4 minute read
Alex Pasternack

ELECTED. MICHELLE BACHELET, 54, physician and socialist; as the first female President of Chile; in Santiago. An agnostic divorc with three children, Bachelet was imprisoned and tortured under right-wing dictator Augusto Pinochet in the 1970s. Her win is seen as a sign of a cultural shift in conservative, Roman Catholic Chile and was the latest in a series of leftist victories in Latin American elections.

LOST. EQUAL-PARALLEL/GUERNICA-BENGSAI, a 38-ton sculpture by American artist Richard Serra commissioned by Spain’s Queen Sofia National Museum in 1986 at a cost of $265,000; in Madrid. Its whereabouts were last confirmed in 1992, six years before the private art-storage depot where the work was being stored declared bankruptcy and went into liquidation. A police investigation is underway.

RESIGNED. RIZKAR MOHAMMED AMIN, 48, as chief judge on a five-member tribunal overseeing the trial of Saddam Hussein; for “personal reasons,” he said in a statement; in Baghdad. The Iraqi government did not immediately accept the resignation of Amin, who had been criticized for tolerating Saddam’s frequent outbursts. The trial is set to resume this week after a monthlong recess.

RELEASED. KEM SOKHA, 52, pictured below, along with PA NGUON TEANG, 36, MAM SONANDO, 63 and RONG CHHUN, 43, critics of the Cambodian government who had been jailed for allegedly defaming Prime Minister Hun Sen; in Phnom Penh. The arrests of activist leaders Sokha and Teang in January, and journalist Sonando and teacher’s-union head Chhun in October on defamation charges, had been widely viewed as part of a crackdown on opposition figures. They were released on bail in what Hun Sen called a “gift” to visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill. The four still face charges and could be sentenced to as long as a year in jail.

DIED. IBRAHIM RUGOVA, 61, President of Kosovo and political leader of the ethnic Albanian resistance to Serbia in the 1990s; of lung cancer; in Kosovo’s capital Pristina. The bespectacled, Sorbonne-educated scholar long led the province’s campaign for self-rule; this week delegations from Kosovo and Serbia begin U.N.-chaired talks on whether to grant Kosovo the inde-pendence Rugova sought.

DIED. WILSON PICKETT, 64, volatile R&B star whose gravelly, raunchy delivery on such 1960s hits as Mustang Sally and In the Midnight Hour inspired the 1991 film The Commitments and helped earn him the moniker “Wicked Pickett”; of a heart attack; in Reston, Virginia. Despite drug and legal battles, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer remained inventive and determined, answering the disco craze with explosive live performances, which he continued until shortly before his death. In 2000 It’s Harder Now, his first album in a decade, was nominated for a Grammy Award.

DIED. NAPOLEON ORTIGOZA, 73, former Paraguayan army officer who became one of Latin America’s longest-serving political prisoners; in Asuncion, Paraguay. In 1962 Captain Ortigoza was charged with plotting against the regime of Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner, and was sentenced to 25 years in jail18 of which he served in solitary confinement. After the fall of Stroessner’s regime in 1989, Ortigoza was cleared of all charges and awarded $1 million in compensation.

DIED. SHEIK JABER AL-AHMAD AL-SABAH, 79, modest emir of Kuwait, who survived a 1985 assassination attempt and Iraq’s 1990 invasion, and guided his tiny, oil-rich country to stability during his 28-year rule; in Kuwait City. His shrewd decisionsincluding an alliance with the U.S. and the creation of a fund that saves part of the emirate’s huge oil revenues for the futureare credited with ensuring Kuwait’s independence.

-37C Temperature recorded in Moscow last week during the Russian capital’s coldest winter in more than 25 years
43 Number of deaths the freezing weather caused across Russia in six days last week

$133 billion Estimated cost to the insurance industry of a flu pandemic as severe as the 1918 Spanish Flu, which killed as many as 100 million
$1.9 billion Amount pledged by 33 countries and international institutions to combat bird flu, at a Beijing conference last week

74% Percentage of Chinese citizens who said in a survey that a free-market economy is the best system for the world’s future
71% Percentage of Americans who agreed with the statement

11.13 sec. Time it took U.S. student Leyan Lo to solve the Rubik’s Cube puzzle, breaking the old record of 11.75 sec.
43 quintillion Number of unique Cube configurations

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