [....]" [Based on article by Kathleen Kerr, Newsday]

2005 - Car Bombings / Iraq - February 13th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - A car bomb killed 17 people Saturday [02/12/05] and injured 21 in a town south of Baghdad, and U.S. troops backed by tanks battled rebels in the country's third-largest city. Another car bomb exploded in an eastern Baghdad neighborhood as a U.S. military convoy passed, killing an Iraqi woman and wounding three people but causing no American casualties, Iraqi police said. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Trivia / Trans Fat, U.S.A. - February 13th, 2005: "[....] An artificial fat once embraced as a cheap and seemingly healthy alternative to saturated fats like butter or tropical oils, partially hydrogenbated oil has been the food industry's favorite cooking medium for decades. It makes french fries crisp and sweets creamy, and keeps packaged pastries fresh for months. But scientists contend that trans fat, a component of the oil, is more dangerous than than the fat it replaced. Studies show trans fat has the same heart-clogging properties as saturated fat, but unklike saturated fat, it reduces the good cholesterol that can clear arteries. [....] At least 30,000 and as many as 100,000 cardiac deaths a year in the United States could be prevented if people replaced trans fat with healthier nonhydrogenated polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils, according to a 1999 joint report by researchers at the harvard School of Public Health and the Brigham and Women's hospital in Boston. The $500 billion food processing industry has long defended trans fat, starting in the 1970s when scientists first raised concerns. But with the new labeling requirement looming and lawmakers searching for ways to hold food companies responsible for their customer' health, getting rid of it has become an obsession. [....]" [New York Times]

2005 - U.S. Aerial Espionage / Iran - February 13th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - The United States has been flying surveillance drones over Iran for nearly a year to seek evidence of nuclear weapons programs and detect weaknesses in air defenses, according to three U.S. officials with detailed knowledge of the secret effort. The small, pilotless planes, entering Iranian airspace from U.S. military facilities in Iraq, use radar, video, still photography and air filters designed to pick up traces of nuclear activity to gather information that is not accessible to satellites, the officials said. The aerial espionage is standard in military preparations for an eventual air attack and is also employed as a tool for intimidation. [....] The drones were first spotted by dozens of Iranians and set off a national newspaper frenzy in late December [2004] over whether the country was being visited by UFOs. [....] In mid-January [2005], Iran's national Security Council met in Tehran to discuss them, according to an Iranian official. 'It was clear to our air force that the entire intention here was to get us to turn on our radar,' the official said. [....] But it did not work. 'The United States must have forgotten that they trained half our guys,' the Iranian official said. Iran's national security officials ordered their forces not to turn on the radar or come into contact with the drones in any way." [Based on article by Dafna Linzer, The Washington Post]

2005 - Rogue Brokers / U.S. Stocks - February 13th, 2005: "Rogue brokers targeting foreign buyers of U.S. stocks have added a macabre twist: Their aliases are derived from victims of the Sept.11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Nearly all 22 executives and account managrs listed on the Internet site for Bailey & Bennett Mergers and Acquisitions Inc. are actual or scrambled names of people who died in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon or on the four airliners the terrorists hijacked and crashed. [....] The New York Division of Corporations has no record of Bailey & Bennett, nor does the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or the National Association of Securities Dealers. [....] A series of stories last year [2004] showed how the boiler rooms took in hundreds of millions of dollars by selling shares in roughly 200 public and private U.S. companies, which invariably plunged in value. [....] The site lists the chief executive as Steven Jacoby. That was the name of a telecommunications executive  who died aboard American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon. The site also identifies Mandy Chang as an account manager. She was a bank employee who perished at the World Trade Center. [....] A second boiler room that began calling investors in recent weeks also is using aliases taken from the Sept. 11 dead. Fifteen of the 22 people listed as employees on the Internet site of Natrionwide Mergers & Acquisitions Inc. have the same last names as people who died in the terrorist attacks." [Based on article by Christopher Carey, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2005 - Fire / Windsor Building, Madrid, Spain - "A series of photos shows the upper floors of the Windsor Building in Madrid, Spain, collapsing after flames engulfed the 32-story structure late Saturday [02/12/05] night and early Sunday, sending flaming chunks of facade cascading to the ground. No one was injured. The cause of the fire was not immediately known." [Based on picture-article by A.P., p. A12, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 02/13/05]

*Trivia: "Firefighters struggled for nearly 24 hours before finally controlling Madrid's worst blaze in recent memory, which reduced one of the city's tallest office buildings to a blackened hulk of twisted wreckage. Thick smoke was still preventing firefighters from entering the 32-story Windsor building by Sunday [02/13/05] night. The fire, which left seven people slightly injured, broke out Saturday [02/12/05] just before midnight. 'This is the biggest fire ... this city has ever had,' Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said outside the twisted wreckage in Madrid's business and banking district. [....] It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, but the building was almost empty Saturday night when the first alarm went off." [Based on: News Services, p. A6, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 02/14/05]

2005 - Ariane-5 ECA Launch / European Satellites - February 13th, 2005: "Europe's most powerful rocket, carrying a payload of satellites, soared into space Saturday [02/12/05] in a successful launch more than two years after its inaugural flight ended in disaster. Just a half-hour after liftoff from its base in Kourou, French Guiana, the Ariane-5 ECA - the world's most powerful commercial launcher - has placed its two satellites into orbit. The control room in Paris broke into applause and tense technicians shared smiles and handshakes after data showed the payload, a U.S.-Spanish satellite and a European Space Agency microsatellite, had been successfully lobbed into orbit." [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Election Results / Iraq - February 14th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq  - Iraq's long-downtrodden Shiites won the largest share [48 percent] of the vote in Iraq's landmark election, according to a final count released Sunday [02/13/05], though they failed to score the outright majority they had been expecting. [....] The country's equally oppressed Kurds came in second, with 25.6 percent ... [....] The leading Sunni party, headed by interim President Ghazial-Yawer, won just 1.8 percent, enough to secure four to five seats in the 275-seat assembly. [....] Turnout overall was 58 percent, or 8.5 million, ranging from Anbar's low of 2 percent to a high of 92 percent in the Kurdish province of Dohuk. The outcome was a stinging blow for Ayad Allawi, the secular Shiite U.S.-backed interim prime minister, whose slate won only 13.7 percent of the vote despite the huge TV exposure afforded by his job and the biggest campaign spending by far of any candidate. [....] The main Christian party won 0.4 percent of the vote, enough for a single seat, and the United Turkmen Front won 1.9 percent. [....]" [Based on: Chicago Tribune]

2005 - Engagement / Prince Charles - February 14th, 2005: "Britain's newly engaged royal couple, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, received the blessings of their local priest at a church service near the prince's country home Sunday [02/13/05]. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

2005 - "Juiced" / U.S. Baseball Players? - February 14th, 2005: "In his strongest and sternest rebuke again accusations of steroid use, former Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire directly and emphatically denies ever using the performance-enhancing drugs in a statement issued the day before Jose Canseco's book ['Juiced'] hits stores. [....]"

*Trivia: "Excerpts from Canseco's book:

"The challenge is not to find a top player who has used steroids. The challenge is to find a top player who hasn't."

"The summer of 1998 ... was the high-water mark for steroids in baseball. At the time, I joked that so many guys went rushing to hide their vials in the locker room when the media showed up that it was like watching roaches scurrying for cover after the lights go on."

[....]

"Like me, Mark (McGwire) was curious about what different types of steroids could do for him, and how they could make him bigger and stronger. But he needed a little time to get used to the idea of actually using them, and so far as I know, he didn't actually start using steroids until after his rookie season. So the 49 home runs he hit that year probably came without any chemical enhancement."

"I don't have any videotape footage of me poking Mark McGwire in the butt with a needle. But this is my challenge: I'll take a lie detector test on the subject in a minute, and I'll pass with a perfect score."

[....]

[Based on: St. Louis post-Dispatch, pp. A1 & A6, 02/14/05]

2005 - Trivia / Jewish Extremists, Israel - February 14th, 2005: JERUSALEM - Responding to threats against government ministers, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Sunday [02/13/05] ordered law enforcement agencies to crack down on Jewish extremists opposed to the planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Cabinet ministers said the charged climate is reminiscent of the period before the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and one minister warned that Sharon himself could become a target. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Restored Hearing? / Deaf Mammals - February 14th, 2005: "LOS ANGELES - Michigan researchers have restored hearing in deaf mammals for the first time, a feat that represents a major step toward the treatment of the 27 million Americans with acquired hearing loss. By inserting a corrective gene with a virus, the team induced the formation of new cochlear hair cells - key intermediates in converting sound waves into electrical impulses - in the ears of artificially deafened adult guinea pigs. [....] Humans have about 16,000 hair cells in the cochlea of each ear, where they convert sound waves into nerve impulses. The cells are easily damaged by loud noises, aging, infections and certain medications. Once damaged, they cannot regenerate on their own. [....]" [Based on: Los Angeles Times]

2005 - Explosion / Theatre de l'Empire, Paris, France - February 14th, 2005: "An explosion Sunday morning [02/13/05] ripped through a well-known Paris theater near the Champs-Elysee, gutting the building's first two floors and slightly injuring seven people, officials said. The cause of the blast at the 3,000-seat Theatre de l'Empire, or Empire Theater, was not immediately known. [....] Seven people, primarily passers-by, suffered minor injuries in the explosion, said Oliver Delplace, spokesman for rescue workers. [....] The theater was built in the 1920's." [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Bombings / Philippines - February 15th, 2005: "Three bombs jolted Manila and two other Philippine cities Monday [02/14/05], killing at least nine people and wounding more than 100 others. The Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf claimed responsibility for the blasts. The group said the bombings were retribution for a major military offensive against Islamic militants in the southern Philippines, where 60 people have been killed in recent clashes. [....]" [Based on: News Services, S.L.P.D.]

2005 - School Stabbing / Japan - February 15th, 2005: "A 17-year-old boy armed with a sashimi knife stabbed a teacher to death and wounded two other adults Monday [02/14/05] at his former elementary school, then stood in the faculty lounge and smoked a cigarette with the bloody blade still in his hand, police said. [....] The attack panicked the 600 students and 30 teachers at the public school in Neyagawa City just outside Osaka in western Japan." [Based on: News Services, S.L.P.D.]

2005 - Fire / Arg Mosque, Iran - February 15th, 2005: "A fire raged through a crowded mosque in Tehran during evening prayers Monday [02/14/05] after a female worshipper's veil caught the flames of a kerosene heater. At least 59 people were killed and more than 250 injured, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported. The Arg Mosque was filled with about 400 worshippers, more crowded than usual because this is the Islamic month of Muharram, a holy period for Shiite Muslims. [....]" [Based on: News Services, S.L.P.D.]

2005 - War Cost Trivia / U.S.A. - February 15th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush asked Congress on Monday [02/14/05] to provide $81.9 billion more for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and for other U.S. efforts overseas, shoving the total price tag for the conflicts and anti-terrorism fight past $300 billion. Republicans hope to push the package through Congress by early spring, reflecting both parties' desire to finance U.S. troops in the field and give Iraqis more responsibility after their national elections. [....]" [Based on article by Alan Fram, A.P.]

2005 -  Accounting Trivia / OfficeMax Inc. - February 15th, 2005: "CHICAGO - OfficeMax Inc. announced the resignation Monday [02/14/05] of Chief Executive Christopher Milliken and acknowledged misstating 2004 results amid an accounting scandal, deepening its trouble as it scrambles to keep from falling further behind in the office products market. The retailer also said it had fired two more employees, increasing to six the number terminated for sending $3.3 million in bogus bills to a supplier over a two-year period. [....] Chief Financial Officer Brian Anderson and retail chief Gary Peterson resigned last month, when the company also said its fourth-quarter earnings report would be delayed because of accounting problems. Executive chairman George Harad, who recently announced plans to retire in June, took over as interim chief executive while the company began the search for a permanent CEO. Harad had spent 10 years as CEO of Boise Cascade and helped orchestrate its purchace of OfficeMax. [....] Officemax said it will have to restate recent results after overstating operating income for the first quarter of fiscal 2004 by $5 million to $10 million by failing to record certain rebates and payments to vendors. It said the accounting error led to an understatement of income in the second and third quarters. [....] Shares of OfficeMax fell $1.73 to $30.02 on the new York Stock Exchange. They are down more than 20 percent since June [2004]." [Based on, A.P.]

2005 - Murder Investigation Trivia / Jimmy Hoffa - February 15th, 2005: "Blood found on the floor of a Detroit home is not that of Jimmy Hoffa, investigators said Monday [02/14/05]. The finding ended what had looked like a promising lead in the disappearance of the Teamsters boss 30 years ago. Authorities had ripped up floorboards last May at a house where Delaware Teamsters official Frank Sheeran said he shot Hoffa to death in 1975. [....]" [Based on: News Services, S.L.P.D.]

2005 - Assassination / Rafik Hariri, Beriut, Lebanon - February 15th, 2005: "BEIRUT, Lebanon - A massive bomb, a huge crater [30-foot]. Cars ablaze. And an assassinated leader. Bloody images from the past played out once again in the streets of Beirut. The killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri revived fears that this country - flourishing after 15 years of civil war - might plunge anew into a period of political violence. The blast that killed Hariri and nine others came, ironically, in the very downtown district he helped to rebuild. [....] Yet the blast Monday [02/14/05], which wounded about 100, and the setback it represents do not mean civil war, not as it was from 1975 to 1990, when religious and sectarian groups fought bitterly. Instead, the political debate over Syria's influence that turned ugly Monday cuts across religious lines. And Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, had many allies in the Christian camp. [....] The United states called the attack 'a terrible reminder' that Lebanon still must shake free of occupation of Syria - the neighbor that keeps 15,000 troops in the country and influences virtually all key political decisions. [....] A previously unknown group, Support and Jihad in Syria and Lebanon, said in a video broadcast on al-Jazeera television that it carried out the bombing, which it termed a suicide operation. [....] Twenty cars were set ablaze. Former Economy Minister Bassel Fleihan, a member of parliament in Hariri's bloc, was among those severly wounded. More than 650 pounds of TNT explosives were used in the bombing, security officials said. They did not say whether the explosives were placed in a vehicle or on the street. [....] A self-made construction tycoon who made his fortune in Saudi Arabia, Hariri became prime minister in 1992 under a peace deal that ended the civil war and required that the prime minister be a Sunni. In all, he had served as prime minister for 10 of the 14 years in the postwar period starting in 1992 - winning three separate elections." [Based on article by Bassem Mroue, A.P.]

*Trivia: "[....] In the short term, the assassination of Hariri might put on hold parliamentary elections planned for April and May - a vote that has prompted bitter arguments in recent months but also could prove crucial in deciding whether Lebanon continues under Syrian control or escapes that grip. [....] After Monday's bombing, Information Minister Elie Ferzli warned of a 'conspiracy' to reignite sectarian conflict. [....]" [Based on article by Antonio Castaneda, A.P.]

2005 - Failed Test / U.S. National Missle Defense System - February 15th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - For the second time in two months, a test of the national missle defense system has failed, Pentagon officials said Monday [02/14/05]. Military technicians believe the failure of the $85 million test was because of a problem with ground support equipment, not with the interceptor missle itself. [....] The target missle went off as scheduled at 9:22 p.m. Alaska time Sunday [02/13/05], but the interceptor failed to launch. While the failure marked yet another delay for the program, Defense Department officials expressed relief that the problem did not appear related to the interceptor. No date has been set for another test." [Based on: Los Angeles Times]

2005 - Contract Investigations / Engineered Support Systems Inc. - February 15th, 2005: "A $158 million contract won by Engineered Support Systems Inc. warrants further investigation by the Pentagon's inspector general after anomolies were found in that deal and seven others overseen by Darleen Druyun, the former Air Force negotiator imprisoned last year for conflict-of-interest violations. Michael W. Wynne, acting undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said Monday [02/14/05] that he had requested the investigation of eight contracts, estimated at $3 billion. [....]" [Based on: St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2005 - Planned Wedding / Mary Kay Letourneau & Vili Fualaau - February 15th, 2005: "Mary Kay Letourneau plans to marry the former sixth-grader with whom she had two children, months after her release from prison for raping him, according to an online bridal registry. Letourneau, 43, and Vili Fualaau, 22, set a wedding date of April 16, according to their registry at a department store. Fualaau has said in the past that he hoped to wed his former teacher. [....]" [Based on: News Services, S.L.P.D.]

2005 - Trivia / Verizon & MCI  - February 16th, 2005: "Verizon Communications Inc. agreed to buy MCI Inc., the second-largest U.S. long-distance telephone company, for $6.7 billion to gain a voice and data network that spans six continents. [....]" [Based on: Bloomberg News]

2005 - Trading Inquiry / A.G. Edwards - February 16th, 2005: "Illegal mutual fund trading might have occured at 20 or more A.G. Edwards & Sons offices, a document submitted to federal regulators suggests. In a letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, dated March 29 and released earlier this month, an A.G. Edwards executive outlined the potential improper trades. [....] The letter to the SEC, written by Douglas Kelly, A.G. Edward's director of law and compliance, was released by Massachusetts Secretary of Commonwealth William Galvin. Two weeks ago, Galvin filed a complaint alleging that an A.G. Edwards branch in Boston allowed more than $4 billion in illegal mutual fund trades. The company has said it will 'vigorously' defend itself against the charges. [....] [Based on article by Jack Naudi, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, pp. A1 & A5, 02/16/05]

2005 - Research / Obesity & Diabetes - February 16th, 2005: "Fat burning is touted as the key to weight loss, but it may also link obesity and diabetes, research from Washington University [Mo.] suggests. Daniel P. Kelly, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Research at the university, and his colleagues were studying the heart when they made a discovery that could provide new understanding for how diabetes develops in overweight and obese people. The results of their study appear today in the journal Cell Metabolism. The researchers noted that when fat gets into the heart, the organ stops burning sugar for energy. 'There's this yin and yang between fat and sugars,' Kelly said. [....] It is rare for someone who is of normal weight to get Type 2 diabetes, the form once known as adult-onset diabetes, Klein [Sam Klein] said. [....] "[Based on article by Tina Hesman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, pp. A1 & A5, 02/16/05]

2005 - Sentenced / Rev. Paul Shanley - February 16th, 2005:  "BOSTON - Defrocked priest Paul Shanley, whose crimes shook the Roman Catholic Church, was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison on child rape charges Tuesday [02/15/05] to a burst of applause from some of the many who accused him of molesting them. The wobbly, 74-year-old Shanley was led away in handcuffs. He will be eligible for parole after eight years. [....] In a statement read in court by a prosecutor, the victim said: 'I want him to die in prison, whether it's of natural causes or otherwise. However he dies, I hope it's slow and painful.' Shanley's lawyer, Frank Mondano, asked the judge to allow him to serve his sentence in a county jail rather than a more violent state prison. The judge refused. Another notorious pedophile priest, John Geoghan, was beaten and strangled in a Massachusetts prison in 2003, allegedly by a fellow inmate. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Ruling Upheld / CIA Leak Scandal - February 16th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court upheld on Tuesday [02/15/05] a ruling against two reporters who could go to jail for refusing to divulge their sources about the leak of an undercover CIA officer's name. The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided with prosecutors in their attempt to compel Time magazine's Matthew Cooper and The New York Times' Judith Miller to testify before a federal grand jury about their confidential sources. [....]" [Based on, A.P.]

2005 - Guilty Pleas / Marsh & AIG Execs. - February 16th, 2005: "A former Marsh & McLennan Cos. managing director and two employees from American International Group Inc. pleaded guilty to New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's charges of rigging bids. Josh Bewlay, who was dismissed from Marsh & McLennan last week, as well as Carlos Coello and John Mohs pleaded Tuesday [02/15/05] in New York state court. Coello and Mohs work in a liability-insurance unit of AIG, their lawyers said. Spitzer, who is investigating kickbacks and collusion between insurers and brokers, has charged six other executives from Marsh, AIG, Ace Ltd and Zurich Financial Services AG since he sued Marsh in October. He obtained an $850 million settlement from the brokerage last month, and he plans to use the pleas to build cases against more executives." [Based on: S.L.P.D., p. C2, 02/16/05]

2005 - Trivia / "The Adoration of the Christ Child" - February 16th, 2005: "ROME - A fingerprint and stylistic touches uncovered during restoration of a disputed Renaissance masterpiece raise the possibility that it was painted by Leonardo da Vinci, restorers said Tuesday [02/15/05]. 'The Adoration of the Christ Child' in Rome's Galleria Borghese has for decades been attributed to Fra Bartolomeo, but scholars have never been confident to authorship. Through the centuries, candidates have included Raphael, Ghirlandaio and Lorenzo di Credi. Chief restorer Elisabetta Zatti said she found the fingerprint  toward the end of the yearlong rstoration that ended in November. That, along with stylistic similarities, made scholars think of Leonardo. He sometimes left his mark on works as a kind of signature. [....]" [Based on, A.P.]

2005 - Recalled / U.S. Ambassador to Syria - February 16th, 2005: "DAMASCUS, Syria - The U.S. ambassador to Syria was called back to Washington on Tuesday [02/15/05] as anger swelled against Syria after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. In Beirut, where Hariri was killed by a massive car bomb Monday, angry mourners spilled into the streets. Mobs attacked Syrian laborers in southern Lebanon and burned tires outside a Syrian government building in Beirut. The Lebanese army went on alert for further violence and trucks with soldiers appeared on street corners throughout Beirut. It was unclear who engineered the attack that killed Hariri and at least nine others, but his death has plunged Syria into deeper isolation and vulnerability. [....] ... the assassination is expected to harden international resolve to force Syrian troops out of Lebanon and to strip Syria of support from sometime defenders including France and Jordan. [....]" [Based on: Los Angeles Times]

2005 - Michael Chertoff / U.S. Homeland Security  - February 16th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - Michael Chertoff was sworn in Tuesday [02/15/05] as the nation's second homeland security secretary, hours after the Senate placed the tough-on-terrorism former prosecutor in charge of a bureaucracy prone to infighting and turf wars. [....] Chertoff replaces Tom Ridge, who stepped down feb. 1. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Reduced Liver Cancer Risk / Coffee Drinkers? - February 16th, 2005: "[....] A study of more than 90,000 Japanese found that people who drank coffee daily or nearly every day had half the liver cancer risk of those who never drank coffee. The American Cancer Society estimates that 18,920 new cases of liver cancer were diagnosed in the United States last year and some 14,270 people died of the illness. Causes include hepatitis, cirrhosis, excess alcohol consumption and diseases causing chronic inflammation of the liver. [....] The team found that the likely occurrence of liver cancer in people who never or almost never drank coffee was 547.2 cases per 100,000 people over 10 years. But for people who drank coffee daily, the risk was 214.6 cases per 100,000, the researchers report in this week's issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. [....]" [Based on, A.P.]

2005 - Explosion? / Iran - February 17th, 2005: "TEHRAN, Iran - An explosion in a southern city  prompted fears Wednesday [02/16/05] of a missle attack in an area where Iran has a nuclear facility. Iranian authorities gave conflicting explanations for the blast - including construction work and Iranian friendly fire in a military area. [....] Iran has been on the defensive recently about the possibility of military action by either the United States or Israel. Israel has warned that it may consider a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear installations along the lines of its 1981 bombing of an unfinished Iraqi nuclear reactor near Baghdad. [....] White House press secretary Scott McClellan said there was no U.S. involvement, and CIA Direstor Porter Goss said he knew nothing about it. [....]" [Based on, A.P.]

2005 - Trivia / Iraqi Politics - February 17th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Top Shiite politicians failed to reach a consensus Wednesday [02/16/05] on their first nominee for prime minister, shifting the two-man race to a secret ballot and exposing divisions in the winning alliance. In a chilling reminder of challenges facing the winner, a videotape showed a sobbing Italian hostage pleading for her life. After hours of closed meetings, members of the United Iraqi Alliance agreed to hold a secret ballot to choose between Ibrahim al-Jaafari and Ahmad Chalabi, most likely on Friday, said Ali Hashim al-Youshaa, one of the alliance's leaders. [....]" [Based on, A.P.]

2005 - Blue Skies? / Saturn - February 17th, 2005: "Sunny blue skies ... on Saturn? It's true. NASA's Cassini spacecraft discovered them in 2005." [http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2005/17feb_bluesaturn.htm?list10814510]

2005 - Trivia / Cox-2 Inhibitors - February 17th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - The makers of the arthritis drug Vioxx, which was taken off the market last year, said Wednesday [02/16/05] that they believe all medications in its class carry the same increased risks for heart attack and stroke as their drug. At the opening of an unusual three-day meeting of a Food and Drug Administration expert advisory panel, Merk & Co. officials said all Cox-2 inhibitors, such as Vioxx and Pfizer Inc.'s Celebrex and Bextra, appear to increase cardiovasular problems in some patients. [....]" [Based on: Washington Post]

2005 - Women Bishops? / England - February 17th, 2005: "Eleven years after the Church of England first began ordaining women as priests, its governing body voted Wednesday [02/16/05] to consider allowing women to become bishops. [....] Conservatives and evangelicals say there is no biblical precedent for female bishops because all of Christ's apostles were men, and that it is wrong for women to have authority over men in a religious capacity. The vote Wednesday means that when the governing body holds its second and final synod this year in July, it will vote on whether to start the legislative process needed to open the office of bishop to women." [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Questionable Meat? / U.S.A. - February 17th, 2005: "The Agriculture Department allowed Canada to export 42,000 pounds of questionable meat into the United States despite restrictions in place since the discovery of mad cow disease in Canada, department investigators said Wednesday [02/16/05]. The investigation resulted from a federal judge ruling in April preventing the department from expanding Canadian beef imports. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Posted / E-Trivia Timeline - February 17th, 2005: Eckankar "Trivia" Timeline posted to Internet at 2:30 p.m. CST. [Note: Not an official  ECKANKAR Web site.] [D.R.D. a.k.a. Etznab Mathers]  

2005 - Old Human Remains / Ethiopia - February 17th, 2005: "NEW YORK - Bones discovered nearly 40 years ago in Ethiopia appear to be the oldest known fossils of modern-looking humans and come from around the dawn of the species, a new analysis shows. Researchers determined that the specimens are about 195,000 years old. Previously, the oldest known fossils of Home sapiens were Ethiopian skulls dated to about 160,000 years ago. Genetic studies estimate that Homo sapiens arose about 200,000 years ago, so the new research brings the fossil record more in line with that, said John Fleagle of Stony Brook University in New York, an author of the study. [....]" [Based on, A.P.]

2005 - Israeli Parliament Approval / Gaza Withdrawal - February 17th, 2005: "JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's landmark initiative to remove Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip won financial parliamentary approval Wednesday night [02/16/05] after two days of acrimonious debate. The measure, which authorizes nearly $1 billion in compensation payments for the roughly 8,000 settlers who are to be evacuated, passed 59-40, despite furious protests from right-wing members of parliament who were once the prime minister's closest allies. The plan still needs final endorsement by Sharon's divided Cabinet, a showdown vote that is scheduled for Sunday. Several key ministers, including Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, are said to be considering voting against the measure. [....] Since Sharon unveiled the plan last year, public opinion polls consistently have indicated that a solid majority of Israelis want to relinquish Gaza, which has long been a hotbed of activity by palestinian militant groups. But settlers and their supporters have waged an increasingly strident campaign to block withdrawal. [....] Supporters of the settlers argued that the prime minister lacked the authority to uproot residents from gaza's 21 heavily guarded Jewish settlements, which many of the settlers believe are theirs by biblical mandate." [Based on Los Angeles Times & Associated Press reports - St. Louis post-Dispatch, p. A14, 02/17/05]

2005 - Indicted / Omri Sharon - February 18th, 2005: "Omri Sharon, a member of Israel's Knesset, or parliament, is accused of setting up a straw company to direct cash to his father's Likud party primary campaign in 1999. Ariel Sharon was elected premier in 2001 and 2003. Omri Sharon will be charged with failing to keep proper accounts, accepting illegal contributions and other offenses, a Justice Ministry statement said." [Based on: Chicago Tribune & Associated Press]

2005 - Trivia / Saliva Drug Tests - February 18th, 2005: "Detecting illegal drug use may one day become as simple as testing spit on a sponge. Researchers said Thursday [02/17/05] that techniques now being developed for analyzing saliva may in the future replace many of the blood and urine tests that now are used to detect drug abuse and disease. [....] Researchers have found that the oral fluids accurately mirror the protiens found in blood and urine. At the news conference, researchers said saliva tests also were being developed to detect  virus and bacterial infections, and it is possible that some cancer tests one day will be based on spit chemistry. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Trivia / New Walking Robot - February 18th, 2005: "The difference between man and machine is shrinking. [....] Researchers on Thursday [02/17/05] showed off the learning, walking robot, along with two less-advanced models, at the national meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of science. A report on the research appears this week in the journal Science. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

2005 - U.S. Relations / Middle East - February 18th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush criticized Syria and Iran on Thursday [02/17/05] as destabilizing forces in the Middle East but stopped short of threatening new U.S. action against either. Expressing sympathy with Israeli worries about a nuclear-armed Iran, the president said America would protect its ally. [....] Asked about his level of concern that Israel might attack Iran to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear arms, Bush responded with an assurance to Israel of U.S. protection. [....]" [Based on News Services]

2005 - Torture Trivia / Al-Jamadi? - February 18th, 2005: "SAN DIEGO - An Iraqi whose corpse was photographed with grinning U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison died under CIA interrogation while suspended by his wrists, with his hands cuffed behind his back, according to reports reviewed by The Associated Press. Human rights group contend this position is torture. [....] Al-Jamadi's death in November 2003 became public with the release of photos of Abu Ghraib guards giving a thumbs-up over his corpse, packed in ice. One guard was Pvt. Charles Graner, who last month received ten years in a military prison for abusing detainees. [....]" [Based on: A.P. - S.L.P.D., p. A1, 02/18/05]

2005 - Resurfaced / BTK Serial Killer - February 18th, 2005: "The BTK serial killer sent investigators at least three packages containing jewelry, and investigators were trying to determine whether any of it was taken from his victims, police said Thursday [02/17/05]. [....] The BTK killer has been linked to eight unsolved killings from 1974 to 1986. He resurfaced last March after years of silence, sending letters to media and police. The initials of the killer's self-coined nickname stand for 'Bind, Torture, Kill.' " [Based on: S.L.P.D., p. A13, 02/18/05]

*Trivia: "A 31-year manhunt for a serial killer who is suspected in at least 10 murders ended Saturday [02/26/05] when authorities said they had caught up with the man who called himself BTK. Dennis Rader, 59, a city worker in nearby Park City, Kan., has been booked on eight counts of first-degree murder and could soon face charges in two unbsolved homicides that occurred in or around his hometown in 1985 and 1991. [....]" [Based on: Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2005 - Convicted / Maurice Blackwell - February 18th, 2005: "A defrocked priest was convicted Thursday [02/17/05] of molesting an altar boy who shot and wounded him on the street in a fit of rage when the clergyman refused to apologize. Maurice Blackwell, 58, former Roman Catholic pastor of a Baltimore church, was found guilty on three of the four counts of sexually abusing Dontee Stokes, now 29, during the early 1990s. He could get up to 45 years in prison when he is sentenced in April. [....] Stokes was acquitted of attempted murder in Blackwell's shooting in May 2002 but convicted of weapons violations later that year, serving home detention. [....]" [Based on: S.L.P.D., p. A13, 02/18/05]

2005 - Trivia / Punitive Israeli Demolitions - February 18th, 2005: "JERUSALEM - Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz ordered a halt Thursday [02/17/05] to a controversial policy of demolishing the family homes of Palestinians involved in attacks on Israelis, the army said. [....] The decision to stop the practice came after an internal army review found that the demolitions, intended as a deterrent, were ineffective and had only inflamed hostility toward Israel. [....] Since the start of the Palestinian uprising in September 2000, the army has demolished 675 homes housing 4,239 people as punishment for attacks, according to figures compiled by the Israeli human rights group B'tselem. The military bulldozed or blew up the houses of families of suicide bombers and gunmen. For every attacker or suspect, 12 innocent people were made homeless, according to B,tselem. The policy, a holdover from British rule in Palestine, has been used by the Israeli's for decades. Since Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 middle east war, more than 1,800 homes have been destroyed in punitive demolitions, B'tselem said. The review of the policy, ordered by Yaalon, was conducted by a committee led by a senior officer, Maj. Gen. Udi Shani. The panel found that the demolitions had a limited deterrent effect that was significantly outweighed by the backlash they caused. The panel recommended that the practice be stopped. Overall, Israel has demolished more than 4,000 Palestinian homes during the current conflict, most of them to clear areas used for cover by gunmen and to secure roads used by Israeli soldiers or settlers, according toB'tselem. Those demolitions were not covered by Thurday's decision. [....]" [Based on: Chicago Tribune & Associated Press]

2005 - Trivia / Vitamin D & Prostate Cancer - February 18th, 2005: "Getting a little sunshine may be one way for men to cut their risk of prostate cancer. A large study presented at a cancer conference Thursday [02/17/05] found that men with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood were half as likely to develop aggressive forms of the disease than those with lower amounts. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Genetic Variation Mapping / Human Genome - February 18th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - Scientists have mapped for the first time genetic variation in people of diverse ancestry. [....] The results of the study were presented Thursday [02/17/05] at a news conference at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. An article describing the research appears today in the journal Science. [....] The genetic makeup of human beings is 99.9 percent identical between any two people. The greatest genetic diversity is found in Africa where people have been evolving for the longest time. [....] [Based on: Tina Hesman, S.L.P.D., pp. A1& A10, 02/18/05]

2005 - Sun in Pisces - February 19th, 2005: "Reported date when the Sun entered the constellation Pisces." [Based on: http://www.astro.com/swisseph/swephae.htm - 2005 A]

2005 - Bombings / Iraq - February 19th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Many kneeling in prayer, Shiite Muslims were attacked in their mosques and on the streets Friday [02/18/05] on the eve of their holiest day [Ashoura], with five bombings killing 35 people in the deadliest day in Iraq since the Jan. 30 national elections. There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the blasts - three of them suicide attacks - in Baghdad and Iskandariyah, south of the capital. But Shiites blamed radical Sunni Muslim insurgents who have staged car bombings, shootings and kidnappings to try to destabilize Iraq's reconstruction. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Trivia / A "Frozen" Titan? - February 19th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - Data from the spacecraft Cassini-Huygens suggested that Titan, a moon of Saturn, is a world with the potential of life that was frozen in its youth, prevented by a deep cold from ever developing. [....] 'All of the elements that we are made of are there,' said Owen [Tobias Owen, of the University of Hawaii], 'but all of the water is frozen solid. There's no oxygen available. If it could warm up, it would be beautiful.' 'We're not expecting to find life on Titan. Its just too cold,' said Owen. 'But we expect to find the primordial ice cream' - the complex of chemicals that could possibly be the precursors of life." [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Mock Trial / "The Da Vinci Code" - February 19th, 2005: "ROME - Art experts and conservative clerics are holding an unusual 'trial' in Leonardo da Vinci's hometown aimed at sorting out fact from fiction in 'The Da Vinci Code' after many readers took the smash hit novel as gospel truth. The event in Vinci, just outside of Florence, began Friday [02/18/05] with an opening statement by Alessandro Vezzosi, director of a Leonardo museum. [....] Organizers said nobody would be speaking in the book's defense and the 'verdict' would be contained within the presentations of the speakers. [....] 'The Da Vinci Code' has sold more than 7.5 million copies worldwide and is expected to be made into a movie. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Loose in Countryside / Exotic Cat? - February 19th, 2005: "A large exotic cat - possibly even an African lion may be roaming the rural countryside near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, authorities said Friday [02/18/05]. [....] A ranch caretaker Tuesday [02/15/05] reported seeing a glimpse of a large cat, possibly a lion, dart into the brush. At least two other people within a quarter-mile of the ranch reported seeing the cat, which officials estimate may weigh 600 pounds. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

*Trivia: "Authorities fatally shot on Wednesday [02/23/05] a male tiger that had been roaming the hills near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The 425-pound cat was shot several hundred yards from school soccer and baseball fields at the edge of the housing development, said Lorna Bernard, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Fish and Game. Authorities still don't know who the owner is. Federal wildlife service trackers had to shoot to kill because a tranquilizer would have taken several minutes to bring down the animal and the hunters or others could have been in danger. [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Trivia / Clerical Sex Abuse, U.S.A. - February 19th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - Roman Catholic leaders said Friday [02/18/05] that they received 1,092 new abuse claims against American priests and deacons last year [2004], even after they had already paid more than $800 million in settlements during the long-running crisis over predatory clergy members. [....] Most of the indictments are alleged to have occurred decades ago, and nearly three-quarters of the 756 accused clerics had died, been laicized or been removed from public ministry before the claims were made last year, church leaders said. [....] Last year, the bishops released an unprecedented statistical review that found 4,392 priests had been accused of molesting minors in 10,667 cases from 1950 to 2002 alone. Like that report, the new survey found that most alleged victims were boys ages 10 to 14. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Strong Earthquake / Sulawesi, Indonesia - February 19th, 2005: "A strong earthquake occurred at 00:04:43 (UTC) on Saturday, February 19, 2005. The magnitude 6.5 event has been located in SULAWESI, INDONESIA. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)"

[Based on: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqinthenews/2005/usurbm/]

2005 - Pneumonic Plague Outbreak / Northeast Congo - February 19th, 2005: "A rare form of plague has killed at least 61 people at a diamond mine in the remote wilds of northeast Congo. Authorities fear hundreds more who fled into the forests to escape the contagion are infected and dying, the World Health Organization said Friday [02/18/05]. Eric Bertherat, a doctor for the U.N. health agency, said the outbreak has been building since December [2004] around a mine near Zobia, 170 miles north of Kisangani, the capital of the vast Oriental province. Bubonic plague is the most common form of plague and is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected flea. It usually is spread by rodents. It does not spread person to person. Pneumonic plague - the kind in the current outbreak - is rarer but also more easily transmitted from person to person through coughing or close contact. [....]" [Based on News Services, S.L.P.D., p. 27, 02/19/05]

2005 - Flooding / California - February 20th, 2005: "Powerful thunderstorms hammered already saturated Southern California on Saturday [02/19/05] with soaking rain and hail, flooding roads and homes, knocking out power to thousands of customers and raising the threat of mudslides. In a year of record rainfall, the latest storms had soaked downtown Los Angeles with about 2 inches of rain since Thursday. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Insurgent Attacks / Iraq - February 20th, 2005: "BAGHDAD - A wave of bombings and suicide attacks Saturday [02/19/05] shattered celebrations marking Shiite Islam's holiest day, killing dozens of people, including an American soldier, and wounding more than 100. [....] Accounts of Saturday's death toll varied. Capt. Sabah Yassin, an Iraqi Defense Ministry official, told The Associated Press that 55 people had been killed in Baghdad and the region. At least 35 people were killed Friday. [....]" [Based on: Boston Globe]

2005 - Protest March / Rome, Italy - February 20th, 2005: "Tens of thousands of Italians marched through Rome on Saturday [02/19/05] to demand the freedom of a journalist kidnapped in Iraq. The demonstration was boycotted by the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The kidnapped journalist works for a Communist newspaper, and many people in the crowd were there to protest Italy's presence in Iraq as much as to plea for the release of reporter Giuliana Sgrena. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Near Miss? / Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Iraq - February 20th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - U.S. forces in Iraq believe they narrowly missed capturing terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in a raid in February [02/20/05] that netted two of his associates, a U.S. military official said Tuesday [04/26/05] [....]" [Based on: A.P., 04/27/05]

2005 - War Cost Trivia / U.S.A. - February 21st, 2005: "[....] Last week, as the president's $82 billion supplemental budget for Iraq and Afghanistan reached the House, some Republicans expressed skepticism about many of its provisions, particularly the $658 million earmarked to build a new U.S. embassy in Baghdad. The $82 billion would push the total cost of the war efforts to more than $300 billion, about 80 percent of which has gone or will go to the Iraq operation. Adjusted for inflation, that exceeds the $200 billion cost of World War I and is approaching the $350 billion spent on the Korean War. Between 1962 and 1975, the United States spent more than $600 billion in today's dollars in Vietnam. We're almost halfway to that figure in just two years in Iraq. And that understates the war's cost. The money for the war is on top of the more than $420 billion a year already allocated for the Defense Department. It costs $100,000 a year to feed, house, equip, train and maintain every U.S. soldier, before he or she ever gets to Iraq. [....] [Based on: Editorial, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. B6, 02/21/05 - paragraph indents removed - E.M.]

2005 - Approval / Gaza Withdrawal - February 21st, 2005: "JERUSALEM - Israel's Cabinet on Sunday [02/20/05] solidly approved [17-5] Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw Jewish settlers and Israeli soldiers from the Gaza Strip this year. The government authorized the first evacuation of settlements from Palestinian land since Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza Strip 38 years ago. [....] Palestinians have complained that Sharon is relinquishing control of Gaza, where the 8,200 Jewish settlers are surrounded by about 1.2 million Palestinians, so he can strengthen his grip on the West Bank, where about 243,000 settlers live in 120 settlements surrounded by about 2.2 million Palestinians. [....] As part of the rapprochement, Israel has announced that it intends to release about 500 Palestinian prisoners today. Israel has also said that it has stopped targeting senior  Palestinian leaders for assassination and demolishing the homes of Palestinians involved in deadly attacks against Israelis. [....] Hours after the Cabinet vote, Sharon signed official evacuation orders setting in motion the withdrawal of settlers starting July 20. It will be the first withdrawal from territory seized in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war since it left the Sinai in 1982 under the Camp David peace agreement. By law, the entire evacuation process must be finished by the end of the year, but it is expected to be completed by September. [....] Even so, Sharon must win still more votes before starting the withdrawal. The evacuation of the 25 settlements and their 9,000 residents is planned to take place in four stages. Before each stage begins, the Cabinet must decide whether to approve it, based on existing circumstances. More immediately, Sharon does not yet have enough votes in the Knesset to guarantee passage of his proposed 2005 budget, which has become entangled in the disengagement battle. If the budget is not approved by March 31, the government automatically falls, which could delay or even kill the Gaza Withdrawal. [....]" [Based on: Washington Post]

2005 - Socialist Party Victory / Portugal - February 21st, 2005: "The Socialist Party returned to power after three years in opposition with a landslide victory on Sunday [02/20/05], as voters appeared to punish the conservative government for failing to pull Portugal out of an economic slump. In its biggest win ever, the Socialist party collected 120 seats to secure an overall majority in the 230-seat legislature for the first time. The result allows Socialist leader Jose Socrates, who will be the fourth prime minister in three months, to push through potentially painful economic reforms." [Based on: News Services]

2005 - AWOL / "Alcohol Without Liquid" - February 21st, 2005: "Missouri and Illinois lawmakers are trying to keep a new party toy from putting bar-hoppers here on the fast track to euphoria. [....] The vaporizer is called AWOL, short for 'Alcohol Without Liquid.' It transforms hard alcohol into mist with an oxygen generator. Users pull the alcohol vapor into their lungs with large inhalers. [....]" [Based on: St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2005 - Absolutely Sovereign? / Georgia & Ukraine - February 21st, 2005: "MOSCOW - The Kremlin signaled a fundamental foreign policy shift Sunday [02/21/05], acknowledging that two former Soviet republics, Ukraine and Georgia, are no longer part of the Russian orbit. Days before a potentially tense summit meeting between Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin and President George W. Bush, the Russian foreign minister said in an interview broadcast Sunday [02/21/05] that Moscow views the two former republics 'as absolutely sovereign, absolutely equal states in the new geopolitical architecture.' [....] Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moscow has struggled to maintain influence with the former republics - now indepoendent countries - that ringed the one-time  communist superpower. In the intervening years, the Kremlin has relied on a foreign policy concept under which the former republics were known as the 'near abroad,' which signaled that Russia did not view them as absolutely sovereign. The policy began unraveling as the three Baltic nations - Lithuainia, Latavia and Estonia - quickly aligned themselves with the West, but the other former republics largely were treated by Moscow as if the Kremlin still had a say. There was a further crack in 2003 when the so-called 'Rose Revolution' in Georgia propelled the reformist President Mikhail Saakashvili to power and brought down his predecessor, Eduard Shevardnadze, who was Soviet foreign minister before the collapse. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Videotape Release / Ayman al-Zawahri? - February 21st, 2005: "CAIRO, Egypt - Al-Jazeera television aired a videotape Sunday [02/21/05] purporting to show al-Qaida No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri denouncing U.S. calls for reform in the region and urging the West to respect the Islamic world. Al-Zawahri, who appeared sitting on the ground and in front of a brown background, said the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 'explains the truth about reforms and democracy that America alleges it wants to impose in our countries.' 'Reform is based on American detention camps like Bagram, Kandahar, Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, it will be based on cluster bombs and imposition of people like Karzai and Allawi,' he said, referring to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. 'Real security is based on mutual cooperation with the Islamic nation on the basis of mutual respect and the stopping of aggression,' al-Zawahri said on the tape. Al-Jazeera reported that the excerpt was part of a longer videotape, but it did not indicate the length of the entire tape. The station did not say if it would air the rest of the video. In Washington, the CIA said it was looking at the tape to try to determine its authenticity. The videotape is the latest in a string of threats against the United States and its allies from al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's deputy in the al-Qaida terrorist network. It was unclear whether this videotape was the same or different message as one posted on the Internet criticizing the 'rigged elections' in Iraq shortly after the country's election on Jan. 30. That message was said to be a transcript from an audiotape. Al-Zawahiri warned that 'the new crusade is doomed to fail' and said it would result in 'tens of thousands of fallen victims and the destruction of your economy.' 'If you, the Western nations, think that these cardboard governments can protect you, you are wrong,' he said in the tape referring to governments in the Middle East. 'Your real security is through cooperation with the Islamic nation.' Like bin Laden, the Egyptian al-Zawahiri is believed to be on the run in the mountains along the Afghan-Pakistani border. But Pakistani officials have said there is no evidence either man is in their territory, and both Pakistani and American generals agree the trail has gone cold more than three years after the Sept. 11 attacks." [Based on: A.P. article posted in St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A10, 02/21/05] [Paragraph indents removed to save space - E.M.]

2005 - Trivia / Iraq War - February 22nd, 2005: "[....] Because of continuing security problems, the United States has been able to spend only about $2.5 billion of the $18 billion appropriated by Congress more than a year ago for reconstruction projects. Meanwhile, the insurgency grows. The latest Brookings Institution tracking index estimates that between January 2003 and January 2004, the number of insurgents more than tripled from 5,300 to 18,600. Last week, when asked by Congress to estimate the number of insurgents, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld refused. [....]" [Based on: Editorial, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. B6, 02/22/05]

2005 - Chiron in Aquarius - February 22nd, 2005: "On this date in history, the planet Chiron entered the sign of Aquarius." [E.M.]

2005 - Mudslides / California - February 22nd, 2005: "LOS ANGELES - Mudslides trapped people in their homes Monday [02/21/05] and forced others to flee as Southern California was soaked by yet another of the powerful storms that have pounded the region this winter. At least four deaths were blamed on the weather. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

*Trivia: "[....] The storms began last Thursday [02/17/05], bringing 9.14 inches by Wednesday [02/23/04] morning to a city where the average for an entire year is about 15 inches. Damage in Los Angeles County alone since Jan 1 was estimated at $52.5 million, including up to $10 million in damage caused by the latest storm. [....] [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Syrian Pullout? / Lebanon - February 22nd, 2005: "BEIRUT, Lebanon - Mounting pressure on Syria's government to ease its grip on neighboring Lebanon produced a promise of action Monday [02/21/05] in a statement from Damascus that Syria 'soon' will take unspecified steps to withdraw its troops. The statement by visiting Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa came as President George W. Bush told European leaders that Syria must end its three-decade 'occupation' of Lebanon and more than 100,000 Lebanese demonstrators rallied in central Beirut, shouting, 'Syria, out!' [....]" [Based on: Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2005 - CDC Warning / Bird Flu Epidemic? - February 22nd, 2005: "WASHINGTON - The world may be on the brink of a global epidemic from a bird flu virus that may mutate to become as deadly and infectious as viruses that killed millions during three influenza pandemics of the 20th century, a federal health official said Monday [02/21/05]. Dr. Julie Gerberding, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said scientists expect that a flu virus that has swept through chickens and other poultry in Asia will change genetically to a flu that can be transmitted from person to person. The genes of the avian flu change rapidly, she said, and experts believe it is highly likely that the virus will evolve into a pathogen deadly for humans. [....] The avian flu now spreading in Asia is part of the H1 family of flu viruses. It is a pathogen that is notorious in human history. 'Each time we see a new H1 antigen emerge, we experience a pandemic of influenza,' Gerberding said. In 1918, H1 appeared and millions died worldwide. In 1957, the Asian flu was an H2, and the Hong Kong flu in 1968 was an H3. There had been small appearances of the H1-type of avian viruses in other years, but nothing like the H5 now rampaging through the birds of Asia. 'We are seeing a highly pathogenic strain of influenza virus emerge to an extraordinary proportion across the entire western continent of Asia,' she said. 'The reason this is so ominous is because of the evolution of flu. ... You may see the emergence of a new strain to which the human population has no immunity.' [....] The government has ordered 2 million doses of vaccine that would protect against the known strains of avian flu. Gerberding said this would give manufacturers a head start on making the shots that would be needed to combat a full-blown epidemic of an H1-type of flu in this country [U.S.A.]." [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - George Polk Award / Seymour Hersh - February 22nd, 2005: "NEW YORK - Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker won his fifth George Polk Award for his accounts of prisoner abuse in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, making him the most-honored individual in the history of the awards. Reporters from The New York Times took  three of the 2004 awards, and the Associated Press was a double winner. Hersh won the magazine reporting prize for his Abu Ghraib stories. Thirty-five years earlier, he won the award for coverage of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. [....]" [Based on, A.P.]

2005 - Trivia / Chrysanthemum Throne, Japan - February 22nd, 2005: "Japan will prepare for a reigning empress for the first time in more than 200 years as the government drafts legal changes allowing female succession, a news agency reported Monday [02/21/05]. Japan's royals are facing their most serious succession crisis in centuries. The current law bars women from ascending the Chrysanthemum Throne, and no boy has been born to the imperial family since the 1960s. Kyodo News quoted an unnamed government official as saying 'Princess Aiko will go next' after her father, Crown Prince Naruhito, in line for the throne. The report gave no other details. Princess Aiko, 3, is the only child of Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako." [Based on: News Services]

2005 - European Speech Trivia / President George W. Bush- February 22nd, 2005: "BRUSSELS, Belgium - President George W. Bush issued a blunt warning Monday [02/21/05] to Russia, saying that it 'must renew a commitment to democracy and the rule of law' if it is to join the European and trans-Atlantic communities. [....] Bush chided Saudi Arabia and Egypt, saying the United States and Europe 'expect higher standards' from the two allies on democratic rule. He also renewed his calls for Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon and Iran to abandon an alleged nuclear weapons program. [....]" [Based on: Los Angeles Times]

2005 - Ibrahim Al-Jaafari / Iraq - February 23rd, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shiite doctor with an Islamic bent, was chosen Tuesday [02/22/05] by a victorious Shiite alliance as its candidate for Iraq's new prime minister. [....]" [New York Times]

2005 - Strong Earthquake / Central Iran - February 22nd, 2005: "A strong earthquake occurred at 02:25:22 (UTC) on Tuesday, February 22, 2005. The magnitude 6.4 event has been located in CENTRAL IRAN. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)"

[Based on: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqinthenews/2005/usuvae/]

*Trivia: "Under a cold, driving rain, survivors wailed over the bodies of the dead and dug through the ruins of mud-brick houses searching for their loved ones after a powerful earthquake flattened villiages in central Iran on Tuesday [02/22/05], killing at least 420 people. [....] About 30,000 people were affected, many left homeless when some villages  were reduced to piles of dirt and stone by the magnitude 6.4 earthquake. The number of injured was estimated at 900. [....] About 40 villages were damaged in the quake. It struck a region 150 miles from Bam, the site of a quake in December 2003 that killed 26,000 people. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

*Trivia: "At least 612 people killed and 1,411 injured in Kerman Province. An estimated 8,000 homes damaged or destroyed in the Zarand area."

[Based on: http://neic.usgs.gov/neis/eq_depot/2005/eq_050222/neic_uvae_nr.html] 

2005 - Status / U.S. Arms Embargo, China - February 23rd, 2005: "BRUSSELS, Belgium - President George W. Bush and European leaders settled simmering differences about Iraq but plunged into a troublesome new dispute Tuesday [02/23/05] over the lifting of an arms embargo against China. Bush warned that Congress might retaliate if Europe revokes the 15-year ban. Bush said lifting the embargo imposed after the bloody 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy activists, 'would change the balance of relations between China and Taiwan, and that's of concern.' [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Unidentified / "Ground Zero" Remains - "A milestone - long dreaded by the families of many World Trade Center victims - has arrived more than three years after the towers collapsed. The city medical examiner's office has exhausted all of its attempts to identify the remains of those killed at Ground Zero - depriving more than 1,000 families of at least a small measure of comfort, the New York Daily News has learned. The medical examiner's office pushed the limits of forensic science after the attacks. Of the 2,749 who died, 1,588 have been identified, with 1,161 remaining unidentified. And now no more can be done. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Disclosure / U.S. Navy Doctor Death, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - "Ten months after the fact, the Pentagon disclosed Tuesday [02/22/05] the death [04/12/04] of a Navy doctor [Cmdr. Adrian Basil Szwec] at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Ayad Allawi / Iraq - February 24th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Ayad Allawi, the secular interim prime minister, said Wednesday [02/23/05] he's putting together a coalition to try to hold on to the job in the next government and block the candidate of the dominant Shiite political alliance. [....]" [A.P.]

2005 - Denied Release / Lea Fastow - February 24th, 2005: "Lea Fastow, wife of former Enron Corp. finance chief Andrew Fastow, will serve her entire one-year prison term for helping her husband hide tens of thousands of dollars in ill-gotten kickbacks from the government, a judge ruled Wednesday [02/23/05] in Houston. U.S District Judge David Hittner denied a request that she be released before her sentence ends in July." [S.L.P.D., p. B2, 02/24/05]

2005 - "Ocean of Snow" / Himalayas - February 24th, 2005: "Avalanches and slides triggered by heavy snow struck across the Himalayan region over the weekend, killing nearly 300 people and leaving hundreds more missing. [....] 'It was terrible. An ocean of snow swept everything away,' said Wajid Ali, 70, a herdsman who lost his two daughters. [....] The number of dead in Kashmir - split between India and Pakistan - climbed to 287 after rescue workers found 40 more bodies in villages and three people died in a remote forest after being stranded in a log hut for four days. [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Resurrection / Ancient Bacteria - February 24th, 2005:

A new type of organism discovered in an Arctic tunnel came to life in the lab after being frozen for 32,000 years. The deep-freeze bacteria could point to new methods of cryogenics, and they are the sort of biology scientists say might exist on Mars and other planets and moons.

The existence of microorganisms in these harsh environments suggests — but does not promise - that we might one day discover similar life forms in the glaciers or permafrost of Mars or in the ice crust and oceans of Jupiter’s moon Europa," said Richard Hoover, an astrobiologist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

Other microbes have been discovered in similar frigid environments, sometimes clinging to pockets of liquid water in ice packs. And some microbes survive in ice as spores, but they need to be cultured to bring them to life.

NASA described the newfound critter as "the first fully described, validated species ever found alive in ancient ice."

"They immediately started swimming when the ice melted," Hoover told LiveScience, adding that the cryopreserved bacteria were instantly ready to eat and multiply.

[....]

[Based on: Robert Roy Britt, Senior writer, LiveScience.com.] [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7019473]

2005 - Experimental Bird Flu Vaccine? - February 24th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - Amid dire warnings odf an Asian pandemic, the government is preparing to test an experimental bird flu vaccine in St. Louis and a few other cities and is increasing disease surveillance in hopes of reducing the toll from any eventual American outbreak. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Premature Deaths / Diesel Emissions - February 24th, 2005 "[....] St. Louis ranks as the 13th worst metropolitan area nationwide in terms of health problems caused by diesal emissions, according to a study commissioned by the Boston-based Clean Air Task Force. The study blames diesal fumes for an estimated 21,000 premature deaths nationwide each year. The same report ranked Illinois 6th and Missouri 15th overall for worst health impacts from diesal emissions. [....]" [Based on: Sara Shipley, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A8, 02/24/05]

2005 - Insurgent Attacks / Iraq - February 25th, 2005: "TIKRIT, Iraq - Insurgents unleashed a wave of attacks across central and northern Iraq on Thursday [02/24/05], killing at least 30 people and injuring dozens in one of the deadliest days of violence since the country held elections less than a month ago. [....]" [New York Times]

2005 - Trivia / U.S. Airline Debt - February 25th, 2005: "Credit rating agency Standard and Poor's warned it may cut the rating of several airlines on rising bankruptcy fears. The agency said it had placed American, Northwest, Continental and America West airlines on a 'watch list' for a potential downgrade. The ratings cover $13.2 billion in debt secured by the four airlines. Credit analyst Phil Baggaley said high fuel prices, too much industry capacity and increasing competition have put the airlines at risk for 'widespread simultaneous bankruptcies.' [....]" [Based on: S.L.P.D., p. C2, 02/25/05]

2005 - Guilty Plea / Kathryn Winter - February 25th, 2005: "A former managing director at Marsh & McLennan Cos. became the third ex-executive of the world's largest  insurance brokerage to plead guilty to New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's charges of rigging insurance bids. Kathryn Winter, 50, pleaded guilty in a New York state court to a felony count of scheming to defraud, according to court documents. Robert Sterns and Josh Bewlay, two other former Marsh managing directors, previously admitted to criminal charges stemming from Spitzer's investigation." [Based on: S.L.P.D., p. C2, 02/25/05]

2005 - Overhaul / Palestinian Cabinet - February 25th, 2005: "RAMALLAH, West Bank - The Palestinian parliament on Thursday [02/24/05] approved a new Caninet composed largely of reformists and technocrats, after forcing Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia to dump an entrenched group of Yasser Arafat loyalists. With a few wxceptions, the new 24-member Cabinet is made up of men with little experience in elected office. Nearly half hold doctorates - many earned at top-flight universities in the United States or elsewhere in the West. [....]" [Washington Post]

2005 - Tracheotomy / Pope John Paul II - February 25th, 2005: "ROME - Pope John Paul II's slow recovery from influenza suffered a sharp setback Thursday [02/24/05] when a respiratory crisis sent the pontiff to the hospital, where a breathing tube was inserted into his throat and he was put on a respirator. [....] [Boston Globe]

*Trivia: "[....] Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the pontiff was breathing without the aid of a respirator [02/25/05] but would not be able to speak for at least a few days. [....]" [Washington Post, 02/26/05]

2005 - Rejects U.S. Missle Defense plan / Canada - February 25th, 2005: "TORONTO - Prime Minister Paul Martin said Thursday [02/24/05] that Canada would opt out of the U.S. missle defense program, a move that will further strain rtelations between the neighbors but please Canadians who fear it could lead to an international arms race. [....] Martin, who has said Ottawa would not support what he called the 'weaponization of space,' insisted his decision had not relinquished Canada's sovereignty. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Trivia / HIV U.S.A. - February 26th, 2005: "BOSTON - The HIV infection rate has doubled among blacks in the United States over a decade while holding steady among whites - evidence of a widening racial gap in the epidemic, government scientists said Friday [02/25/05]. [....] The findings were released in Boston at the 12th Annual Retrovirus Conference, the world's chief scientific gathering on the disease. [....] Nearly 1 million people in the United States have contracted the AIDS virus since the outbreak began in the early 1980s. About 40,000 people test positive  each year, and more than 18,000 die. However, U.S. infections have remained fairly level in recent years with the use of the new drugs." [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Suicide Bomber / Israel - February 26th, 2005: "TEL AVIV, Israel - A Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up amid a crowd of young Israelis waiting to enter a nightclub near the Tel Aviv beachfront Friday night [02/25/05], killing at least four, wounding dozens and shattering a truce that had largely been holding. The bombing marked the first major attack since Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, and the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, called for an end to violence at a Feb. 8 summit meeting in Egypt. [....] Gideon Ezra, Israel's public security minister, who visited the bombing scene, said Israel was likely to reinstate restrictions on Palestinians that had been eased. 'I dont think we will let Palestinians come to work in Israel. We won't let them be in charge of Palestinian cities,' Ezra said. [....] [Based on: New York Times]

2005 - Russian Reactor Fuel? / Iran - February 26th, 2005: "TEHRAN, Iran - Russia's top nuclear official will sign a deal today [02/26/05] to supply Iran with fuel for its first nuclear reactor, an Iranian official said. The agreement will require Iran to return spent fuel to Russia. [....] Russia helped build the $800 million light-water reactor, which can generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity. [....] The Russian news agency ITAR-Tass quoted Russia's ambassador to Iran, Alexander Maryasov, as saying that after the deal is signed, 'There will be no grounds to state that Iran may use nuclear fuel for other than peaceful purposes.' [....] Iran insists it has the right to produce its own reactor fuel. Uranium enriched to a low degree is used for reactors, but it can be enriched further for nuclear weapons." [Based on: A.P.]

2005 - Strong Earthquake / Simeulue, Indonesia - February 26th, 2005: "A strong earthquake occurred at 12:56:50 (UTC) on Saturday, February 26, 2005. The magnitude 6.8 event has been located in SIMEULUE, INDONESIA. The hypocentral depth was estimated to be 23 km (14 miles). (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)"

[Based on: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqinthenews/2005/usuzaq/]

2005 - Resignation / President Faure Gnassingbe, Togo - February 26th, 2005: "President Faure Gnassingbe - facing mounting international pressure since Togo's military installed him as leader three weeks ago - announced late Friday [02/25/05] that he was stepping down and would seek the presidency in April elections. [....]" [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Insurgent Activity / Iraq - February 27th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - A major oil fire raged Saturday [02/26/05] after insurgents blew up a pipeline in the north of the country. In another major development, the family of an anchorwoman [Raiedah Mohammed Wageh Wazan] for a U.S.-funded state television station found her body shot and dumped  on a street in the northern city of Mosul. [....]" [Based on A.P.]

2005 - Satellite Launch / Japan - February 27th, 2005: "Fifteen months after a liftoff ended in a spectacular fireball, a Japanese rocket roared off its launchpad and placed a weather and navigation satellite in orbit Saturday [02/26/05]. The success puts Japan back in the race with rival China to become Asia's leading space power. Domestically designed and built, the 174-foot-tall H-2A rocket is the centerpiece of Japan's space program. The rocket was launched into a cloudy sunset from the remote southern Japanese island of Tanegashima. Japan was the fourth country to launch a satellite, in 1972. Along with a major lunar exploration mission in the works, the nation now has a probe on its way to collect and retrieve samples from an asteroid - a mission that, if successful, would be a first." [Based on: News Services]

2005 - Ban / Some Chinese Wood Products, U.S.A. - February 27th, 2005: "WASHINGTON - The government is banning imports of Chinese-made crafts, garden trellises and other goods made from raw wood after more discoveries of hitchhiking beetles [brown fir longhorned beetles] that can destroy forests and backyard trees. The Agricultural Department notified states this week that it had told China that imports of wooden products with bark on the surface would be prohibited at U.S. ports beginning April 1. [....]" [Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau]

2005 - Capture / Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan - February 28th, 2005: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi officials said Sunday [02/27/05] that Syria had captured and handed over Saddam Hussein's half brother [Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan], a most-wanted leader in the Sunni-based insurgency. [....] The Iraqi officials did not specify when al-Hassan was captured, only saying he was detained after the assassination Feb. 14 of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in Beriut, Lebanon, in a blast that killed 16 others. [....] Al-Hassan was No. 36 - the six of diamonds - on the list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis compiled by U.S. authorities after Saddam was toppled in April 2003. Eleven from the deck of cards issued to help troops identify the suspects remain at large. The half brother was also named as one of the  29 most-wanted supporters of the Iraqi insurgency. The United States had offered $1 million for his capture. [....]" [Based on: A.P.]

Jan.-Feb. / March-April / May-June / July-August / Sept.-Oct. / Nov.-Dec. 2005

The Future

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