Historical Timeline

Calendar Months

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

September 2004

2004 - Flooding / Virginia - September 1st, 2004: "RICHMOND, Va. - "An area of about 20 blocks of downtown Richmond was roped off and was declared uninhabitable Tuesday [08/31/04] after the remnants of Tropical Storm Gaston flooded the city and other parts of central Virginia with a foot or more of rain. At least five people were killed." [By Larry O'Dell, A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / World Debt - "The Masonic bankers during the last 25 years have lent money to the governments of the industrial nations, which find it harder and harder to repay their enormous debt. The private sector has become exactly that much richer. This monetary power has enough money to stop any intransigent politicians. Popularly elected politicians no longer have any means of conducting the policies they wish. They cannot take back their power until the debts are paid. For every dollar borrowed, the politicians relinquish more power. The developing countries are in much worse situation. They are not even able to pay interest on their loans.
   "During 1982-1990 the banks of the industrial nations received $1,345 trillion in interest and annuity from these poor countries." [Juri Lina, The Barnes Review, September/October 2004, p. 13]

2004 - Economic Slavery? - "Interest charges are always included in today's prices, which makes all goods and services very expensive and leaves very little money in the wallet. The economic historian John King has pointed out that because of interest, businesses must constantly raise their prices. This is camouflaged as inflation. He recommended abolishing interest as soon as possible, so as to avoid economic catastrophe. Everyone must now help pay interest. It is included in all prices—about 77 percent of rental rates, for instance. Taxes and other fees and imposts add up. Thus we have become slaves of the bankers. All goods would be only half as expensive without interest payments.
   "According to the Swedish historian Herman Lindqvist, the Freemasons decided in the 1810s that wages should be fixed at the poverty level. Such an attitude shows an enormous contempt for ordinary people. Between the years 1860 and 1910 almost a million Swedes left for America in connection with several years of famine, poverty and difficulties in providing for themselves." [Juri Lina, The Barnes Review, September/October 2004, p. 13]

2004 - Mass Slaying / Iraq - September 1st, 2004: BAGHDAD, Iraq - "A gruesome video posted Tuesday [08/31/04] on a Web site purported to show Iraqi militants beheading a Nepalese worker and shooting 11 others in the first mass slaying of foreign hostages during the Iraqi insurgency." [By Ravi Nessman, A.P.]

2004 - Tariffs on U.S. Goods - September 1st, 2004: "GENEVA - The European Union, Japan, Brazil and five other countries won World Trade Organization approval to impose tariffs worth more than $ 150 million a year on U.S. imports after Congress failed to end a corporate subsidy." [By Warren Giles, Bloomberg News]

2004 - Suicide Bombers / Israel - September 1st, 2004: "BEERSHEBA, Israel - Palestinian suicide bombers blew up two buses in this Israeli desert city [Beersheba] Tuesday [08/31/04], killing 16 passengers and wounding more than 80." [By Steve Gutkin, A.P.]

2004 - Suicide Bomber / Russia - September 1st, 2004: "MOSCOW - A woman strapped with explosives blew herself up outside a busy Moscow subway station Tuesday night [08/31/04], killing at least 10 people and wounding more than 50 in the second terrorist attack to hit Russia in a week." [A.P.]

2004 - Volcanic Eruption / Japan - September 1st, 2004: "In its biggest eruption in 21 years, on September 1st, Mt. Asama poured molten rock, ash and smoke down its slopes. No injuries have been reported. Mount Asama is near the popular mountain resort town of Karuizawa and about 30 miles southeast of Nagano, site of the 1998 Winter Olympics. Its last major eruption was in 1783." [Based on: News Services, 09/18/04]

2004 - Hostage Release / Iraq - September 2nd, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Militants released seven foreign hostages Wednesday [09/01/04] after their employer [Kuwait & Gulf Link Transport Co.] paid $500.000 ransom. At the same time, France mustered support from Muslims at home and abroad to push for the release of two French journalists still held captive in Iraq." [By Ravi Nessman, A.P.]

2004 - Trial Delayed / Enron Corp. - September 2nd, 2004: "A federal judge in Houston agreed Wednesday [09/01/04] to delay until next year the trial of five former executives from Enron Corp.'s defunct broadband unit." [Compiled from: A.P., Bloomberg News, & St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Birth of Panda Twins / Hua Mei - September 2nd, 2004: "San Diego's native-born panda, Hua Mei, gave birth to twins Wednesday [09/01/04] less than a year after she was sent into a Chinese breeding program." [From Staff & Wire Reports, S.L.P.D.]

2004 - Hurricane Evacuation / Florida - September 2nd, 2004: "MIAMI - Nearly a half-million people were ordered to evacuate as Hurricane Frances swirled toward Florida on Wednesday [09/01/04], just weeks after Charley's devestating visit, threatening to deliver the most powerful one-two punch to hit a state in at least a century." [By John Pain, A.P.]

2004 -  President Martin Torrijos / Panama - September 2nd, 2004: "Martin Torrijos, son of the late dictator Omar Torrijos, took office as Panama's president Wednesday [09/01/04]." [News Services]

2004 - Foreign Relations / Israel & Syria - September 2nd, 2004: "JERUSALEM - Israeli leaders warned Syria on Wednesday [09/01/04] that it bears the blame for a double suicide bombing by Hamas fighters because it harbors the group's leadership, and they hinted at possible retaliation." [A.P.]

2004 - Hostage Standoff / Russian School - September 2nd, 2004: "BESLAN, Russia - Heavily armed guerrillas, some wearing explosive belts, stormed into a school Wednesday [09/01/04] morning in southern Russia near the separatist region of Chechnya and took several hundred [actually, about 1,181] students, teachers and parents hostage after a deadly shootout." [By Peter Baker & Susan B. Glasser, Washington Post]

2004 - Investigation / Pro-Israeli Lobbists - September 2nd, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Investigators are focusing on two employees of the main pro-Israeli lobbying group into an inquiry into whether a pentagon analyst provided them with secret U.S. material on Iran that they funded to Israel. The two employees of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee are Steven Rosen, director of foreign policy issues, and Keith Weissman, an Iran expert, said Nathan Lewin, an attorney for the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee." [A.P.]

2004 - Status / Migrant Social Security Benefits, U.S.A. - September 2nd, 2004: "If some members of Congress have their way, undocumented migrants would be barred from seeking to reclaim the billions of dollars they paid into Social Security. Instead, the money would go to pay for the retirements of U.S. citizens. Neither the migrants nor the Mexican government appears to be fighting the issue, despite what's at stake: A little-known Social Security account called the 'earnings suspense file,' which grows by about $6 billion a year and now stands at about $376 billion."

*Commentary: "And how do we know, how can we really be absolutely sure, that Social Security will be available in the coming years? for anybody? What, with the cost of making war and all, how can we really be sure that there will be anything left? How can we even know for sure there will be a planet left? By trusting that corporations are looking out for the peoples best interests?" [E.M.]

2004 - Psychic Flap / RCGA - September 3rd, 2004: "Questions about the role of a consultant [David Z. Levin] who claimed psychic powers could harm a major fund raising effort by the St. Louis Research Chamber and Growth Association, some officials say." [By Eric Heisler, St Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Hidden Tomb / Egyptian Sphinx - September 3rd, 2004: "Egypt's antiquities chief revealed on Thursday [09/02/04] a 2,500-year-old hidden tomb under the shadow of one of Giza's three giant pyramids. The tomb contains 400 pinkie-finger-sized statues and six coffin-sized niches carved into granite rock." [News Services]

2004 - Hostage Siege / Russia - September 4th, 2004: "BESLAN, Russia - The three-day hostage siege at an elementary school in southern Russia ended in chaos and bloodshed Friday [09/03/04]. Witnesses said Chechen militants set off bombs before Russian commandos stormed the building. Hostages, many of them children who were half naked and covered in blood, fled in terror. Officials estimated the death toll at more than 200. Some of the terrorists escaped into the city. Early today [09/04/04], 531 people remained hospitalized, including 283 children, health officials said." [By Mike Eckel, A.P.]

*Trivia: "Officials reported more than 340 dead and about 700 wounded by late Saturday [09/04/04]." [Washington Post]

*Trivia: "The three-day seige in Beslan in Russia's North Ossetia region ended in chaos that left 330 people dead, including 171 children, Ustinov [Vladimir Ustinov] said." [News Services, 09/15/04]

*Trivia: "Teachers from the southern Russian school that was the scene of a deadly siege by armed militants have counted 1,326 people who were held hostage - a tally higher than official figures to date, a Russian newspaper reported Saturday [09/18/04]." [News Services, 09/19/04]

2004 - Hospitalization / Bill Clinton - September 4th, 2004: "NEW YORK - Former President Bill Clinton was hospitalized with chest pains and shortness of breath Friday [09/03/04] and will undergo heart bypass surgery next week." [A.P.]

2004 - Record Medicare Increase / U.S.A. - September 4th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Medicare premiums for doctor visits will rise 17 percent next year, the federal government said Friday [09/03/04]. The increase of $11.60 a month is the largest in the program's 40-year history." [A.P.]

2004 - President Emile Lahoud / Lebanon - September 4th, 2004: "Lebanon's parliament amended the country's constitution  Friday [09/03/04] to extend pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud's term, ignoring U.S. calls to hold an election to choose the head of state." [News Services]

2004 - Hurricane Frances / Bahamas, Florida - "Hurricane date(s): September 5th-6th, 2004. Number of recorded deaths: 35." [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 207]

*Trivia: "Massive Hurricane Frances trudged ashore with 115 mph wind and pelting rain late Saturday [09/04/04], knocking out power to 2 million people and forcing Floridians to endure a frightening night amid roaring gales that shredded roots and uprooted trees." [Based on: Allen G. Breed, A.P.]

*Trivia: "Hurricane Frances made landfall at Sewall's Point near Stuart, Florida on September 5th, 2004. Wind speed: 105 mph; Storm surge: 4-6 feet; Damage: $6.8 billion." [Based on: A.P., 09/27/04]

*Trivia: "Hurricane Frances killed 23 people in Florida and wiped out up to half of Georgia's pecan crop. [....] Florida citrus growers lost about half of their grapefruit crop during Frances." [Based on: A.P., 09/28/04]

2004 - Health Concern / South Bass Island, Ohio - "State health officials have interviewed 1,377 people who have come down  with chills, fever, diarrhea and vomiting since early June [2004] after visiting South Bass Island, which is about halfway between Toledo and Cleveland. [....] At least 43 private wells have tested positive for coliform bacteria, which could signal the presence of other harmful bacteria. Investigators suspect that this could mean that there is widespread groundwater contamination." [A.P.]

2004 - Health Status / Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine - September 5th, 2004: "Ukranian reformist candidate Viktor Yushchenko fell ill after having dinner with Ukranian Security Service chief Ihor Smeshko and his deputy Volodymyr Satsyuk on Sept. 5 [2004]." [A.P., 12/16/04]

*Trivia: "New tests reveal Ukranian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko's blood contains the second-highest level of dioxin poisoning ever recorded in a human - more than 6,000 times the normal concentration, according to the expert analyzing the samples. [....]" [Based on: Emma Ross, A.P., 12/16/04]

2004 - Earthquakes / Japan - September 6th, 2004: "Two strong earthquakes, one magnitude 6.9 and the second magnitude 7.3, rattled western Japan on Sunday night [09/05/04], injuring 14 people, shaking buildings in Tokyo and triggering tsunamis." [News Services]

2004 - Bush Blunder - September 6th, 2004: "While speaking in Poplar Bluff, Missouri on Labor Day, Reuters reports that Bush offered an unexpected reason for cracking down on frivolous medical lawsuits: 'We've got an issue in America. Too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many Ob-Gyns aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country.' President Bush didn't even pause or acknowledge his error and dove right into the final part of his argument against Edwards calling him a 'pro-trial lawyer,' saying, 'I think you've got to make a choice. My opponent made his choice, and he put him on the ticket. I made my choice. I'm for medical liability reform now.' "

2004 - Israeli Assault / Gaza - September 7th, 2004: "GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Israeli helicopters attacked a Hamas training field early today [09/07/04], killing at least 13 Palestinians and wounding 25 in the bloodiest strike in Gaza in months, officials from both sides said." [A.P.]

2004 - Typhoon Songda / Japan - September 7th, 2004: "A powerful typhoon in southern Japan caused landslides and floods, left tens of thousands without power, and injured at least 23 people [09/06/04]. [....] As much as 24 inches of rain were expected today [09/07/04] in parts of Kyushu." [News services]

2004 - Fatality / Israeli Spy Satellite - September 7th, 2004: "An Israeli spy satellite plunged into the Mediterranean Sea shortly after launch Monday [09/06/04]." [News Services]

2004 - Toughened Rules / Internet Porn, China - September 7th, 2004: "Chinese makers and distributors of pornographic materials sent through the Internet, mobile phones and other communication devices will face penalities as severe as life in prison under new rules." [News Services]

2004 - Hurricane Ivan / Barbados, Greneda, Jamaica, Cuba, U.S. Gulf Coast - "Hurricane date(s): September 7th-16th, 2004. Number of recorded deaths: 115." [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 207]

2004 - Trivia / U.S. Pensions - September 8th, 2004: "CHICAGO - Retirees and older workers who've toiled for their companies for decades long have viewed their pensions as money in the bank, even before the checks arrived. Now, some are beginning to wonder just how secure their pensions really are. [....] And with 81 percent of corporate benefit plans underfunded, according to Wilshire Associates Inc., workers increasingly are uneasy." [By David Carpenter, A.P.]

2004 - Floods & Landslides / China - September 8th, 2004: "Floods and landslides triggered by torrential summer rains have killed at least 143 people and left dozens missing in southwestern China, officials and state television reported Tuesday [09/07/04]." [News Services]

2004 - Anti-American Attacks / Iraq - September 8th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Sunni Muslim insurgents and Shiite Muslim militimen mounted attacks on U.S. soldiers in the Baghdad area Monday [09/06/04], Tuesday [09/07/04] and today [09/08/04] that raised the U.S. military's three-day death toll to 15 and illustrated the dangers that continue to confront American forces in the Iraqi capital." [By Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post]

2004 - Hurricane Ivan / Grenada - September 9th, 2004: "ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada - The most powerful hurricane [Ivan] to hit the caribbean in nearly a decade killed at least 12 people in Grenada, damaged 90 percent of its homes and destroyed a prison that left criminals running loose, officials said Wednesday [09/08/04]. [....] Ivan is expected to reach Jamaica by Friday or Saturday and then aim for Cuba, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said." [A.P.]

2004 - Crash Landing / Genesis Capsule - September 9th, 2004: "DUGWAY, Utah - Parachutes failed to open as NASA's Genesis space capsule plunged back to Earth Wednesday [09/08/04], causing it to take a tragic tumble from the heavens and bury itself in the desert sands of western Utah, perhaps seriously damaging precious cargo revealing the origins of the solar system." [By Guy Gugliotta, Washington Post]

2004 - Videotape / Ayman al-Zawahri? - September 9th, 2004: "In a videotape broadcast by Al-Jazeera, al-Zawahri says the United States will ultimately be defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan." [A.P., 10/30/04]

2004 - Israeli Terror Warning / Sinai Peninsula - September 9th, 2004: "... The Israeli government urged citizens not to visit Egypt, citing a 'concrete' terror threat to tourists in an area. The warning, issued Sept. 9 by the counterterrorism center in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office, identified the Sinai Peninsula as the target of a potential attack." [Alexander Zavis, A.P., 10/08/04]

2004 - Tribute / Ahmad Shah Massood, Afghanistan - September 9th, 2004: "About 20,000 Afghans paid tribute Wednesday [09/09/04] to slain anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massood, packing a stadium in Kabul ringed with security personnel to guard against attacks by still-active Islamic militia. At the ceremony, Afghan leaders eulogized 'The Lion of Panjshir,' fabled for his defiance of occupying Soviet forces in the 1980's, and later the Taliban. He was killed by suspected al-Qaida suicide attackers two days before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in the United States." [News Services]

2004 - Evacuation / Florida Keys - September 10th, 2004: "KEY LARGO, Fla. - Tourists and residents throughout the Florida Keys were sent packing Thursday [09/09/04] to avoid the wrath of Hurricane Ivan, even as millions of disaster-stricken residents struggled to pick up the pieces from Hurricane Frances and Charley." [By Hilary Roxe, A.P.]

2004 - Suspicious Letters / U.S. Governors - September 10th, 2004: "HELENA, Mont. - At least five Western and Midwestern governors [Montana, Idaho, Nebraska, Washington, and Utah] received envelopes in the mail Thursday [09/09/04] rigged to ignite when opened. [....] All were postmarked from the Ely State prison in Ely, Nev., officials said." [By Robert H. Reid, A.P.]

*Trivia: "The number of letters sent to governors and rigged to ignite as of 09/15/04 amounted to at least twenty." [E.M.]

2004 - Five Million Tires / U.S.-Mexican Border - September 10th, 2004: "CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico - With 5 million discarded tires littering the background, the United states and Mexico announced an accord Thursday [09/09/04] to clean up the mountains of rusty cars, smashed school buses and rotting rubber that are a blight on the border. Environmental officials from both countries said the first step of the massive cleanup would be to start burning the tires for fuel in cement factories." [A.P.]

2004 - Car Bomb / Australian Embassy, Indonesia - September 10th, 2004: "JAKARTA, Indonesia - Suspected Muslim militants detonated a car bomb Thursday [09/09/04] outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, killing nine people and wounding 173 in a bloody strike at a key U.S. ally in the war in Iraq." [By Chris Brummit, A.P.]

2004 - Religious Forum / John Danforth - September 13th, 2004: "John Danforth, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a former senator from Missouri, says he is actively trying to create a new forum for leaders of the world's faiths to involve themselves in resolving the conflicts in a world of terrorism." [News Services]

2004 - 2nd Bankruptcy / US Airways - September 13th, 2004: "ARLINGTON, Va. - US Airways Group Inc., the nation's seventh-largest airline, filed for bankruptcy protection Sunday [09/12/04] for the second time in two years." [A.P.]

2004 - "Grave Incitement" / Israel - September 13th, 2004: "Tens of thousands of Jewish settlers and their backers demonstrated in Jerusalem on Sunday [09/12/04] against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to evacuate all settlements from Gaza and four West Bank enclaves. [....] At a cabinet meeting Sunday morning, Sharon warned of statements of 'grave incitement' that were 'directing toward a civil war.' In 1995, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an ultra-nationalist Jew opposed to Rabin's policy favoring territorial concessions to the Palestinians in exchange for peace. Some Israeli commentators have compared the current atmosphere to the vitriolic period preceding Rabin's death." [News Services]

*Trivia: "More than 100,000 Israelis rallied Saturday [05/15/04] night in favor of a pullout from the Gaza Strip, a massive show of strength by the long-dormant opposition movement. [....] Demonstrators packed Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, where Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was killed in 1995 by a Jewish extremist opposed to peace efforts. Israeli media estimated the crowd at up to 150,000 people, one of the largest rallies by Israel's so-called peace camp since Rabin's death. [....] Members of Sharon's Likud Party recently vetoed the pullout plan, although polls have shown a solid majority of Israelis favor the proposal." [A.P., 05/16/04]

2004 - Why Jews Should Vote Republican - September 13th, 2004: "If it's an election year, it must be time for my quadrennial column urging Jews to vote Republican. Though I feel a bit like Sisyphus, I'll try not to be a sourpuss.
   "Here are some of the questions I usually get on this subject:

[....]

* Republicans support Israel only because they think it portends the Second Coming of Jesus.

   "I don't think this is true, but even if it were, what's the problem? Republicans support Israel for many reasons. They sympathize with Israel's predicament as a tiny outpost of enlightenment and liberty amid a raging sea of fanaticism and backwardness. They appreciate Israel's loyalty to the United States. Democrats, by contrast, tend to see Israel as the oppressor of the Palestinians - 'a people of color,' in the argot of the left - and therefore as unworthy of support. [....] Finally, Israel has had no better friend in the White House than President George W. Bush. It would be a well-deserved expression of appreciation if Jewish votes provided the margin of victory for this best of all friends to Israel." [Based on: Mona Charon, Copyright Creators Syndicate, 09/13/2004]

2004 - Need For Transparency / U.S. Govt. Contracts - September 13th, 2004: "Given the increased government buying fueled by the war on terrorism in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq, there is a need for transparency. Early unofficial estimates have federal contractors taking home a total approaching $400 billion in 2004, up from $250 billion in 2002. Last year alone, Halliburton saw its Pentagon contracts rise from $468 million to $3.92 billion, elevating it to seventh-largest defense contractor from 37th." [Scott Amey, General Counsel for Project on Government Oversight; Copyright: Project on Government Oversight]

2004 - Mad Cow / Japan - September 14th, 2004: "Japan has confirmed a new case of mad cow disease, the third discovery of the brain-wasting illness in the country this year, an official said Monday [09/13/04]." [News Services]

2004 - Status / HIV/AIDS - September 14th, 2004: "Young people are at grave risk for HIV. Fully one-half of the new HIV infections in the United States are occuring in people under age 25. One-third of the 37.8 million people living with HIV worldwide today are under 25, and people under 25 account for half of the new infections occuring in the world." [Thomas J. Coates, Special to the Baltimore Sun]

2004 - Fallout / WTC Cleanup - September 14th, 2004: "NEW YORK - Hundreds of people who worked on the World Trade Center cleanup have filed a class-action suit against the leaseholder of the towers and those who supervised the job, alleging they did little to protect workers from dust, asbestos, and other toxins in the air. [....] Andrew Schneider of the Post-Dispatch [St. Louis] reported in February 2002 that the U.S. Geological Survey team found that some of the dust at ground zero was as caustic as liquid drain cleaner and alerted all government agencies involved in the emergency response." [A.P.]

2004 - Depression-Causing Antidepressants? - September 14th, 2004: "BETHESDA, Md. - Top Food and Drug Administration officials said publicly for the first time Monday [09/13/04] that scientific trials of frequently prescribed antidepressants [Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Serzone, and Remeron] have powerfully demonstrated that children that took the medications faced an increased risk of suicide. [....] Concerns about a possible link between the drugs and suicide were raised in the media and by some psychiatrists in 1990." [Based on: Elizabeth Shogren, Los Angeles Times]

2004 - 1st Implantable Lens / Nearsightedness - September 14th, 2004: "The first implantable lens for nearsightedness was approved Monday [09/13/04] by the Food and Drug Administration [U.S.A.]." [A.P.]

2004 - Closed / Eiffel Tower - September 15th, 2004: "The Eiffel Tower was closed Wednesday [09/15/04] because of a strike by employees. It was reopened when the strike ended Thursday [09/16/04]."

2004 - Insurgent Attacks / Iraq - September 15th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents bombed a Baghdad shopping street full of police recruits and fired on a police van north of the capital Tuesday [09/14/04] in two attacks that killed at least 59 people." [Washington Post]

2004 - Status / U.S. Casualties, Iraq - September 15th, 2004: "Since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, more than 1,000 U.S. military personnel have been killed and more than 7,000 wounded or injured, the vast majority after President George W. Bush declared an end to major combat." [Ron Harris, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Penalty / PIMCO MMS Funds - September 15th, 2004: "The investment advisor, sub-advisor and principal underwriter and distributor for PIMCO MMS Funds are penalized $11.6 million for failing to disclose revenue sharing arrangements with brokerage firms and the conflicts created by them." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A 10, 12/21/04]

2004 - Tropical Storm Jeanne / Puerto Rico - September 15th, 2004: "YABUCOA, Puerto Rico - Tropical storm Jeanne slammed into Puerto Rico on Wednesday [09/15/04]. [....]" [A.P., 09/16/04]

2004 - Message on Global Warming / Tony Blair - September 15th, 2004: "British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned Tuesday [09/14/04] of the threat posed by climate change and urged support for the principles of the Kyoto accord on global warming. The treaty has been rejected by President George W. Bush, who says it is unfair to U.S. industry." [News Services]

2004 - Hurricane Ivan / Alabama - September 16th, 2004: "Hurricane Ivan made landfall at Gulf Shores, Alabama (damages Pensacola) on September 16th, 2004. Wind Speed: 130 mph; Storm Surge: 10-16 feet; Damage $3-$10 billion." [Based on: A.P., 09/27/04]

*Trivia: "Hurricane Ivan caused 52 deaths in the United States and damaged gulf-front condominiums in Florida and Alabama." [Based on: A.P., 09/28/04]

2004 - Decapitated Bodies / Iraq - September 16th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Villagers found three decapitated bodies north of Baghdad on Wednesday [09/15/04]. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Americans Sentenced / Afghanistan - September 16th, 2004: "Edward Caraballo [8 yrs.], Jonathan Idema [10 yrs.], and Brent Bennett [10 yrs.] were sentenced to prison Wednesday [09/15/04] in Afghanistan."

2004 - Hurricane Jeanne / Dominican Republic, Haiti, Florida - "Hurricane date(s): September 16th-26th, 2004. Number of recorded deaths: 1,500+." [Based on: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2005, p. 207]

2004 - Illegal? / War in Iraq? - September 17th, 2004: "LONDON - The United States and its coalition partners defended the war in Iraq on Thursday after U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan asserted that it was illegal because it didn't have Security Council support." [A.P.]

2004 - Western Hostages / Iraq - September 17th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - A team of kidnappers grabbed two Americans [Jack Hensley & Eugene Armstrong] and a Briton in a dawn raid on their home on an upscale Baghdad street Thursday [09/16/04]. The abduction underlined the increasing danger for foreingers  in the ebattled capital. [....] At least five other Westeners are currently being held hostage in Iraq, including an Iraqi-American man, two Italian  aid workers and two French reporters."  

2004 - TV Debut / 500 Nations - September 18th, 2004: "The Discovery Channel  aired 500 Nations, a chronological history of Native American peoples throughout North America. The show was hosted by Kevin Costner and was narrated by Native American peoples."

2004 - Volcanic Eruption / Mt. Asama, Japan - September 18th, 2004: "Volcanic ash sprinkled over downtown Tokyo on Friday [09/17/04] as one of Japan's most active volcanoes erupted for a fourth straight day, blowing gray smoke as high as a mile in the air. Mount Asama - about 90 miles west of Tokyo - erupted almost continuously throughout the day, setting off close to 600 tremors, according to the Meteorological Agency. Wind scattered ash across a wide area southeast of the 8,474-foot mountain. Small amounts were detected in the capital for the first time since an April 26, 1982 eruption. The mountain has rumbled for the past four days. In its biggest eruption in 21 years, on Sept. 1, it poured molten rock, ash and smoke down its slopes. No injuries have been reported. Mount Asama is near the popular mountain resort town of Karuizawa and about 30 miles southeast of Nagano, site of the 1998 Winter Olympics. Its last major eruption was in 1783." [News Services]

2004 - Earthquake / Aleutian Islands - September 20th, 2004: "A powerful earthquake [6.1] shook the Aleutian Islands on Sunday [09/19/04], but there were no reports of damage on the sparsely populated island chain." [News Services]

2004 - Trivia / Human Body Bacteria - September 20th, 2004: "From a cellular perspective, you might think the human body is mostly human. But you'd be wrong. It is actually mostly bacterial. The typical adult body harbors about 100 trillion bacterial cells from at least 500 species - 10 times the number of human cells. And that's not counting viruses and fungi." [Jane Brody, New York Times columnist]

2004 - Flooding / Northeast United States - September 20th, 2004: "WHEELING, W. Va. - Hundreds of people evacuated their homes Sunday [09/19/04] in parts of Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania as rivers and small streams were swollen beyond their banks by the torrential rain dumped by remnants of hurricane Ivan." [A.P.]

2004 - Senior Hamas Fatality / Gaza City - September 20th, 2004: "An Israeli helicopter fired a missle at a car in Gaza City late Sunday [09/19/04], residents said, killing a senior Hamas militant leader [Khaled Abu Shamiyeh]. [....] Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri said, 'Hamas will teach the enemy (Israel) a painful lesson.' " [News Services]

2004 - Intelligence Matters - September 21st, 2004: Florida Senator Bob Graham visited St. Louis [September 2004] to promote his new book, "Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia and the Failure of America's war on Terror."

2004 - Hamas Fatalities / Gaza City - September 21st, 2004: "GAZA CITY , Gaza Strip - Two Hamas militants were killed when their vehicle exploded in Gaza City on Monday [09/20/04] in an Israeli airstrike. Eight other people were injured, hospital officials said. It was the seconsd airstrike in as many days. The Islamic militant group threatened to retaliate with suicide bombings inside Israel." [A.P.]

2004 - Beheaded American / Iraq - September 21st, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - A video posted Monday [09/20/04] on a Web site showed the beheading of a man identified as American civil engineer Eugene Armstrong. [....] Earlier Monday [09/20/04], gunmen in Baghdad assassinated two clerics [Sheik Mohammed Jadoa al-Janabi & Sheik Hazem al-Zeidi] from a powerful Sunni Muslim group that has served as a mediator to release hostages. [....] On Monday [09/20/04], kidnappers released a group of 18 abducted Iraqi national Guard members after renegade Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for their release, an al-Sadr aide, Nail al-Kabi, told The Associated Press." [A.P.]

2004 - Car Bombing Statistics / Iraq - September 21st, 2004: "The number of car bombings so far in September [2004] in Iraq, 32, is the highest recorded in any single month during the conflict." [A.P.]

2004 - Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono / Indonesia - September 21st, 2004: "A U.S.-trained former general who led the fight against al-Qaida-linked extremists in Indonesia appeared headed for a landslide victory Monday [09/20/04] in a presidential runoff heralded as a key step for democracy in the world's most populous Muslim nation." [News Services]

2004 - Bankruptcy / Catholic Diocese, Tucson  - September 21st, 2004: "The Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson  [Ariz.] filed for bankruptcy Monday [09/20/04], becoming the second U.S. diocese to seek court protection because of the cost of clerical sex abuse cases." [News Services]

2004 - Mysterious Bites / Midwest United States - September 21st, 2004: "A parasite small enough to float on the breeze like dust is believed to be the cause of mysterious bites that started showing up last month in southeast Kansas, officials say. [....] Last week [September 2004], the centers for Disease Control and Prevention began an investigation after reports spread into southwest Missouri and southern Nebraska." [News Services]

*Trivia: "Dermatologists are buzzing about the increase in bug bites, though they aren't sure which of the several subjects - from microscopic mites to tiny flies to chiggers -could be doing most of the damage. [....] Doctors have noticed an overall increase in bug bites of all kinds this season, including those of more common chiggers. [....] Weather conditions have been ideal for no-see-ums and mites, Camilo [St. Louis University entomologist Gerardo Camilo] said. St. Louis experienced the eighth-coolest summer in 150 years of the weather data collection and the fourth-driest September. That means more mites and flies, and it also entices people outside where they are likely to be bitten, Camilo said." [Tina Hesman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 09/30/04]

2004 - Drinking Water Bacteria / American Airliners - September 21st, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The drinking water on more than one of every eight passenger airlines tested by the Environmental Protection Agency flunked the agency's standards for bacteria, the government said Monday." [Los Angeles Times]

2004 - Official Opening / National Museum of the American Indian - September 21st, 2004: "The newest addition to the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of the American Indian, is set to open today [09/21/04]."

2004 -  Beheaded American / Iraq - September 22nd, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - An al-Qaida-linked group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed Tuesday [09/21/04] to have beheaded the second [Jack Hensley] of two American hostages." [A.P.]

2004 - Nuclear Ultimatum / Iran - September 22nd, 2004: "The International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board of governors unanimously adopted a resolution Saturday [09/18/04] demanding that Iran freeze all uranium enrichment - including conversion - and warned that it faced being taken before the U.N. Security Council, which would impose sanctions." [A.P.]

2004 - Status / Global Warming, Antarctica - September 22nd, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Scientists monitoring glacier activity in Antarctica believe they have seen the beginning of one of the most feared consequences of global warming. Since 2002, some glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula have dramatically speeded up their march into the sea. [....] Several theorists and climate modelers predicted as early as the 1970s that global warming would cause ice shelves in the oceans around Antarctica to melt and release glaciers and that this would increase the amount of ice being pushed into the sea. [....] Nearly six cubic miles more ice than a normal flow would have produced has been dumped into the ocean every year, they [scientists] reported." [Cox News Service]

2004 - Raised / U.S. Short-Term Interest Rate - September 22nd, 2004: "WASHINGTON - In an effort to avert inflation, the Federal Reserve on Tuesday [09/21/04] nudged up its benchmark short-term interest rate by a quarter-point to 1.75 percent, tightening credit for the third time since June [2004] despite an uneven economy." [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

*Trivia: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. [....] Wherefore of all modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural." [Aristotle, Politics, Book One, part X]

*Trivia: "All usurers are thieves and belong in the gallows." [Martin Luther]

*Trivia: "Benjamin Franklin wrote of the British colonies in North America in the 1750s: 'Nowhere on Earth does one find a happier and more well-being people.' He explained that this was due to that 'we in the colonies make our own currency,' called 'colonial scrip.' He further explained: 'By issuing our own currency we can control its buying power, and we are not obliged to pay interest to anyone.'
   "In these British colonies in New England, there was a wealth contrasting sharply to the poverty and misery in England. There was enough money, and it was definitely interest free.
   "When the Masonic bankers in England heard Franklin's speech to the British Parliament, they made sure that Parliament forbade the colonies to use their own financial system and instead demanded they use interest money in gold and silver. Only an insufficient amount of this money was to be available. The money supply was reduced in half, and the colonies were forced to borrow money from the Bank of England. The result was steep interest and price increases. Within a year the streets were full of unemployed people." [Juri Lina, The Barnes Review, September/October 2004, pp. 9-10]

2004 - Civil Racketeering Trial / U.S. Tobacco Companies - September 22nd, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Federal prosecutors on Tuesday [09/21/04] alleged that the nation's tobacco companies colluded for half a century to addict Americans to nicotine in cigarettes that the industry knew caused cancer. [....] The government is seeking a record $280 billion in 'ill-gotten gains' that the government maintains the tobacco industry earned in a fraud that has lasted more than 50 years. [....] In the last decade, the tobacco industry agreed to pay $246 billion to the states to settle a lawsuit over the cost of smoking-related health care. The settlement included limits on advertising, marketing and lobbying." [Bob Dart, Cox News Service]

2004 - Iraqi Women? / U.S. Custody - September 23rd, 2004: "The U.S. military says it has two Iraqi women in custody, Taha [Rihab Rashid Taha, 'Dr. Germ'] and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, a biotech researcher known as 'Mrs. Anthrax.' " [Kim Housego, A.P.]

2004 - Suicide Bomber / Jerusalem - September 23rd, 2004: "JERUSALEM - A Palestinian teenager blew herself up at a busy Jerusalem bus station Wednesday [09/22/04], killing two Israeli policemen who stopped her for a security check and wounding 16 bystanders in an attack that evaded Israeli's clampdown on the West bank for the Jewish holidays. [....] The Al Aqsa brigades identified the bomber as Zainab Abu Salem, 19, from the Aksar refugee camp near the West Bank city of Nablus. [....] It was the first suicide bombing in Jerusalem since Feb. 22, when eight passengers were killed in a bus attack." [By, Peter Enav, A.P.]

2004 - Tax Evasion / 82 U.S. Firms - September 23rd, 2004: "General Electric Co., Pepco Holdings Inc. and Citigroup Inc. are among 82 profitable U.S. companies that avoided paying federal taxes for at least one year between 2001 and 2003, according to a study by two research groups. Nine paid no taxes in all three years. Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which are funded by labor unions, said the companies used tax credits, dedutions and other legal accounting techniques to avoid taxes. Some companies also obtained refunds for taxes paid in previous years that amounted to $12.6 billion." [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg news and Dow Jones News reports.]

2004 - Settlement / Computer Associates International - September 23rd, 2004: "NEW YORK - The former head of software maker Computer Associates International [Sanjay Kumar] was charged Wednesday [09/23/04] with securities fraud in a multibillion-dollar accounting scandal, and the company agreed to pay $225 million to stave off criminal charges." [A.P.]

2004 - Pledge Protection Act - September 24th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The House has approved a bill by Rep. Todd Akin, R. Mo., to strip federal courts of the right to hear cases involving the Pledge of Allegiance. The vote Thursday was 247 to 173." [By Philip Dine, Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau]

2004 - Favored TV Censorship / U.S.A. - September 24th, 2004: "Sixty-three percent of parents surveyed by the Kaiser Family Foundation said they favor new regulations to limit the amount of sex and violence in TV shows during the early evening hours, when children are more likely to be watching." [News Services]

2004 - Arab Infiltration / Gaza Strip - September 24th, 2004: "GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Arab gunmen made their way into a heavily fortified Israeli army post in the Gaza Strip under  cover of morning fog Thursday [09/23/04] and started shooting, killing three Israeli soldiers in a 45-minute firefight." [By Ibrahim Barzak, A.P.]

2004 - Tropical Storm Ivan / Texas - September 24th, 2004: "HIGH ISLAND, Texas - Tropical Storm Ivan, back again, swirled toward the Texas coast Thursday [09/23/04] with a potential for up to 10 inches of rain over the weekend." [A.P.]

2004 - Status / Nuclear Test Ban Treaty - September 24th, 2004: "UNITED NATIONS - Amid heightened concerns about nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran, more than forty countries joined forces Thursday [09/23/04] to press the United States and other nations to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test ban Treaty so it can finally take effect. [....] The United States has observed a nuclear testing freeze since 1992 but has not ratified the treaty, saying it neads to have periodic tests to maintain its arsenal and that the pact would do nothing to curb the nuclear ambitions of rogue nations. The treaty, which would outlaw all nuclear weapons test explosions, has been signed by 172 countries and ratified by 115. It was drafted at an international conference in Geneva and adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1996. [....] The treaty needs to be ratified by 44 specific countries, including the United States and China, and has only gained 32 of those to date." [A.P.]

2004 - Kidnappers / Iraq - September 25th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Kidnappers seized six Egyptians and four Iraqis working for the country's mobile phone company, authorities said Friday [09/24/04]." [A.P.]

2004 - Hurricane Jeanne / Florida - September 25th, 2004: "Hurricane Jeanne made landfall at Hutchinson Island, near Stuart, Florida on September 25th, 2004. Wind Speed: 120mph; Storm Surge: 4-6 feet; Damage: not yet known." [Based on: A.P., 09/27/04]

*Trivia: "Florida is the first state to get pounded by four hurricanes in one season since Texas in 1886. Two months remain in the year's hurricane season. [....] Jeanne also inflicted more damage on two industries hugely important to Florida: citrus and tourism. [....] About 2.3 million people in Florida had no electricity because of Jeanne. Nearly 47,000 people in the Panhandle were still without power in the area hit by Ivan." [A.P., 09/28/04]

2004 - Israeli / Palestinian Fighting, Gaza Strip - September 25th, 2004: "GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - An Israeli missle strike killed one Palestinian and wounded five early today, hours after militants killed an Israeli-American woman in the first deadly shelling of a Jewish settlement in Gaza in four years of fighting." [A.P.]

2004 - Died / White Buffalo - September 26th, 2004: "A buffalo [Miracle] considered sacred by some American Indians because it was born white has died of natural causes at the age of 10, its owner said. The animal, named Miracle, drew as many as 2,000 visitors a day in the year after its birth in 1994. Miracle died Sept. 19 and was buried in an unmarked grave, its owner, Dave Heider, told WCLOAM of Janesville on Friday [09/24/04]."

2004 - Status / Iraq Casualties - September 26th, 2004: "According to the ministry [Iraqi Health Ministry], the interim Iraqi government recorded 3,487 Iraqi deaths in 15 of the country's 18 provinces from April 5 [2004] - when the ministry began compiling the data - until Sept. 19 [2004]. Of those, 328 were women and children. Another 13,726 Iraqis were injured, the ministry said. [....] Many Iraqi deaths, especially of insurgents, are never reported, so the actual number of Iraqis killed in fighting could be significantly higher. During the same period, 432 American soldiers were killed. [....] Nearly a third of the Iraqi dead - 1,122 - were killed in August [2004], according to the statistics. May [2004] was the second deadliest month, with 749 Iraqis killed. Most of those killed lived in Baghdad; the ministry found that 1,068 had died in the capital." [Based on: Nancy A. Youssef, Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2004 - Trivia / Hurricane Deaths - September 26th, 2004: "Deaths during the 2004 hurricane season - Hurricane Charley: 36 [United States: 31; Cuba: 4; Jamaica: 1]; Hurricane Frances: 35 [United States: 33; Bahamas: 2]; Tropical Storm Gaston: 8 [all in Virginia]; Hurricane Ivan: 115 [United States: 43; Barbados: 1; Cayman Islands: 2; Dominican Republic: 4; Grenada: 39; Haiti: 3; Jamaica: 17; Trinidad and Tobago: 1; Venezuela: 5]; Hurricane Jeanne: 1,531 [Haiti: 1,500; Dominican Republic: 24; Puerto Rico: 7]. Total: 1,722 to date [09/26/04]." [Based on: A.P.]

*Trivia: "Together, Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne have generated the largest relief effort ever undertaken by the Federal Emergency management Agency [FEMA]." [A.P., 09/28/04]

*Trivia: "Combined, Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne have damaged more than one of every five Florida homes." [Jill Barton, A.P.]

2004 - Status / Reconstruction, Iraq - September 26th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The fact that less than 7 percent of the $18 billion approved by Congress last year to rebuild Iraq has been spent exemplifies the postwar problems in that struggling country. [....] Figures supplied by the National Security Council late last week show just $1.2 billion of the reconstruction funding has been spent. And the administration wants to transfer three times that much - $3.5 billion - from reconstruction to security." [Based on: Philip Dine, Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau]

2004 - White Supremacists Rally / Valley Forge, Pa. - September 26th, 2004: "About 100 white supremacists rallied at Valley Forge National Historic Park on Saturday [09/25/04] as nearly twice as many opponents heckled them from a nearby hillside. [....] The Minnesota-based National Socialist Movement, which sponsored the rally, claims Washington [George Washington] held separatist and anti-Semitic views - a position disputed by most historians." [News Services]

2004 - Senior Hamas Fatality / Syria - September 27th, 2004: "DAMASCUS, Syria - In a hit claimed by Israeli security officials, a senior Hamas operative [Izz Eldine Subhi Sheik Khalil] was killed in a car bombing Sunday [09/26/04] outside his house. It was the first such killing of a leader of the Islamic militant group in Syria." [Based on: Albert Aji, A.P.]

2004 - Volcanic Unrest / Mount St. Helens - September 27th, 2004: "A strengthening series of earthquakes at Mount St. Helens prompted seismologists Sunday [09/26/04] to warn that the once-devestating  volcano may see a small explosion soon. The U.S. Geological Survey issued a notice of volcanic unrest in response to the swarm of hundreds of earthquakes that began Thursday [09/23/04]. [....] On Saturday and Sunday [09/25-09/26/2004], there were more than 10 temblors of magnitude 2.0 to 2.8, the most in a 24-hour period since the last dome-building eruption in October 1986, Scott [Willie scott] said. In 1980, the mountain erupted, killing 57 people, devestating hundreds of square miles  around the peak and spewing ash over much of the Northwest [United States]." [News Services]

*Trivia: "Mount St. Helens began rumbling more intensely Wednesday [09/29/04], prompting scientists to warn that a small or moderate eruption could happen in the next few days. Earthquakes ranging from magnitude 2 to 2.8 were coming about four times a minute, potentially weakening the lava dome in the crater of the 8,364-foot mountain, the U.S. geological Survey said." [News Services]

2004 - "Origins" - September 28th, 2004: "A four-part 'NOVA' presentation on PBS explores the origins of life in the universe tonight [09/28/04] and Wednesday [09/29/04]."

2004 - Stolen Diamonds / Paris, France - September 28th, 2004: "Thieves stole two diamonds worth more than $14.2 million from a display case at a Paris antique show near the Louvre on Monday [09/27/04], police said."

2004 - Cocaine Seizure / South America's Pacific Coast - September 28th, 2004: "The Coast Guard and Navy seized 30,000 pounds of cocaine from a boat off South America's Pacific coast this month [September 2004] in what authorities called the largest-ever seizure of the drug at sea." [News Services]

2004 - Price / Crude Oil - September 29th, 2004: "The price of crude oil rose above $50 a barrel for the first time on Tuesday [09/28/04]." [Brad Foss, A.P.]

2004 - Earthquake / California - September 29th, 2004: "PARKFIELD, Calif. - A strong earthquake shook California on Tuesday [09/28/04] from Los Angeles to San Francisco, cracking pipes, breaking bottles of wine and knocking pictures from walls. There were no immediate reports of injuries from the 6.0-magnitude quake and its more than 160 aftershocks." [A.P.]

2004 - Hostages Released / Iraq - September 29th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Kidnappers released two Italian aid workers and five other hostages Tuesday [09/28/04], raising hopes for at least 18 foreigners still in captivity." [Alexandra Zavis, A.P.]

2004 - School Shooting / Argentina - September 29th, 2004: "BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - A high school student opened fire in a classroom in southern Argentina on Tuesday [09/28/04], killing four classmates and wounding five." [A.P.]

2004 - Status / British Casualties, Iraq - September 29th, 2004: "Two British soldiers perished in an ambush Tuesday [09/28/04] near the southern city of Basra, bringing the total killed in Iraq to 67." [A.P.]

2004 - Uprising Anniversary / Palestine - September 29th, 2004: "RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinians marked the fourth anniversary of their uprising Tuesday [09/28/04] amid signs that the militant group Hamas is preparing a political challenge to Yasser Arafat despite a series of Israeli military blows at the movement's leadership. [....] The uprising erupted on Sept. 28, 2000, after Ariel Sharon, then Israel's opposition leader, visited a sensitive Jerusalem hilltop revered by both Jews and Muslims. Palestinian riots broke out, and five months later Sharon defeated Ehud Barak in a special election for prime minister. The fighting has taken a heavy toll on both sides, killing more than 3,000 Palestinians and nearly 1,000 Israelis." [A.P.]

2004 - Iraq War Intelligence / Tony Blair - September 29th, 2004: "BRIGHTON, England - Prime Minister Tony Blair acknowledged to his Labor Party Tuesday [09/28/04] that the intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq had been wrong. [....] 'The evidence about Saddam having actual biological and chemical weapons, as opposed to the capability to develop them, has turned out to be wrong,' Blair said." [A.P.]

2004 - Status / Carbon Dioxide Levels, Antarctica - September 29th, 2004: "TOKYO - Carbon dioxide levels [average 367.9 parts per million] over Antarctica have risen 2.6 percent [9.4 ppm] from six years ago [1998], Japanese researchers said Tuesday [09/28/04]." [A.P.]

2004 - Earthquake / California - September 30th, 2004: "A moderate earthquake jolted an isolated area of central California on Wednesday [09/29/04], triggering a rock slide that closed part of a highway. The quake was unrelated to a temblor that rattled a nearby area a day earlier. The quake, with a magnitude of 5.0, could be felt as far south as Los Angeles - 80 miles away - but it apparently caused little damage outside of the rock slide. [....] There have been over 500 aftershocks from the earlier quake [09/28/04]. Two of the biggest, 5.0 and 4.5, shook the region Wednesday [09/29/04] morning."

2004 - Trivia / Kidnappings, Iraq - September 30th, 2004: "More than 140 foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq and at least 26 have been killed." [Alexandra Zavis, A.P., 09/30/04]

2004 - Possible Pandemic? / Avian Flu - September 30th, 2004: "BANGKOK, Thailand - A day after Thai and international officials confirmed the probable human-to-human transmission of a virulent strain of avian influenza in this country, public health systems around the globe were scrambling to prepare for a possible pandemic. [....] The strain, A(H5N1), has killed 30 of the 42 Southeast Asians it infected in the last year as well as millions of chickens and wild birds across wide areas of Asia. It has also infected some pigs, household cats and even zoo tigers. [....] The so-called Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 to 1919 - believed, like the current strain, to have been a mutant virus that jumped from animals - killed 20 million to 100 million people. By comparison, AIDS, which is not airborne, has killed an estimated 22 million since 1981, according to the United Nations. [....] Human trials of the new vaccine ordered by the U.S. government are not expected to begin until the end of this year, at the earliest." [Based on article by Keith Bradsher & Lawrence K. Altman, New York Times]

2004 - Riverboat Development / Missouri - September 2004: "The Missouri Gaming Commission picks Pinnacle Entertainment to develop casinos on Laclede's Landing in downtown St. Louis and at Lemay in south St. Louis County. Both would float in manmade pools of water. The downtown casino would be near the top of the Landing, across from the Edward Jones Dome, as far from the Missippi River as legally permitted." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. C1, 12/31/04]

2004 - Struck Down / Patriot Act Provision - September 30th, 2004: "U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero struck down a provision of the Patriot Act that authorizes the FBI to force Internet service providers and telephone companies to turn over certain customer records. The companies are then barred from ever disclosing the search took place. [....] He noted that the Supreme Court recently said a 'state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens.' 'Sometimes a right, once extinguished, may be gone for good,' Marrero wrote. [....] The government was authorized to pursue communications records as part of a 1986 law. Its powers were enhanced by the patriot Act in 2001." [A.P.]

2004 - Internet Search Engine / Clusty.com - September 30th, 2004: "The little-known Pittsburgh company [Vivisimo Inc.] is taking aim at Google and other industry leaders with a new search engine called Clusty.com, scheduled to make its debut today after four years of fine tuning." [Compiled from Associated press, Bloomberg News, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports] [Link: 1]

2004 - Stray Hydrogen Bomb / Georgia Coast? - September 30th, 2004: "SAVANNAH, Ga. - The U.S. government is sending a team of 20 scientists to check out a report of unusual radiation readings that could be coming from a hydrogen bomb that was lost off the Georgia coast in 1958. [....] The bomb, believed buried in 10 to 15 feet of mud at the bottom of the sea, became one of 11 'Broken Arrows' - nuclear bombs lost during air or sea accidents, according to U.S. military records. The Air Force has long insisted that there is no risk of a nuclear blast from the bomb off Georgia because the plutonium capsule needed to trigger an explosion was removed before the ill-fated flight. Duke [Derek Duke] who lives in Statesboro, Ga., has disputed that point over the years. He sites a Pentagon memo from 1996 that referred to the bomb as a 'complete weapon.' The Air Force has said that memo was wrong. Duke approached Air Force officials more than three years ago, but they decided at the time not to renew the search for the bomb. The Air Force argued that it was better left undisturbed, because it contains uranium and 400 pounds of conventional explosives." [Russ Bynum, A.P.]

2004 - Einstein's Grand Quest for a Unified Theory - September 30th, 2004: [Based on: Title for Discover Magazine article (Einstein's Grand Quest for a Unified Theory / He failed, of course, but he didn't exactly waste his time), by Tim Folger - From the September 2004 issue; published online September 30, 2004]

*Link: http://discovermagazine.com/2004/sep/einsteins-grand-quest/?searchterm=barbour

2004 - 1st U.S. Presidential Debate / Miami, Florida - September 30th, 2004: "President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry spent most of the debate this evening answering questions about the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq. Both agreed the single most greatest threat to the world today is nuclear proliferation. President Bush qualified the answer by saying, nuclear weapons 'in the hands of a terrorist.' " [E.M.]

2004 - Deployment / Ballistic Missle Defense System [BMDS], U.S.A. - September 30th, 2004: "One hundred miles south of Fairbanks in central Alaska and in the waters of the sea of Japan, America this week will begin deploying the first components of what will eventually be the most expensive weapons system ever devised: a national missile defense shield. [....] What used to be called 'Star Wars' is now called BMDS, or Ballistic Missle Defense System. The two phases being deployed this week are the GMD - Ground-based Missle Defense - and the Aegis Missle Defense System. The Boeing Co's Integrated Defense Systems unit in St. Louis is the prime contractor for the GMD element, though little of the work is done here." [Based on: St Louis Post-Dispatch, p. C10, 09/30/04] 

October 2004

2004 -  Car Bombs / Baghdad - October 1st, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - The last day [September 30th, 2004] of the worst month of car bombings in Iraq proved the most horrifying. Children gathering for candy from American soldiers at the opening of a sewage treatment plant bore the brunt Thursday [09/30/04] of a series of car bombings that killed at least 35 youngsters and 14 adults. About 200 people - many of them children - were wounded in the attacks." [Colin McMahon, Chicago Tribune]

*Trivia: "42 dead, 35 of them children, in a Sept. 30 blast as U.S. troops handed out sweets in western Baghdad." [A.P., 01/13/05]

2004 - Israeli Raid / Gaza Strip - October 1st, 2004: "JEBALIYA REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip - Israeli troops struck deep inside the largest Palestinian refugee camp  Thursday [09/30/04], battling masked gunmen in an unprecedented campaign to stop deadly rocket fire on Israeli towns. Twenty-eight Palestinians were killed and 131 wounded, the bloodiest single-day toll in fighting in 30 months." [Ibrahim Barzak, A.P.]

2004 - Drug Removal / Vioxx - October 1st, 2004: "Merck & Co. voluntarily removed Vioxx on Thursday [09/30/04] from the worldwide market after a three-year trial showed patients who took the drug for more than 18 months had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke than those taking a placebo." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Price-Fixing / Bayer Corp. - October 1st, 2004: "Bayer Corp., the U.S. subsidiary of Bayer AG of Germany, will plead guilty and pay a $33 million criminal fine for its involvement in a conspiracy to fix chemical prices, the Justice Department said. Court papers filed Thursday [09/30/04] at U.S. District Court in San Francisco show that Bayer admitted conspiring from 1998 to 2002 with unnamed entities and individuals to suppress market competition by fixing the prices of polyester polyols, a chemical used to strengthen numerous consumer products, including grocery bags. Over the summer [2004], Bayer AG pleaded guilty and said it would pay a $66 million fine in a case involving a rubber chemical price-fixing conspiracy." [- From wire reports, 09/30/04]

2004 - Tropical Storm Meari / Japan - October 1st, 2004: "The death toll from Tropical Storm Meari rose to 19 Thursday [09/30/04] after searchers found more victims . [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Status / Kyoto Protocol, Russia - October 1st, 2004: "MOSCOW - Russia's Cabinet approved the Kyoto Protocol on Thursday [09/30/04] in a crucial step toward putting the long-delayed climate change treaty into effect, although without participation by the United States. But final approval by the Russian Parliament, which would push the treaty past its required ratification threshold, was not guaranteed." [A.P.]

2004 - Audiotape / Ayman al-Zawahri? - October 1st, 2004: "An audiotape broadcast by Al-Jazeera and attributed to al-Zawahri calls on young Muslims to strike the United States and its allies." [A.P., 10/30/04]

2004 - Whole Grain Cereals / General Mills - October 1st, 2004: "MINNEAPOLIS - The Trix rabbit and Lucky Charms leprechaun are going on a whole-grain diet. General Mills said Thursday [09/30/04] that it will convert its breakfast cereals to whole grain." [Joshua Freed, A.P.]

2004 - Blocked / Same Sex Marriage Ban, U.S. House - October 1st, 2004: "WASHINGTON - A house vote Thursday [09/30/04] blocked further action this year on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages." [Cox News Service]

2004 - Volcanic Activity / Ambrym Volvano, Vanuatu Islands - October 2004: "Since at least October 2004, the Ambrym Volcano has been sending sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. By March 2005, it was the largest point source of sulfur dioxide on the planet. [....]" [Link: 1]

2004 - Eruption / Mount St. Helens - October 2nd, 2004: "Mount St. Helens Friday [10/01/04] sent a cloud of steam and ash up to 10,000 feet into the sky. The event was the first in 18 years."

2004 - Israeli Offensive / Gaza Strip - October 2nd, 2004: "JEBALIYA REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip - Israeli aircraft struck more targets in the Gaza Strip on Friday [10/01/04] as the army massed an armored force in apparent preparation for a major operation against militants in Jebaliya, the Palestinians' biggest refugee camp. About 200 tanks, armored personnel carriers and armored bulldozers assembled along Israel's border to the north and to the east of Gaza." [Ibrahim Barzak, A.P.]

2004 - Suicide Bomber / Pakistani Mosque - October 2nd, 2004: "SIALKOT, Pakistan - A suicide attacker carrying a bomb in a briefcase struck a Shiite mosque crammed with hundreds of worshippers in eastern Pakistan, killing at least 25 people and wounding more than 50 during Friday [10/01/04] prayers."

2004 - Failure to Report / U.S. Army Reservists - October 2nd, 2004: "WASHINGTON - About one third of the former soldiers involuntarily called to active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan have failed to report on time, the Army acknowledged Friday [10/01/04], but it said no one has yet been classified as AWOL."

2004 - U.S. & Iraqi Offensive / Samarra, Iraq - October 2nd, 2004: "Backed by warplanes and tanks, about 5,000 troops - 3,000 Americans and 2,000 Iraqi, swept in to seize the city hall, the main mosque and other important sites in Samarra." [Zidan Khalaf, A.P.]

2004 - Bomb Attacks / India - October 3rd, 2004: "GAUHATI, India - Suspected separatists hit nine targets - a railroad station and eight markets - with bombs and gunfire across two states in northeastern India on Saturday [10/02/04], killing more than 40 people." [Wasbir Hussain, A.P.]

2004 - Status / Israeli Offensive, Gaza Strip - October 3rd, 2004: "About 2,000 soldiers have taken control of a 5-mile-deep chunk of northern gaza to halt the firing of homemade rockets into Israel." [Ibrahim Barzak, A.P.]

2004 - Earthquakes / California - October 3rd, 2004: "Two earthquakes [the largest, a 4.0] struck early Saturday [10/02/04] in the same area that was rocked by a powerful temblor earlier in the week." [News Services

2004 - "Code red" / Mount St. Helens - October 3rd, 2004: "CASTLE ROCK, Washington - Scientists watching Mount St. Helens, which erupted with a minor explosion for the first time in 18 years Friday [10/01/04], said Saturday [10/02/04] that they were expecting a more powerful and possibly life-threatening explosion within a day or so. The government scientists had said they anticipated more explosions from beneath the mountain's lava dome after a series of earthquakes set off a plume of steam and ash on Friday, rising 10,000 feet into the air but posing no threat to health or safety. But Saturday, after the earthquakes intensified, a small steam emission and a continuous 50-minute tremor suddenly created a more serious situation at Mount St. Helens, the most active volcano in the lower 48 states. The government raised the advisory for volcanic activity to Level 3, the equivalent of a 'code red' and the highest stage in a system used to indicate the likelihood and severity of volcanic eruptions." [Based on: Sarah Kershaw, New York Times]

2004 - Tropical Storm Lisa / Atlantic Ocean - October 3rd, 2004: "Lisa, which also became a hurricane briefly Friday [10/01/04], was the 12th named storm and eighth hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs June 1 to Nov. 30." [News Services]

2004 - U.S. Precision Strikes / Fallujah, Iraq - October 3rd, 2004: "The U.S. command says it has inflicted significant damage on al-Zarqawi's terrorist network during weeks of 'precision strikes' against suspected terrorist hideouts in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad." [Zidan Khalaf, A,P.]

2004 - Quantum Encryption - October 4th, 2004: "A new computer network is a nightmare for hackers but a dream for bankers and spies. It's so secure that even the simplest attempt to evesdrop will interrupt the flow of data and alert administrators to the snooping. [....] Quantum cryptography depends on a defining discovery in physics: Subatomic particles can exist in multiple states at once until something interacts with them. So, even observing photons used in quantum encryption changes them, ruining the codes. The project, funded with about $4 million from the U.S. military, isn't alone in developing quantum cryptography. MagiQ Technologies of New York has begun selling units for commercial use, and a group in Europe has made the first quantum-encrypted bank transaction." [Theo Emery, A.P.]

2004 - Muslim Minority / Europe - October 4th, 2004: "The minimum birthrate necessary to keep a society going is 2.1 children per woman. Europe's birthrate is 1.5 and falling. The immigrants who are taking the place of Germans, Italians, French and others are largely Muslim. It is estimated that in England, Muslim worshippers at mosques already outnumber congregrants of the Church of England every weekend.
   "About 5 percent of the European Union is Muslim, and historian Bernard Lewis told a German newspaper that Europe would be majority Islamic by the end of the century 'at the latest.' As Timothy Savage has noted in The Washington Quarterly, the United nation's estimates that Europe's native population will decline by 100 million or more in the next 50 years. The Muslim minority in Europe is quite fecund, however, and will double in size by 2015." [Mona Charen, Creators Syndicate]

2004 - Car Bombs / Iraq - October 5th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents detonated a pair of car bombs Monday [10/04/04] in Baghdad. One was near the symbol of U.S. authority in Iraq - the Green Zone, home to the U.S. Embassy and key government offices - and the other near hotels occupied by hundreds of foreigners. Other explosions brought the day's bombing toll to at least 24 dead and more than 100 wounded." [Bassem Mroue, A.P.]

2004 - Ansari X Prize / Burt Rutan - October 5th, 2004: "MOJAVE, Calif. - Aviation legend Burt Rutan won the $10 million Ansari X Prize on Monday [10/04/04] with another flight to space for his SpaceShipOne, capping an eight-year quest in the St. Louis-based competition." [Eli Kintisch, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Died / Rodney Dangerfield - October 5th, 2004: "Died this date [10/05/04] in history: actor/comedian, Rodney Dangerfield [Jacob Cohen]. He was 82."

2004 - Maj. Gen. Alu Alkhanov / Chechnya - October 5th, 2004: "Russian and Chechen officials have taken extraordinary security measures to safeguard the inauguration for Maj. Gen. Alu Alkhanov, a top regional police official who was elected Aug. 29 in a vote widely criticized as being rigged." [News Services]

2004 - Vice Presidential Debate / United States - October 5th, 2004: "Vice President Dick Cheney and Sen. John Edwards debated in Cleveland this evening [10/05/04]."

2004 - ESSI Contract / Iraq - October 6th, 2004: "Defense contractor Engineered Support Systems Inc. won a contract worth up to $26.2 million to provide radio equiptment to Afghan border police, the Cool Valley [Mo.]- based company said Tuesday [10/05/04]." [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Post-Dispatch reports]

2004 - Guilty Plea / Timothy Despain - October 6th, 2004: "Former Enron Corp. Assistant Treasurer Timothy Despain pleaded guilty Tuesday [10/05/04] to charges he conspired to commit securities fraud. He also agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors." [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Post-Dispatch reports]

2004 - Short Supply? / Flu Vaccine, U.S.A. - October 6th, 2004: "Flu vaccine will be in short supply this season, and public health officials say only people at high risk of complications for the illness should get the vaccine." [Based on: article by Tina Hesman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

*Trivia: "Two months after [ Dec. 2004] the government recommended that scarce flu shots be reserved for people most at risk, health officials are now worried that tens of thousands of doses could go to waste, and they are considering easing restrictions. [....]" [Based on: A.P. article, 12/17/04]

2004 - Plutonium Shipment / U.S.A. to France - October 6th, 2004: "A trans-Atlantic shipment of plutonium from the United States appeared of France's western coast Tuesaday [10/05/04], activists said. [....] The environmental group Greenpeace was leading a string of protests against the pending arrival of 308 pounds of military-grade plutonium taken from U.S. nuclear warheads. The highly radioactive substance is being brought to France for conversion into a commercial fuel." [News Services]

2004 - Trivia / WMD, Iraq - October 7th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Contradicting the main argument for a war that has cost more than 1,000 American lives, the top U.S. arms inspector [Charles Duelfer] said Wednesday [10/06/04] he found no evidence that Iraq produced weapons of mass destruction after 1991. [....] Contrary to prewar statements by President George W. Bush, Saddam did not have chemical and biological stockpiles when the war began and his nuclear capabilities were deteriorating, not advancing, Duelfar said." [Based on: Ken Guggenheim, A.P.]

2004 - Held in Contempt / Judith Miller - October 7th, 2004: "Miller held in contempt." [Based on: Illustrated Timeline, p. A13, S.L.P.D., 10/30/05]

2004 - Questioned Safety / Celebrex - October 7th, 2004: "BOSTON - The safety of Celebrex and other pain relievers was questioned Wednesday [10/06/04] ... they feared the drug might raise the same risk of heart problems as those blamed on the arthritis medicine Vioxx. Celebrex, which was developed in St. Louis, was the first of a class of pain relievers, called Cox-2 inhibitors." [A.P.]

*Trivia: "New research [University of Pennsylvania] suggests that top-selling pain reliever Celebrex does not carry the same heart attack risk as Vioxx, a similar drug pulled from the market in September [2004] because of safety concerns. [....]" [A.P., 12/07/04]

2004 - Drug for Liver Disease  / Lamivudine [3TC] - October 7th, 2004: Headline, p. A9: "Study: AIDS drug works on liver disease." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Trivia / Child Mortality - October 8th, 2004: "UNITED NATIONS - In Sierra Leone, one in four children dies before age 5. In Iraq, one in 10 does not make it to the fifth birthday. Across the globe, poor care for newborns, malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and measles snuff out lives of the very young, according to a U.N. report being released today. [....] One in 12 children worldwide does not live to age 5, with half of all those deaths occuring in sub-Saharan Africa." [A.P.]

2004 - Explosions / Cairo, Egypt - October 8th, 2004: "CAIRO, Egypt - An explosion Thursday night [10/07/04] tore through a resort hotel where Israelis were vacationing at the end of a Jewish holiday, killing at least 35 people and wounding more that 160, officials said. Israeli security officials said a car bomb caused the explosion, which was followed by two smaller blasts at other tourist sites in the Sinai. [....] The huge blast collapsed a 10-story wing of the luxury Hilton hotel built by Israel when it controlled Taba from 1967 to 1989." [Sarah El Deeb, A.P., apparent typo, by St. Louis Post-Dispatch, underlined by [E.M.]

2004 - Rocket Attack / Baghdad - October 8th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Rockets struck a Baghdad  hotel housing foreign contractors and journalists late Thursday [10/07/04] . [....] A Fallujah doctor said the attack killed 10 people, including a groom on his wedding night, and wounded the bride and 16 others." [Alexandra Zavis, A.P.]

2004 - Death Toll Trivia / Nigeria - October 8th, 2004: "Violence between Christians and Muslims over the last three years has left more than 53,000 people dead in a central Nigerian state, officials said Thursday [10/07/04]. It was the first official report of a death count from sectarian violence in the region. A government-appointed comittee said 53,787 people died in the state of Plateau between September 2001 and May, when the government declared a state of emergency there after a massacre left hundreds dead in the town of Yelwa. The tallies were based on figures gathered from people who said they had lost relatives. Among the dead were 17,459 children, 17,397 women and 18,931 men, according to the report released Thursday [10/07/04] [News Services]

2004 - Health Warning / Remicade - October 8th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Patients taking Remicade for rheumatoid arthritis suffered a type of cancer, lymphoma, at three times the rate of the general public, manufacturer Centocor warned doctors Thursday [10/07/04]." [A.P.]

2004 - Health Warning / Steroid Use - October 8th, 2004: "LONDON - Doctors have been giving steroids to head trauma patients for more than 30 years, but the first major study of the practice has concluded that they are useless and may even have killed thousands of people. Experts said the report, published this week in the medical journal The Lancet, is a complete and alarming suprise for all.' " [A.P.]

2004 - Rocket Attack / Afghan Capital - October 8th, 2004: "KABUL, Afghanistan - A rocket slammed into the Afghan capital near the U.S. Embassy and other diplomatic missions early today [10/08/04], a day before landmark elections. All U.S. Embassy staff members were ordered to briefly take cover in an underground bunker. [....] It was the first apparent attack in Kabul since Aug. 28, when a car bomb outside a private U.S. security firm killed 10 people, three of them Americans who were helping train anti-narcotics police." [A.P.]

2004 - Commentary / U.S. Health Care - October 8th, 2004: "The United States must limit access to health care to curb drastically escalating costs, two renowned policy experts [Henry J. Aaron & Gail Wilensky] said Thursday [10/07/04] during a conference on health issues at Washington University [Mo.]." [Rachel Melcer, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Earthquake / Manila, Phillippines - September 8th, 2004: "A 6.4 earthquake shook Manila in the Phillippines today. Reportedly, an earlier earthquake hit region a few weeks ago." [Based on: CNN News, 10/08/04]

2004 - 2nd U.S. Presidential Debate / St. Louis Mo. - October 8th, 2004: "The second Presedential Debate in the United States, between President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry, took place this evening at Washington University, in University City, Mo." [E.M.]

2004 - Earthquake / Nicaragua - October 9th, 2004: "A powerful earthquake [6.9] rocked Nicaragua's western coast on Saturday [10/09/04]. No major injuries or damage was immediately reported." [News Services, 10/11/04]

2004 - Video Release / Ayman al-Zawahri - October 9th, 2004: "Ayman al-Zawahri, bin-Laden's chief deputy, is seen in a tape that aired Sept. 9, 2004." [A.P.,10/30/04]

2004 - Torrential Rains / India - October 10th, 2004: "Unseasonably heavy downpours have triggered landslides and submerged large areas in northeastern India, Bangladesh and Nepal the past three days." [News Services]

2004 - Died / Christopher Reeve - October 10th, 2004: "Died this date in history: Actor, Christopher Reeve. He was 52."

2004 - Presidential Election / Afghanistan - October 10th, 2004: "KABUL, Afghanistan  - Three years after the fall of the Taliban, Afghans voted in huge numbers Saturday [10/09/04] to elect their president for the first time." [Los Angeles Times]

2004 - Tropical Storm Matthew / Louisana - October 10th, 2004: "Tropical storm Matthew flooded roads and homes across southeastern Louisana on Saturday [10/09/04] as it blew moved across the Gulf of Mexico with high tides and torrential rains." [News Services, St Louis Post-Dispatch, apparent typo underlined by [E.M.]

2004 - Prime Minister John Howard / Australia - October 10th, 2004: "Prime Minister John Howard and his conservative coalition easily won re-election Saturday [10/09/04] as voters endorsed his economic platform despite misgivings about his decision to send troops to Iraq." [News Services]

2004 - Trivia / Solar Minimum? - "Solar physicist David Hathaway has been checking the sun every day since 1998, and every day for six years there have been sunspots. Sunspots are planet-sized "islands" on the surface of the sun. They are dark, cool, powerfully magnetized, and fleeting: a typical sunspot lasts only a few days or weeks before it breaks up. As soon as one disappears, however, another emerges to take its place. Even during the lowest ebb of solar activity, you can usually find one or two spots on the sun. But when Hathaway looked on Jan. 28, 2004, there were none. The sun was utterly blank. It happened again last week, twice, on Oct. 11th and 12th. There were no sunspots. 'This is a sign,' says Hathaway, 'that the solar minimum is coming, and it's coming sooner than we expected.' [....] 'Contrary to popular belief,' says Hathaway, 'the solar cycle is not precisely 11 years long.' Its length, measured from minimum to minimum, varies: 'The shortest cycles are 9 years, and the longest ones are about 14 years.' What makes a cycle long or short? Researchers aren't sure. 'We won't even know if the current cycle is long or short - until it's over,' he says." [NASA News]  

2004 - President Abdullahi Yusuf / Somalia - October 11th, 2004: "NAIROBI, Kenya - Members of Somalia's transitional parliament on Sunday [10/10/04] elected former army Col. Abdullahi Yusuf as interim president for the war-torn Horn of Africa nation, the parliament speaker said." [A.P.]

2004 - Status / Mount St. Helens Volcano - October 11th, 2004: "Mount St. Helens vented a new column of steam Sunday [10/10/04], a lazy plume that rose out of the crater of the volcano. The billow of steam rose from an area where a large upwelling or bulge of rock has been growing in the crater. The plume rose several hundred feet above the 8,364-foot volcano. The steam emission followed an increase in earthquake activity over the previous two days, with quakes of magnitude 2.4 occurring every two minutes until Sunday, when the vibrations were more frequent but weakened to magnitude 1 or less." [News Services]

2004 - Beheaded / Kenneth Bigley, Iraq - October 11th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - A videotape of the beheading of British hostage Kenneth Bigley  appeared Sunday [10/10/04] on an Islamist Web site, showing the civil engineer pleading that he wanted 'to live a simple life' moments before he was decapitated." [A.P.]

2004 - Weapons for Cash / Sadr City, Iraq - October 12th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Shiite fighters in track-suits and sneakers unloaded cars full of machine guns, mortars and land mines Monday [10/11/04] at several police stations. They were trading weapons for cash in Baghdad's Sadr City district, the center for Shiite resistance in Iraq." [A.P.]

2004 - President Sergei Bagapsh / Georgia - October 12th, 2004: "Electoral officials in Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia region on Monday [10/11/04] declared an opposition candidate [Sergei Bagapsh] the winner of the province's presidential election, but the decision did little to ease tension over the disputed vote." [News Services]

2004 - Test Launch / Ghauri V Missle, Pakistan - October 12th, 2004: "On Oct. 12, Pakistan launched a Ghauri V missle, which has a range of 930 miles and could reach several Indian cities. Officials in Pakistan, however, said the test was not intended as a message to new Delhi. India and Pakistan routinely test missles." [A.P., 11/29/04]

2004 - Limited Women's Rights / Saudia Arabia - October 12th, 2004: "RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Woman may neither vote nor run in Saudi Arabia's first nationwide elections, the government announced Monday [10/11/04]. [....] Saudi women have limited freedoms. Without written permission from a male guardian, they are barred from traveling, getting an education or working. Under no circumstances may they drive, mix with men in public or leave home without covering themselves with black cloaks." [A.P.]

2004 - Incommunicado al-Qaida Suspects / U.S. Custody - October 12th, 2004: "NEW YORK - At least 11 al-Qaida suspects have 'disappeared' from view in U.S. custody, and some may have been tortured, a human rights group says. [....] The report says the prisoners include the man alleged to have planned the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. Also included, the report says, is Abu Zubaydah, believed to be a close aid to Osama bin Laden." [A.P.]

2004 - Held in Contempt / Matthew Cooper & Time - October 13th, 2004: "Cooper, Time held in contempt." [Based on: Illustrated Timeline, p. A13, S.L.P.D., 10/30/05]

2004 - 3rd U.S. Presidential Debate / Tempe, Arizona - October 13th, 2004: "President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry met in Tempe, Arizona, for their third and final debate before the November election."

2004 - Trivia / Metal Prices - NEW YORK - October 14th, 2004: Stocks fell Wednesday [10/13/04] for the fourth day in five as a plunge in metal prices weighed on shares of raw-material producers, such as Alcoa Inc. and Phelps Dodge Corp." [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and St. Louis Post-Dispatch Reports]

2004 - Locusts / West Africa - October 14th, 2004: "Swarms of locusts that have devastated crops and pastures across West Africa may hit countries as far away as Pakistan, a U.N. agency said Wednesday [10/14/04] as it announced an intensified control campaign." [News Services]

2004 - Trivia / Womens Rights - October 14th, 2004: "UNITED NATIONS - Eighty-five current and former heads of state and government have signed a statement endorsing a U.N. plan adopted 10 years ago to ensure every women's right to education and health care, and to make choices about childbearing. President George W. Bush's administration refused to sign because the statement mentions 'sexual rights.' " [A.P.]

2004 - Investigation / Circulation Reporting - October 14th, 2004: "The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating circulation reporting in the newspaper industry following several disclosures of fraudulent practices in recent months." [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and St. Louis Post-Dispatch Reports]

2004 - Trivia / Ralph Nader, Pennsylvania - October 14th, 2004: "A state court knocked Ralph Nader off Pennsylvania's presidential ballot on Wednesday [10/113/04], citing thousands of fraudulent signatures including 'Mickey Mouse' and 'Fred Flintstone.' " [News Services]

2004 - Lift Off / International Space Station Crew - October 14th, 2004: "A Russian rocket [Soyuz TMA-5] carrying a new Russian-U.S. crew to the international space station lifted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome today [10/14/04]." [News Services]

2004 - Relations Status / European Union & Israel - October 14th, 2004: "JERUSALEM - Israel is set on a collision course with the European Union and could turn into a pariah state, like South Africa during the apartheid years, if the Mideast conflict is not resolved, Israel's Foreign Ministry warns in a confidential 10-year forecast. [....] The forecast, written for internal consumption, was obtained by the Associated Press on Wednesday [10/13/04]." [A.P.]

2004 - Implantable Computer Chip [VeriChip] / U.S.A. - October 14th, 2004: "The Food and Drug Administration [U.S.A.] said Wednesday [10/13/04] that Applied Digital Solutions of Delray Beach, Fla., could market its VeriChip, an implantable computer chip about the size of a grain of rice." [A.P.]

2004 - Ramadan Begins - October 15th, 2004: "The Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins."

2004 - Earthquake / Taiwan - October 15th, 2004: "A strong earthquake [7.0] rocked Taipei, Taiwan's capital during lunchtime today [10/15/04], shaking tall buildings for about a minute." [News Services]

2004 - Status / U.S. Trade Gap - October 15th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The nation's trade gap widened in August [2004] to $54 billion, the second largest in history, as oil imports soared to a record and exports stalled." [Bloomberg News]

2004 - Miners Insurance / U.S.A. - October 15th, 2004: "Coal miners are lining up in Benton, Ill., this week for union health insurance, vowing to fight a ruling that released their former employer from having to pay for coverage. About 5,000 active and retired miners and their dependent's in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia lost their coverage this month when bankrupt Horizon Natural Resources was sold to financier Wilbur Ross Jr. and Massey Energy Co." [- From staff and wire reports, St. Louis Post Dispatch]

2004 - Status / U.S. Budget Deficit - October 15th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The federal deficit rose to a record $413 billion in the 2004 fiscal year, the Treasury Department announced Thursday [10/14/04]."

2004 - Sentenced / Franklin C. Brown - October 15th, 2004: "HARRISBURG, Pa. - Franklin C. Brown, the former chief counsel of drugstore chain Rite Aid Corp., was sentenced Thursday [10/14/04] to 10 years in prison for conspiring to inflate earnings and obstruct justice. [....] Jurors found Brown guilty on 10 of 11 charges, including conspiracy to defraud Rite Aid, conspiracy to obstruct justice, witness tampering and obstructing grand jurors." [Bloomberg News]

2004 - Proposed / Giant Casinos, Britain - October 15th, 2004: "LONDON - Prime Minister Tony Blair's government said Thursday [10/14/04] it would introduce legislation within weeks to allow giant casinos offering unlimited jackpots to set up across Britain." [A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / Marsh & McLennan Cos. - October 15th, 2004: "ALBANY, N.Y. - New York's attorney general on Thursday [10/14/04] sued insurance giant Marsh & McLennan Cos. and implicated American International Group Inc. and several other insurers in misconduct." [A.P.]

*Trivia: "Marsh & McLennan Cos.,  the world's largest insurance broker, slashed its dividends Tuesday [03/01/05] and said it will cut 2,500 jobs after a $676 million net loss from settling New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's bid-rigging accusations. [....]" [Based on: Bloomberg News, 03/02/05]

2004 - Suicide Bombers / Green Zone, Iraq - October 15th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Two suicide bombers detonated explosive-laden backpacks Thursday [10/14/04] inside the heavily barricaded Green Zone, killing four Americans and at least two other people." [Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times]

2004 - "Globally Threatened" / Amphibians - October 15th, 2004: "Researchers reported that 1,856 species, 32.5 percent of the known species of amphibians, are 'globally threatened,' meaning they fall into the categories of vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered as determined by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. By comparison, 12 percent of bird species and 23 percent of mammal species are threatened." [Based on: A.P.]

2004 - Status / Jewish Settlements, Gaza Strip - October 2004: "JERUSALEM - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Thursday [10/14/04] all 8,200 Jewish settlers will be pulled out of the Gaza Strip starting next summer. He also ordered Israeli forces to pull out of a Gaza refugee camp, the focus of a monthlong offensive." [A.P.]

*Trivia: "When, on the Day of Atonement, you walk into a synagogue, you stand up for the very first prayer that you recite. It is the only prayer for which you stand. You repeat three times a short prayer called the Kol Nidre. In that prayer, you enter into an agreement with God Almighty that any oath, vow, or pledge that you may make during the next twelve months shall be null and void. The oath shall not be an oath; the vow shall not be a vow; the pledge shall not be a pledge. They shall have no force or effect." [Benjamin H. Freedman]      

2004 - Status / Minamata Poisoning Incident, Japan - October 16th, 2004: "Japan's top court ordered the government Friday [10/15/04] to pay $703,000 in damages to victims of the Minamata Bay mercury poisining. The ruling came 22 years after the case was filed over an industrial pollution disaster that killed more than 1,700 people and caused mothers to give birth to deformed babies.
   "The Minamata poisoning incident was Japan's worst case of industrial pollution. Since the 1950's, hundreds of people have contracted Minamata disease - a neurological disorder caused by mercury poisoning - from eating tainted fish. The disease was first discovered in the 1950s and named for Minamata Bay in southern Japan, where a company [Chisso Corp.] dumped tons of mercury compounds.
   "The court said the government and Kumamoto prefecture (state) failed to stop chemical manufacturer Chisso Corp. from dumping tons of mercury compounds into Minamata Bay beginning in the 1930s." [News Services]

2004 - "Black Box" Warnings / Antidepressants, U.S.A. - October 16th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Administration on Friday [10/15/04] ordered that all antidepressants carry 'black box' warnings that they 'increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior' in children who take them. [....] 'Antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior ... in children and adolescents with major depressive disorder and other psychiatric disorders,' the warning begins. Those risks must be balanced against clinical need, the label indicates in a warning surrounded by a black box, hence the 'black box' designation." [A.P.]

2004 - Crashed / U.S. Army Helicopters, Iraq - October 17th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Two U.S. Army helicopters crashed in Baghdad on Saturday [10/16/04], killing two slodiers, as the military reported that four other American military personnel had died in car bombings elsewhere in Iraq." [Log Angeles Times]

2004 - Trivia / Prisoner Abuse, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - October 17th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - many detainees at Guantanamo Bay were regularly subjected to harsh and coercive treatment, several people who worked in the prison said in recent interviews, despite long-standing assertations by military officials that such treatment had not been used except in some isolated cases.
  "In interviews with the New York Times, military guards, intelligence agents and others describe a range of procedures that included treatment they said was highly abusive. They said it took place over a long period of time, as well as rewards for prisoners who cooperated with interrogators.
   "One regular procedure that was described by people who worked at Camp Delta, the main prison facility at the naval base in Cuba, was making uncooperative prisoners strip to their underpants, having them sit in a chair while shackled to a bolt in the floor. The prisoners were then forced to endure strobe lights and screamingly loud rock and rap music played through two close loudspeakers, while the air conditioning was turned up to maximum levels, said one military official who witnessed the procedure.
   "The official said that was designed to make the detainees uncomfortable, as they were accustomed to high temperatures both in their native countries and in their cells.
   "Such sessions could last for up to 14 hours with breaks, said the official, who described the treatment after being contacted by The Times." [By Neil A. Lewis, New York Times News Service]

*Trivia: "[....] In a story published last fall [2004] in The New York Times Magazine, a senior Bush adviser explained the administration's concept of reality to former Wall Street Journal correspondent Ron Suskind. 'We're an empire now,' the adviser declared. 'When we act, we create our own reality.' [....]" [Based on: article by Eric Mink, S.L.P.D., p. B7, 06/22/05]

2004 - Trivia / Biological & Chemical Defense Testing Site / Utah Desert - October 17th, 2004: "The Army is planning to expand the nation's leading biological and chemical defense testing site in Utah's remote western desert to make it a training ground for counterterrorism operations. [....] In 1991, Dugway began anthrax testing, eventually testing several deadly germs to find a way to detect biological agents in times of war. Dugway now stores the pathogens in a secure laboratory." [News Services]

2004 - "Million Worker March" / Washington, D.C. - October 18th, 2004: "Hundreds of workers gathered at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday [10/17/04] to demand health care, better wages, guaranteed Social Security benefits and an end to the war in Iraq. [....] Standing on the Lincoln Memorial steps where his father delivered his 'I have a dream' speech in 1963, Martin Luther King III told the crowd that civil rights, workers and anti-war activists must come together in common cause." [News Services]

2004 - Extortion Charges / C. Clive Munro - October 19th, 2004: "A stock analyst [C. Clive Munro] issued an unfavorable report [August 2004] about the parent company of St. Louis-based Hardee's that cost investors $160 million in stock value - and then threatened to do more of the same if the company didn't pay him off, according to federal charges announced here [St. Louis] Monday." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Anglican & Episcopal Church Relations  - October 19th, 2004: "An Anglican church commission Monday [10/18/04] urged the Episcopal church in the United States to apologize for electing a gay bishop last year. In the 93-page report issued in London, the commission also asked the Episcopal bishops not to elect another gay bishop, and asked American and Canadian bishops to refrain from blessing same-sex unions." [By Tim Townsend, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Dedication / Eckankar Spiritual Center - October 19th, 2004: "At 11:00 a.m. on October 19, 2004, the dedication of the new Eckankar Spiritual Center took place. [....]"

[Based on: http://www.eckankar.org/Campus/]

2004 - Political Trivia / Burma - October 20th, 2004: "Myanmar's tough but pragmatic prime minister was ousted Tuesday [10/19/04] by his hard-line army colleagues, clouding prospects for the freedom of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and for democracy in the military-led Southeast Asian nation formerly called Burma."

2004 - Typhoon Tokage / Japan - October 20th, 2004: "Typhoon Tokage made landfall on Japan's main islands today. It was the eighth typhoon [a record] to hit Japan this year." [E.M.]

2004 - Abducted CARE Official / Iraq - October 20th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Gunmen seized the head of CARE International's operations [Margaret Hassan] in Iraq on Tuesday [10/19/04]. She has worked on behalf of Iraqis for three decades." [A.P.]

2004 - Evacuation Trivia / Jewish Settlements - October 20th, 2004: "JERUSALEM - Israel's army chief of staff [Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon] on Tuesday [10/19/04] condemned a call from scores of rabbis for religiously observant soldiers to refuse to obey any orders to evacuate Jewish settlements. [....] Last week, Avraham Shapira, a former chief rabbi of Israel, stated that Sharon's plan violates Jewish law. He said observant soldiers should not participate in removing settlers from their homes. Sixty other rabbis also signed Shapira's statement." [A.P.]

2004 - Heavy Rains / Northern California - October 20th, 2004: "Heavy rains in Northern California knocked out power to at least 144,000 customers on Tuesday [10/19/04] and forced the evacuation of 200 residents, many in areas where wildfires burned as recently as a week ago." [News Services]

2004 - Mad Cow Disease / France - October 21st, 2004: "In France, a blood donor has been identified as France's eighth known victim of the human equivalent of mad cow disease." [E.M.]

2004 - Senior Hamas Fatality / Gaza Strip - October 21st, 2004: "Reportedly killed [by Israeli missles] this date in history: senior Hamas commander, Adnan Al-Ghoul." [E.M.]

2004 - The Living Planet Report - October 22nd, 2004: "GENEVA - Environmentists charge in a new report that Earth's ability to sustain life is in peril from mankind's reliance on fossil fuel, the spread of cities, the destruction of natural habitats foir farmland and overexploitation of the oceans. The document - the Living World Report - is the work of the World Wildlife Fund, which issued it Thursday [10/21/04]. The report says the biggest consumers of nonrenewable natural resources are the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Kuwait, Australia and Sweden. They leave the biggest 'ecological footprint,' the report says. Humans consume 20 percent more natural resources than the Earth can produce, the report says. [....] Use of fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil increased by almost 700 percent between 1961 and 2001, the study says. [....] Populations of freshwater, marine and land species fell on average by 40 percent between 1970 and 2000. The report cites urbanization, forest clearance, polution, overfishing and the introduction of non-native animals, such as cats and rats, which often drive out native species. The study is the group's fifth since 1998. This edition examines the 'ecological footprint' of the planet's entire population. [....] The world's 6.1 billion people leave a collective footprint of 33.36 billion acres, or 5.44 acres per capita. To allow the earth to regenerate, the average should be no more than 4.45 acres, the report says." [Based on: Jonathan Fowler, A.P.]

2004 - ECK Worldwide Seminar / "Year of the Missionary" - October 22nd, 2004: "ECKANKAR, Religion of the Light and Sound of God, began its annual New Year celebration with the ECK Worldwide Seminar in Minneapolis, MN [October 22-24, 2004]. The theme for this year is entitled: The 'Year of the Missionary.' " [E.M.]

2004 - Status / Kyoto Treaty - October 23rd, 2004: "MOSCOW - Russia's lower house of parliament ratified the Kyoto Protocol on cutting greenhouse gases Friday [10/22/04]. The vote all but ensures that after years of delays, the environmental pact will go into effect around much of the world. The treaty has been rejected by the United States, which in 1990 accounted  for 36 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. [....] Japan, Germany and other industrial nations have already adopted the treaty. The United States and Australia were the only major countries to reject it. [....] Communist legislator Petr Romanov voted against the treaty. He said the pact's strictures would slow economic growth. 'It threatens the economic security of Russia,' he said." [Based on: Mike Eckel, A.P.]

2004 - Failure to Comply / Inactive Reservists, U.S.A. - October 23rd, 2004: "WASHINGTON - More than 800 inactive reservists have failed to comply with Army orders to get back in uniform and report for duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, the Army said Friday [10/22/04]." [A.P.]

2004 - Car Bombings / Iraq - October 24th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Two car bombings in separate locations killed at least 20 Iraqi security officers Saturday [10/23/04] in the Sunni  Triangle north and west of the capital." [Based on: Karl Vick, The Washington Post]

2004 - Earthquakes / Japan - October 24th, 2004: "OJIYA, Japan - A series of powerful earthquakes and aftershocks rattled northern Japan on Saturday [10/23/04], killing at least 16 people and injuring more than 900. [....] The quakes - the most powerful recorded as magnitude-6.8 - were spread over several hours and centered on Ojiya, about 160 miles northwest of Tokyo." [Based on: Eric Talmadge, A.P.]

2004 - Volcanic Eruption / Manam Volcano - October 24th, 2004: "The island of Manam sits in the Bismarck Sea across the Stephan Strait from the east coast of mainland Papua New Guinea. Only 10 kilometers wide, the island results from the activity of the Manam Volcano, one of the country’s most active. In this image [see link] from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on October 24, 2004, a large ash plume has spread northwestward from an eruption of Manam, located at bottom right. The thermally active areas on the volcano have been detected by MODIS and are outlined in red. [....]"

[Based on: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/natural_hazards_v2.php3?img_id=12556]

2004 - Revelation / U.S. Detainee Transfer Memo - October 24th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - At the request of the CIA, the Justice Department drafted a confidential memo that authorized the agency to transfer detainees out of Iraq for interrogation - a practice that international legal specialists say contravenes the Geneva Conventions. [....] The draft opinion was written by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel and dated March 19th, 2004." [Based on: Dana Priest, The Washington Post]

2004 - Commissioned / U.S. Attack Submarine - Virginia - October 24th, 2004: "The Navy commissioned on Saturday [10/23/04] the lead ship of its latest class of fast-attack submarines specifically designed for post-Cold War security threats. [....] The 377-foot-long [nuclear-powered] sub is the first to be built without a periscope, using a high-resolution digital camera instead." [News Services]

2004 - Trivia / Infant Immune Systems - October 25th, 2004: "Infant immune systems can tolerate foreign tissue even of a different blood type, expanding transplant options, a Nature Medicine study says." [WSJ]

2004 - Massacre / Iraqi Soldiers, Iraq - October 25th, 2004: "Insurgents massacred dozens of Iraqi soldiers, unarmed on leave. In one of the most horrendous acts aimed at choking off cooperation with the U.S., the troops' buses were ambushed 95 miles east of Baghdad [10/24/04] and nearly 50 were executed with shots to the head." [WSJ]

2004 - 1st Space-Rocket Launch / Brazil - October 25th, 2004: "Brazil succeeded in launching its first rocket into space Saturday [10/23/04], recovering from a launch-pad accident last year that killed 21 space workers." [WSJ]

2004 - Missing Explosives / Iraq - October 26th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - As the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency confirmed Monday [10/25/04] that about 380 tons of explosives are missing from an Iraqi military complex, the issue quickly moved into the presidential campaign." [George Edmonson, Cox News Service]

2004 - Thyroid Cancer / William J. Rehnquist - October 26th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Chief Justice William J. Rehnquist has thyroid cancer, a disclosure Monday [10/25/04] that caught even the closest Supreme Court observers off guard." [A.P.]

2004 - Bankruptcy / ATA - October 27th, 2004: "ATA [a low-cost airline based at Chicago's Midway Airport] filed for protection from creditors in Bankruptcy Court in Indianapolis." [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.]

2004 - Total Lunar Eclipse - October 27th, 2004: "On this date in history, a total lunar eclipse was visible in the United States [at approximately 9pm, C.S.T.]." [E.M.]

2004 - Cassini Spacecraft / Titan - October 27th, 2004: "PASADENA, Calif. - The Cassini spacecraft on Tuesday [10/26/04] cruised to within 745 miles of Titan, Saturn's planet-size moon, for the first close encounter with it. [....] Scientists and flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena had to wait hours to learn whether the mission was a success. While Cassini's cameras, radar system and other instruments were surveying the moon, its antenna was facing Titan and unable to communicate with Earth." [New York Times]

*Trivia: "High-quality images of Titan, Saturn's mysterious moon, tantalized and bewildered scientists Wednesday [10/27/04], and they warned that NASA's  Cassini spacecraft may have to make several passes over the frozen world before it gives up its secrets." [Washington Post, 10/28/04]

2004 - Approved / Artificial Spinal Disc - October 27th, 2004: "The Food and Drug Administration approved on Tuesday [10/26/04] the first artificial spinal disc for patients with persistant lower back pain." [News Services]

2004 - Genitically Modified Corn / E.U. - October 27th, 2004: "BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union head office on Tuesday [10/26/04] cleared the sale of food and food ingredients derived from a genetically modified corn variety produced by Monsanto Co., saying that labeling will give consumers a choice of whether to use it." [A.P.]

2004 - Status / Gaza Strip Withdrawl Plan - October 27th, 2004: "JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon won approval Tuesday [10/26/04] for his plan to uproot all Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip. The landmark parliamentary vote marked the first time Israel's lawmakers authorized abandoning settlements in lands that Palestinian Arabs claim for a state." [Graig Nelson, Cox News Service]

2004 - Trivia / American Airlines Flight 587 - October 27th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - American Airlines Flight 587 lost its tail and plummeted into a New York City neighborhood in November 2001, killing 265 people, because the copilot improperly used the rudder to try to steady the plane, federal safety investigators ruled Tuesday [10/26/04]." [A.P.]

2004 - Cut in Benefits / US Airways Group - October 27th, 2004: "US Airways Group can cut pilot pay 18 percent and trim benefits to save $1.85 billion over five years and help exit bankruptcy protection, a judge [Stephen S. Mitchell] ruled." [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.]

2004 - World Series Champions / Boston Red Sox - October 27th, 2004: "On this date in history, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series [in St. Louis]. They beat the St. Louis Cardnials four games to none."

2004 - Third Quarter Earnings / Lockheed Martin Corp. - October 27th, 2004: "Lockheed Martin Corp., the nation's [U.S.A.] largest defense contracter, said Tuesday [10/26/04] that third-quarter earnings rose 41 percent behind higher sales of military transport planes and an increase in the company's information technology business." [News Services]

2004 - Trivia / Kyoto Protocol - October 28th, 2004: "The Kyoto Protocol overcame its final legislative hurdle in Russia when the upper house of parliament ratified the global climate pact Wedneday [10/27/04] and sent it on to President Vladimir Putin for his signature - setting the stage for the treaty to come into force next year. [....] The pact will apply only to nations that ratify it." [News Services]

2004 - Trivia / Homo Floresiensis - October 28th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - A miniature, long-lost relative of modern humans has been discovered, shaking up science's view of how human beings evolved on Earth. [....] Scientists found Hobbit and six other skeletons of this lost species on Flores [last year, 2003], a remote Indonesian Island, according to a study to be published today in the scientific journal Nature. The discovery means that about 50,000 years ago, there were four species of humans roaming the Earth at the same time: Homo sapiens (modern humans), Homo Erectus, Neanderthals and this new relative, called Homo Floresiensis (also called Flores Man). [....] Scientists think Homo Floresiensis was wiped out 12,000 years ago in a massive volcanic eruption that also killed off the island's pigmy elephants, said co-discoverer Peter brown of the University of New England. [....] In Flores, so far the oldest modern-human bones are 11,000 years old." [Based on: Seth Borenstein, Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2004 - U.N. Hostages / Afghanistan - October 28th, 2004: "Reportedly kidnapped this date in history: Angelito Nayan, Anetta Flanigan, & Shqipe Hebibi [in Kabul, Afghanistan]. They were later released unharmed [11/22/04] after more than three weeks in captivity, officials said [11/23/04]." [E.M.]

2004 - Not Required / Anthrax Vaccine, U.S. Military - October 28th, 2004: "For the second time in a year, a federal judge ordered the military Wednesday [10/27/04] to stop requiring anthrax vaccines for U.S. military personnel. [....] U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said the Food and Drug Administration violated its own proceedures when it gave final approval to the vaccine last year [2003] because it failed to give the public a chance to comment." [News Services]

2004 - Third Quarter Earnings / Boeing Co., St. Louis - October 28th, 2004: "Boeing Co. said Wednesday [10/27/04] that its St. Louis-based defense business sparked a 78 percent increase in third-quarter earnings on demand for combat aircraft and technology that promises to link weapons and soldiers under a common operating system." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Third Quarter Earnings / Northrop Grumman Corp. - October 28th, 2004: "Northrop Grumman Corp., the world's largest builder of warships, said third-quarter profit rose 51 percent, helped by work on a new Navy destroyer and sales of surveilance aircraft, such as the EA-6B Prowler used in Iraq." [Bloomberg News]

2004 - Trivia / Hostage Crisis, Iraq - October 29th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq's hostage crisis continued Thursday [10/28/04], with one group of insurgents claiming it had killed 11 Iraqi national guardsmen, another saying it had kidnapped a Polish worker and a third remaining silent on the fate of a Japanese hostage after a deadline passed." [Nancy A. Youssef, Knight Ridder Newspapers]

*Trivia: "A survey of deaths in Iraqi households estimates that as many as 100,000 people may have died because of the war and its aftermath. [....] The results were published Thursday [10/28/04] on a Web site of a British medical journal, The Lancet." [Emma Ross, A.P., 10/29/04]

2004 - Trivia / Memory and Stress - October 29th, 2004: "Stressful situations in which the individual has no control were found to activate an enzyme in the brain called protein kinase C, which impairs the short-term memory and other functions in the prefrontal cortex, the executive-decision part of the brain, says Dr. Amy F.T. Arnsten of Yale Medical School. [....] The PKC enzyme is also active in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and Arnsten notes that a first psychotic episode can be precipitated by a stressful situation, such as going away to college for the first time or joining the military. [....] 'These new findings may also help us understand the impulsivity and distractibility observed in children with lead poisoning,' she said. 'Very low levels of lead can activate PKC.' " [A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / Forbidden City, China - October 29th, 2004: "BEIJING - China is at work on the first full-scale effort to restore the imperial grandeur of its 584-year-old Forbidden City - the world's biggest palace and former residence of 24 emperors. [....] The renovation, begun in 2001, reflects the communist government's new enthusiasm for resurecting symbols of China's historic greatness. [....] Completed in 1420, the palace has scores of villas, chapels, treasure houses and gardens that cover 178 acres in Beijing. It is ringed by a 35-foot-high wall and a 170-foot-wide moat. [....] A portrait of communist founder Mao Zedong hangs from the palace's main Gate of Heavenly Peace, or Tiananmen." [Joe McDonald, A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / National Anthem, Japan - October 29th, 2004: "TOKYO - Japan's emperor [said Thursday [10/28/04] that no one should be forced to face the flag and sing the national anthem - both potent symbols of Japan's 20th century militarism." [A.P.]

2004 - Most Profitable U.S. Company / ExxonMobil Corp. - October 29th, 2004: "ExxonMobile Corp., the most profitable U.S. company this year and last, said third-quarter net income rose 56 percent as oil prices surged and chemical earnings quadrupled." [Bloomberg News]

2004 - Video release / Osama Bin Laden - October 30th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Osama bin Laden on Friday [10/29/04] took direct responsibility for the first time for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist strikes and warned that the United states faced new attacks if it continued to oppress Muslims. [....] Bin Laden criticized Bush's initial reaction to the Sept. 11 attacks, which occurred as he read 'My Pet Goat' to children at an elementary school in Sarasota, Fla. 'It never occurred to us that the commander in chief of the American forces would leave 50,000 citizens in the two towers to face those horrors alone at a time when they most needed him, because he thought listening to a child discussing her goat and its ramming was more important than the planes and their ramming of the skyscrapers,' bin Laden said. 'This had given us three times the time needed to carry out the operations.' " [Based on: Jonathan S. Landay & Hannah Allam, Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2004 - Car Bomb / Fallujah, Iraq -  October 31st, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Nine Marines were killed and nine were wounded in a car-bomb ambush near the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah on Saturday [10/30/04]. It was the deadliest single attack on U.S. forces in nearly nine months." [Los Angeles Times]

November 2004

2004 - Oil Trivia / Kuwait - November 1st, 2004: "Kuwait's ruler has ordered that each Kuwaiti citizen receive a one-time bonus of $680, the Cabinet said Sunday [10/31/04]. The reward comes in response to record oil revenue flowing into the Persian Gulf emirate." [News Services] 

2004 - Oil Trivia / Nigeria - November 1st, 2004: "LAGOS, Nigeria - Unions declared the top oil multinational in Nigeria, Royal Dutch/Shell, 'an enemy of the Nigerian people' on Sunday [10/31/04] and called a Nov. 16 nationwide strike that they said would target oil exports from Africa's oil giant. [....] Unions called the Nov. 16 strike after giving President Olusegun Obasanjo until Sunday to reverse September's 23 percent increase in fuel prices in Nigeria. [....] A general strike last month over the fuel price increases paralyzed businesses overall but left petroleum exports unaffected. [....] In March 2003, fighting between rival ethnic militia groups near the port city of Warri - which also drew in government troops - forced oil companies to shut down 40 percent of Nigeria's oil exports for weeks. Much of that oil remains shut off." [Based on: Dulue Mbachu, A.P.]

2004 - Ethnic Clashes / China - November 1st, 2004: "Ethnic clashes between majority Han Chinese and Muslim Hui left almost 150 people dead and led authorities to declare martial law in a section of Henan Province in central China, journalists and witnesses in the region said Sunday [10/31/04]." [News Services]

2004 - Volcanic Eruption / Iceland - November 1st, 2004: "Today [11/01/04], a volcano in Iceland [on Grimsvotn mountain] erupted  for the first time in six years. [E.M.] [Link: 1

2004 - Facial Transplants / Cleveland - November 1st, 2004: "CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Clinic says it is the first institution to receive review board approval of human facial transplant for someone severly disfigured by burns or disease." [A.P.]

2004 - Beheaded / Japanese Citizen, Iraq - November 1st, 2004: "TOKYO - Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi condemned on Sunday [10/31/04] the beheading of a young Japanese backpacker in Iraq and promised that Japan would not withdrawl its troops from the U.S.-led coalition." [Washington Post]

2004 - Fatality / Maj.-Gen. Konstantin Dementyev, Russia - November 1st, 2004: "Maj.-Gen. Konstantin Dementyev, deputy commander of the air force's strategic aviation division, and his driver died after their car was strafed by automatic weapons fire [10/31/04], the Interfax-Military News Agency reported. A second passenger was injured and hospitalized, it said." [News Services]

2004 - Abduction Trivia / Iraq - "More than 160 foreigners have been abducted this year by militants with political demands or by criminals seeking ransom. At least 33 captives have been killed - several of them by al-Zarqawi's group, which is believed to have headquarters in Fallujah. By comparison, more than 152 Iraqis were kidnapped last month alone, the highest number recorded in a single month since the U.S. occupation began in March 2003, according to the Interior Ministry." [Based on: Mariam Fam, A.P.]

2004 - Suicide Bomber / Tel Aviv, Israel - November 2nd, 2004: "TEL AVIV, Israel - A 16-year-old Palestinian laden with explosives blew himself up Monday [11/01/04] in a crowded outdoor market in Tel Aviv, killing three Israelis, wounding 32 and scattering body parts and blood-spattered vegetables on the ground." [Based on: Gavin Rabinowitz, A.P.]

2004 - Gunbattle / Saudi Company, Iraq - November 2nd, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Gunmen stormed the compound of a Saudi company in a fashionable Baghdad neighborhood Monday [11/01/04]. It is believed that they seized an American, a Nepalese and four Iraqis after a gunbattle in which a guard and one of the assailants were killed, police said." [Based on: Mariam Fam, A.P.]

2004 - Car Bomb / Ministry of Education, Iraq - November 2nd, 2004: "A car bomb exploded outsided the Iraqi Ministry of Education this morning [11/02/04], killing at least six people." [E.M.]

2004 - Trivia / Stem Cell Research, California - November 3rd, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Californians voted Tuesday [11/02/04] to spend $3 billion on stem cell research." [Based on, A.P.]."

2004 - President George W. Bush / Second Term - November 3rd, 2004: "Democratic candidate, Sen. John Kerry, conceded the 2004 presidential election to incumbent president George W. Bush this afternoon [11/03/04]." [E.M.]

*Trivia: "The Masonic bankers during the last 25 years have lent money to the governments of the industrial nations, which find it harder and harder to repay their enormous debt. The private sector has become exactly that much richer. This monetary power has enough money to stop any intransigent [uncompromising] politicians. Popularly elected politicians no longer have any means of conducting the policies they wish. They cannot take back their power until the debts are paid. For every dollar borrowed, the politicians relinquish more power. The developing countries are in much worse situation. They are not even able to pay interest on their loans." [Based on: Juri Lina, The Barnes Review, September/October 2004, p. 13]

Trivia:

* "Reportedly, the first American V-2 Rocket was launched in April 1946. About three months later [July 6th, 1946], George W. Bush was born.
* "After George W. Bush was declared the winner of the presedential election in December 2000, Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano initiated its largest eruption in 1,200 years.
* "After the first U.S. presidential debate [09/30/04] of 2004, Mount St. Helens began erupting [10/01/04] for the first time in 18 years! (not a lava-dome collapse, but an eruption) Incidentally, that presidential debate was held in the state of Florida, a state previously impacted by four hurricanes!
* "The day before the U.S. presidential election [11/01/04] of 2004, as incumbent President George W. Bush was running for his second term, a volcano erupted on Iceland's Grimsvotn mountain [for the first time in six years].
* "On the day after Sen. John Kerry conceded the 2004 presidential election to incumbent President George W. Bush [11/03/04], the nearly 300-year-old Prince George's County courthouse [Maryland] erupted into a spectacular five-alarm blaze!" [E.M.]

2004 - Trivia / Iraq - November 4th, 2004: "Iraq insurgents kidnapped a Lebanese-American businessman and put up a video of executions of four Iraqi soldiers. [....] Hungary said it seeks to pull its 300 troops by March 31 and Bulgaria is reducing its contingent. There were signs that planning for a U.S. offensive in Fallujah is gathering steam." [W.S.J.] 

2004 - U.S. Election Trivia - November 4th, 2004: "Republicans bolstered majorities in Congress, adding four Senate seats to hold 55, and struck Democrats their second-worst election blow by defeating Daschle. Sixty votes are needed to move bills or nominees, but gains give Republicans leverage to pry defectors. In the House, they likely will pick up three seats, which would give them 232 to Democrats' 202." [W.S.J.] 

2004 - Trivia / Cosmic Rays - November 4th, 2004: "An international team of astronomers has succeeded in solving the 100-year-old mystery about the origin of cosmic rays by producing the first ever image of an astronomical object using high energy gamma rays." [Based on: World News]  

2004 - Status / Antarctic Krill - November 4th, 2004: "British scientists report an 80 percent decline since the 1970s in stocks of Antarctic krill, vital food of marine animals, according to the journal Nature." [W.S.J.] 

2004 - Health Status / Yasser Arafat - November 4th, 2004: "Arafat's health took a sharp turn for the worse and aides said he is in serious condition. Doctors at his hospital in Paris are unsure of the cause." [W.S.J.] 

2004 - Fire / Maryland Courthouse - November 4th, 2004: "Fire gutted the nearly 300-year-old Prince George's County courthouse in Upper Marlboro, Md. [11/03/04], but spared a newer wing where records are kept." [W.S.J.] 

2004 - Job Concessions / Germany - November 4th, 2004: "VW agreed to guarantee jobs for over 100,000 German workers in exchange for a wage freeze and other concessions." [W.S.J.] 

2004 - President Karzai / Afghanistan - November 4th, 2004: "Karzai was declared the winner of Afghanistan's Oct. 9 presidential vote. Abductors of three foreign hostages ended a deadline for killing them." [W.S.J.] 

2004 - Conspiracy & Fraud / Enron & Merrill - November 4th, 2004: "A jury found four former Merrill bankers and an ex-Enron executive guilty of conspiracy and fraud in connection with a scheme to inflate the energy firm's 1999 earnings. The verdicts in the first Enron criminal trial involved the purported sale by Enron to Merrill of an interest in barges off the coast of Nigeria." [W.S.J.] 

2004 - Financial Loss / MCI - November 5th, 2004: "MCI reported a $3.4 billion loss, reflecting a $3.5 billion writeoff the phone company is taking on assets that have lost value." [W.S.J.]  

2004 - Coma / Yasser Arafat - November 5th, 2004: "Arafat slipped into a coma and was at one point reported dead, drawing a condolence from Bush. Having designated no heir, worry over a Palestinian power struggle grew." [W.S.J.] 

*Trivia: "Israel is determined  to keep Yasser Arafat out of Jerusalem even in death, with one Cabinet minister saying Friday [11/05/04] that the holy city is reserved for the burial of Jewish kings, 'not Arab terrorists.' " [Karin Laub, A.P.]

2004 - Unrest / Ivory Coast - November 5th, 2004: "An Ivory Coast cease-fire shattered as government jets bombed the rebel-held north's chief city in waves. The U.N. demaned that the attacks stop." [W.S.J.] 

2004 - Trivia / Ace & Marsh - November 5th, 2004: "Ace fired two employees and Marsh general counsel William Rosoff will quit as the fallout from bid-rigging allegations increased." [W.S.J.]

2004 - Trivia / Macedonia, Greece - November 5th, 2004: "The U.S. set off protests by Greece and cheers in Macedonia, deciding to recognoze the ex-Yugoslav republic under that name, which Athens rejected." [W.S.J.] 

2004 - More Concessions? / UAL - November 5th, 2004: "UAL plans to ask a bankruptcy judge to let it begin seeking more employee concessions, valued at $725 million a year." [W.S.J.]

2004 - Evacuation / Doctor's Without Borders, Iraq - November 5th, 2004: "Doctors Without Borders is leaving Iraq." [W.S.J.] 

2004 - U.S. Airstrikes / Fallujah, Iraq - November 6th, 2004: "NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq - U.S. warplanes pounded Fallujah late Friday [11/05/04] in what redidents called the strongest attacks in months as more than 10,000 American soldiers and Marines massed for an expected assault." [A.P.]

2004 - Insurgent Attacks / Iraq - November 7th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents struck with suicide car bombs, mortars and rockets Saturday [11/06/04] across a wide swath of central Iraq, killing at least 30 people and wounding more than 60, including nearly two dozen Americans." [A.P.]

2004 - Earthquake / Japan - November 8th, 2004: "A magnitude 5.8 earthquake rocked northern Japan today near the area where a deadly earthquake struck last month." [News Services]

2004 - U.S. Offensive / Fallujah, Iraq - November 8th, 2004: "NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq - U.S. forces stormed into western districts of Fallujah early today, seizing the main city hospital and securing two key bridges over the Euphrates River in what appeared to be the first stage of a long-expected assault on the insurgent stronghold. [....] The initial attacks on Fallujah began just hours after the Iraqi government declared 60 days of emergency rule throughout most of the country as militants dramatically escalated attacks, killing at least 30 people, including two Americans." [Based on A,P. article by Kim Krane]

*Trivia: "Between Nov. 8 and Nov. 20, 2004, U.S. forces in Iraq conducted Operation Phantom Fury, also known as the Battle of Fallujah. It was a ferocious fight for control of the city of 250,000 just 35 miles west of Baghdad. [....] 'Some artillery guns fired white phosphorus rounds that create a screen of fire that cannot be extinguished with water,' the Washington Post had reported from Fallujah during the battle. 'Insurgents reported being attacked with a substance that melted their skin, a reaction consistent with white phosphorus burns.' A doctor at a nearby hospital confirmed that 'some corpses' of insurgents 'were melted.' Nor was it the first time U.S. forces had used white phosphorus against human targets in Fallujah. During an April 2004 operation that was cut off in midstream on orders from Washington, mortar companies routinely alternated white phosphorus shells with conventional high explosives. [....] All this was known - notwithstanding the State Department's false denial of a year ago - when a documentary aired last month on Italy's RAI television. The Nov. 8 broadcast presented what it said were photographs and testimonial evidence that Iraqi civilians, including women and children, were horribly killed and injured by white phosphorus during the U.S. assault on Fallujah last November. [....] U.S. embassies overseas issued carefully worded statements implying that white phosphorus had been used only for smoke and illumination, not against people. A few days later, under subheading 'United States did not use phosphorus weapons,' a somewhat narrower Pentagon statement declared that 'we did not use white phosphorus against civilians.' It took a week for a Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Barry Venable, to finally acknowledge to the BBC that the U.S. had used white phosphorus 'as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants.' Still, he insisted, at no time did U.S. forces target civilians. The idea that U.S. forces would deliberately target civilians with white phosphorus or anything else is, of course, nonsense. But the Pentagon's shifting explanations - on top of a five-year pattern of evasions, half-truths and false denials by the Bush administration - have given the world reason to doubt what should be an obvious truth. And the government's on-going legal hair-splitting and double-speak only makes it worse:

   Is white phosphorus a chemical weapon? Depends on your interpretation of "toxic properties" as defined in the international Chemical Weapons Convention. But didn't the U.S. call it a chemical weapon when we heard Saddam used it on the Kurds in 1991? So what? Is it an incendiary weapon? Not if it's used for smoke and illumination. But the U.S. used it as an incendiary. Did we? The Pentagon finally admitted it did in Fallujah. And Protocol III on incendiary weapons of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons prohibits its use in a "concentration of civilians." The U.S. never ratified Protocol III.  

   Because of the Bush administration, what America says to the world is no longer regarded as credible. It could take a generation to repair the damage." [Based on:  Other Views page article (U.S. credibility goes up in smoke) by Eric Mink, p. C13, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12/07/05] - [Paragraph indents removed to save space - E.M.]

2004 - Lebanese Aerial Drone / Israel - November 8th, 2004: "JERUSALEM - Guerrillas of the Lebanon-based Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah succeeded, apparently for the first time, in penetrating Israeli airspace with an unmanned aerial drone. [....] Hezbollah said in a statement released to news agencies in Beirut that the reconnaissance flight was 'a natural response to the Zionist enemy's repeated and permanent violations of Lebanese airspace.' " [Laura King, Los Angeles Times]

2004 - Anti-French Violence / Ivory Coast - November 8th, 2004: "ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast - France rolled out overwhelming military force Sunday [11/07/04] to put down an explosion of anti-French violence in its former West African colony, deploying troops, armored vehicles and helicopter gunships against machete-waving mobs that hunted house to house for foreigners." [Parfait Kouassi, A.P.]

2004 - Ship-Launched Missle Test / India - November 8th, 2004: "India on Sunday [11/07/04] tested a ship-launced missle off its eastern coast, an official said. The Dhanush missle, capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads, was launched from an Indian navy ship in the Bay of Bengal, the official said on condition of anonymity." [News Services]

2004 - Soyuz-2 / Russia - November 9th, 2004: "Russia launched a new model of booster rocket [Soyuz-2] on Monday [11/08/04] after two postponements, news agencies reported." [News Services]

2004 - Arrest / Zeev Rosenstein - November 9th, 2004: "Police arrested a reputed Israeli underworld figure [Zeev Rosenstein] Monday [11/08/04] on an international warrant for smuggling drugs from the European Union to the United States, authorities said. [....] Federal documents released in Miami on Monday [11/08/04] accused Rosenstein of trying to export 700,000 Ecstasy tablets to New York." [News Services]

2004 - Trivia / Global Warming - November 9th, 2004: "The Arctic is experiencing some of the most rapid and severe warming on the planet, according to a new, eight-nation [Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, & United States] report - the most comprehensive assessment of Earth's northern cap to date. [....] Among the most obvious changes are the melting of the massive Greenland ice cap and other Arctic glaciers and the decimation of northern forests by invasions of insects. Some coastal villages are jeapordazied by erosion and rising sea water." [Los Angeles Times]

2004 - Asian Soybean Rust / U.S.A. - November, 2004: "Asian soybean rust was first found in the U.S. in Louisiana in early November [2004]. [....] Because no soybean seed has been developed that can resist the rust, farmers must learn more about the fungus and how to fight it." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. C1, 12/01/04]

2004 - Elimination / U.S. Dollar, Cuba - November 9th, 2004: "HAVANA - After a decade as the dominant currency to buy everything from shampoo to canned food to furniture, the U.S. dollar was eliminated from circulation Monday [11/08/04] in Cuba." [A.P.]

2004 - Resignation / John Ashcroft - November 10th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Attorney General John Ashcroft, whose approach to terrorism sparked both accolades and harsh criticism, will resign as the nation's top law enforcement official, the White House announced Tuesday [11/09/04]. [....] Ashcroft submitted a five-page handwritten resignation letter to President George W. Bush on Election Day, even as the presidential votes were still being counted." [Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau]

2004 - Rate Increase / Laclede Gas, Mo. - November 10th, 2004: "Laclede Gas Co. customers could see heat bills rise an average of nearly 30 percent compared with last winter, after the Missouri Public Service Commission approved a rate increase Tuesday [11/09/04]." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Died / Yasser Arafat - November 11th, 2004: "Reportedly died this date in history: Yasser Arafat."

*Trivia: "Scoring the scoop of all conspiracy theories related to Arafat's death was the Dubai-based Gulf News online edition. It forecast Arafat's death by assassination months ago. Quoting 'highly informed' sources, the Gulf News reported in December that Arafat's security men were protecting him from an 'assassination by unconventional means that could be construed as 'a natural death.' The weapon? Poisonous rays directed at Arafat's brain." [Based on: Don Melvin, Cox news Service]

*Trivia: "Medical records indicate that Yasser Arafat wasn't poisoned but show no 'definite diagnosis' explaining his death, his nephew said Monday [11/22/04]." [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2004 - Foreign Evacuations / Ivory Coast - November 11th, 2004: "ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast - France, the United States and other nations launched one of the largest evacuations of Africa's post-independence era Wednesday [11/10/04], requisitioning commercial jets to fly out thousands of foreigners after attacks on civilians and peacekeeping troops." [A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / Unexploded WWII Bombs, Austria - November 11th, 2004: "Austrian authorities said Wednesday [11/10/04] they found an unexploded World war II bomb - the third such discovery in the past month in or near the western city of Linz." [News Services]

2004 - Bankruptcy /  Catholic Diocese, Spokane, Wash. - November 11th, 2004: "The Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane, unable to settle sexual abuse lawsuits, will file for bankruptcy at the end of the month, the bishop said Wednesday [11/10/04]." [News Services]

2004 - A "Pill" for Men? - November 12th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The world of male contraception has been limited to condoms and vasectomies. But researchers now point to a new method that shows promise - a shot that uses a protein [eppin] produced in the male reproductive system." [A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / Gulf War Illness - November 12th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - A federal panel that has spent two years reviewing studies of Gulf War illnesses recommends focusing research on the toxic substances that veterans encountered during the 1991 conflict." [A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / Unexpected Twins - November 12th, 2004: "A 59-year-old great-grandmother is pregnant with twins and will deliver next month, three decades after she had her tubes tied. 'They came untied,' Frances Harris said Thursday [11/11/04]. The multiple birth Dec. 21st would break the purported record set this week by a 56-year-old New York City mother of twins. Harris, of rural Sylvester, Ga., said she wasn't trying to get pregnant. When the doctor broke the news, 'They had to sit me down. I couldn't even talk,' she said." [News Services]

2004 - Arrest / Mordechai Vanunu - November 12th, 2004: "JERUSALEM - Heavily armed police commandos stormed a Jerusalem church compound and arrested nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu on Thursday [11/11/04], drawing harsh condemnation from the Anglican church to which he belongs. [....] Analysts said the arrest of Vanunu - who has repeatedly defied orders not to give interviews - may be an Israeli attempt to suppress discussion of its nuclear program at a time of increasing international efforts to block Iran from going nuclear. [....] Vanunu was convicted in 1988 of divulging information and pictures of the Dimona reactor. The details, published in London's Sunday Times, led experts to conclude that Israel had the world's sixth-largest stockpile of nuclear weapons. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied that it has nuclear weapons." [A.P.]

2004 - Resignation / Mike Scheuer - November 12th, 2004: "A senior CIA officer who has become an outspoken critic of the fight against terrorism turned in his resignation this week, citing a desire to speak more freely about problems in the hunt for Osama bin Laden and the debate over intelligence reform. [....] Scheuer's CIA assignments included running the bin Laden unit from January 1996 to June 1999. He hopes his experience and views will produce more substantive debate." [News Services]

2004 - PLO Chief / Mahmoud Abbas - November 12th, 2004: "Abbas, commonly called Abu Mazen, was elected chief of the Palestine Liberation Organization on Thursday [11/11/04], hours after Arafat died in a French hospital." [A.P.]

2004 - Genetic-Engineering Experiments? / Smallpox Virus - November 12th, 2004: "NEW YORK - An influential World Health Organization committee is sending shock waves through the scientific community with its recommendation that researchers be permitted to conduct genetic-engineering experiments with the smallpox virus." [A.P.]

2004 - Convicted / Scott Peterson - November 13th, 2004: "Scott Peterson was convicted [11/12/04] of one count of first-degree murder for killing his wife [Laci] and one count of second-degree murder in the death of the son she was carrying."

2004 - Retirement / John McLaughlin - November 13th, 2004: "The veteran intelligence analyst [John McLaughlin] who served as acting CIA director during a wave of criticism of the agency this past summer announced his retirement Friday [11/12/04]." [News Services]

2004 - U.S. Missle Interceptors / Alaska - November 13th, 2004: "The first phase of a new national defense system was completed with installation of the initial round of ballistic missile interceptors at Fort Greely, military officials said Friday [11/12/04]. The sixth 55-foot rocket was placed inside a silo at the Alaska post on Thursday [11/11/04]." [News Services]

2004 - Trivia / Journalist Fatalities - November 14th, 2004: "More than 100 journalists have been killed since January [2004], making this the most deadly year for journalists in a decade, an international media rights group said." [News Services]

2004 - "Monster Thickburger" - November 15th, 2004: "Two weeks since [11/30/04] serving up its Monster Thickburger [11/15/04], with 1,420 calories and 107 grams of fat, Hardee's wants to beef up sales with a new multimillion-dollar ad campaign. Some may wonder if that's needed, given the St. Louis-based restaurant chain's  claims that the self-described 'monument of decadence' has done fine by free word of mouth. [....] Hardee's already was offering five sandwiches with 1,000 calories or more, and eight overall that have more calories than what was once the big-burger standard - the 600-calorie Big Mac. [....] 'At a time of rampant heart disease and obesity, it is the height of corporate irresponsibility for a major chain to peddle a 1,420-calorie sandwich,' the center [The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based advocate for nutrition and health] said." [A.P., 11/30/2004]

2004 - X-Ray / King Tutankhamun - November 15th, 2004: "The mummy of King Tutankhamun is to be X-rayed in an attempt to solve the mystery of how the youthful pharaoh died at age 17, Egypt's chief archaeologist said Sunday [11/14/04]. [....] It would be the first time in 82 years that Tutankhamun's remains leave the tomb. [....] King Tut ruled about 3,300 years ago. He ascended to the throne at about age 8 and died around 1323 B.C. at 17." [News Services]

2004 - Radio Antennas / Medicine Labels - November 15th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Administration and several major drug makers are expected to announce an agreement today [11/15/04] to put tiny radio antennas on the labels of millions of medicine bottles at the wholesale level to fight counterfeiting and fraud." [New York Times]

2004 - Profit  Loss / Tyson Foods - November 16th, 2004: "Tyson Foods Inc., the world's largest meat processor, said fiscal fourth-quarter profit plunged 55 percent on rising costs, wrong-way bets on commodity prices and expenses related to plant closings." [Bloomberg News]

2004 - Resignation / Colin Powell - November 16th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Colin Powell resigned Monday [11/15/04], and officials said President George W. Bush has selected Condoleeza Rice, his national security advisor and trusted confidant, to replace him. Three other Cabinet secretaries also resigned." [A.P.]

2004 - Guilty Plea / Michael M. Sears - November 16th, 2004: "Michael M. Sears, once considered a contender for the top post at Boeing Co., pleaded guilty of a felony on Monday [11/15/04] after admitting he offered a job to a senior Air Force official [Darleen A. Druyun] while she oversaw Boeing's bid on a $20 billion contract." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

*Trivia: "In October, 2004, Darleen A. Druyun was sentenced to nine months in prison. She admitted [04/21/04] to improperly steering billions of dollars in contracts to Boeing." [Based on: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. G2, 12/12/04]

2004 - Deficit Trivia / U.S. Pension Agency - November 16th, 2004: "The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the federal agency that protects retirement plans for more than 44 million workers, said Monday [11/15/04] that its deficit more than doubled to $23.3 billion in fiscal 2004 from $11.2 billion a year ago. More than 1 million people now are owed benefits and the total paid in the last year exceeded $3 billion, the agency said in a statement. The agency had a net loss of $12.1 billion in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. [....] Stock price declines and low interest rates have eroded the value of pension plans. Workers in industries such as airlines, steel and textiles with traditional plans that promise a set amount of benefits lost billions of dollars in pension funds as their employers entered bankruptcy. [....] Arlington, Va.-based US Airways said Friday [11/12/04] that it wants 'substantial reductions or elimination' of company-paid retiree health benefits for all worker groups. [....] The pension agency wants authority from Congress to enforce liens in bankruptcy court on companies that miss pension payments . [....]" [Bloomberg News]

2004 - Resinations / Stephen Kappes & Michael Sulick - November 16th, 2004: "The CIA's deputy director for operations, Stephen Kappes, and his immediate deputy, Michael Sulick, told colleagues at a morning meeting Monday [11/15/04] that they were leaving the agency. It's unclear if they resigned or were asked to leave. [....] Kappes and Sulick were part of the CIA's directorate of operations, or clandestine service, which is responsible for covert operations around the world." [A.P.]

2004 - Lunar Orbit / SMART 1 - November 17th, 2004: "BERLIN - A European spacecraft [SMART 1] has made it into lunar orbit ... officials said Tuesday [11/16/04]." [A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / Ground-Level Ozone - November 17th, 2004: "Ground-level ozone is not to be confused with the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere, which serves the beneficial purpose of shielding the Earth from the sun's rays. The daily average for ozone nationwide [U.S.A.] is about 40 parts per billion. The level can be dramatically higher in the summer, especially in cities. In 2003, St. Louis exceeded the allowed level of ozone a dozen times, up from seven times the year before. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources reported ozone levels as high as 116 parts per billion over an eight-hour period in some parts of the region last year." [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2004 - Trivia / Lead Pollution U.S.A. - November 17th, 2004: "Studies have shown that lead is dangerous at a third of the level considered safe in the '70s. [....] The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to review standards for major air pollutants every five years, but the lead standard hasn't been reviewed since 1990, when no changes were made. [....] Lead air pollution has largely faded from the public health radar screen. Emissions decreased 93 percent from 1982 to 2002, following the phase-out of leaded gasoline. Most air monitors in the EPA's nationwide system find no evidence of lead at all. Pockets exist, however, where lead levels are elevated. Doe Run's Herculaneum smelter [Mo.] did not meet the air standard until 2002, after years of work to reduce emissions. The facility is the largest source of lead air emissions in the United states. [....] Other air lead hot spots are in Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Tennessee and Texas, according to 2002 EPA monitoring data. The pollution comes mainly from industrial facilities; about a quarter comes from leaded gasoline still used in cars and airplanes. Lead is used in batteries and can be found in television and computer monitors, X-ray shields and other products. [....] Lead regulation has changed drastically in recent years. In 1960, the federal government set the acceptable level of lead in the blood at 60 micrograms per deciliter. Ten years later, that level was cut in half. Today's standard is just 10 - and many scientists think that's far too high. [....] The latest studies find detrimental effects below 10 micrograms per deciliter. Needleman's [Dr. Herbert Needleman's] work linked low lead exposure to aggressive and antisocial behavior. Higher levels are associated with central nervous system effects, kidney damage and brain damage. Maxine Lipeles, director of the Interdiciplinary Environmental Law Clinic at Washington University [Mo.], said the EPA standard is badly outdated because it was based on a blood lead level three times what's considered acceptable today. The World Health Organization recommends a lead air standard of 0.5 micrograms per cubic meter of air, or one-third of the EPA limit. If that standard was applied in the United States, at least 38 monitors nationwide would have exceeded the limit between 1999 and 2003, she said. [....] According to court documents, the EPA proposed a deadline of 2009 for finishing the revision. Lipels thinks it should be done within two years." [Based on: Sara Shipley, St Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Fatality / Margaret Hassan, Iraq - November 17th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Aid worker Margaret Hassan ... is believed to have been murdered by her captors." [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2004 - Trivia / Euro - November 18th, 2004: "The euro, launched in 1999, is now 58 percent above [$1.35] its all-time low of 82 cents from October 2000." [A.P.]

2004 - Locusts / Egypt - November 18th, 2004: "In a replay of the biblical plagues, millions of locusts swarmed into northern Egypt on Wednesday [11/17/04] for the first time in 50 years . [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Investigation / Linda Lay - November 18th, 2004: "HOUSTON - The wife of Enron Corp. founder Kenneth L. Lay is under investigation for possible insider trading because she arranged for the Lay family foundation to sell a half-million shares of Enron days before the energy company went bankrupt nearly three years ago, Lay's lawyer said Wednesday [11/17/04]." [A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / U.S. Federal Debt - November 18th, 2004: WASHINGTON - A divided Senate approved an $800 billion increase in the federal debt limit Wednesday [11/17/04], a major boost in borrowing that Sen. John Kerry and other Democrats blamed on the fiscal policies of President George W. Bush. The mostly party line vote (52-44) was expected to be followed by House passage today [11/18/04]. Enactment would raise the government's borrowing lmit to $8.18 trillion - more than eight times the total federal debt that existed when President Ronald Reagan took office in 1981. [....] The government reached its $7.38 trillion borrowing cap last month [October 2004], and since then, the Treasury Department has paid bills by taking cash from a civil service retirement account, which it plans to repay. [....] Failure to raise the debt ceiling could force a federal default and leave the government unable to pay Social Security recipients, federal workers and other obligations." [A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / Earliest Americans - November 18th, 2004: "NEW YORK - Archaeologists in South Carolina announced on Wednesday [11/17/04] radiocarbon dates that they say suggest that people made tools on a wooded hillside near the Savannah River about 50,000 years ago. [....] The so-called artifacts were uncovered last spring [2003] as Goodyear [Albert C.] and his team dug below occupation levels estimated to be 16,000 years old. The site, near Barnwell S.C., is called Topper, named for the person who brought it to the attention of archaeologists more than 20 years ago. Until recent discoveries elsewhere, the earliest Americans were once thought to be the Clovis hunters, who left finely worked projectile points across the United States, beginning about 13,000 years ago [11,000 B.C.]. The Mount Verde site in Chille shows human occupation a few thousand years earlier [14,000 B.C.?], so far the oldest evidence for people in the New World that nearly all scholars can agree on." [New York Times]

2004 - Nuclear Missle System / Russia - November 18th, 2004: "MOSCOW - Russia is developing a nuclear missle system unlike any weapon held by other countries, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday [11/17/04]. The move could serve as a signal to the United States as Washington pushes forward with a missle defense system." [A.P.]

2004 - Settlements / Baxter & Pilgrim - November 18th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The founders of the Pilgrim-Baxter mutual fund family have agreed to pay $80 million each to settle regulators' charges of improper trading to benefit themselves and friends at the expense of longer-term shareholders, authorities said Wednesday [11/17/04]. [....] Baxter and Pilgrim were prominent figures in the mutual fund industry, and the penalties were the heaviest to date for a settlement by individuals in the scandal." [A.P.]

2004 - Nomination / U.S. Education Official - November 18th, 2004: "Margaret Spellings on Wednesday [11/17/04] was nominated by President George W. Bush to become the nation's top education official." [Cox News Service]

2004 - Minor Surgery / Condoleezza Rice - November 18th, 2004: "Condoleezza Rice ... will undergo a minor surgical proceedure [uterine fibroid embolization] at a Washington hospital on Friday, a spokesman said." [News Services]

2004 - If Packages Could Talk? - November 19th, 2004: "In five to ten years, some experts say, RFID tags could alter how consumers act and what they know about the things they buy." [Rachel Melcer, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - 1st Divorce Case / Chile - November 19th, 2004: "SANTIAGO, Chile - A 48-year-old woman became the first person in Chilean history to file for divorce Thursday [11/18/04], ushering in a new era for this heavily Roman Catholic country that had been the last in South America with no divorce law." [A.P.]

2004 - Mad Cow Disease? / U.S.A. - November 19th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Another possible case of mad cow disease has been found in the United States, the Agriculture Department said Thursday [11/18/04]." [New York Times]

*Trivia: "No sign of mad cow disease was found in an animal the agriculture department had signaled out for follow-up tests, officials said Tuesday [11/23/04]. Initial screenings last week had raised the possibility of a new case of the disease in the United States. A more definitive test at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, came back negative, the officials said. The announcement was a relief to the U.S. beef industry, which is still trying to recover from the nation's first case of the disease last December [2003]." [News Services]

*Trivia: "[....] Ranching practices that are known to increase the risk of infection - including using cow blood and other animal matter in feed - are still in use because the Food and Drug Administration still hasn't published rules outlawing them. The FDA promised to change those rules last January [2003] after a Washington state dairy cow tested positive for mad cow disease [got milk?] in late December. In July, the agency said it was looking into a broader ban, but it failed to publish new rules that would have stopped practices known to increase the risk. That makes no sense.
   "There still is no tracking system in place to document where an animal is from and where its meat has gone. Last December [2003], the infected cow was identified only after its meat had been distributed. Even now, no one can say for certain whether any of that meat was consumed. [....] The United States tests fewer than 1 percent of the 35 million cows slaughtered in the country each year. In Europe, all animals over 30 months old are tested. Here, the only mandatory testing is done at slaughter-houses. Testing of cattle on ranches is voluntary [....]" [Editorial Section, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. B6, 11/24/04]

*Trivia: "The government is checking [June 2005] a potential case of mad cow disease in the United States in an animal previously cleared of being infected, the Agriculture Department said Friday [06/10/05]. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said more tests were needed to confirm the disease, but he said that the animal did not enter the food supply. [....]" [Based on: A.P. article, p. 27, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 06/11/05]

*Trivia: "Senior congressional Democrats on food and farm issues asked Monday [06/13/05] why the Agriculture Department suddenly ordered new tests on tissue from a cow declared free of mad cow disease seven months ago November 2004?]. Now, a brain sample from the cow is being sent to England for further study because a third round of tests came back positive late Friday [06/10/05]. The Agriculture Department's inspector general suddenly ordered those tests last week. [....]" [Based on: News Services, S.L.P.D., p. A13, 06/14/05]

2004 - Economic Indicators / U.S.A. - November 19th, 2004: "NEW YORK - The index of leading economic indicators, a guage of future economic activity, fell in October [2004] for the fifth consecutive month, suggesting that the economy may be slowing, a research group said Thursday [11/18/04]." [News Services]

*Trivia: "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]

2004 - Trivia / Northern Spotted Owl - November 19th, 2004: "The northern spotted owl will stay on the threatened species list, the government said Thursday [11/18/04]." [News Services]

2004 - Trivia / Heroin Production, Afghanistan - November 19th, 2004: "BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - Heroin production is booming in Afghanistan, undermining democracy and putting money in the coffers of terrorists, according to a U.N. report Thursday that called on U.S. and NATO-led forces to get more involved in fighting drug traffickers." [A.P.]

*Trivia: "In Afghanistan [July 2000] rulers ordered a complete ban on growing poppies. Defiers of the ban were threatened with jail."

2004 - Public Revelation / Pierolapithecus catalaunicus - November 19th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - A nearly 13 million-year-old ape discovered late last year [2003] in Spain is the last probable common ancestor to all living humans and great apes, a research team says in today's issue [11/19/04] of Science Magazine." [A.P.]

2004 - APEC Summit / Chile - November 20th, 2004: "SANTIAGO, Chile - Thousands of protestors marched peacefully through downtown Santiago on Friday [11/19/04], expressing anger at a weekend summit of Pacific Rim leaders, particularly President George W. Bush. But violence later errupted at a rock concert." [A.P.]

*Trivia: "In meetings Saturday with the leaders of Japan, South Korea, China, Russia, Indonesia and Canada, Bush sought help in bringing North Korea into disarmament talks and in isolating Iran. He also asked for cooperation in rebuilding Iraq and tried to calm concerns about the weakening U.S. dollar." [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2004 - U.S.-Iraqi Raid / Abu Hanifa Mosque, Iraq - November 20th, 2004: "BAGHDAD - Iraqi troops backed by U.S. soldiers raided [11/19/04] the most revered Sunni Muslim mosque [Abu Hanifa] in Baghdad...." [The Washington Post]

2004 - Bills vs. Rams - November 21st, 2004: "In football, the Buffalo Bills beat the St. Louis Rams 37 to 17 [in Buffalo] today." [E.M.]

2004 - "Deer Hunter" - November 21st, 2004: "Shortly after he was asked to leave a tree-stand on private property in northern Wisconsin [11/21/04], Chai Vang, from St. Paul MN, shot and killed five people and wounded three others. Another hunter died Monday [11/22/04]." [E.M.]

2004 - U.S. Budget Bill - November 21st, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Republicans whisked a $388 billion spending bill through Congress on Saturday [11/20/04], a mammoth measure that underscores the dominance of deficit politics by curbing dollars for everything from education to environmental cleanups. The House approved the measure by a bipartisan 344-51 margin, while Senate passage was by 65-30." [Based on: Alan Fram, A.P.]

2004 - Launch / Swift Spacecraft - November 21st, 2004: "The Swift spacecraft was launched into orbit Saturday [11/20/04], carrying a payload of scientific instruments designed to probe some of the most powerful explosive forces in the universe. Orbiting Earth at 325 miles, the nimble Swift spacecraft will try to unravel one of the strangest phenomena in the cosmos, an awesome fireworks display known as a gamma-ray burst. These bursts of energy, which occur on almost a daily basis in some part of the universe, are the most intense burst of electromagnetic radiation ever measured. In the few seconds before they flicker out, they release more energy than the sun will in its entire lifespan." [News Services]

2004 - Polish Hostage Release / Iraq - November 21st, 2004: "A Polish woman [Teresa Borcz Khalifa] abducted from her Baghdad apartment [10/28/04] reappeared Saturday [11/20/04] in Poland after being suddenly released. On Saturday, Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka rufused to say when, where or how Borcz Khalifa was freed." [Based on: A.P.]

2004 - U.S. Intelligence Reform / NOT! - November 21st, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Long-debated legislation to dramatically reshape the nation's intelligence community collapsed Saturday [11/20/04] in the House as conservative Republicans refused to accept a compromise favored by the White House." [The Washington Post]

2004 - No-Brainer? / Stadium Construction, St. Louis Mo. - November 21st, 2004: "The St. Louis Fire Department is refusing to permit the next stage of construction of the Cardinals' new stadium because of safety concerns, namely the proximity of the stadium to the highway." [Based on: Jake Wagman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

*Trivia:

   "Well, let's see now. First, the St. Louis Police Department forgets to count 5,760 crimes, issues squirrelly crime statistics and leaves the mayor and the chief with egg on their faces.
   "Then certain St. Louis School Board members read the Post-Dispatch and are shocked to discover that fat raises have been given to various school bureaucrats.
   "And now, as the concrete towers rise for the new $387 million Cardinals stadium, we learn that the Fire Department is balking because the stadium is a mere 40 feet from Highway 40. Apparently, there's not enough room for emergency vehicles. It's nice that someone finally noticed.
   "As journalists, we have great sympathy for people who have trouble with numbers. Far be it from us to criticize others who are numerically challenged, who tend to drift off when reading weighty financial documents and who have the planning acumen of Wile E. Coyote.
   "Still, the recent municipal follies might leave questions in the minds of voters, such as: 'Can't anybody in this town count?'
   "We're especially sympathetic to the Fire Department. Apparently, Chief Sherman George began complaining about the stadium's proximity to the highway last year when construction was just a gleam in the owner's eyes. His concerns are legitimate, although we're not sure why nobody listened to them a lot sooner.
   "The busy elevated highway is so close to the stadium that a serious problem at one could become a problem for both. A fire on the highway, for instance, could be dangerous for baseball fans beneath. In current designs, there isn't enough room for emergency vehicles to maneuver between the highway and the stadium, and fire trucks can't reach the stadium interior. A terrorist attack at a crowded stadium, with the cardinals drawing nearly 40,000 fans to each game, and no way to get help in or get people out in a hurry are serious safety issues.
   What's amazing here is that these concerns weren't resolved in the planning stages, well before the concrete started flowing. Then again, an efficient operation would be far less fun to watch."

[Editorial Section, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. B6, 11/24/04]

2004 - Trivia / Pulitzer Inc. - November 22nd, 2004: "Pulitzer Inc. has hired an investment banker to explore 'strategic alternatives,' including the sale of the company. The decision to weigh possible offers for the company, which owns the Post-Dispatch and the Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis, could lead to the end of one of the nation's most enduring media empires. [....] Pulitzer Inc. is the successor to the company founded by Joseph Pulitzer in St. Louis in 1878." [Based on: Christopher Carey, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

*Trivia: "Only four members of the Pulitzer family are on the board of directors - and three of them are at least 70 years old." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 11/23/04]

2004 - Suspended? / Uranium Enrichment, Iran - November 22nd, 2004: "Iran pledged Sunday [11/21/04] to meet its deadline and suspend its uranium enrichment activities today [11/22/04]." [News Services]

*Trivia: "Iran sought on Wednesday [11/24/04] to partly roll back its commitment to freeze all uranium enrichment programs, demanding the right to run some equiptment that can be used to produce nuclear arms." [A.P.]

*Trivia: "Iran agreed Sunday [11/28/04] to fully suspend its nuclear programs and won some additional concessions from Europe on a resolution against the Islamic republic." [Washington Post, 11/29/04]

2004 - Trivia / Olin Corp.- November 23rd, 2004: "Olin Corp. will relocate its headquarters and top executives to Clayton [Mo.] in January [2005], returning its corporate offices to the St. Louis area from Norwalk, Conn."

2004 - Investigation / Paige Laurie - November 23rd, 2004: "The University of Southern California opened an investigation Monday [11/22/04] into allegations that Paige Laurie, an heir to the Wal-Mart empire and daughter of the owners of the Blues [St. Louis] hockey team, paid another student to complete her class work for 3 1/2 years." [Based on: Greg Jonsson, St Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Trivia / Drug Safety, U.S.A. - November 23rd, 2004: "PHILADELPHIA - The influential Journal of the American Medical Association has joined those who say the government system for monitoring new drugs' safety is broken and often fails to protect the public." [Based on: Marie McCullough, Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2004 - Malnutrition? / Iraqi Children - November 23rd, 2004: "STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Malnutrition among Iraq's youngest children has nearly doubled since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq despite U.N. efforts to deliver food to the war-ravaged country, a Norwegian research group said Monday [11/22/04]." [A.P.]

2004 - Chap. 11 / Trump Hotels & Casinos - November 23rd, 2004: "Trump Hotels & Casinos Resorts Inc. and numerous related operations filed for protection from creditors  under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code on Sunday [11/21/04] in U.S. Bankruptct Court in Camden, N.J." [Compiled from Associated Press, Dow Jones News and Post-Dispatch reports.]

2004 - U.N. Hostages Released / Afghanistan - November 23rd, 2004: "KABUL, Afghanistan - Three U.N. workers [Angelito Nayan, Anetta Flanigan, & Shqipe Hebibi] kidnapped in Afghanistan [10/28/04] have been released unharmed [11/22/04] after more than three weeks in captivity, officials said today." [A.P.]

2004 - Indecency? / Viacom - November 24th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Viacom agreed Tuesday [11/23/04] to pay a record $3.5 million to settle dozens of government investigations into allegations of indecency in its radio and television programming." [A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / Dollar vs. Euro - November 24th, 2004: "The dollar slid to another new low Tuesday [11/23/04] against the euro, which rose above $1.31 for the first time after a weekend meeting of the world's top finance officials failed to signal action to stop the dollar's slide. [....] The euro has risen from $1.20 about two months ago, prompting European leaders to worry that the continued rise might damage their fragile export-driven recovery." [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Post-Dispatch (St. Louis) reports.]

2004 - Trivia / Darleen A. Druyun - November 24th, 2004: "Over time, I'm told, what she did was acquire a great deal of authority and make a lot of decisions and there was very little adult supervision above, below or on the side." [Quote from U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld - in Bloomberg News article - 11/25/04]

2004 - Coalition Offensive / Iraq - November 24th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - About 5,000 U.S. Marines, British troops and Iraqi forces launched an offensive Tuesday [11/23/04] aimed at clearing a swath of insurgent hotbeds across a cluster of small towns south of Baghdad. The series of raids and house searches was the third largescale military operation this month aimed at suppressing Iraq's Sunni Muslim insurgency ahead of elections set for Jan. 30." [Based on: A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / Violent Video Games - November 24th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Video games that encourage players to shoot rival gang members, watch bare-breasted women and re-create the assassination of President John F. Kennedy came under fire Tuesday [11/23/04] from a watchdog group [the National Institute on Media and the Family]." [A.P.]

2004 - Disputed Election / Ukraine - November 24th, 2004: "KIEV, Ukraine - Outgoing President Leonid Kuchma on Tuesday [11/23/04/] called for negotiations in Ukraine's spiraling political crisis, hours after the leader of the opposition declared himself the winner of a disputed presidential election to the approval of tens of thousands of protestors. [....] The Bush administration urged the Ukranian government not to certify results from Sunday's [11/21/04] runoff election that showed Yanukovych edging Yushchenko." [A.P.]

*Trivia: "The United States has spent more than $65 million in the past two years to aid political organizations in Ukraine. The U.S. Agency for International Development paid to bring opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko to meet U.S. leaders and helped to underwrite exit polls indicating he won last month's disputed runoff election. U.S. officials say the activities don't amount to interference in Ukraine's election, as Russian President Vladimir Putin alleges, but are part of the $1 billion the State Department spends each year trying to build democracy worldwide. [....] The International Republican Institute got $25.9 million last year to encourage democracy in Ukraine and more than 50 other countries. Its leader, Lorne Craner, is a former State Department official. [....]" [A.P.,12/11/04]

2004 - Fourth-Quarter Profit / Deere & Co. - November 24th, 2004: "Deere & Co., the world's largest maker of agricultural equiptment said Tuesday [11/23/04] that fourth-quarter profit surged fivefold as farmers took advantage of higher income and expiring tax breaks to replace aging tractors and combines." [Bloomberg News]

2004 - Resignation Announcement / Dan Rather - November 24th, 2004: "Dan Rather said Tuesday [11/23/04] that he will end his nearly 24-year reign as CBS news anchor early next year [March 2005]. [....]" [Washington Post]

2004 - Multiple Sclerosis Drug / Natalizumab - November 24th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The government approved on Tuesday [11/23/04] a drug [natalizumab, a monoclonal antibody produced by Biogen Idec Inc.] that tries a new method of attacking multiple sclerosis, an incurable disease of the central nervous system that affects 350,000 Americans." [A.P.]

2004 - Resignation Announcement / Stephen Friedman - November 24th, 2004: "Stephen Friedman, one of President George W. Bush's top economic advisors, is leaving the White House [by the end of the year] to return to the private sector in New York, a senior administration official said Tuesday [11/23/04]. [....] Friedman replaced Larry Lindsey, who resigned with former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil two years ago in a shake-up of Bush's economic team." [Based on: News Services, St Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A9]

2004 - Trivia / PBDEs - November 25th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Concentrations of a flame retardent banned by many European countries have been found in Lake Michigan and are increasing , adding to concerns over previous findings that the chemicals were showing up in supermarket foods and women's breast milk. In the latest study, sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, University of Wisconsin scientists found PBDE's or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, in sdiment hundreds of feet down in Lake Michigan. [....] How the PBDEs and other chemicals get into Lake Michigan is still not clear, but the air appears the most likely way. PBDEs are added to plastics used in computers, televisions, furniture and carpets. Some computer makers stopped using PBDEs in 2002, but a flame retardent related to PBDEs is still used in some circuit boards. [....] California researchers found that San Francisco Bay-area women have three to 10 times greater amounts in their breast tissue than either European or Japanese women, while Indiana University researchers found levels in Indiana and California women and infants 20 times higher than in Sweden and Norway. The European Union moved to restrict the chemicals' use in February 2003. In the United States, the Bush administration has expressed concern that traces of the chemicals, part of a broader class known as brominated flame retardants, have been showing up in people and wildlife. It is still gathering information while working with industry on alternatives. [....] The flame retardant chemicals, like PCBs that were banned decades ago in the United States, persist in the environment for years." [A.P.]

2004 - AIG Settlement - November 25th, 2004: "NEW YORK - American International Group Inc., the world's largest insurance company said Wednesday [11/24/04] that it will pay $126 million to settle federal allegations that it helped two companies commit acounting fraud. [....] The U.S. attorney's office is looking into whether Greenberg [AIG chairman, Maurice 'Hank' Greenberg] illegally interfered with his company's share price just before AIG's acquisition of American General Corp. in August 2001, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter." [A.P.]

2004 - Bird Flu Scare? - November 25th, 2004: "Today [the day after Thanksgiving], CNN News continued repeating [about every half hour] a report about Bird Flu. Something about how a Bird Flu pandemic that could kill an estimated 7 million people, beginning next week! According to the World Health Organization report, an estimated 2-7 million people could be affected." [Etznab Mathers]

2004 - U.S. Tour End / Bosnia - November 25th, 2004: "TUZLA, Bosnia-Herzegovina - U.S. soldiers marked the end of their nine-year peacekeeping role in Bosnia on Wednesday [11/24/04]. Next month, NATO will hand over the task to the European Union." [A.P.]

2004 - Jacques Chirac / Libya - November 25th, 2004: "French President Jacques Chirac, on the first visit to Libya by a French head of state in more than half a century, said Wednesday [11/24/04] that turbulent times were over and a 'true partnership' was ahead." [News Services]

2004 - Trivia / Ukraine Election - November 25th, 2004: "KIEV, Ukraine - Ukraine's Central Election Commission declared Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych the winner of the country's bitterly disputed presidential vote Wednesday [11/24/04], defying strong pressure from the United States and other Western countries. In response, opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko called for a national strike starting today [11/25/04]." [Washington Post]

2004 - Trivia / Doe Run, Peru - November 25th, 2004: "Doe Run Resources Corp. of Maryland Heights [Mo.], the world's No. 2 producer of lead, might shut its copper-zinc smelter in Peru at year's end unless that nation's government grants a five-year extension for an environmental-cleanup deadline, the company's chief executive said Wednesday [11/24/04]. Doe Run is on course to meet 2004 output goals at its La Oroya smelter, said the chief executive, Jeffrey Zelms. He didn't provide output figures. The smelter produces 70,000 tons of zinc and 60,000 tons of copper a year, according to the nation's Energy and Mines Ministry. Doe Run, a privately held company, said it has spent $135 million on cleaning up the town of La Oroya since taking over the former state-run smelter in 1997. But the company can't complete a sulfuric-acid plant by the end of 2006 to curb emissions and lower lead levels in children's blood there, Zelms said. [....]" [Based on: Bloomberg News]

2004 - Trivia / Geoffrey D. Miller - November 25th, 2004: "The two-star Army general [Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller] who ran the U.S. military prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and later took over the U.S. military prison system in Iraq has been reassigned to a senior staff job in the Pentagon." [News Services]

2004 - Trivia / Global Warming - November 25th, 2004: "REYKJAVIK, Iceland - Although faced with fresh evidence of global warming, the United States and other members of the Artic Council failed Wednesday [11/24/04] to make any recommendations to combat a problem most scientists say is causing sea ice to melt and temperatures to rise." [A.P.]

2004 - GE Acquisition / Ionics Inc.- November 25th, 2004: "WATERTOWN, Mass. - A unit of the industrial , financial and media conglomerate General Electric Co. said Wednesday [11/24/04] that it will buy Ionics Inc., a water-treatment company, for $1.1 billion in cash." [A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / Umbilical Cord Blood - November 25th, 2004: "BOSTON - Umbilical cord blood, now used mostly to treat children with leukemia, could save thousands of adults with the disease each year who cannot find bone marrow donors, two big studies indicate." [A.P.]

2004 - Teen Machete Attack / Indiana - November 25th, 2004: "VALPARAISO, Ind. - A student carrying a machete and another knife slashed five classmates Wednesday morning [11/24/04] as they watched a Spanish class video, authorities said." [A.P]

2004 - Flu Trivia / U.S.A. - November 26th, 2004: "About 91 percent of deaths from flu occur in people 65 and older, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Most people who get the flu recover nicely, he said." [Based on: Article by Tina Hesman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Trivia / David Graham - November 26th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - David Graham says he was suprised by the reception he got back at his Food and Drug Administration office after telling Congress the government had allowed unsafe drugs to remain on the market. 'To be hugged and slapped on the back' was not the welcome he expected from colleagues, he said in an interview." [A.P.]

2004 - Rock Slide / Colorado - November 26th, 2004: "Workers were clearing several boulders the size of buses from Interstate 70 on Thursday [11/25/04] after a rock slide closed a 24-mile section of the highway [between Glenwood Springs & Gypsum Colorado]." [News Services]

2004 - Oil Spill / Delaware River - "Divers found a six-foot gash on the tanker that leaked 30,000 gallons of crude oil into the Delaware River [11/26/04], officials said Sunday [11/28/04]." [News Services]

*Trivia: "A Greek tanker that spilled up to half a million gallons of crude oil into the Deleware River last month apparently gashed its hull on a discarded pipe protruding from the river bottom, the Coast Guard said Tuesday [12/07/04]. [....]" [News Services, 12/08/04]

2004 - Election Trivia / Ukraine - November 26th, 2004: "KIEV, Ukraine - Ukraine's Supreme Court on Thursday [11/25/04] blocked the inauguration of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, the declared winner of Sunday's presidential election. The court agreed to hear arguments that the vote was tainted by fraud and shifting some momentum to supporters of opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko." [Washington Post]

2004 - Nuclear Enrichment / Brazil - November 26th, 2004: "VIENNA, Austria - The U.N. nuclear watchdog has reached a deal with Brazil on inspecting its uranium enrichment plant, the agency's chief said Thursday [11/25/04]. The agreement signals an end to months of disputes over how to police technology that can be used for nuclear arms. [....] Enriched uranium produced by the plant would be used in Brazil's Angra I and Angra II nuclear plants. [....] Diplomats say the U.N. agency has little concern that Brazil is trying to make nuclear weapons through enrichment, which can provide both energy and the material for the core of such arms. [....] Brazil ran a secret nuclear military program before giving it up in the 1980s." [Based on: George Jahn, A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / Female Circumcision - November 26th, 2004: "VIENNA, Austria - Young girls born in Europe to immigrant families from Africa are being subjected to ritual genital mutilation, and authorities are doing little to discourage it, a leading women's rights activist warned Thursday [11/25/04]. [....] Islamic religious leaders are telling Europe's Muslim Africans that the prophets recommend the ancient ritual, which involves the removal of the clitoris, often with a dull blade and no anesthesia, Dirie [Somalia-born supermodel Waris Dirie] said. [....] Although women generally perform the procedure - sometimes called female circumcision - men are ultimately responsible because 'untrimmed' young women 'face great difficulties in African societies in finding a husband,' Dirie said." [A.P.]

2004 - Shortage / Health Care Workers - November 26th, 2004: "LONDON - Efforts to combat diseases such as malaria, AIDS, tuberculosis and polio in the developing world are being thwarted by a critical shortage of 4 million health care workers, a report says." [A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / Elections, Iraq - November 27th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Leading Iraqi politicians called Friday [11/26/04] for a six-month delay in the Jan. 30 elections because of the spiraling violence." [A.P.]

2004 - Test-Fired / "Akash" Missile, India - November 27th, 2004: "India on Friday [11/26/04] test-fired a surface-to-air missle on the coast of eastern Orissa state, a government official said. The weapon - named 'Akash,' or 'Sky' has a range of 15-20 miles and can carry conventional warheads, the official said. India's arsenal also includes medium-range, long-range and supersonic missles with both nuclear and conventional capabilities." [News Services] 

2004 - ScanEagle / Iraq - November 28th, 2004: "Somewhere above Iraq, a 4-foot-long robotic airplane with a 10-foot wingspan flies over the positions of enemy insurgents and sends real-time video images to Marines on the ground. At an altitude of 1,500 feet, the camera aboard the ScanEagle unmanned aircraft is capable of making out the facial expressions of enemy soldiers, detecting their cigarettes or even seeing the steam rising from coffee. ScanEagle was developed and built by the St-Louis-based defense unit of Boeing Co. and the Insitu Group of Bingen, Wash. It can fly as long as 15 hours at a time while burning less than two gallons of fuel. Since being developed over the summer, ScanEagle aircraft has logged more than 1,000 hours in Iraq on intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance missions for the Marines. [....] In 1998, one of Insitu Group's robotic planes flew from Newfoundland to Scotland in 27 hours. The plane weighed about 29 pounds and used 1 1/2 gallons of fuel. [....] ScanEagle carries an inertially stabilized video camera with a gimbaled eye that allows the robotic bird to track static and moving targets. It doesn't need a runway because it takes off from a catapult launcher. For landings, a 50-foot high pole with a rope snags the aircraft. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Election Status / Ukraine - November 28th, 2004: "KIEV, Ukraine - Parliament on Saturday [11/27/04] boosted the opposition's challenge to a presidential runoff election, proclaiming that results handing victory to Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych were invalid due to fraud." [Los Angeles Times]

2004 - Earthquake / Mt. St. Helens - November 28th, 2004: "A 3.1 magnitude earthquake shook the crater at Mount St. Helens on Saturday [11/27/04], the strongest quake at the volcano since mid October. U.S. Geological Survey scientists said they did not believe a major eruption was imminent. Saturday's earthquake appeared to be a larger  version of the small earthquakes scientists have registered about once a minute for the past several weeks, the USGS said in a news relaease." [News Services]

2004 - Trivia / Nuclear Technology Traffiking - November 28th, 2004: "JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Authorities pursuing traffikers in nuclear weapons technology recently uncovered an audacious scheme to deliver a complete uranium enrichment plant to Libya, documents and interviews show. The discovery provides fresh evidence of the reach and sophistication of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan's global black market in nuclear know-how and equiptment. It also exposes a previously undetected South African branch of the Khan network. [....] Khan, a German-trained metalurgist, used stolen designs and a shadowy network of European suppliers in the 1980s to build the Pakistani plant where uranium was enriched for that country's first atomic bomb. [....] As part of a deal negotiated with the United States and Britain, Libya disclosed evidence that Khan and his associates had sold Tripoli, the Libyan capital, $100 million worth of technology over 10 years, including designs for a nuclear warhead. [....] Under international pressure, Pakistan forced Khan to confess on national television that he had sold the country's nuclear secrets. Pakistani President Pervez, Musharraf pardoned Khan immediately. In the months before police raided Tradefin, one participant said he had pressed his alleged accomplices to 'melt down' the equiptment, burn the designs and destroy computer files, according to statements to police. But when investigators arrived with search warrants, the evidence was intact. [....] Tradefin's owner, Johan A.M. Meyer, 53, was arrested a day after the raid and charged with traffiking in nuclear technology. He quickly struck a deal to provide evidence in exchange for dismissal of the charges. Meyer, who worked in South Africa's uranium enrichment program in the 1980s, admitted in a sworn statement that he knew the complicated system was for a nuclear plant. [....] In his deal with prosecutors, Meyer implicated two associates, Gerhard Wisser, 65, and Daniel Geiges, 66, according to court records. [....] Wisser , whom prosecutors portray as the conduit to the Khan network, has long been managing director of Krisch Engineering, a consulting company in Randburg, a suburb of Johannesburg. Geiges has worked for him since 1978. [....] A fourth person associated with the South African connection, Gotthard Lerch, 61, was arrested last week by Swiss authorities on a German warrant accusing him of receiving $4.25 million to help Libya develop nuclear weapons." [Los Angeles Times]

2004 - Trivia / U.S. Social Security Trust Fund - November 28th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The White House and Republicans in Congress are all but certain to embrace large-scale government borrowing to help finance President George W. Bush's plan to create personal investment accounts in Social Security, according to administration officials, members of Congress and independent analysts. [....] The budget deficit in the year ended Sept. 30 was $413 billion. The total national debt is about $7.5 trillion, including $3 trillion owed by the government to itself, much of it in the form of the Social Security trust fund." [Based on: Richard W. Stevenson, New York Times]

*Trivia: "In the past week [Dec. 2004], Bush has created or used public relations events to promote his view that Social Security is facing a dire financial threat and needs major repairs. [....] But Bush's critics say he is overstating the financial problems of Social Security so that the public will more readily accept the 'radical' cure of private accounts. [....] Kim Wallace, chief political analyst for Lehman Brothers, the investment house, said the administration's real purpose is to reduce Social Security payroll taxes. 'This is more about restructuring tax policy and not calling it that,' he said. [....]" [Los Angeles Times, 12/16/04]

*Trivia: "AARP, the influential lobby for retired Americans, said Wednesday [12/29/04] that it would begin a $5 million advertising campaign opposing President George W. Bush's proposal for private Social Security accounts. The campaign is timed to coincide with the start of the new congress. [....]" [News Services, 12/30/04]

2004 - Assassination Attempt? / George W. Bush - November 28th, 2004: "BOGOTA, Columbia - Marxist rebels [FARC] tried to organize an assassination attempt against President George W. Bush during his visit to the port city of Cartagena last week, a top Columbian official [Defense Secretary Jorge Alberto Uribe] said Saturday [11/27/04]." [Los Angeles Times]

2004 - Volcanic Activity / Nyiragongo Volcano, Congo - November 28th, 2004: "A thick plume of steam rose from Nyiragongo on November 28, 2004. The steam, and possibly some volcanic ash rise above the clouds and drift west, northwest in this Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image acquired by NASA’s Terra satellite. Located on the northern shores of Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the volcano has a violent history. An eruption in 2002 sent fast-moving rivers of lava into the nearby city of Goma. No damage has been reported for the current eruption, which appears to be similar other eruptions in 2004 in which plumes of steam and ash rose from the volcano. [....] [Link: 1

2004 - Robot Trivia - November 29th, 2004: "Last month, the United Nations said in an annual industry report that the demand for robots is expected to grow over the next several years. Today, it said, as many as 1 million industrial robots are being used worldwide. More than 81,000 industrial robots were sold last year, with 106,000 expected by 2007. Meanwhile, sales of domestic robots are booming. Dan Kara, president of the Robotics Trends trade journal, said most of the new jobs are likely to be in the field of service robots. 'That would be things like robotic surgical devices, robotic sewer cleaners, entertainment robots and household robots like the Roomba,' he said, referring to the automatic vacuum. Worldwide, there were 610,000 robotic vacuums and lawnmowers in operation last year, the U.N. said. Over the next three years, roughly 4 million more self-controlled vacuums and mowers are expected to be sold." [Based on: The Dallas Morning News]

2004 - Retirement Age? / U.S. Supreme Court Justices - November 29th, 2004: "Six in 10 Americans say their sould be a mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court justices, according to an Associated Press poll. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Earthquake / Japan - November 29th, 2004: "An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 struck Japan's northern island of Hokkaido early today. [....] The quake was centered off Hokkaido's east coast, about 550 miles northwest of Tokyo, 30 miles below the sea surface. A 4.6-magnitude aftershock followed the initial tremor about a half-hour later." [News Services]

2004 - Presidential Election Status / Romania - November 29th, 2004: "Exit polls showed no clear winner in Sunday's [11/28/04] presidential vote in Romania, likely forcing a runoff next month between Prime Minister Adrian Nastase of the left-wing Social Democratic party and Bucharest mayor Traian Basescu. [....] The polls showed Nastase leading for the presidency with up to 43 percent of the vote, while Basescu was in second place with 35 percent. If the exit polls hold up, a runoff will be needed Dec. 12, since neither candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote." [News Services]

*Trivia: "Traian Basescu took office Monday [12/20/04] as Romania's third president since the Communist regime fell in 1989, and he pledged to clean up rampant corruption and carry out reforms that will ready the country for European Union membership. Basescu replaced Ion Iliescu, who led Romania for 11 years. [....]" [News Services, 12/21/04]

2004 - Presidential Election Status / Ukraine - November 29th, 2004: "KIEV, Ukraine - The political crisis over Ukraine's disputed presidential election threatened Sunday [11/28/04] to tear the nation apart. Leaders of eastern provinces pressed demands bordering on separatism, and opposition supporters pledged to block the outgoing president's movements if he didn't meet their demands. [....]" [Los Angeles Times]

*Trivia: "Russia's roots date back not to Moscow but to ninth-century Kiev, when the cradle of Slavic civilization was the medieval state of Kievan Russia. Many Russians never have accepted fully Ukraine's breakaway from the Soviet Union in 1991, analysts say. A poll conducted last weekend by the Moscow-based Levada Center found that nearly 70 percent of Russians do not consider Ukraine a foreign state." [Chicago Tribune, 11/28/04]

*Trivia: "The United States has spent more than $65 million in the past two years to aid political organizations in Ukraine. The U.S. Agency for International Development paid to bring opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko to meet U.S. leaders and helped to underwrite exit polls indicating he won last month's disputed runoff election. U.S. officials say the activities don't amount to interference in Ukraine's election, as Russian President Vladimir Putin alleges, but are part of the $1 billion the State Department spends each year trying to build democracy worldwide. [....] The International Republican Institute got $25.9 million last year to encourage democracy in Ukraine and more than 50 other countries. Its leader, Lorne Craner, is a former State Department official. [....]" [A.P.,12/11/04]

2004 - Relief Worker Fatalities / Afghanistan - November 29th, 2004: "Taliban militants stormed the office of an Afghan relief organization early Sunday, killing three workers and wounding four police officers in a pre-dawn shootout, officials said. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Test Fired / Ghazanvi Missle, Pakistan - November 29th, 2004: "ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan test fired a new version of its medium-range, nuclear capable missle today, a top government official said. [....] It was the third test of the Ghazanvi missle. India has said technology for the missle came from China or North Korea in the 1990s. It was Pakistan's second major missle test in the past six weeks. On Oct 12, Pakistan launched a Ghauri V missle, which has a range of 930 miles and could reach several Indian cities. Officials in Pakistan, however, said the test was not intended as a message to new Delhi. India and Pakistan routinely test missles. India on Friday [11/26/04] test fired a surface-to-air missle." [A.P.]

2004 - Rwandan Troops / Congo - November 30th, 2004: "KINSHASA, Congo - Congo intends to send up to 10,000 reinforcements toward its eastern border with Rwanda, a presidential spokesman said Monday [11/29/04], after credible reports that thousands of Rwandan troops had crossed into its territory. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / Free Speech, U.S.A. - November 30th, 2004: "A federal appeals court barred the Defense Department on Monday [11/29/04] from witholding funds from colleges and universities that deny access to military recruiters." [News Services]

2004 - Videotape / Ayman Al-Zawahri - November 30th, 2004: "CAIRO, Egypt - Osama bin Laden's top deputy vowed in a videotape aired Monday [11/29/04] to keep fighting the United States until it changed its policies. [....] On the tape, al-Zawahri said, 'You have to choose between one of two methods to deal with Muslims: either on mutual respect and exchange of interests, or to deal with them as if they are spoils of war. This is your problem and you have to choose yourself. You have to realize that we are a nation of patience and endurance. We will stand firm to fight you with God's help until doomsday.' In a reference apparently showing that the latest tape was made before the presidential election in the United States, al-Zawahri said there was no difference between President George W. Bush and his rival, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusettes. 'As for elections in America, the two candidates are competing to win the satisfaction of Israel,' saying that fact proved 'there will be no solution with America without forcing it to surrender to justice.' [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Black Box Trivia / U.S. Automobiles - November 30th, 2004: "Not all vehicles are equipped with a 'black box' that records such information as speed and break use. Automakers are not required to disclose which vehicles carry the device. A private company publishes a list of vehicles equipped with black boxes and their recording capabilities. The site is: www.harristechnical.com/downloads/cdrlist.pdf  [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A1]

2004 - "Back In Time" / Edward Jones - November 30th, 2004: "At 1:30 a.m. Sunday [11/28/04], a communications satellite orbiting Earth suddenly went blank, permanently rendered useless by an 'electrical-distribution anomaly' that its owners still don't understand. Michele Liebman really doesn't care exactly what happened. All she knows is that the malfunctioning satellite effictively sent her company, Des Peres [Mo.]-based investment brokerage Edward Jones, back to the technological Stone Age. [....] Liebman and her co-workers began systematically calling all 9,000 brokers to tell them that Monday [11/29/04] wouldn't be business as usual. [....] Effectively, brokers' computers were no more useful than potted plants. Brokers couldn't use computers for stock transactions or to retrieve customer account information. [....]" [Based on: Jack Naudi, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Lab-Grown Norovirus / St. Louis, Mo. - November 30th, 2004: Scientists have for the first time in a lab grown the virus that causes a major kind of food poisoning, giving doctors a new chance to tackle stomach bugs. While the feat was accompliched in mouse cells, scientists hope the success will lead to better understanding of the human version of norovirus infection. That form of gastroenteritis infects more than 23 million people a year. [....] 'People for decades have been unable to study these viruses because we've been unable to grow them,' said Dr. Herbert 'Skip' W. Virgin, a viral immunologist at Washington University's School of Medicine [in St. Louis, Mo.]. Virgin's team grew the virus in mouse cells and reported the work today in the Public Library of Science-Biology, an online journal. 'We broke down several major barriers in the study of a major human disease.' "  [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Fined / Ameristar Casino St. Charles Inc. - November 30th, 2004: "Missouri gambling regulators Monday [11/29/04] fined Ameristar Casino $200,000 because of a malfunction in its progressive slot machines at its St. Charles [Mo.] casino. The Ameristar Casino St. Charles Inc. broke gambling laws when a component in its progressive slot machines malfunctioned, resulting in an incorrect amount being shown to gamblers as the potential jackpot, the commission said. [....] The commission said the progressive slot machines reported the total incorrectly between August 2002 and March 2004, accounting for lower jackpots to the tune of $152,811 in all. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. C2]

2004 - Largest Ammunition Supplier / Alliant Techsystems Inc. - November 30th, 2004: "Alliant Techsystems Inc., the largest supplier of ammunition and rocket motors to the U.S. military, got a $231.7 million order from the Army for small-caliber ammunition cartridges. The cartridges will be produced in Independence, Mo., and delivered through September 2006, the Army said in a statement. The order is part of a $303 million contract, the Army said. Edina, Minn.-based Alliant has almost quadrupled production rates in the four years it has had responsibility for operating the government-owned Lake City Army Ammunition Plant under a 10-year contract." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. C2]

December 2004

2004 - Resignation / Tom Brokaw - December 1st, 2004: "Tom Brokaw, the NBC Nightly News anchor signed off Wednesday [12/01/04] after more than two decades. NBC anchor Brian Williams will take his place." [E.M.]

2004 - Status / U.S. Death Toll, Iraq - December 1st, 2004: "At least 135 U.S. military personnel died last month [November 2004], casualty reports show. That is the same number as in April [2004], when the insurgency flared in Fallujah and elsewhere in the Sunni Triangle, where U.S. forces and their Iraqi allies lost a large measure of control. [....] The Pentagon's official death toll for Iraq, dating to the start of the war, stood at 1,254 on Tuesday [11/30/04]." [New York Daily News]

2004 - Worker Concessions / Park Hills, Mo. - December 1st, 2004: "Workers at Glass Group Inc.'s plant in Park Hills, Mo., have agreed to accept reduced compensation to keep the facility open. [....] The Glass Group declined to release final details of the deal. Last month the company said it hoped to cut about $1.50 an hour in wages or benefits, said Jim Hahn, a spokesman. The union was looking into how to divide the concessions, he said. [....]" [Mary Jo Feldstein, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. C2]

2004 - U.S. Reception / Critical Red Cross Report - December 1st, 2004: "The International Committee of the Red Cross said Tuesday [11/30/04] that it has given the Bush administration a confidential report critical of U.S. treatment of terror suspects detained at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. [....]"

2004 - Resignation Announcement / Tom Ridge - December 1st, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Tom Ridge, the nation'a first secretary of homeland security, announced his resignation Tuesday [11/30/04] from the difficult job created to safeguard the nation after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He is the seventh Cabinet member to announce plans to depart before President George W. Bush's second term. [....]" [Cox News Service]

2004 - Resignation Announcement / Kweisi Mfume - December 1st, 2004: "BALTIMORE - NAACP President Kweisi Mfume announced Tuesday [11/30/04] that he is stepping down after a nearly nine-year tenure in which he helped rescue the nation's oldest and largest civil rights group from debt and scandal . [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Israeli Demand / Palestinian Media Censorship - December 1st, 2004: "JERUSALEM - Interim Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas ordered a halt to anti-Israel incitement in government-controlled Media, officials said Tuesday [11/30/04]. His action met a key Israeli demand added to the new signs of goodwill that have emerged since the death of Yasser Arafat . [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - FBI Search / AIPAC - December 2nd, 2004: "FBI agents searched files and served subpoenas Wednesday [12/01/04] at the offices of a major pro-Israel lobbying organization as part of an investigation into whether Israel improperly obtained classified information on Iran. The search at the offices of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee was disclosed in a statement by the organization, which repeated that it is cooperating 'in order to get these false and baseless allegations put to rest fully and swiftly.' The FBI previously searched AIPAC's offices on Aug. 27 [2004]. The FBI and Justice Department declined comment. The Israeli government has denied spying on the United States [News Services]

*Trivia: "The FBI is investigating [08/27/04] whether an analyst for the Pentagon's No. 3 official [Douglas J. Feith] acted as a spy for Israel, giving the country classified materials about secret White House deliberations on Iran, two federal law enforcement officials said Friday [08/27/04]." [A.P.]

*Trivia: "The inquiry, which has been going on for more than two years, also has focused on other civilians in the secretary of defense's office, said the sources, who spoke on condition they not be identified, but who have firsthand knowledge of the subject. [....] Feith's office, which overseas policy matters, has been the source of numerous controversies over the last three years. His office had close ties to Chalabi and was responsible for postwar Iraq planning that the administration has now acknowledged was inadequate. Before the war, Feith and his aides pushed the now-discredited theory that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was in league with al-Qaida." [By Warren P. Strobel, Knight Ridder Newspapers, 08/29/04]

2004 - Marriage Statistics / USA - December 2nd, 2004: "In 1970, only six percent of women 30 to 34 had never been married; the figure was 23 percent in 2003. The rate for never-married men in the same age group rose to 33 percent from 9 percent. [....] In 2003, nearly 35 percent of all births [U.S.A.] were to unmarried women, according to the national Center for Health Statistics. That's up from 11 percent in 1970, though the rate of increase has slowed since 1995, when 32 percent of births were out-of-wedlock. Births to unmarried teens have declined since the mid-1990s. [....] Compared with 1970, Blankenhorn [David Blankenhorn] said, 'There is a sense that marriage has a less dominant role in our society and is less influential as a social institution.' [....]." [A.P.]

2004 - U.S. Force Increase? / Iraq - December 2nd, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The United States will increase its forces in Iraq to the highest level since the invasion to further tighten security ahead of national elections next month, the Pentagon announced Wednesday [12/01/04]. The plan calls for sending in about 1,500 new troops and extending tours of duty for more than 10,000 already there. [....]" [Cox News Service]

2004 - No Confidence Vote / Parliament, Ukraine - December 2nd, 2004: "KIEV, Ukraine - Ukraine's opposition scored key victories Wednesday [12/01/04] in its bid to scrap a disputed presidential election as parliament voted no confidence in the government and European-brokered talks provided momentum toward holding a new ballot . [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Rate Hike / Charter Cable, St. Louis, Mo. - December 2nd, 2004: "Charter Communications Inc. is raising rates for basic cable by between 7.8 percent and 155 percent across the St. Louis area, the company said Wednesday [12/01/04]. [....]" [St. Louis Post Dispatch]

2004 - Life On Mars - December 3rd, 2004: "With new evidence that bacteria could live on Mars, a leading scientist is calling on NASA to improve proceedures to prevent astronauts from bringing contamination back to Earth. If necessary, that could mean the astronauts would have to spend the rest of their lives on Mars, said Jeffrey Kargel, a geologist with the United States Geological Survey. [....] John Rummel, National Aeronautics and Space Administration planetary protection officer, said that the agency had always operated as though life on Mars exists. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Trivia / Benzene Exposure - December 3rd, 2004: "Blood changes, including a steep decline in disease-fighting white cells, have been found in workers persistently exposed to low levels of benzene, a common industrial chemical known to pose a leukemia risk at high concentrations. Researchers reported Thursday [12/02/04] in the journal Science that workers in a Chinese shoe factory exposed to less than one part per million of benzene experienced a significant decline of white cells and found that their blood-forming cells were less vigorous than normal. U.S. occupational guidelines limit benzene exposure to one part per million, but the study found changes in the blood from lower exposure. [....] Benzene is one of the most frequently used chemicals in American industry. It is used as a solvent and to make plastics, resins, adhesives and synthetic fibers. Workers in shipping, automobile repair, shoe manufacture and the refining and transportation of oil and gasoline are routinely exposed to fumes from the sweet-smelling, highly combustible chemical." [News Services]

2004 - Typhoon Nanmadol / Phillippines - December 3rd, 2004: "A powerful typhoon sliced through the Phillippines today [12/03/04] forcing more than 160,000 people to flee their homes to higher ground even as rescuers struggled to find the missing from an earlier storm. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Trivia / Prescription Drug Use, U.S.A. - December 3rd, 2004: "More than 40 percent of the population [U.S.A.] is taking at least one prescription drug, and one person in every six takes three or more, the government said Thursday [12/02/04]. Both figures are up about 5 percentage points in recent years." [A.P.]

Trivia: "The number of perscriptions filled in this country jumped by abouit 70 percent over the past decade, while the nation's population grew by just 13 percent. The number of people taking antidepressants tripled during that time; use of cholesterol-lowering medications also increased significantly. [....] But given the large number of perscriptions filled, it probably comes as no surprise that drug spending has grown at a dizzying pace. It rose 114 percent between 1997 and 2002, to more than 162 billion. [....] Since 1996, when the Food and Drug Administration relaxed advertising rules, pharmaceutical company spending on consumer ads has increased 28 percent, to $2.7 billion a year. [....] The federal study also highlighted a rapid rise in perscriptions for children ages 5 to 17, especially drugs for attention deficit disorder and depression. The use of antidepressants in children is troubling especially in light of revelations that pharmaceutical company studies found several drugs were no more effective in young people than sugar pills. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Editorial Section, p. B6, 12/06/04]

2004 - Healthcare Fraud / Gambro Healthcare - December 3rd, 2004: "One of the world's top chains of renal dialysis clinics agreed Thursday [12/02/04] in federal court in St. Louis to pay $350.5 million in civil and criminal penalties in the largest health fraud case ever brought here - and six-largest in the United States. Overbilling of Medicare and Medicaid and other improper practices by Gambro Healthcare went on for more than two decades, U.S. Attorney Jim Martin said, and an investigation of some physicians continues. [....] Gambro Healthcare and two subsidiaries  paid $53 million in a health care fraud settlement in 2000. Those allegations involved medically unnecessary laboratory tests and billing problems, and federal officials said those problems weren't corrected until the current investigation began." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

*Trivia: "Sweden's Gambro AB said it will sell its U.S. dialysis clinics to dialysis treatment provider DaVita Inc. of El Segundo, Calif., for more than $3 billion (20.5 billion kronor). Shares in the health care company rose 6.5 percent. The deal, which was reached over the weekend [12/4-6/2004], calls for gambro to sell its U.S. unit - Gambro healthcare US - which operates more than 565 kidney dialysis centers in North and South America, and has some 43,200 patients. The unit's 2003 revenues totaled $1.8 billion." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. C2, 12/08/04]

2004 - Defrocked / Rev. Irene Elizabeth Stroud - December 3rd, 2004: "PUGHTOWN, Pa. - The United Methodist Church defrocked a lesbian minister who lives with her partner for violating the denomination's ban on actively gay clergy. A 13-member jury made up of Methodist clergy convicted the Rev. Irene Elizabeth Stroud on Thursday [12/02/04], the second day of her church trial. Methodist law bars 'self-avowed, practicing homosexuals' from ministry. Nine votes were necessary for a conviction, and the jury voted 12-1. [....] Her congregation has said stroud can continue performing most of her duties, though she will be unable to celebrate baptism or Communion. [....] The last time the 8.3 million-member denomination convicted an openly gay cleric was in 1987, when a New Hampshire church court defrocked  the Rev. Rose Mary Denman." [A.P.]

2004 - Resignation Announcement / John Danforth - December 3rd, 2004: "WASHINGTON - In a surprise announcement, U.N. Ambassador John C. Danforth said Thursday [12/02/04] that he is leaving the key diplomatic post he has held for just five months to return to life in St. Louis. Danforth, 68, said he submitted his resignation to President George W. Bush on Nov. 22 and told the president he would be available for special assignments. [....] Danforth, a former three-term Missouri senator and an Episcopal priest, insisted in an interview that he was not quitting out of frustration with the administration. [....]" [Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau]

2004 - 20th Anniversary / Worst Industrial Accident, Bhopal India - December 3rd, 2004: "BHOPAL, India - Civil rights activists, survivors and other protestors converged on Bhopal this week to mark the 20th anniversary of the world's worst industrial accident and demand justice for hundreds of thousands of people still uffering in the aftermath. About 40 tons of poisonous gas leaked from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in the central Indian city of Bhopal on Dec. 3, 1984. Union crabide claims that 3,800 people were killed, while Indian officials say up to 15,000 may have died and that as many as 555,000 others have become ill or had babies born with defects since then. Many people died over the years due to gas-related illnesses, like lung cancer, kidney failure and liver disease. [....] The U.S. chemical company Union Carbide Corp., which was bought by Michigan-based Dow Chemical Company in 2001, paid $470 million in compensation under a settlement with India's government in 1989. But only part of that amount has reached the victims. [....] 'Lethal chemicals are still lying around at the plant, some in the open. Every time it rains these poisonous chemicals are leaked into the soil, affecting groundwater resources of the area,' Bee [Rashida Bee] said. [....] Union Carbide, in a statement sent to The Associated Press, said it spent more than $2 million to clean up the plant from 1985 to 1994, when it sold its stake in Union Carbide India Ltd. (UCIL) and the local company was renamed as Eveready Industries. The company also says state studies indicated in 1998 that the groundwater around the plant was free of toxins and that any water contamination was due to improper drainage and other pollution, not Union Carbide chemicals." [A.P.]

2004 - Election Status / Ukraine - December 4th, 2004: KIEV, Ukraine - The Ukrainian Supreme Court canceled on Friday [12/03/04] the results of the country's disputed presidential election and ordered that a new runoff election be held by Dec. 26, setting off celebrations among protestors who'd taken over streets and government buildings in the capital." [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2004 - Steroid Use? / Marion Jones - December 4th, 2004: "LONDON - Marion Jones should be stripped of her five Olympic medals if allegations that she used banned drugs before the 2000 Sydney Games are true, World Anti-Doping Agency chief Dick Pound said Friday [12/03/04]. Victor Conte, head of the lab that allegedly provided steroids and other banned drugs to elite athletes, told ABC's '20/20' that he gave Jones performance-enhancing drugs and watched as she injected herself with human growth hormone. In excerpts released by ABC before the show Friday night [12/03/04], Conte said he started supplying Jones with doping substances in the weeks leading up to the 2000 Olympics. Jones, who won three gold and two bronze track and field medals in Sydney, repeatedly has denied using banned drugs. [....] Conte said he worked with Jones from August 2000 to September 2001. He said he designed a doping regimen for her that included the previously undetectable steroid THG, the endurance-enhancing hormone EPO, human growth hormone and insulin. [....] Jones' attorney, Richard M. Nichols, said Conte is not credible. [....]" [A.P.] 

2004 - Hazardous Waste Sites / U.S.A. - December 4th, 2004: "The EPA says the number of U.S. hazardous waste sites is growing by more than 9,000 a year. Currently, an estimated 77,000 hazardous waste sites exist across the the United States." [Based on: CNN News, 12/04/04] 

2004 - Chemical Plant Explosion / Texas - December 4th, 2004: "An explosion at a chemical plant [Marcus Oil & Chemical Plant] Friday [12/03/04] that could be heard 20 miles away caused a large fire and sent up massive clouds of smoke. No injuries were reported. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Resignation / Tommy Thompson - December 4th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson resigned Friday [12/03/04], as President George W. Bush nominated former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik to be the next homeland security chief. [....] Thompson became the eighth Cabinet secretary to resign, as Bush revamps his administration for a second term. [....]" [Cox News Service]

*Trivia: "Former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik abruptly withdrew his nomination as President George W. Bush's choice to be homeland security secretary Friday night [12/10/04], saying questions have arisen about the immigration status of a housekeeper and nanny he employed. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Nuclear Sub "Type 094" / China - December 4th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - China has launched the first nuclear submarine in a new class designed to fire intercontinental ballistic missles, U.S. defense officials said Friday [12/03/04]. The submarine is, at a minimum, months away from having missles installed, one official said, discussing foreign weapons developments only on condition of anonymity. Still, it is further evidence of China's intensions to expand both its nuclear weapons and submarine forces, officials say. It was widely known that China was building the new class of nuclear-missle submarine, called the 'Type 094,' but the launching is far ahead of what U.S. intelligence expected, one official said. [....] It would be China's first submarine capable of launching nuclear weapons that could reach the United States from the country's home waters, officials said. The Chinese military also has been developing a new class of submarine-launched ballistic missle that is expected to have a range in excess of 4,600 miles. The Type 094 submarine would carry these missles, but it is not clear whether the missles are ready for deployment." [A.P.]

2004 - Explosive Devices / Madrid, Spain - December 4th, 2004: "Five small explosive devices detonated Friday at Madrid gas stations along busy highways after a telephone warning from the armed Basque separatist group ETA, officials said. There were no injuries and only minor damage at the stations, which were evacuated before the blasts, an Interior Ministry official said." [News Services]

2004 - Extradited to U.S. / Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela - December 4th, 2004: "Drug kingpin Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela, wearing handcuffs and a bulletproof vest, was flown late Friday [12/03/04] to the United States, becoming the most powerful Columbian traffiker to ever be extradited to the United States. [....]" [News Services] 

2004 - HIV Trivia / Asia - December 5th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - As nations took stock of their fight against the spread of AIDS, a new and frightening trend grabbed their attention last week: an epidemic of the disease in Asia, fuled by a rampant sex trade. More than 8 million Asian adults and children are infected with the disease, according to a new United Nations report. That number represents one-fifth of those infected in the world; one in four new cases occurs in asia. [....]" [Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau]

2004 - Miss World / Mantilla Julia Gargia - December 5th, 2004: "Miss Peru, Marcia Julia Mantilla Garcia, was crowned Saturday [12/04/04] as the new Miss World in Sanya, China." [News Services]

2004 - Election Trivia / Bolivia - December 6th, 2004: "Bolivians voted Sunday [12/05/04] in municipal elections that polls predicted would see indigenous and farm worker organizations gaining ground on the traditional political parties that have long dominated the nation. [....] According to the polls, new groups may win control of as many as 10 of the countries largest cities." [News Services]

2004 - Secrecy Trivia / A.Q. Khan - December 6th, 2004: "Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf defended on Sunday [12/05/04] his decision not to allow international investigators to interrogate A.Q. Khan, the rouge Pakistani scientist accused of peddling nuclear secrets around the world. Musharraf said the requests from U.N. nuclear inspectors indicated a lack of trust in Pakistan. In a CNN interview, he portrayed the issue as a matter of national pride. The International Atomic Energy Agency wants to interview Khan, who has been pardoned by Musharraf, as well as his assistant, who is being held in Malaysia. Khan was a hero in Pakistan for developing atomic weapons. Musharraf is in Washington and met with President George W. Bush on Saturday [12/04/04]."

2004 - Tent Camp Trivia / Kiev, Ukraine - December 6th, 2004: "Freezing temperatures, close quarters and the lack of basic amenities such as hot water and clean bathrooms have helped create a unique romantic atmosphere for thousands of young people who settled in the sprawling opposition tent camp on Kiev's main square. [....] Young people have made up the bulk of the 10,000 activists who have lived for 24 hours a day in more than 500 tents on the capital's main avenue, Kreshchatik Street. The street leads from Independence Square - the epicenter of massive protests that have attracted hundreds of thousands more Yushchenko supporters every day. Often the protests have looked a lot more like parties, with some of Ukraine's favorite pop stars and rock bands jamming on stage. [....] Yushchenko representatives said the tents would stay until lawmakers pass laws ensuring a fair revote." [A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / Insurgent Attacks, Iraq - December 6th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Gunmen ambushed a bus carrying unarmed Iraqis to work at a U.S. ammo dump near Tikrit on Sunday [12/05/04], killing 17 and raising the toll from three days of intensified and bloody insurgent attacks to at least 70 Iraqi dead and dozens wounded. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Prisoner Swap / Israel & Egypt - December 6th, 2004: "JERUSALEM - Egypt on Sunday [12/05/04] freed an Israeli Businessman [Azzam Azzam] it had jailed for eight years on espionage charges, an important step toward repairing relations with Israel. Israel, in turn, released six Egyptian students it arrested in August [2004] on charges of plotting to commandeer an Israeli tank and kill its crew. In another goodwill gesture, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he would reconsider releasing some of the more than 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody. [....] Azzam, 42, a textile engineer and member of Israel's minority Druse sect, was arrested in Egypt in 1996 on charges that he sent information about Egyptian industrial cities to the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency. The Egyptian authorities accused Azzam of transmitting the information through invisible ink on women's underwear. In a contentious trial, Azzam was sentenced to 15 years in prison in August 1997. An Egyptian accomplice was sentenced to 25 years. Azzam's imprisonment angered Israeli leaders, who have steadfastly maintained that he is not an Israeli agent. [....]" [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2004 - Trivia / New FDA Rules - December 7th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - New rules announced Monday [12/06/04] will make it easier to investigate a bioterror attack on the U.S. food supply, though they won't change the underlying problem: the vulnerability of the nation's food. [....] Most businesses involved in the nation's human and animal food supply will have to keep records showing where they received food and where they shipped it. [....] The FDA's newest regulations are the fourth in a series of rules implementing a bioterrorism law passed a year after the 2001 anthrax attacks by mail. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / World Education Statistics - December 7th, 2004: "High school students in Hong Kong, Finland and South Korea do best in mathematics among those in 40 surveyed countries, while students in the United States finished in the bottom half, according to a new, international comparison of mathematical skills shown by 15-year-olds. The United States was also cited as having the poorest outcomes per dollar spent on education. It ranked 28th of 40 countries on math and 18th on reading. The study was released Monday [12/06/04] by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group based in Paris representing 30 nations. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Bomb Blasts / Spainish Cities - December 7th, 2004: "MADRID, Spain - Explosions rattled seven Spanish cities Monday [12/06/04] after telephone warnings from people claiming to represent the armed Basque separatist group ETA. [....] Officials said ETA chose a highly symbolic day for a fresh show of force - the anniversary of Spain's constitution, which established a system of regional autonomy that the Basque group rejects. The nearly simultaneous explosions in coffee shops, parks and other public places slightly injured 18 people. They stretched across Spain, with the apparent message that ETA can strike wherever it wants - even with security forces on high alert because of five blasts Friday [12/03/04] claimed by ETA. [....] The blasts apparently were calculated to avoid loss of life. [....] ETA is blamed for more than 800 deaths since the late 1960s and was initially blamed for the March 11 [2004] attacks until the government acknowledged an Islamic link." [A.P.]

2004 - Fire / LaSalle Bank Building, Chicago - December 7th, 2004: "CHICAGO - A fire broke out in a downtown office high-rise Monday evening [12/06/04], shooting flames from upper-story windows and sending 25 people to hospitals. [....] The fire on the 29th floor was reported about 6:30 p.m. at the LaSalle Bank building at 135 South LaSalle Street. Firefighters shot water into the windows of the building, and the fire continued to burn on two floors almost four hours after the blaze started. [....] The fire comes 14 months after a 35-story building in downtown owned by Cook County caught fire, killing six people. A state-funded investigation of the October 2003 blaze concluded in September that the deaths could have been prevented if there had been sprinklers and unlocked stairwells, and if firefighters had searched for victims sooner and kept out smoke and heat. Chicago-based Lasalle Bank has $65.1 billion in assets and $35 billion in deposits and is one of the largest banks in the Midwest. Its building was originally named the Field Building, after Chicago retailer Marshall Field, whose estate developed the structure in the early 1930s." [A.P.]

2004 - Climate Change Conference / Buenos  Aires - December 7th, 2004: "New strategies to confront global warming took center stage Monday [12/06/04] in Buenos Aires, where thousands of environmentalists and government policy-makers gathered for an international conference on climate change. The annual United Nations gathering will be the last conference before the implementation in February [2005] of the Kyoto Protocol, a landmark agreement requiring 30 of the world's developed nations to reduce 'greenhouse gas' emissions by 2012. [....] Persuading the U.S. government to agree to stricter environmental targets was to be a major goal of the conference, delegates said. The meeting runs through Dec. 17 [2004]." [News Services]

2004 - Bankruptcy / Catholic Diocese, Spokane Wa. - December 7th, 2004: "The Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane filed for bankruptcy protection Monday [12/06/04], saying it did not have the money to cover suits alleging sexual abuse by clergy. Spokane is the third Catholic diocese to file for bankruptcy recently in the wake of the nationwide scandal involving abuse by priests. Portland, Ore., and Tucson, Ariz., are the other two. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Daytime Raid / U.S. Consulate, Saudia Arabia - December 7th, 2004: "JIDDA, Saudia Arabia - Five attackers thought to be linked to al-Qaida staged a brazen daytime raid on the U.S. Consulate in the cosmopolitan city of Jidda on Monday [12/06/04], storming through the sprawling compound's fortified gate and starting a three-hour gunbattle that left five local consulate employees and four of the attackers dead. [....]" [New York Times]

2004 - N.Y. Governor? / Eliot Spitzer? - December 8th, 2004: "New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer ... said he will run for governor in 2006." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. C2]

2004 - Trivia / Same Sex Marriages, U.S.A. - December 8th, 2004: "Thirteen same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses - including the brother of comedian Rosie O' Donnell and his longtime partner - do not have a fundamental right to wed, a judge ruled Tuesday [12/07/04]. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Revelations / U.S. Prisoner Abuse - December 8th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - More than two months after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq shocked the world, an official memo reported that military intelligence officers witnessed further prisoner abuse in Baghdad but were threatened to prevent them from reporting it. The memo was the most recent in a collection of government documents released Tuesday [12/07/04]. It was dated June 25 and written by Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby, who directs the Defense Intelligence Agency. [....] [...] documents released Tuesday [12/07/04] reveal that senior U.S. officials, who claimed they were unaware of the abuse, were repeatedly informed of accusations of abuse through official channels. They also suggest that these and other reports of abuse failed to trigger investigations into what increasingly appears to have been a widespread pattern of prisoner abuse in Afghanistan, Iraq, and at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba. [....]" [Knight Ridder Newspapers

2004 - Resignation / Mary Frances Berry - December 8th. 2004: "Mary Frances Berry - the blunt-spoken chairwoman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission - resigned Tuesday [12/07/04] after more than two decades of criticizing the governments that she served. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - President Hamid Karzai / Afghanistan - December 8th, 2004: "KABUL, Afghanistan - President Hamid Karzai took the helm Tuesday [12/07/04] of a country whose revival is threatened by a surging opium trade and a persistent Taliban insurgency. The newly elected leader pledged to bring stability and prosperity to Afghanistan, even as rebels staged attacks near the Pakistani border. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - IBM Acquisition / Lenovo Group, China - December 8th, 2004: "China's biggest computer maker, Lenovo Group, said Wednesday it has acquired a majority stake in International Business Machines Corp.'s personal computer business for $1.25 billion, one of the biggest Chinese overseas acquisitions ever. IBM will keep an 18.5 percent stake in the company, said Lenovo' chairman, Liu Chuanzhi. [....] The acquisitions would make Lenovo the third-largest PC company in the world, he said." [St Louis Post-Dispatch, p. C2]

2004 - Trivia / Valley of the Golden Mummies, Egypt - December 8th, 2004: "Excavators discovered 20 gilded mummies in the Bahariya oasis in western Egypt, the government's council of antiquities said Tuesday [12/07/04]. The find brings the total number of guilded mummies recovered in the 2,000-year-old cemetary to 234. The site - known as the Valley of the Golden Mummies - was discovered in 1996. Fifty bronze coins were found with the mummies. Survivors were believed to leave the money for the deceased to pay for the trip to the afterlife." [News Services]

2004 - Cleanup Extension / Doe Run Resources Corp., Peru - December 8th, 2004: "Violence erupted in La Oroya, Peru, this week as Doe Run Resources Corp. of Maryland Heights [Mo.] won an extension on its government-mandated plan to clean up toxic pollution at its metallurgical complex in the Andes Mountains. [....] Doe Run had threatened to close the facility, which employs about 3,500 people, unless the government gave it five more years to complete $134 million in environmental improvement projects. [....] A 2002 study by independent public health workers found that nearly 100 percent of La Oroya's 18,000 children have lead poisoning. The company's own tests in 2000 found an average blood lead level of 36.7 micrograms per deciliter in children up to 3 years old. In the United States, a blood lead level of 10 micrograms per deciliter is considered a concern. Even at low levels, lead has been linked to bahavioral problems, decreased intelligence and developmental difficulties. [....] Renert's [Ira Rennert's] Renco Group, based in New York, acquired Doe Run in 1994. Renco, which acquires distressed companies with a method using large amounts of junk bonds, had Doe Run go heavily into debt when it acquired the smelter in Peru in 1997. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. C1]

2004 - Trivia / Levodopa - December 9th, 2004: "[...] Levodopa has been prescribed for more than 30 years for Parkinson's symptoms such as slow movement, stiffness and tremors. But doctors have debated when to prescribe it, because of laboratory evidence that it might speed up the degeneration of the brain cells. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Mapped / Chicken Genome - December 9th, 2004: "The chicken is done. Scientists have analyzed the genetic makeup of chickens, and it is providing valuable information about how human genes work. [....] Already a comparison of the human genome to the chicken's has revealed that about 2,000 human genes may actually start at different places than scientists previously thought. The analysis also shows that about 60 percent of genes in the chicken have counterparts in humans. [....] Chickens have about 1 billion of the chemical units, called base pairs, that make up DNA. That is about one third the size of the human genome. The smaller size of the genome is due mostly to fewer repeated sequences, duplications and nonfunctional genes, called pseudogenes. But the birds have between 20,000 and 23,000 genes, arranged on 39 pairs of chromosones. That's roughly the same number as the 20,000 to 25,000 genes in humans. Some people consider the small number of human genes humbling because people possess only a few thousand more genes than fruit flies or worms. But human genes are bigger and more complex than those in other organisms, said Richard K. Wilson, director of the Genome Sequencing Center at Washington University [St. Louis Mo.]. [....] It doesn't matter how many genes you have, basically, its how you use them (that counts). People shouldn't get so hung up on the numbers,' Wilson said. [....]" [Based on: Tina Hesman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Butane Lighter Ban / U.S. Airliners - December 9th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Passengers already are barred from smoking on commercial flights. Now they won't be allowed to bring their butane lighters on board either. As part of the intelligence bill passed Wednesday [11/08/04], Congress added the lighters to the long list of banned items, including scissors, penknives, and box cutters. The ban does not apply to checked luggage. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Signed / U.S. Federal Spending Bill - December 9th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush signed on Wednesday a $338 billion legislative package that covers the spending of every federal agency but the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Senate Passage / U.S. Intelligence Bill - December 9th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The Senate gave final passage Wednesday [12/08/04] to the bill putting a single director in charge of the nation's spy agencies, capping a contentious, five-month legaslative push to respond to the recommendations of the Sept. 11 Commission that investigated the 2001 terrorist attacks. [....] The director will serve as the president's chief intelligence advisor. [....] That panel [911 panel] found that the lack of a single, powerful intelligence director had contributed to a culture in which the nation's 15 spy agencies often hoarded information rather than sharing it. [....]" [Los Angeles Times]

2004 - Same-Sex Marriage / Canada - December 10th, 2004: "TORONTO - Canada's top court said Thursday [12/09/04] that the federal government can legalize marriages between two men or two women, making Canada the largest country in the world formally embracing same-sex marriage. [....]" [Washington Post]

2004 - Oil Spill ? / Aleutian Islands - December 10th, 2004: "... The freighter was carrying 480,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil and 21,000 gallons of diesel fuel, along with a cargo of soybeans destined for China. Environmental officials feared that it would become a massive spill." [A.P.]

*Trivia: "Coast Guard officials said Monday [12/13/04] that an oil spill from a freighter that broke in two when it ran aground off Alaska was probably thousands of gallons less than had been feared. Capt. Ron Morris said just 41,138 gallons of bunker fuel were inside a 140,000-gallon tank breached when the Malaysian soybean freighter Selendang Ayu split in two Wednesday on an Unalaska Island shoal. Coast Guard officials said last week that they thought the tank had been full. [....]" [News Services, 12/14/04]

2004 - President John Kufuor / Ghana - December 10th, 2004: "President John Kufuor - whose 2000 election marked the first peaceful transfer of power in the thriving West African democracy of Ghana - won re-election in a race that drew more than 8 out of every 10 voters. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Anti-TB Compounds / Diarylqinolines - December 10th, 2004: "A novel type of antibiotic has shown in laboratory tests to attack and control tuberculosis, and some experts said it could become the first new drug in 40 years to effictively combat the killer disease. [....] The experimental drug, called R207910, is part of a group of anti-TB compounds called diarylqinolines. It attacks tuberculosis by neutralizing an enzyme the TB bacillus uses to make energy. This mechanism is different from that of rifampin, isoniazid and pyrazinamide, the cocktail of drugs that is now standard TB treatment. [News Services]

2004 - Trivia / Consular Relations, U.S.A. - December 11th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court agreed Friday [12/10/04] to decide whether the federal courts must give a hearing to a Mexican death row inmate in Texas who says the state violated international law by trying him for murder without first notifying Mexican diplomats who might have helped him. [....] The case marks the Supreme Court's first opportunity to respond to a March 31 decision by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, which ruled that the United States had violated the Vienna Convention on consular relations in the case of the Texas inmate, Jose Ernesto Medellin, and 48 other Mexican nationals on death row. Including the Mexicans directly involved in the international court's ruling, 118 foreign nationals from 32 countries are on death row in the United States. [....]" [Washington Post]

2004 - Nomination Withdrawl / Bernard Kerik - December 11th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik abruptly withdrew his nomination as President George W. Bush's choice to be homeland security secretary Friday night [12/10/04], saying questions have arisen about the immigration status of a housekeeper and nanny he employed. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Revelation / U.S. Political Aid, Ukraine - December 11th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The United States has spent more than $65 million in the past two years to aid political organizations in Ukraine. The U.S. Agency for International Development paid to bring opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko to meet U.S. leaders and helped to underwrite exit polls indicating he won last month's disputed runoff election. U.S. officials say the activities don't amount to interference in Ukraine's election, as Russian President Vladimir Putin alleges, but are part of the $1 billion the State Department spends each year trying to build democracy worldwide. [....] The International Republican Institute got $25.9 million last year to encourage democracy in Ukraine and more than 50 other countries. Its leader, Lorne Craner, is a former State Department official. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Conviction / Maxime Brunerie - December 12th, 2004: "A French court convicted a man who tried to shoot President Jacques Chirac during a national Bastille Day parade in 2002 and sentenced him Friday [12/11/04] to ten years in prison. Maxime Brunerie, 27, could have received life imprisonment for the assassination attempt on July 14, 2002. Brunerie was on Paris' famed Champs-Elysees when he pulled a rifle out of a guitar case and fired a shot before being subdued. He told authorities he conceived the plot because he wanted to go down in history with a 'shocking' act. Defense lawyers argued that Brunerie has psychological problems and deserved treatment rather than a criminal conviction. They requested a suspended sentence." [News Services]

2004 - Bomb Threat / Spain - December 13th, 2004: "The Real Madrid soccer stadium was evacuated during a match Sunday night [12/12/04] after a bomb threat was delivered through the Basque newspaper Gara, which is often used by the militant group ETA to warn of imminent attacks. The stadium, with a capacity of about 85,000, was nearly full. After searching the stadium for nearly two hours, the police said they had found no explosives." [News Services]

2004 - Bomb Blast / Philippines - December 13th, 2004: "A bomb exploded in a market packed with Christmas shoppers Sunday [12/12/04], killing at least 15 people and injuring 58 others in the southern Philippines. Muslim and communist rebels are active there. [....] Officials immediately bolstered security in the predominantly Christian port city of 500,000 people, fearing more attacks." [News Services]

2004 - Bomb Blast / Gaza Outpost - December 13th, 2004: "JERUSALEM - Palestinian attackers tunneled close to a heavily fortified Israeli outpost in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday [12/12/04], set off a massive explosion and then raked the base with gunfire, killing at least four Israeli soldiers and wounding eight others, the Israeli military said. The Associated Press reported that five Israelis were killed and and five wounded. [....] The Palestinian militant groups, Hamas and the Fatah Hawks, claimed responsibility for the highly coordinated assault on the outpost, only a few yards from the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. Israel said it viewed the incident - the largest single-day loss of life for its army in nearly six months - as extremely grave. [....] Over the past year or more, Palestinian militant groups have repeatedly used tunnels as a means of attacking tightly guarded Israeli bases and outposts in Gaza and have laid ever-more sophisticated snares for Israeli troops. [....]" [Los Angeles Times]

2004 - High Turnover Rate / U.S. FBI - December 13th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The rapid turnover of top-level managers and highly trained specialists since Sept. 11, 2001, is causing disorder within the FBI and undercutting its efforts to meet the mandate of Congress to expand its intelligence and counterterrorism capabilities dramatically. [....] FBI documents provided to Congress show that between Sept. 11, 2001, and March of this year [2004], the bureau has hired 487 analysts. But the gains were largely offset because 361 analysts left for other jobs, either within the bureau or elsewhere. [....]" [Los Angeles Times]

2004 - "An Insider's View of Mormon Origins" - December 13th, 2004: "A retired Mormon educator [Grant Palmer], who wrote a book questioning whether Joseph Smith, the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ  of Latter-Day Saints, misrepresented his authority as a prophet, was suspended from the church Sunday [12/12/04]." [News Services]

2004 - Anniversary / Saddam Hussein Capture - December 13th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - When Saddam Hussein was caught a year ago today ... there were many in U.S. military and government circles who predicted the capture would stem the brewing insurgency in Iraq. [....] Twelve months later, Saddam's capture is a distant memory. He sits in an undisclosed U.S. facility with no trial date set. In the meantime, bandits and rebels have kidnapped hundreds, car bombings have devestated neighborhoods, and insurgents continue to attack seemingly at will. [....] 'Many Iraqi's thought that the Americans would bring democracy and freedom, so at first, most Iraqi's did not support the resistance,' said Salman al Jumaili, a political analyst at Baghdad University who has written extensively about the growth of the insurgency. 'But they discovered the Americans are an occupational force, and a bad one at that - if there was some serious plan to end the occupation it would lead to the end of the resistance, because most Iraqi's want to live in peace.' As long as there are 140,000-plus U.S. soldiers and Marines in Iraq, Jumaili said, the violence will continue. [....]" [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2004 - Trivia / Autism - December 14th, 2004: "Children with autism may process mercury differently than most children, leaving them susceptible to damage from preservatives in vaccines and other sources of the heavy metal, according to a controversial new report released Monday [12/13/04]. [....] The report by the independent Environmental Working Group, highlights the research of S. Jill James, a professor of biochemistry and pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. [....] She found lower levels of a mercury-detoxifying chemical, called glutathione, in the blood of autistic children. The enzyme also helps rid the body of other heavy metals that may damage cells and organs. [....] The studies again raise concerns that some genetically susceptible children are more prone to neurological damage when exposed to mercury and other toxins in the environment. Vaccines, fish and dental amalgam fillings have been fingered as sources of mercury. The vaccine connection to the disorder has been the subject of intense debate. Parents and some scientists say that the use of a mercury-based preservative, called thimerosal, in vaccines corresponded with an explosion in the number of autism cases. Autism is estimated to effect about 60 of every 10,000 children in the United States. That rate is about 10 times that of 1980. [....] Thimerosal was taken out of vaccines in 2002, but the rate of autism remains at the same level as before it was removed. [....] The preservative has been phased out of childhood vaccines, although some flu shots still contain thimerosal. [....] Children with Down syndrome also had lower levels of the metal-detoxifying enzymes. That could mean that the difference is a symptom of autism and other neurological disorders rather than a cause, Constantino [Dr. John Constantino, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Washington Universary, Mo.]  said. [....] 'Medicine has many weaknesses, one of them is that we don't know what causes everything,' said Offitt [Dr. Paul Offitt, a pediatrician and vaccine expert at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia]. 'It may be that thimerosal causes harm. I haven't seen one shred of evidence to support it.' [....]" [Based on: Tina Hesman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Trivia / Nevirapine- December 14th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Weeks before President George W. Bush announced a plan to protect African babies from AIDS, top U.S. health officials [Dr. Edmund C. Tramont & Anthony Fauci] were told that research on the key drug to do that was flawed and may have underreported severe reactions, including deaths, government documents show. The National Institutes of Health had begun testing the drug, nevirapine, in Africa in 1997. The drug was touted as a single-dose way to keep babies from getting AIDS from their infected mothers. By 2002, the warnings about the drug were serious enough to: Suspend testing for more than a year; Let Uganda's government know of the dangers; Lead the drug's maker to withdraw its request for permission to use the medicine to protect newborns in the United States. [....] Nevirapine is an antiretroviral drug marked in the United States as Viramune that has been used since the 1990s to treat adult AIDS patients. The drug has potentially lethal effects such as liver damage and severe rashes when taken over time. [....]" [Based on: A.P., 12/14/04]

*Trivia: "The government's chief of AIDS research rewrote a safety report on a U.S.-funded drug study in Africa to change its conclusions and delete negative information. Later, he ordered the research resumed over the objections of his staff, documents show. Dr. Edmund Tramont, chief of the National Institutes of Health's AIDS Division, took responsibility for both actions. [....] AP reported Monday [12/13/04] that the national Institutes of Health knew about the problems with the work in early 2002 but did not tell the White House before President George W. Bush launched a plan that summer to spread nevirapine throughout Africa. Now, officials have new concerns that the drug may cause long-term resistance in patients who received it, foreclosing future treatment options. [....]" [A.P., 12/15/04]

2004 - Resignation /  Sean O'Keefe - December 14th, 2004: "NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe resigned Monday [12/13/04], leaving the $158,000 government job after three years to seek a $500,000-a-year job as chancellor of Louisiana State University's main campus. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Status / Scott Peterson Trial - December 14th, 2004: "REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - A jury recommended Monday [12/13/04] that Scott Peterson be put to death for the murders of his pregnant wife and their unborn child, in the soap-opera case of adultry and deception that has captured the nation's attention. [....]" [Washington Post]

2004 - Penalty / Franklin Resources Inc. - December 14th, 2004: "Franklin Resources Inc. is penalized $20 million for using fund assets to compensate brokerage firms for recommending its mutual funds over others." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A 10, 12/21/04]

2004 - Trivia / Climate Control - December 15th, 2004: "BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - A leading expert on climate disputed on Tuesday [12/14/04] the U.S. government contention that cutbacks in carbon dioxide emissions are not yet warranted to check global warming. 'The science says you've got to reduce emissions,' Rajendra K. Pachauri said in an interview midway through the two-week international climate conference. [....] The 10 warmest years globally, since records were first kept in the 19th century, have all occured since 1990, the top three since 1998. Specialists here [International Climate Conference] this week will issue a report saying 2004 ranks as the fourth-warmest or fifth-warmest year recorded. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Status / U.S. Trade Deficit - December 15th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The U.S. trade deficit swelled in October to an all-time high of $55.5 billion as imports, including those from China, surged to the loftiest levels on record. Skyrocketing crude-oil prices also contributed to the yawning trade gap. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. B2, 12/15/04]

*Trivia: "The nation's trade deficit soared to a record $60.3 billion in November [2004], reflecting record levels for imports of everything from oil and consumer goods to farm products, the government said Wednesday [01/12/05]. The Commerce Department said the deficit for November rose 7.7 percent from the $56 billion imbalance in October, which had been the previous monthly record. [....] The trade deficit through November totaled $561.3 billion, far greater than the previous annual record of $496.5 billion set in 2003, and put the country on track to record a trade imbalance topping $600 billion when the December [2004] figures are added. The November deficit reflected record imbalances with a number of countries, including Canada, South Korea and Russia. The largest deficit as usual was with China, although the gap of $16.6 billion was down slightly from October. [....]" [A.P., 01/13/05]

2004 - Earthquake / Cayman Islands - December 15th, 2004: "A strong earthquake - the strongest since 1900 - struck the cayman Islands on Tuesday [12/14/04], rattling windows in Georgetown and sending residents fleeing into the streets. No serious damage or injuries were reported. The epicenter of the magnitude 6.7 quake was 20 miles south-southeast of Georgetown, said a spokeswoman for the U.S.  Geological Survey based in Golden, Colo. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Raised / U.S. Interest Rates - December 15th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve on Tuesday [12/14/04] raised interest rates for the fifth time since June and signaled it's likely to keep pushing them higher at a 'measured' pace in the new year. The quarter-point increase raised the federal funds rate - the interest that banks charge each other - to 2.25 percent, more than double the 46-year low of 1 percent in effect when the Fed began tightening credit six months ago. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Revelation / Prisoner Abuse, Iraq - December 15th, 2004: "SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - U.S. Marines used electric shock on one prisoner and set fire to a puddle of solvent that burned a prisoner, according to U.S. Navy documents released Tuesday [12/14/04]. The documents portray a series of abuse cases stretching beyond the incidents at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad. The files detail a crush of abuse allegations, most from the early months of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The approximately 10,000 files include investigation reports from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and witness interviews. All names have been blacked out in the documents, which were released under a federal court ruling. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Constitution Rights and other organizations had sought the records under the Freedom of Information Act. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Boeing Contract / U.S. Missle Defense - December 15th, 2004: "Boeing Co. won a $928 million contract from the U.S. Missle Defense Agency to continue work on part of the missle-defense shield. The contract for the ground-based midcourse defense segment covers the government fiscal years 2005, which began on Oct. 1, through 2007, the Department of Defense said Monday [12/13/04] on its Web site. Chicago-based Boeing and the agency this year started installing  the first launch sites in Alaska designed to shoot down nuclear or other missles fired from North Korea or elsewhere." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. B2, 12/15/04]

2004 - Fading Health Care Coverage / U.S.A. - December 15th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Many companies are dropping their promise of health benefits for future retirees, who now might have to stay on the job longer and rely on government health care in their old age. Eight percent of employers with at least 1,000 workers said they had eliminated subsidized retiree health benefits for some workers this year, and 11 percent more said they probably would do so next year, according to a study released Tuesday by the benefits consulting firm Hewitt Associates and the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. [....] The number of companies that offer health coverage to retirees has been on the decline for 15 years. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Quarterly Income / Engineered Support Systems Inc. - December 15th, 2004: "Engineered Support Systems Inc. said Tuesday [12/14/04] that it's on the verge of topping $1 billion in annual revenue next year as the U.S. military increasingly turns to the defense contractor to replace and repair  armored vehicles, trailers and other equipment battered by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shares of Engineered Support, which has its headquarters in Cool Valley [Mo.] surged 4.5 percent in trading after the company boosted its fiscal 2005 forecast and reported an increase of 55 percent in quarterly net income. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. B1, 12/15/04]

2004 - Settlement / Aetna Inc. - December 16th, 2004: "SEC Chairman William Donaldson has reached a settlement of a lawsuit accusing him and Aetna Inc. of hiding accounting misstatements when he led the company, court records indicate. From February 2000 to April 2001, Donaldson, 73, was chairman of Aetna. He has led the Securities and Exchange Commission since February 2003. The fraud suit by investors claimed Donaldson knew Aetna had 'material problems' in establishing adequate reserves to cover medical costs. Donaldson and current Aetna Chairman John Rowe hid these problems in the insurer's regulatory filings and press releases, the suit said. 'Counsel for all parties advised the court that a settlement in this matter has been reached,' U.S. District Judge George Daniels said in an order Monday [12/13/04], according to records in Manhattan federal court." [Based on: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. B2, 12/16/04]

2004 - Settlement / Time Warner Inc. - December 16th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Time Warner Inc. agreed Wednesday [12/15/04] to pay $210 million to settle criminal securities-fraud charges brought by the Justice Department against the company's America Online unit. The media giant also is prepared to pay $300 million to end a separate investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC refused to comment. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Failed / Interceptor Missle Test, U.S.A. - December 16th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - An experimental interceptor missle failed to get off the ground in a test of the U.S.  national missle defense system Tuesday night [12/14/04], raising new doubts about prospects for the imminent activation of the system. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / Social Security Trust Fund, U.S.A. - December 16th, 2004: "In the past week, Bush has created or used public relations events to promote his view that Social Security is facing a dire financial threat and needs major repairs. [....] But Bush's critics say he is overstating the financial problems of Social Security so that the public will more readily accept the 'radical' cure of private accounts. [....] Kim Wallace, chief political analyst for Lehman Brothers, the investment house, said the administration's real purpose is to reduce Social Security payroll taxes. 'This is more about restructuring tax policy and not calling it that,' he said. [....]" [Los Angeles Times]

*Trivia: "For now, Social Security is taking in more through the payroll tax than it is paying out in the form of benefits. Lots more. In 2003, income to the Social Security trust fund, including interest earned on the accumulated surplus, totaled $632 billion. Outlays, including administrative expenses, were $479 billion. That left an annual surplus of $153 billion, or about four months worth of benefits. At the end of the year, the trust fund was chock-a-block  with more than $1.5 trillion - more than three years' worth of benefits. [....] So even if Congress did not touch Social Security's benefit problem through 2042, a 25 percent benefit cut when the surplus ran out would still leave benefits slightly higher than they are now - even after adjusting for price inflation. That, according to opponents of private accounts, is not exactly a formula for disaster. On the revenue side of the of the ledger, the Social Security payroll tax rate - 6.2 percent, matched by an equal tax on the employer -has not changed since 1990. But the maximum wage on which the tax is levied, $87,900 in 2004, rises annually with wage inflation. The estimates of Social Security's financial health are extremely sensitive to assumptions about future economic growth, birth rates and other imponderables. [....]" [Los Angeles Times]

*Trivia: "AARP, the influential lobby for retired Americans, said Wednesday [12/29/04] that it would begin a $5 million advertising campaign opposing President George W. Bush's proposal for private Social Security accounts. The campaign is timed to coincide with the start of the new congress. [....]" [News Services, 12/30/04]

2004 - Audiotape Appearance / Osama bin Laden? - December 16th, 2004: "RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - A speaker believed to be Osama bin Laden declared on Thursday [12/16/04] a new phase in his campaign to topple the Saudi monarchy. He urged followers to mount a peaceful revolution and called on Muslims not to miss a 'golden and unique opportunity' to kill Americans in Iraq. [....] On the more than hour-long tape, which U.S. intelligence officials said they believed to be authentic, bin Laden lays out a detailed political case for overthrowing the Saudi rulers. [....]" [By Craig Whitlock & Susan B. Glasser, Washington Post, 12/17/04]

2004 - Health Status / Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine - December 16th, 2004: "Ukranian reformist candidate Viktor Yushchenko fell ill after having dinner with Ukranian Security Service chief Ihor Smeshko and his deputy Volodymyr Satsyuk on Sept. 5." [A.P.]

*Trivia: "New tests reveal Ukranian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko's blood contains the second-highest level of dioxin poisoning ever recorded in a human - more than 6,000 times the normal concentration, according to the expert analyzing the samples. [....]" [Based on: Emma Ross, A.P.]

2004 - Floating-Rate Debt / Charter Communications - December 16th, 2004: "Charter Communications Inc. of Town and Country [Mo.] completed a $550 million issue of senior floating-rate debt in a private placement this week. The notes, due in 2010, have an interest rate of 4.125 percent above the London Interbank rate, payable quarterly." [Based on: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. B2, 12/16/04]

2004 - Court Challenge / Abu Ali - December 17th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - A 23-year-old American citizen [Abu Ali] who has been held without charge in a Saudi Arabian jail for 18 months may get to challenge his detention in a U.S. court, thanks to a ruling by a federal judge [John D. Bates] Thursday [12/16/04]. [....] He was taken into custody in June last year in Medina, Saudi Arabia, while taking a final exam at his university. [....]" [Based on: Jon Sawyer, Post-Dispatch, Washington Bureau Chief]

2004 - Flu Shot Surplus? / U.S.A. - December 17th, 2004: "Two months after the government recommended [Oct. 2004] that scarce flu shots be reserved for people most at risk, health officials are now worried that tens of thousands of doses could go to waste, and they are considering easing restrictions. [....]" [A.P., 12/17/04]

2004 - Defrocked / Irish Priests - December 17th, 2004: "Pope John Paul II has defrocked two priests convicted of sexually abusing children in Ireland, an unprecedented move in the predominantly catholic nation. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - SEC Review / Fannie Mae - December 17th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - A review by the Securities and Exchange Commission has found that Fannie Mae violated accounting rules, amplifying the prospect of an earnings restatement and a possible ouster of top executives at the embattled mortgage giant. [....] Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest financer of home mortgages, said last month [November 2004] that if the SEC found that it had improperly accounted for derivatives, it would show an estimated net loss of $9 billion. That would erase about one-third of reported profit since 2001. [....]" [Based on: A.P. article, S.L.P.D., p. C3, 12/17/04]

2004 - Survey Trivia / FDA Scientists - December 17th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - About two thirds of Food and Drug Administration scientists are less than fully confident in the agency's monitoring of the safety of perscription drugs once they are on the market, according to an FDA internal survey. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Guilty Plea / David G. Barford - December 17th, 2004: "The former chief operating officer of Charter Communications Inc., the nation's fourth-largest cable operator, pleaded guilty Thursday [12/16/04] of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a scheme to inflate subscriber numbers to meet Wall Street's expectations. David G. Barford, 46, of Chesterfield [Mo.] also agreed to testify at the trial in February of two other Charter executives. In exchange, the U.S. attorney's office dropped four counts of mail fraud and nine counts of wire fraud. [....]" [St Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Legal Counsel / Saddam Hussein - December 17th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Saddam Hussein met with a defense attorney Thursday [12/17/04] for the first time since his capture a year ago, days before several of his top aides are due to appear in court for hearings on alleged war crimes. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Settlement / Knight Securities LP - December 17th, 2004: "Knight Securities LP will pay $79 million to settle regulators' allegations that it profited by putting its own trading before the interests of its institutional investors. Knight, the biggest matchmaker for buyers and sellers of Nasdaq stocks, was accused of buying and holding stock until the price went up before filling a customer's order, the Securities and Exchange Commission and NASD said Friday. This practice earned Knight $41 million in profit between 1999 and 2000. Knight neither admitted nor denied the allegations." [Based on: wire reports, S.L.P.D., p. C2, 12/21/04]

2004 - 1st Implant / InSync Sentry Device - December 17th, 2004: "MIAMI - A device that automatically detects early symptoms of congestive heart failure has been implanted in patients in the United States this month [12/10/04] for the first time. [....] When fluid levels around the heart get too high, they can interfere with a normal heartbeat and cause death. The InSync Sentry device monitors the amount of fluid in the chest. If there is a buildup, doctors can prescribe medication to reduce it. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Indefinate Retentions Rejected / Britian - December 17th, 2004: "LONDON - Britain's highest court ruled Thursday [12/16/04] that the British government could not indefinately detain foreigners suspected of terrorism without charging or trying them. It called the process a violation of European human rights laws. A nine-judge panel in the House of Lords ruled 8-1 in favor of nine foreign, Muslim men who have been in detention, most of them in Belmarsh Prison in London, for as long as three years. The prison has been called 'Britian's Guantanamo' by human rights groups. [....] The ruling by the Law Lords, a panel of senior judges who sit in the House of Lords and act as the country's highest court, parallels a June decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that said 'a state of war is not a blank check for the president.' " [New York Times]

2004 - Recruitment Trivia / Army National Guard - December 17th, 2004: The Army National Guard is tripling retention bonuses to counter lagging recruitment, the Guard's top commander said Thursday [12/16/04]. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Powerful Storm / France - December 18th, 2004: "PARIS - A powerful storm packing hurricane-force winds lashed northern France on Friday [12/17/04], killing at least six people - some crushed by falling trees - and forcing officials to close the Eiffel Tower and the famed Paris parks. [....] Winds of up to 80 mph delayed flights out of Paris, cut electricity to about 220,000 homes and damaged cars, scaffolding and other property, officials said. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / Stem Cells From Fat - December 18th, 2004: "NEW YORK - Surgeons in Germany say they used stem cells from a 7-year-old girl's fat along with a bit of her bone to help repair severe damage to her skull. The procedure apparently is the first time that researchers have generated bone in a person by using the fat-derived cells. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Signed / U.S. Intelligence Law - December 18th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush on Friday [12/17/04] signed the largest overhaul of U.S. intelligence-gathering in a half-century. [....] The new law establishes a national intelligence center and a poewerful new position of national intelligence director to oversee the nation's 15 separate intelligence agencies. [....] The president also made a point of saying the intelligence director would have complete control over spending by being responsible for both determining the intelligence agencies' annual budgets and directing how the funds are spent. [....] The new law makes the most far-reaching changes to U.S. intelligence-gathering and analysis in nearly 60 years, since the CIA, Department of Defense and national Security Council were created as the Cold War emerged in the wake of World War II. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Murder & Abduction / Skidmore, Mo. - December 18th, 2004: "MARYVILLE, Mo. - Authorities on Friday [12/17/04] arrested a woman [Lisa M. Montgomery] they allege came to the home of an eight-months-pregnant woman [Bobbie Jo Stinnett] - purportedly to buy a dog - then strangled her and cut the baby from her womb. Authorities found the abducted infant in good health, ending a day of frantic searching. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Trivia / Microscopic Particle Pollution, U.S.A. - December 18th, 2004: "The St. Louis region was included Friday [12/17/04] on a list of communities that flunk new air quality standards for microscopic particle pollution. [....] These fine particles, which are 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair, lodge deep in the lungs, causing thousands of cases each year of asthma, bronchitis and heart attacks. [....] Altogether, the regulation affects about 95 million people living in 225 counties in 20 states. States have three years to come up with a plan for meeting the new standard. They must be in compliance by 2010. [....]" [Based on: Sara Shipley, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Damages? / U.S. Prisoner Abuse, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - December 18th, 2004: "PARIS - A Briton released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, told Europe's top human rights body Friday [12/17/04] that he was beaten, shackled, kept in a cramped cage and fed rotten food as part of 'systematic abuse' in American custody. [....] Al-Harith, 37, is a Web site designer and father of three from Manchester, England. He said he was kept mostly in a wire cage and given food marked '10 to 12 years beyond their usable date' as well as 'black and rotten' fruit. Sometimes unmuzzled dogs were brought to the cage and encouraged to bark, he said. [....] He and three other Britons were released in March and have filed a suit in a U.S. court seeking $10 million each in damages. They were never charged and maintain that they were innocents caught up in the the American war on terrorism. They were denied access to lawyers, as are most prisoners at Guantanamo. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Drug Safety / Celebrex - December 19th, 2004: "CHICAGO - Pfizer Inc's revelation Friday [12/17/04] that its popular Celebrex arthritis pain reliever might increase heart disease risks is bolstering calls to overhaul drug safety regulation. [....]" [Chicago Tribune]

*Trivia: "Pfizer said Sunday [12/19/04] that it would immediately stop advertising Celebrex, its best-selling arthritis pain reliever, after a study showed that high doses were associated with an increased risk of heart attacks. [....] Overall, Pfizer is expected to have $50 billion or more in sales and perhaps $15 billion in profit this year [2004], making it the world's biggest and most profitable drug company. [....] Celebrex was developed by the original Monsanto Co. of St. Louis, which later became part of Pharmacia Corp. Pfizer acquired Pharmacia in 2002." [New York Times, 12/20/04]

2004 - Trivia / Food Stamp Usage, U.S.A. - December 19th, 2004; "[....] After a seven-year decline, the number of Americans on food stamps has shot up 39 percent since 2000, according to federal statistics. Every state, except Hawaii, has felt the impact. In Arizona, food stamp rolls have increased 104 percent, in Nevada, 97 percent; Oregon, 79 percent; South Carolinia, 68 percent; Missouri, 65 percent. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

2004 - Murder Sentence / Federico Daniel Merida - December 19th, 2004: "A National Guardsman [Pvt. Federico Daniel Merida] who pleaded guilty of killing a 17-year-old Iraqi soldier said he shot the young man after they had consensual sex in a guard tower, a newspaper reported Saturday [12/18/04], citing court martial records. Pvt. Federico Daniel Merida, 21, pleaded guilty to murder without premeditation and other charges during a court-martial in Iraq in September. Merida was sentenced Sept. 25 to 25 years in prison and reduced in rank and will be dishonorably discharged. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Insurgent Strikes / Iraq - December 20th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - In twin attacks targeting Iraq's major Shiite Muslim cities, car bombs in Najaf and Karbala killed at least 60 people Sunday [12/19/04] and wounded more than 120. [....] In a separate ambush in Baghdad, heavily armed militants attacked a car carrying five employees of Iraq's Independent Electoral Commission. They dragged three workers out of the vehicle and executed them in the street in front of scores of rush-hour drivers. [....]" [Los Angeles Times]

2004 - Record Bank Heist / N. Ireland - December 20th, 2004: "The Irish Republican Army stole $50 million from a Belfast bank, the Northern Ireland poliece chief bluntly declared Friday [01/07/05]. The announcement rocked the foundations of the peace process. [....] In the raid Dec. 20 on the Northern Bank, a gang held the families of two employees hostage until the bank's main vault was emptied. The crime was the biggest cash robbery in history. [....]" [A.P., 01/08/05]

2004 - Worst Safety Rating / Kia Spectra - December 20th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The Kia Spectra is the first vehicle since 2001 to get the insurance industry's worst safety rating in a frontal crash test, according to results released Sunday [12/19/04]. [....] The attack Sunday in Baghdad brought to nine the number of election workers killed. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Mysterious Oil Firm / Baikal Finance Group - December 20th, 2004: "MOSCOW - A mysterious firm won a highly suspicious auction Sunday [12/19/04] of one of Russia's most valuable oil assets. Baikal Finance Group, completely unknown to financial and energy analysts in Russia, bid $9.37 billion to win the government's forced sale of Yuganskneftegaz, the core production unit of embattled oil giant Yukos. [....] In one point in the bizarre, 10-minute auction, Baikal even bid against itself, raising the offer. The Russian government held the sale to collect some of the $27 billion it's reclaiming from Yukos in back taxes. [....]" [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2004 - Readiness Concern? / U.S. Army Reserve - "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]

2004 - Penalty / Edward Jones Co. - December 21st, 2004: "Edward D. Jones & Co. agreed Monday [12/20/04] to pay a record $75 million and take corrective measures to avoid criminal charges for taking payments from mutual fund companies it recommended to individual investors. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

*Trivia: "[....] While the payments from the mutual fund companies were not illegal, Edward Jones' failure to disclose them to investors violated securities law, the SEC said. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A1, 12/23/04]

*Trivia: "With a $75 million scandal hanging over it, Edward Jones announced Monday [12/27/04] that its top executive [Douglas Hill] will give up his post on Dec. 31 next year. [....]" [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12/28/04]

2004 - Drug Safety Trivia / Aleve - December 21st, 2004: "NEW YORK - A new study has found that Aleve, a popular over-the-counter painkiller made by Bayer, could increase heart problems, and federal officials are warning patients not to exceed the recommended dose of two 200-milligram pills a day or continue therapy for more than 10 days without consulting a physician. [....]" [New York Times]

2004 - Gene-Modified Rapeseed / European Union - December 21st, 2004: "BRUSSELS - The European Commission on Monday [12/20/04] got the authority to allow the import of a gene-modified rapeseed [also known as canola & GT73] made by Monsanto Co. of Creve Coeur, Mo., as part of efforts to expand the biotechnology market after a six-year moratorium.  [....] The commission allowed imports of a Monsanto corn variety for feed in July and food in October as well as a corn type for food made by Syngenta AG in May - the only EU approvals since 1998. [....]" [Based on: Bloomberg News]

2004 - Prisoner Abuse Revelations / FBI  Documents - December 21st, 2004: "WASHINGTON - FBI agents have lodged repeated complaints of physical and mental mistreatment of prisoners held in Iraq and Cuba, according to new documents released Monday [12/20/04]. They say in reports that military officials have placed lighted cigarettes in detainees' ears and humiliated Arabic captives by wrapping Israeli flags around them, the documents say. The FBI records are among the latest set of documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union in its lawsuit against the federal government. They reported instances in which bureau officials said they were disgusted by military interogators who pretended to be FBI agents as a 'ruse' to glean intelligence from prisoners. One FBI agent wrote a momo referring to a presidential order that approved interrogation methods 'beyond the bounds of standard FBI practice,' although White House and FBI officials said Monday that such an order does not exist. Instead, FBI and Pentagon officials said, the order in question was signed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in December 2002 and then reviewed for months later after complaints from military lawyers that he had authorized methods that violated international and domestic law. The records disclosed Monday are the second set in which FBI officials objected to military detention practices. They are notable because some instances occurred after revelations this year of prisoner abuses at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. This month, the ACLU released records in which FBI agents complained about prisoner abuse in 2002. The new records show FBI complaints have continued through this year. In each case, the names of the agents were redacted before the records were released. [....] Many agents assigned to Iraq and Cuba reported witnessing incidents of abuse by military units or civilian contractors. [....] An FBI official in a July 30 e-mail message described an incident at Guantanamo Bay that he found bothersome. 'I saw a detainee sitting on the floor of the interview room with an Israeli flag draped around him, loud music being played and a strobe flashing.' [....] 'Such techniques were not allowed nor approved by FBI policy,' the agent wrote." [Los Angeles Times and, The Washington Post contributed to this report]

2004 - Sex Abuse Claims / Seattle Catholic Archdiocese - December 21st, 2004: "The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle has agreed to pay $1.8 million to settle 12 claims of sexual abuse by priests, the majority involving a former pastor at several churches in the area. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Insurgent Attack / Iraq - December 22nd, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - An explosion tore through a mess tent at a U.S. military base near the northern City of Mosul on Tuesday [12/21/04] during the lunchtime rush, killing at least 22 people and wounding 66. Fifteen U.S. troops were among the dead, military officials said, making the attack among the deadliest single incidents for the American military in Iraq since the invasion of March last year. The cause of the blast was under investigation, but early indicators pointed to an attack by a 122mm rocket, U.S. officials said. Photographs of the scene showed sunlight streaming through a large hole in the top of the tent as soldiers carried out the wounded. [....]" [Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times]

*Trivia: "A suicide bomber probably set off a blast that killed 22 people and wounded 69 others in a dining tent at a U.S. Army base shared with Iraqi security forces in Mosul, U.S. military officials said Wednesday [12/22/04]." [Knight Ridder Newspapers, 12/23/04]

2004 - Yushchenko Trivia / Ukraine - December 22nd, 2004: "Supporters of presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko traveling in a convoy of 50 orange-draped cars ran into a roadblock of his rival's backers Tuesday [12/21/04] and failed to carry their campaign into the industrial city of Donetsk - a center of opposition to Yushchenko. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Released / French Hostages - December 22nd, 2004: "PARIS - Joy swept France  with the release Tuesday [12/21/04] of two French reporters held hostage in Iraq for four months. The government said Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot should be home for Christmas. France's upper house of parliament errupted with applause when Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin told the senators the militant Islamic Army in Iraq had freed the reporters. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Census / U.S. Population Growth - December 22st, 2004: "WASHINGTON - New Mexico, Idaho, Utah and other states blessed with wide-open spaces are seeing steady population growth as increasingly cramped Americans look for spaces to spread out. The Census Bureau's annual population estimates being released today showed that the United States added 3 million people in the last year for an overall population of just under 294 million. The top ten list of fastest-growing states was dominated by those in the West and South, with Nevada leading the way for the 18th consecutive year. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Opposition / Imported Drugs, U.S.A. - December 22nd, 2004: "WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush dangled his support for legalizing perscription drugs imports before voters during this year's campaign, but his administration declared Tuesday [12/21/04] it's too costly to do safely. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Auditing Improprieties? / Fannie Mae - December 22nd, 2004: "The chief executive and top financial officer at Fannie Mae have been forced out, congressional and industry sources said Tuesday [12/21/04], as the mortgage giant struggles to deal with revelations of auditing improprieties. Chief Executive Franklin Raines and Chief Financial Officer Timothy Howard were forced to resign, according to congressional and industry sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, as federal officials intensified investigations into revelations that the company will probably be forced to restate $9 billion or more in earnings over the past four years. A review by the Securities and Exchange Commission determined last week that Fannie Mae must restate earnings back to 2001 because it violated accounting rules for derivatives - financial instruments used to hedge against interest-rate swings - and for some loans. [....]" [Based on: S.L.P.D., p. B2, 12/22/04]

2004 - Trivia / Prisoner Abuse, Abu Ghraib - December 22nd, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Internal Army investigations into the suspicious deaths of several Iraqi detainees were cut short when authorities lost records, failed to conduct autopsies and contaminated evidence, according to government documents made public Tuesday [12/21/04] amid mounting questions over prisoner abuses by the U.S. military. [....] They also report new allegations of mistreatment that include mock executions, death threats during interrogations and the use of dogs to force frightened prisoners to urinate at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. [....]" [Los Angeles Times]

2004 - "Dead Zone?" / Embarras & Wabash Rivers, Illinois - December 22nd, 2004: "ChevronTexaco Corp. has agreed to help Illinois and federal agencies restore a stretch of southeastern Illinois riverfront polluted by a now-shuttered oil refinery, state officials said Tuesday [12/21/04]. The 990-acre property, along the Embarras River near Lawrenceville, was used for disposal of oil and acid sludge and other waste for about 80 years until the mid 1990s [since 1915?]. Toxins created a 'dead zone' in area forests and polluted groundwater and the nearby Embarras and Wabash rivers. ChevronTexaco, the refinery's former owner, did not announce the amount of money it would contribute for the restoration." [Based on: S.L.P.D., p. B2, 12/22/04]

2004 - Pet  Clone - December 23rd, 2004: "SAN FRANCISCO - The first cloned-to-order pet sold in the United States is an 9-week-old kitten named Little Nicky. [....] Nicky's owner banked the cat's DNA, which was used to create the clone. The owner paid $50,000 for the kitten. [....]" [Paul Elias, A.P.]

2004 - Earthquake / South of Australia - December 23rd?, 2004: [....] The Indonesian quake [12/26/04] struck just three days after an 8.1 quake along the ocean floor between Australia and Antarctica [12/23/04?] caused buildings to shake hundreds of miles away." [A.P., 12/27/04]

2004 - Interplanetary Launch / Titan Probe - December 25th, 2004: "The Cassini spacecraft launched a probe Friday [12/24/04] on a three-week free-fall toward Saturn's mysterious moon Titan, where it will plunge into the hazy atmosphere and descend by parachute while its science instruments and cameras make observations. [....] Huygens is scheduled to hit Titan's atmosphere on Jan 14th and open a huge parachute that will allow it to make a 2 1/2 hour descent while radioing findings back to the mother ship. After touching down at 15 mph, it may continue sending data for up to 30 minutes, when either its battery fails or Cassini vanishes over Titan's horizon." [News Services]

2004 - Declared Forgery / Solomon Temple Relic - December 25th, 2004: "An ivory pomegranate long touted by scholars as the only relic from Solomon's Temple is a forgery, the Israeli Museum said Friday [12/24/04], as investigators said they had broken up several fake antiquity rings in a wide-ranging investigation. Indictments in that investigation are to be handed down next week, the officials said. Among those to be indicted is Israeli collector Oded Golan, the Justice Ministry confirmed. Golan, who denied wrongdoing, owns the two most spectacular artifacts declared fakes last year [2003]: a burial chest purported to be that of James, the brother of Jesus, and a stone tablet with inscriptions on how to maintain the Jewish Temple. The pomegranate was examined by the museum independently of the investigation by the Israeli authorities, said the director of the Israel Museum, James Snyder. A team of experts reported the thumb-sized pomegranate dates to the Bronze period, or about 3,400 years ago, meaning it is considerably older than the first Jewish Temple, and the inscription was added recently, the museum said in a statement." [News Services, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A10, 12/25/04]

*Trivia: http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/march-2012/article/world-reacts-to-jerusalem-antiquities-forgery-trial-verdict

2004 - Test Fired / Mobile Topol-M ICBM, Russia - December 25th, 2004: "The Russian military successfully test-fired a mobile version of its top-of-the line Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missle on Friday [12/24/04], officials said. [....] The Topol-M missles, capable of hitting targets more than 6,000 miles away, have been in silos since 1998 and about 40 are on duty now, according to military officials." [News Services]

2004 - Major Earthquake / Sumatra - December 26th, 2004: "The U.S. Geological Survey said a magnitude-8.5 quake - one capable of massive damage - struck off the coast of the island of Sumatra at 8 a.m. Sunday [12/26/04]." [News Services]

*Trivia: "[....] The earthquake hit Indonesia at 7:58 a.m. (6:58 p.m. Saturday St. Louis time). The tsunami came as much as 2 1/2 hours later, without warning, on a morning of crystal blue skies. [....] The quake was centered 155 miles south-southeast of Banda Aceh, the capital of Indonesia's Aceh province on Sumatra, and six miles under the Indian Ocean's seabed. The temblor leveled dozens of buildings on Sumatra - and was followed by at least a half-dozen powerful aftershocks, ranging in magnitude from almost 6 to 7.3. The waves that followed the first jolt were far more lethal. [....] The earthquake that caused the tsunami was the largest since a 9.2 temblor hit Prince William Sound in Alaska in 1964, according to geophysicist Julie Martinez of the U.S. Geological Survey. [....] The Indonesian quake struck just three days after an 8.1 quake along the ocean floor between Australia and Antarctica caused buildings to shake hundreds of miles away. The earlier temblor caused no serious damage or injury." [A.P., 12/27/04]

*Trivia: "[....] From India to Sri Lanka, children have emerged as the top victims of Sunday's quake-induced tsunamis. [....] Children make up at least half of the population of Asia. [....]" [A.P., 12/28/04]

*Trivia: "Desperate refugees foraged for coconuts or looted food Tuesday [12/28/04] on battered Sumatra Island, as the number killed in a mammoth earthquake and tsunami soared above 58,000 and tens of thousands were still missing. [....]" [A.P., 12/29/04]

*Trivia: "Wildlife officials in Sri Lanka expressed surprise Wednesday [12/29/04] that they found no evidence of large-scale animal deaths from the tsunamis - indicating that animals may have sensed the wave coming and fled to higher ground. [....] 'Maybe what we think is true, that animals have a sixth sense,' Wijeyeratne [Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne] said. [....]" [News Services, 12/30/04]

*Trivia: "[....] The human tally in Indonesia jumped after officials said that nearly 28,000 more bodies had been uncovered in Aceh province, on the island of Sumatra, near the epicenter of Sunday's enormous undersea quake. The discovery brought the nation's death count close to 80,000. Across the region, official reports pushed the toll to near 120,000. [....]" [New York Times, 12/31/04]

*Trivia: "[....] 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., 01/01/05]

*Trivia: "Inquiries about 2,377 Americans unaccounted for after the tsunamis remain unresolved, the State Department said Thursday [01/06/05]. [....] Seventeen Americans are confirmed dead, and 18 are considered missing and presumed dead in Thailand and Sri Lanka, deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said." [News Services, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A8, 01/07/05]

*Trivia: "The latest tsunami that affected the Indian Ocean was in August, 1883, after the explosion of Krakatau Volcano." [E.M.]

*Trivia: "[....] Differing government tallies [January 2005] 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., 01/27/05]

*Trivia: "Resulting tsunamis took at least 175,000 lives and left 106,000 missing in 12 countries." [Based on: A.P., S.L.P.D. p. A1, 03/29/05]

*Trivia: "The great Asian earthquake that generated the devastating tsunami in December [2004] was so powerful that the ground shook everywhere on the earth's surface. Weeks later, the planet still trembled. 'No point on Earth remained undisturbed,' said Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado. [....] The quake resulted from the longest fault rupture ever observed, one that stretched as far as 780 miles and took 10 minutes. A typical earthquake lasts for 30 seconds. [....] A special section of a half-dozen research papers on the quake appeared in today's issue [05/20/05] of the journal Science. [....] The earthquake and resulting tsunami, which swept across the Indian Ocean, killed more than 176,000 people in 11 countries. About 50,000 people were left missing and hundreds of thousands were made homeless. [....]" [Based on: A.P., 05/20/05]

2004 - Discovered / Crude Oil Deposit, Cuba - December 26th, 2004: "President Fidel Castro said a crude oil deposit has been discovered off Cuba containing up to 100 million barrels, good news for a country that imports about half the petroleum it needs. [....] He said production at the site could begin in 2006." [News Services]

2004 - Cold and Snow / Central United States - December 26th, 2004: "NEW YORK - Mother Nature delivered a bone-chilling Christmas to much of the nation Saturday [12/25/04], but holiday travelers made it out in droves despite record snow that shut down highways two days earlier [12/24/04] in the central states. South Texas awoke to a rare blanket of snow, when up to 13 inches shattered records for the region. The deep freeze brought Victoria, Texas, its first white Christmas in 86 years and snarled holiday plans for thousands of travelers. [....] In Indiana, highway conditions were improving Saturday, two days after a winter storm dumped up to two feet of snow in some areas, followed by subzero temperatures. [....] In Ohio, about 175,000 homes and businesses remained without power - down from 327,000 on Thursday [12/23/04]. [....] Startled New Orleans residents saw snow falling steadily - the first Christmas snow in 50 years and the first time in 15 years the city recorded any snowfall at all. [....] Freezing rain, sleet and low temperatures forced Louisiana state police to shut down interstates and state highways on Saturday [12/25/04]. The New Orleans mass transit system halted all its buses and streetcars because of sleet and icy streets and rail tracks, spokeswoman Rosalind Cook said. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Snow & Sleet / Carolinas - December 27th, 2004: "Snow, sleet and freezing rain pelted the Carolinas on Sunday [12/26/04], knocking out power to thousands and causing hundreds of accidents. At least two people were killed in North Carolina. Portions of eastern North Carolina received more than 9 inches of snow, surprising residents who often go an entire winter without seeing snow. Farther south, freezing rain coated trees and power lines with ice, knocking out power to more than 25,000 homes and businesses in central and northeastern South Carolina." [News Services]

2004 - Neutron Star Explosion? / SGR 1806-20 - December 27th, 2004: "Astronomers say they have been stunned by the amount of energy released in a star explosion on the far side of our galaxy, 50,000 light-years away. The flash of radiation on 27 December was so powerful that it bounced off the Moon and lit up the Earth's atmosphere. The blast occurred on the surface of an exotic kind of star - a super-magnetic neutron star called SGR 1806-20. If the explosion had been within just 10 light-years, Earth could have suffered a mass extinction, it is said. [....]" [Based on: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4278005.stm]

2004 - Declared Victory / Viktor Yuschenko, Ukraine - December 27th, 2004: "KIEV, Ukraine - Opposition leader Viktor Yuschenko declared victory today [12/27/04] in Ukraine's fiercely contested presidential election, telling thousands of supporters they had taken their country to a new political era. [....]" [A.P.]

*Trivia: "Ukranian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych refused to accept defeat in the country's presidential election Monday [12/27/04]. He said he would ask the Supreme Court to overturn the result, claiming that millions of his supporters were disenfranchised and that there was systematic fraud. 'I will never admit defeat,' Yanukovych said at a press conference. 'It's an appalling fact when millions of citizens don't vote.' [....]" [Washington Post, 12/28/04]

*Trivia: "Viktor Yushchenko ... called on his supporters Tuesday [12/28/04] to blockade the Cabinet of Ministers building to prevent his opponent [Viktor Yanukovych] from holding a government session. [....]" [A.P., 12/29/04]

2004 - Ice & Snow / U.S. East Coast - December 28th, 2004: "BOSTON - A storm that dumped freezing rain and as much as 18 inches of snow on the East Coast snarled post-holiday travel Monday [12/27/04], stranding hundreds of drivers on slick roads and reducing Boston's Logan Airport to a single runway. [....] The powerful storm had skimmed the East Coast on a northeasterly track starting Sunday [12/26/04], spreading ice and more than 9 inches of smow in North Carolina and 14 inches in Virginia, then walloping New York City before dropping a foot and a half on Massachusetts' Cape Cod. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Oil Contracts / Venezuela & China - December 28th, 2004: "President Hugo Chavez said oil and gas deals he recently signed with the Chinese, part of a strategy to reduce reliance on U.S. export markets, will boost trade with the Asian country to nearly $3 billion next year. [....] The agreements allow Chinese companies to help pump oil, set up refineries and produce natural gas in the South American country, officials said earlier. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Audiotape Appearance / Osama bin Laden? - December 28th, 2004: "CAIRO, Egypt - In an audiotape broadcast Monday [12/27/04], a man purported to be Osama bin Laden endorsed Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi as his deputy in Iraq and called for a boycott of next month's elections there. [....] The man speaking on the tape also referred to a statement in October, when al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, declared allegience to bin Laden and changed his group's name to al-Qaida in Iraq. [....] Al-Jazeera spokesman Jihad Ballout refused to say how or when the channel had received the audiotape." [A.P.]

2004 - Assassination Attempt / Abdulaziz al-Hakim - December 28th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Shiite Muslim leader of Iraq's largest political party survived a suicide bombing outside his Baghdad compound Monday [12/27/04]. [....] The target was the home of Abdulaziz al-Hakim, the head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. He's the top candidate on a heavily Shiite ticket that's expected to sweep the elections. [....]" [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2004 - Planned / Joint Military Exercise, Russia & China - December 28th, 2004: "Russia and China will hold a joint military exercise on Chinese territory next year [2005] involving submarines and possibly strategic bombers, Russia's defense ministry said Monday [12/27/04]. [....] China has become the No. 1 customer for Russia's struggling defense industry, buying billions of dollars worth of fighters, missles, submarines and destroyers." [News Services]

2004 - Record Low / U.S. Dollar - December 28th, 2004: "The dollar declined on Monday [12/27/04] to weaker than $1.36 a euro for the first time, touching its seventh record low this month, on speculation the United States and Europe will allow the currency to drop. Record U.S. budget and trade deficits have deterred foreign investors, pushing the dollar to its third straight annual loss against the euro and yen. The U.S. currency has fallen 7.5 percent this year [2004] against the euro and 3.8 percent against the yen. A weaker dollar may spur U.S. exports and crimp imports. [....] The dollar reached an all-time low of $1.3640 a euro, and traded at $1.3616 at 4 p.m. in New York, from $1.3540 late on Friday [12/24/04]. [....]" [Bloomberg News]

*Trivia: "One of the dirty little secrets of today's international order is that the rest of the globe could topple the United States from its hegemonic status whenever they so choose with a concerted abandonment of the dollar standard. This is America's preeminent, inescapable Achilles Heel for now and the foreseeable future." [Link: 1 - 3/4 down page]

2004 - FDA Approval / Prialt - December 29th, 2004: "The government on Tuesday [12/28/04] approved a drug that offers a new way of fighting severe pain - an option for patients who no longer benefit from morphine and other traditional pain medications. It's the first in a new class of drugs that selectively blocks the nerve channels responsible for transmitting pain signals. It will be marketed as Prialt and should be available by the end of January. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Heavy Rain, Wind / California - December 29th, 2004: "LOS ANGELES - A powerful storm pounded California for a second day Tuesday [12/28/04]. [....] Downtown Los Angeles got a record 3.98 inches of rain by Tuesday afternoon, topping the 2.09 inches set on Dec. 28, 1931. [....]" [A.P.]

*Trivia: "A storm battered the West for a third straight day Wednesday [12/29/04], forcing hundreds of people out of the scenic region of Arizona, sending recreational vehicles floating down a flooded creek and turning Southern California freeways into a virtual demolition derby.
   "The storm spawned a tornado in Southern California and blacked out more than 140,000 customers in the area while making for treacherous driving conditions. The California Highway Patrol logged 220 crashes Tuesday night to Wednesday morning - more than three times the normal amount.
   "Police reported hundreds of traffic accidents around Las Vegas, where firefighters rescued several drivers from cars stalled in deep water. No serious injuries were reported.
   "Several neighborhoods were evacuated because of flooding in low-lying areas of Sedona, where Oak Creek rose about 12 feet. Large RVs were seen floating down the creek. The rain also caused rock slides, authorities said." [News Services]

2004 - World's Biggest Relief Effort Ever - December 29th, 2004: "WASHINGTON - Humanitarian groups and governments across the globe launched the largest relief effort in history Tuesday [12/28/04] in a desperate race to save thousands of tsunami survivors facing a new threat from deadly diseases. [....]" [Knight Ridder Newspapers]

2004 - "Reality Check" / U.S.A. - December 30th, 2004: "[....] Scientists say grinding geologic circumstances similar to those in Sumatra also exist just off the Pacific Northwest  coast. They could trigger a tsunami that could hit Northern California, Washington, Oregon and British Columbia in minutes - too fast for the nation's deep-sea tsunami warning system to help. In fact, Atwater [Brian Atwater, of the U.S. Geological Survey] said there was a 9.0 earthquake under the Pacific in 1700 that had devestating consequences. He and other scientists last year reported finding evidence of severe flooding in the Puget Sound area, including trees that stopped growing after 'taking a bath in rising waters.' The danger rests just 50 miles off the the West Coast in a 680-mile undersea fault known as the Cascadia subduction zone that behaves much like one that ruptured off Sumatra. The 1700 quake occurred along the Cascadia fault. [....] Some computer models suggest East Coast cities are vulnerable to a large tsunami if there were a huge volcanic eruption and landslide in the Canary Islands, off northwest Africa. But other researchers say such an event would happen only once in 10,000 years, and such a disruption is unlikely to occur all at once." [A.P.]

2004 - Insurgent Attack / Mosul, Iraq - December 30th, 2004: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. troops and warplanes killed at least 25 insurgents who used car bombs and rocket-propelled grenades to try to overrun a U.S. combat outpost in Mosul on Wednesday [12/29/04] afternoon, the U.S. military said. It was the fiercest fighting the restive northern city has seen in weeks. Fifteen U.S. soldiers were wounded, military officials said. [....]" [New York Times]

2004 - Indicted / Hannibal Sonny Crumpler - December 30th, 2004: "A former HealthSouth Corp. executive [Hannibal Sonny Crumpler] was indicted Wednesday [12/29/04], the 17th person accused in what prosecutors say was a conspiracy to overstate earnings by $2.64 billion to meet wall Street expectations. [....]" [St.Louis Post-Dispatch, p. B2, 12/30/04]

2004 - No More Free Rides / U.S. Astronauts - December 30th, 2004: "Russia plans to stop giving American astronauts free rides on its spacecraft to the international space station beginning in 2006, the head of Russia's space agency said in moscow. [....]" [News Services]

2004 - Islamic Extremists / Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - December 30th, 2004: "RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Islamic extremists set off bombs and battled with police in the Saudi capital on Wednesday [12/29/04] night, leaving nine militants and one bystander dead. [....]"

2004 - Forgery Ring Indictments / Israeli Antiquities Collectors and Dealers - December 30th, 2004: "Four Israeli antiquities collectors and dealers were indicted Wedneday [12/29/04] in Jerusalem on charges they ran a sophisticated forgery ring that spanned the globe and produced a treasure-trove of fake Bible-era artifacts - some of which were hailed as major archaeological finds. [....] Investigators warned that collectors and museums around the world could be in the possession of fakes, and scholars urged museums to re-examine items of suspicious origin. The forgery ring has been operating for more than 20 years, said Shuka Dorfman, head of the Israel Antiquities Authority." [News Services, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p. A12, 12/30/04]

2004 - Trivia / Doe Run, Peru - December 31st, 2004: "LIMA, Peru - Doe Run Resources Co. of Maryland Heights, Mo., will stay in Peru and meet its obligations to clean up toxic emissions from a smelter in the Andes under new terms laid out by the goverment, a Doe Run Peru official said Thursday [12/30/04]. [....]"

2004 - Overweight Children? / U.S.A. - December 31st, 2004: "More than 10 percent of U.S. children ages 2 to 5 are overweight, the American Heart Association reported Thursday [12/30/04]. That is up from 7 percent in 1994, according to the heart association's annual statistical report on heart disease and stroke. The 10 percent number comes from 2002, the most recent year for which figures are available, and the situation is probably even worse now, said Dr. Robert H. Eckel, president-elect of the heart association and professor of medicine at the University of Colorado. 'These statistics are not anything but alarming,' Eckel said." [News Services]

2004 - Settlement / HealthSouth Corp. - December 31st, 2004: "WASHINGTON - HealthSouth Corp. has agreed to pay the federal government $325 million to settle allegations that it defrauded Medicare and other government health programs, the Justice department said Thursday [12/31/04]. [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - FBI Investigation / Laser Beams? - December 31st, 2004: "WASHINGTON - The FBI is investigating why laser beams were directed into the cockpits of seven airplanes in flight since Christmas. [....] 'What we're talking about is a fairly powerful visible light laser that has the ability to lock onto a fast-moving aircraft.' Thompson [Loren Thompson, who teaches military technology at Georgetown University] said. 'That's not the sort of thing you pick up at a military surplus store.' Thompson said a piece of equiptment that could do the things the FBI suspects would be 'fairly expensive and fairly sophisticated.' [....]" [A.P.]

2004 - Volcanic Activity / Colima Volcano, Mexico - December 2004: "Mexico’s most active and dangerous volcano, Colima, has been producing plumes of steam and ash off and on since late December 2004. [....]" [Link: 1

2004 - Tornado Trivia / U.S.A. - "[....] The record for the most tornadoes in a year is 1,817 in 2004. In the past 10 years [since 2008] , the average number of tornadoes has been 1,254. [....]" [Based on: Title for A.P. article (2008 may be record year for twisters), p A2, S.L.P.D., 05/28/08]

2004 - Trivia / Biotech Crops - "[....] Eight million farmers in 17 countries grew engineered crops on 200 million acres last year [2004], a 20 percent increase over the 167 million acres in 2003, according to a report released by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Apprications. [....] In 1996, the first year genetically modified crops were commercially available, about 4.3 million acres were under biotechnology cultivation. [....] The other countries cultivating biotech crops were, in order of output: Brazil, China, Paraguay, India, South Africa, Uruguay, Australia, Romania, Mexico and Spain. The 118 million acres grown in the United States in 2004 represents an 11 percent increase over 2003's 106 million acres. Soy and corn were the dominant crops. [....]" [Based on Paul Elias, A.P., 01/13/05]

2004 - Harvest Trivia / U.S.A. - "Ideal spring planting conditions, a summer of timely rains and relatively few pests brought the harvest of corn and soybeans to new records in Illinois and nationwide in 2004, the U.S. Agriculture Department said Wednesday [01/12/05]. [....] Illinois was the nation's top soybean producer for the second straight year, with a record harvest just short of 500 million bushels - 16 percent of the 3.1 billion bushels harvested nationwide. Illinois farmers harvested just under 2.1 billion bushels of corn, the Agriculture Department said, almost 18 percent of the 11.8-billion-bushel U.S. crop." [Compiled from Associated Press, Bloomberg News and St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, 01/13/05]

2004 - Inflation Trivia / U.S.A. - "[....] Inflation made a comeback nationwide in 2004 after a several-year hiatus. And the St. Louis area saw consumer price increases that beat the U.S. average. [....]" [Based on article by Eric Heisler, S.L.P.D., p. C1, 02/01/05]

2004 - Consumer Prices / U.S.A. - "A surge in the cost of energy products pushed consumer prices up 3.3 percent in 2004, the biggest jump in four years [....]" [A.P., 01/20/05]

2004 - Medication Nation / U.S.A. -

   America has become a nation of pill-poppers, a trend that  only will increase as the population ages. In 2004, Americans spent $188.5 billion on prescription drugs and billions more on over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and supplements.
   Most of what we took made us healthier. But some of it had the opposite effect.
   According to a landmark study released last week by the national Institute of Medicine, more than 1.5 million Americans are harmed by medication errors each year. About a third of those mistakes - which added at least $3.5 billion to the nation's already sky-high health care bill - were preventable, according to the study.
   Medication errors have become a major focus of study in recent years, beginning with another of the Institute's studies called "To Err is Human," published in 1999. It looked at medical errors of all sorts, including medication mistakes. That report concluded that nearly 100,000 people a year may be dying from preventable errors in hospitals. [....]

[Based on: Opinion Page article (Medication Nation), p. B8, S.L.P.D., 07/26/06]

2004 - Junked Computers / U.S.A. - "The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 315 million computers will be junked in 2004, up from 20 million in 1998. In 1998 (the last year this was monitored), only 11 percent of the PCs that were thrown out were recycled. Unfortunately, old PCs tossed into landfills contain dangerous chemicals and metals that can leak toxins into the environment - a good reason to recycle your machine when you buy a new one." [Based on: Leo Laporte's 2005 Technology Almanac, p. 3]

2004 - Disposal Status / VX Nerve Gas, Indiana - "The Army has delayed until later [?] this year [2004] plans to begin destroying a deadly nerve agent stockpiled in western Indiana after a test run raised nearly 200 operational and safety issues, officials said Monday [08/23/04]. The delay is the latest at the Newport Chemical depot, about 30 miles north of Terre Haute, where the Army has stored 1,269 tons of VX nerve agent. One drop of VX can kill a healthy adult man. The 2 1/2-year project is now expected to start between October and December [2004] at the installation, said Jeff Brubaker, the Army's site project manager. However, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must first complete its own review of the project and how the resulting waste product will be handled. Parsons Infrastructure and Technology Group of Pasadena, Calif. has a $612 million contract for the VX project." [News Services, 08/24/04]          

2004 - Statistics Trivia / Terrorist Attacks 2004, Iraq - "Last year [2004], The New York Times reported a statistical breakdown of terrorist attacks in Iraq that left my jaw hanging. According to these figures, the nation was sustaining about 2,300 such strikes a month. That works out to 76 bombings, shootings, mortar attacks and land mine explosions every day in a nation about the size of California. [....]" [Based on article by Leonard Pitts, The Miami Herald - S.L.P.D. posting, p. B3, 02/06/05]

2004 - Pneumonic Plague Outbreak? / Northeast Congo - December 2004: "A rare form of plague has killed at least 61 people [as of February 2005] 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]

2004 - The High Priests of War - 2004:

A new book just published at the American Free Press by Michael Collins Piper, “The High Priests of War: The Secret History of How America’s Neo-Conservative Trotskyites Came to Power and Orchestrated the War Against Iraq as the First Step in Their Drive for Global Empire,” details the early plans for a war against the Arab world by Henry Kissinger and the neo-cons in the late 1960s and early 1970s. That just happens to coincide with getting the DU “show on the road” and the oil crisis in the Middle East, which caused concern not only to President Nixon. The British had been plotting and scheming for control of the oil in Iraq for decades since first using poison gas on the Iraqis and Kurds in 1912.

The book details the creation of the neo-cons by their “godfather” and Trotsky lover Irving Kristol, who pushed for a “war against terrorism” long before 9/11 and was lavishly funded for years by the CIA. His son, William Kristol, is one of the most influential men in the United States.

Both are public relations men for the Israeli lobby’s neo-conservative network, with strong ties to Rupert Murdoch. Kissinger also has ties to this network and the Carlyle Group, who, one could say, have facilitated these omnicidal wars beginning from the time former President Bush took office. It would be easy to say that we are recycling World Wars I and II, with the same faces.

When I asked Vietnam Special Ops Green Beret Capt. John McCarthy, who could have devised this omnicidal plan to use DU to destroy the genetic code and genetic future of large populations of Arabs and Moslems in the Middle East and Central Asia - just coincidentally the areas where most of the world’s oil deposits are located - he replied: “It has all the handprints of Henry Kissinger.”

[Based on: http://www.sfbayview.com/081804/Depleteduranium081804.shtml]

2004 - Notable Albums of 2004 - "Elvis At Sun" (Elvis Presley); "American Idiot" (Green Day); "Confessions" (Usher)

2004 - Flood Trivia / 2004 - "Number of notable floods this year: at least 8. Number of flood deaths: at least 4,866+." [E.M.]

2004 - Cyclone Trivia / 2004 - "Number of notable cyclones this year: at least 4. Number of cyclone deaths: at least 469." [E.M.]

2004 - Volcano Trivia / 2004 - "Number of volcanic eruptions [and, or] notable volcanic events this year: at least 10." [E.M.]

2004 - Tsunami Trivia / 2004 - "Number of notable tsunamis this year: at least 1. Number of tsunami deaths: 150,000+." [E.M.]

2004 - Hurricane Trivia / 2004 - "Number of notable hurricanes this year: at least 4. Number of hurricane deaths: at least 1,686." [E.M.]

2004 - Earthquake Trivia / 2004 - "Number of notable earthquakes this year: at least 30. Number of earthquake deaths: 743+." [E.M.]

2004 - "Natural Disaster" Deaths / 2004 - "Estimated number of people who died from natural disasters this year: at least 157,764." [E.M.]

Calendar Months

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Page last updated 03/19/12