4 minute read
Charles Gillig and Hanna Kite

ARRIVED. THE FINAL SHIPMENT of food aid from the United Nations to China, in the form of 43,450 tons of grain shipped from Canada; in Shenzhen. Since 1979, the World Food Program has provided nearly $1 billion worth of food aid to the once-impoverished nation; in 2001 it announced it would eliminate the program in light of China’s booming economy.

SWORN IN. JALAL TALABANI, 71, GHAZI YAWAR, 47, and ADEL ABDUL MAHDI, 61, as Iraq’s first democratically-elected President and Vice-Presidents in more than half a century; in Baghdad. Talabani, who spent years fighting the regime of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein as the head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, becomes the first Kurdish president of an Arab-dominated country; Yawar is a tribal leader of the Sunni Muslim minority. The announcements, along with the naming of Shi’ite politician Ibrahim Jaafari, 58, as Prime Minister, followed nine weeks of deadlock in Iraq’s parliament since the country’s landmark elections on Jan. 30.

RESIGNED. ASKAR AKAYEV, 61, exiled President of Kyrgyzstan, two weeks after fleeing a popular uprising sparked by protests against purportedly rigged election results; in Moscow. Akayev was hailed as a liberal reformer when he took the reins of the former Soviet republic upon its independence in 1991, but was accused in recent years of suppressing his opponents. In a sign of its dissatisfaction with Akayev, the new Kyrgyz parliament voted to strip the leader of privileges usually granted to former presidents, but put off deciding when new elections will be held.

DIED. PRINCE RAINER III, 81, Europe’s longest-reigning monarch, who, as ruler of Monaco for 56 years, transformed his tiny, nearly bankrupt principality into a tourist-friendly international business center; after a month-long hospitalization for heart, lung, and kidney ailments; in Monaco. With the help of his 1956 fairy-tale marriage to Hollywood royal Grace Kelly, Rainier modernized a community once called a “sunny place for shady people,” building affordable hotels to draw middle-class visitors to its famed Monte Carlo casino, and popularizing the mini-state, which has no income tax, as a tax haven for foreign businesses. After Kelly’s death in a car crash in 1982, he withdrew, facing declining health and regular tabloid accounts of the indiscretions of his rebellious daughters, Caroline and Stephanie. He is succeeded by his son, Prince Albert II.

DIED. SAUL BELLOW, 89, Nobel Prize-winning novelist; in Brookline, Mass. (See Appreciation).

AILING. PETER JENNINGS, 66, well-traveled TV journalist and sole anchor since 1983 of ABC’s World News Tonight; with lung cancer; in New York City. With a hoarse voice and characteristic matter-of-fact delivery, Jennings, who was conspicuously absent during the network’s on-site coverage of the tsunami in Asia and the death of Pope John Paul II, revealed his illness to viewers in a taped message at the end of a broadcast last week. He will continue to anchor the news while undergoing chemotherapy starting this week.

Performance of the Week
The first civilians in almost 60 years crossed the disputed territory between Srinagar, the capital of Indian Kashmir, and its Pakistani counterpart Muzaffarabad last week, despite an earlier bomb attack on the route and a gun attack on a building housing the Indian passengers in Srinagar. The safe arrival of the buses’ 49 passengers was taken as a symbol of warming ties between the fractious neighbors. “The caravan of peace has started,” declared Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

4 million Estimated number of pilgrims who visited Rome to pay respects to Pope John Paul II last week
400,000 liters Volume of water handed out each day to crowds in line to view the body

3,797 People executed worldwide in 2004, according to estimates from Amnesty International
3,400 Estimated number of executions in China, by far the most of any country; followed by Iran with 159, Vietnam with 64, and the U.S. with 59

74% Estimated proportion of silicone breast implants that rupture within 10 years
13 Number of years since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned silicone implants for use in breast enhancement, citing health risks

$3.2 trillion Assets to be sold off during the privatization of Japan’s postal savings system, the world’s largest financial institution

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