|Earth Day, |
Jack the Ripper
|Special Report: Month of Protests Mark Earth Day 2001|
Earth Day 2001 (eXoNews):
With the whole world watching, police and protesters clashed repeatedly at the site of the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, Canada.
Americans my not have paid much attention, still feeling the impact of a week of riots in Cincinnati Ohio over the death of 19-year-old Timothy Thomas, who was killed by a white officer.
Cincinnati resident Norma Payne said that when she looks at city officials she sees "the same old slave masters," and "the same Gestapo of Hitler's regime."
Click here for our Special Protest Feature with stories on the Cincinnati situation and other protest reports from Quebec, Paris, Spain, Zambia, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Washington DC, Washington State and New York City.
|Punk Rocker Joey Ramone Dead at 49|
|NEW YORK April 15, 2001 (AP) -- Singer Joey Ramone, the punk rock icon whose signature yelp melded with the Ramones' three-chord thrash to launch an explosion of bands like the Clash and the Sex Pistols, died Sunday. He was 49. |
Ramone, the gangly lead singer with the leather jacket, tinted glasses and permanently-torn jeans, was hospitalized last month with lymphoma. His death was confirmed Sunday by Arturo Vega, the Ramone's longtime artistic director.
The Ramones -- its four members adopted the common last name after forming the band in 1974 -- came out of Queens, a motley collection of local losers with limited musical skills. Joey became the lead singer only after his drumming proved too rudimentary to keep up with his bandmates' thunderous riffs.
While British bands such as the Sex Pistols and Clash received the media attention once punk rock exploded, both were schooled by the Ramones' tour of England that began on the U.S. Bicentennial -- July 4, 1976.
"They changed the world of music. They rescued rock and roll from pretentiousness and unnecessary adornments,'' said Vega.
Their "do-it-yourself,'' garage-rock influence still echoes today in bands like Green Day and the Offspring. The low-tech Ramones spent just two days and $6,000 recording their 1976 debut album.
"They're the daddy punk group of all time,'' said Joe Strummer, lead singer of the Clash, in a recent Spin magazine interview.
Despite their influence and critical acclaim, the Ramones never cracked the Top 40.
Bruce Springsteen, after seeing the Ramones in an Asbury Park, N.J., club, wrote "Hungry Heart'' for the band -- but his manager convinced The Boss to keep the eventual hit single.
The Ramones' best-known songs reflected their twisted teen years in Queens: "Beat on the Brat,'' "I Wanna Be Sedated,'' "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue,'' "Teenage Lobotomy,'' "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker.''
Joey Ramone was born Jeffrey Hyman on May 19, 1951. His career started during the early 1970s glam-rock era, when he played in several New York bands -- occasionally under the name Jeff Starship.
But his collaboration with Dee Dee, Johnny and Tommy Ramone was something special. They became fixtures in downtown clubs like CBGBs and Max's Kansas City, joining fellow punkers like Patti Smith and Richard Hell.
The scene eventually produced commercially successful bands like Blondie and the Talking Heads.
|A Ton of Gold?|
|BANGKOK April 18, 2001 (Reuters) - Hopes that a vast treasure trove had been found in a Thai cave and could rescue the economy from crisis have turned out to be a mirage, but an elderly monk will offer a consolation prize -- one ton of gold. |
Luang Ta Maha Bua (Grandpa Bua), as the monk is known, said in a statement he would give Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra the gold and $1 million in cash Saturday in his latest donation to the country.
The monk has been raising funds from his followers for three years to replenish the country's foreign reserves in the wake of the collapse of the baht and the Asian financial crisis that ravaged the country in 1997.
Saturday's donation will bring his total contributions to 2.062 tonnes of 99.99 percent gold and $5.278 million in cash.
Thailand was gripped by gold fever this month after a maverick senator said 2,500 tonnes of World War Two booty left behind by the Japanese army was hidden in a cave near the Myanmar border, stashed inside a train and surrounded by the skeletons of Japanese soldiers who had committed hara-kiri.
Thaksin took the story seriously enough to fly to the cave by helicopter Friday, and senior politicians said the treasure was valuable enough to pay off Thailand's 2.8 trillion baht ($61.61 billion) national debt.
But red-faced government officials were forced to admit this week the story was almost certainly a hoax, amid a chorus of jeering newspaper headlines.
|Alice in Wonderland On Auction Block|
|NEW YORK April 19, 2001 (AP) - One summer day in 1862, Oxford mathematician Charles Dodgson went on a boating trip on the Thames with 10-year-old Alice Liddell and her sisters Edith and Lorina. |
Dodgson entertained the children with a story he made up as he went along. Alice was the heroine, while Lorina and Edith became the Lory and the Eaglet. Alice later pleaded with Dodgson to write the story down, which he did, eventually publishing Alice's Adventures in Wonderland under the pen name Lewis Carroll.
The original manuscript for Alice's Adventures Under Ground, as it was then called, was sold by Sotheby's in 1928, but the current auction features Alice's copy of the bound volume, inscribed by Carroll ''to her whose namesake one happy summer day inspired this story.''
|Agent Orange and Children of Vietnam Veterans|
|By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID |
WASHINGTON April 20, 2001 (AP) - Vietnam veterans may have passed down the dangerous aftereffects of the chemical Agent Orange to their children, according to a study released Thursday.
The Institute of Medicine reported that the children of veterans exposed to herbicides such as Agent Orange seem to have a greater chance of being afflicted with a certain type of leukemia called acute myelogenous leukemia.
The new analysis makes the first connection between the childhood disease and the pesticide, although it stops short of saying the link is conclusive.
"I'm deeply concerned about the implications for the children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange," Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony J. Principi said in a telephone interview. He called the report "very serious."
Principi said President Bush has directed him to prepare legislation to assist children with the disease. Rep. Lane Evans, D-Ill., said he will introduce a bill to provide compensation and medical care for these children.
Acute myelogenous leukemia is a fast-spreading form of leukemia that originates in bone-marrow cells. It accounts for about 8 percent of all childhood cancers, the report said. It is also known as acute myloid leukemia and acute nonlymphocytic leukemia.
Rick Weidman, vice president of Vietnam Veterans of America, said his group is "pleased that they recognized one additional birth defect in children born to Vietnam veterans." But, he added, it is also very sad news because most of these children have already died. The median life expectancy for children diagnosed with this type of leukemia is two years, he noted.
Dr. Linda Schwartz, head of the association's health care task force, said that last year Congress approved a broad program to assist female Vietnam veteran's children with birth defects. She called for a similar program for the children of male vets.
"No firm evidence links exposure to the herbicides with most childhood cancers, but new research does suggest that some kind of connection exists between (acute myelogenous leukemia) in children and their fathers' military service in Vietnam or Cambodia," said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina.
Hertz-Picciotto was chair of the institute committee that prepared the new report: "Veterans and Agent Orange, Update 2000."
The report is the most recent in a series by the institute, a division of the National Academy of Sciences, looking at the effects of the herbicides used in Vietnam.
During Vietnam, thousands of veterans were exposed to Agent Orange, a defoliant used to clear areas of jungle so the Viet Cong could be seen and attacked from the air.
The new study also reaffirms earlier findings linking herbicide exposure with the development of soft tissue cancer, Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and chloracne in veterans.
The committee said it based its new finding on two studies published last year.
While the studies lacked a direct measure of exposure to the herbicides, both were conducted with Vietnam veterans and an association was indicated with childhood AML, though not other forms of childhood leukemia.
One study, for example, looked at 50,000 Australian veterans of the Vietnam War. It found 13 cases of AML in their children, while in a normal population that size the number of cases expected would be between zero and six.
The strongest link was seen in children who developed the disease at the youngest ages, which suggests that the cause may stem from a parent, the report added.
In addition, a third study found that childhood development of AML was more likely in the offspring of men who use pesticides or herbicides in their work.
The committee listed the connection as suggestive rather than conclusive, saying that the evidence wasn't strong enough to be sure that chance or other factors didn't influence the results.
Previous studies evaluated by the institute have found suggestive but not conclusive evidence of a link between herbicide exposure and respiratory cancers, prostate cancer, type two diabetes, spina bifida in children and other conditions.
|Gag Order Imposed in Alabama Church Bombing Trial|
|By BOB JOHNSON |
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. April 19, 2001 (AP)) - Upset with news reports about secret FBI recordings, a judge issued a gag order Thursday on attorneys in the trial of a 1963 church bombing that killed four black girls.
"I felt like we need to try this case in the courtroom and not in the news media," Circuit Judge James Garrett said.
|Real-life Debate Over Virtual Temple|
|JERUSALEM, April 18, 2001 (AP) — Deep in the cool recesses of the remains of an ancient Muslim palace, tourists gaze at a computer screen, transforming into pilgrims as they are led to the Jewish Temple destroyed 2,000 years ago. |
THE COMPUTER SIMULATION is part of a new interactive museum that opened Wednesday, just outside the Al Aqsa Mosque that sits on land where Jews believe the remains of their two Temples — one built by King Solomon and the second by King Herod — are buried.
|Ghostbusters Probe Phantom Menaces|
|By Ed Cropley |
EDINBURGH April 18, 2001 (Reuters) - Phantom pipers, headless drummers and ghostly hounds have lured visitors to Edinburgh's ancient alleyways for decades, but scientists now believe they could be more than figments of the tourist board's imagination.
A team of ghostbusters, led by psychologist Richard Wiseman from Hertfordshire University in southeast England, claimed some spooky findings Tuesday after a 10-day probe of dingy vaults and dungeons across the Scottish capital.
Spurred on by hundreds of reported sightings, Wiseman sent 240 volunteers into the cells of Edinburgh Castle -- one time home of 17th century French prisoners of war -- and cellars in the bowels of the medieval 'Old Town'.
Nearly half the guinea pigs, drawn from visitors from across the globe, reported ghostly goings-on, although few were more hair-raising than a sudden drop in temperature, a few uncomfortable drafts or a feeling of being watched.
Other phantoms were more menacing: one person reported a burning sensation on the arm, and another was nearly reduced to tears by breathing noises in the corner of the room.
"The events that have been taking place in the vaults over the last 10 days are much more extreme than we expected," Wiseman said.
Others felt something touch their face and tug at their clothes, Wiseman said, while another saw a man in a leather apron -- tallying with other recorded sightings.
"We are delighted by this," said Fran Hollinrake, who runs walking tours through some of the darkest doorways of the city. "People from all over the world are seeing the same things, so there must be something in it."
Importantly, Wiseman said, the highest number of "experiences" came in vaults already reputed to be haunted. Relatively spookless chambers, with no recorded sightings, registered far lower on the scale even though the volunteers were never told which was which.
HIGH-TECH GHOST HUNT
Wiseman recently exposed the spirit of Catherine Howard, King Henry VIII's fifth wife who was beheaded in 1540 but is said to still stalk the corridors of London's Hampton Court Palace, as nothing more than some freak cold spots and a couple of drafty doors.
An array of high-tech gadgets checking the Edinburgh vaults for drafts, temperature, magnetic fields and lights, only came up with a large round green blob on two photographs.
Although still a skeptic, Wiseman, admitted he was intrigued.
"These are only preliminary results, but already they look quite interesting. I'm closer now to being a lot more curious. Something is going on, but I won't be a believer until we get something on film."
He hopes to take further readings from other celebrated hauntings -- the Tower of London could be next -- but is unlikely ever to put himself in the hot spot. "I'm terrified of the dark," he said.
|Original Jack the Ripper Letter Released|
LONDON April 19, 2001 (AP) - In a scrawled, smudged letter written in Cockney English, a man claiming to be the infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper described a foiled attempt to kill a woman and promised to find another victim soon.
The eerie note to a London doctor, made public by the government Thursday, is filled with spelling errors mimicking the Cockney accent and gives the gruesome details of an attempted murder.
The letter, dated Oct. 29, 1888, and once part of the original police file, was released Thursday by Britain's public records office under rules which require many government documents to be made public eventually.
The letter, signed ''Jack the Ripper'' was sent to Dr. Thomas Horrocks Openshaw, curator of a London hospital's pathological museum.
Check out http://www.casebook.org for more on The Ripper.
|'Hard Day's Night' Back Again After 37 Years|
By Paul Majendie
|Yesterday and Today: McCartney, Powell and Land Mines|
|WASHINGTON April 19, 2001 (AP) - British singer Paul McCartney advocated the worldwide abolition of land mines when he met Thursday with Secretary of State Colin Powell. |
The United States, which has declined to sign a 139-country treaty outlawing land mines, has a stockpile of the weapons estimated at 11 million.