Milestones

4 minute read
Dan Simmons

INJURED. GIULIANA SGRENA, 56, Italian journalist abducted in Baghdad in early February; by gunfire from U.S. soldiers guarding a checkpoint, who shot at the car taking her to the airport after her release; in Baghdad. Nicola Calipari, an intelligence officer who had negotiated her release, was killed in trying to protect her. Pentagon officials said the soldiers had not been informed of the release and had signaled in vain for the car to stop. U.S. President George W. Bush expressed “regret” for the attack, while a stunned Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said, “We were turned to stone,” by the news. “We must have an explanation for such a serious incident, for which someone must take responsibility.”

OVERTURNED. By the U.S. SUPREME COURT, a 1989 ruling allowing the death sentence for juvenile criminals; in a 5-4 decision; in Washington, D.C. The court stated that executing juveniles violates “the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of an evolving society.” As a result of the ruling, the death sentences of 72 convicts on death row in 12 states were immediately erased.

PLEADED GUILTY. SAAJID BADAT, 25, British-born student and co-conspirator of shoe bomber Richard Reid; to plotting to blow up a U.S-bound airliner; at the Central Criminal Court, in London. Badat was accused of planning to detonate an explosive device in his shoe on a flight to the U.S.the same strategy as Reid’s, who is serving a life sentence in the U.S. following his own botched attempt in December 2001but Badat never carried out his mission. Awaiting sentencing on March 18, Badat could face extradition to the U.S. on seven charges, including terrorism and plotting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

ARRESTED. YOSHIAKI TSUTSUMI, 70, Japanese property tycoon once regarded as the world’s richest man; on suspicion of insider trading and making false financial statements; in Tokyo. Tsutsumi developed a hotel-and-recreation empire out of his family’s Seibu Railway business, but saw it shrink during the Japanese recession of the 1990s. Tsutsumi resigned as chairman of Seibu last year, and has admitted to falsifying records, although he and his lawyers have not commented on the case.

CONVICTED. ABUBAKAR BA’ASYIR, 66, jailed Islamic cleric suspected by the U.S. of heading an al-Qaeda-linked terror group in Southeast Asia; of one count of criminal conspiracy in the Bali nightclub bombings in October 2002 that killed 202 people, by a five-judge panel, in Jakarta. Abubakar was, at the same time, cleared of terror charges related to the August 2003 bombing of a Marriott hotel in Jakarta that killed 12, and the more serious charges of directing the Bali attack. Sen-tenced to 30 months in prison, he was given credit for the 10 months he had already served.

DIED. JEF RASKIN, 61, known as the “father of the Macintosh,” who, as Apple Computer’s 31st employee, envisioned a truly user-friendly computer and in 1979 founded a team to create it, sparking the personal- computer revolution; of pancreatic cancer; in Pacifica, California. He named the project Macintosh (after his favorite apple) and headed it until 1982, when he had a falling-out with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and left the companytwo years before the first Macintosh hit the stores.

DIED. PETER MALKIN, 77, veteran Israeli Mossad agent who in 1960 grabbed Adolf Eichmann, the chief architect of the Holocaust and coiner of the term “final solution,” from a street outside Buenos Aires, and later wrote a book about the arrest; in New York City. So repulsed that he wore gloves, Malkin approached Eichmann, then living under an assumed name, with the greeting “un momentito, Seor” before wrestling him to the ground and into a waiting car. Agents later smuggled Eichmann to Israel, where he was convicted of crimes against humanity and hanged in 1962.

Numbers
67 hr. 2 min. 38 sec. Time it took financier turned adventurer Steve Fossett to become the first man to fly nonstop around the world without refueling
1.2 tons Approximate amount of fuel that unaccountably disappeared after takeoff

30% Proportion of Filipino couples unaware that babies result from having sex, according to a study by the Philippine government
2.36% Net population growth in the Philippines, among the highest in the world, with 4,000 babies born every day

1.61 million Number of divorces in mainland China last year, up 21% from 2003

56% Rate of obesity among players in the U.S. National Football League, according to a survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association

1,500 As of last week, the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq since the war began in March 2003

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