• U.S.

Milestones Oct. 23, 2006

3 minute read
Harriet Barovick, by Melissa August, Carolyn Sayre and Jeninne Lee-St.John

PLEADED GUILTY. Bob Ney, 52, Republican Congressman from Ohio and the first lawmaker to admit guilt in the influence-peddling scandal surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramoff; to accepting money and gifts on the lobbyist’s behalf in exchange for official favors; in Washington. Ney was previously known for his successful push to rename French fries “freedom fries” in House cafeterias–a 2003 protest against France’s opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

DIED. Howard (Butch) Kerzner, 42, South African–born casino and resort developer–and son of international leisure tycoon Sol Kerzner–who acquired and dramatically expanded the Bahamas’ renowned Atlantis Paradise Island into a 2,300-room pleasure palace with 60 acres of swimming pools; in a helicopter crash; in Sosua, Dominican Republic.

DIED. Anna Politkovskaya, 48, award-winning Russian journalist, known globally for her powerful reporting on atrocities committed by the Russian military in Chechnya; after being shot repeatedly by an unidentified gunman as she stepped off the elevator in her apartment building; in Moscow. Her murder, the 13th contract-style killing of a journalist in Russia since Vladimir Putin became President in 1999, sparked allegations that the Kremlin might have been involved in the crime. Putin denied the charge, calling the shooting “dreadful and unacceptable.”

DIED. Freddy Fender, 69, three-time Grammy winner who began his career as “El Bebop Kid,” singing Elvis songs in Spanish, and in 1975 topped the pop and country charts with Before the Next Teardrop Falls; of lung cancer; in Corpus Christi, Texas. Born Baldemar Huerta to migrant parents in South Texas, he based his stage name on the brand of his guitar and later joined two critically acclaimed Tex-Mex bands, the Texas Tornados and Los Super Seven.

DIED. Gerry Studds, 69, former Democratic Representative from Massachusetts and the first openly gay member of Congress, whom the House censured in 1983 for having had an affair with a 17-year-old male page; of complications from a blood clot in his lung; in Boston. After surviving the sex scandal, Studds was elected to several more terms, and in 1996 Congress named a national marine sanctuary after him in recognition of his environmental work.

DIED. Kanshi Ram, 72, activist member of India’s caste of Dalits–or untouchables–who in 1984 organized millions of the country’s disenfranchised by founding the Bahujan Samaj Party, which instantly became the most powerful lower-caste political party in India; of a heart attack; in New Delhi. Credited with spurring a radical shift in the perception of lower castes, Ram battled the upper-caste Brahmins and even criticized modern India’s founding father, Mahatma Gandhi–revered for his advocacy of civil rights–for not doing enough to challenge the rigid social system.

DIED. Ray Noorda, 82, known as the “father of network computing,” who in the 1980s turned a flailing Novell into a leader in networking software that allowed consumers to share files and printers, coining the term coopetition for companies making products that work together; in Orem, Utah.

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