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Where’s global warming when you need it? Much of Canada and the United States endured one of the coldest and snowiest winters on record. A late February storm in the Eastern USA brought the heaviest snowfall in 7 years and in some cities, the worst in 81 years! Nearly all forecasters and global warming followers had predicted a mild winter. Climate change is not guaranteed to warm Canada up. Some scientists suggest that global warming may actually mess up ocean currents and lead to a possible minor ice age in the northern hemisphere.
The guys have Tiger Woods. The women golfers out there can be just as proud of top ranked Annika Sorenstam who won 13 tournaments last year. She is the only woman to have scored a tournament round of 59 and the first to win $2 million in a year. And now this Swedish golfing star has decided to tackle the men on May 22-25 at the Colonial tournament played in Fort Worth, Texas. The last time a woman played against the men was back in 1946 when Babe Zaharias, an Olympic gold medallist track star turned golf champion, played in the L.A. Open.
Three Americans working for the CIA were kidnapped after their plane was shot down in rebel-controlled jungle territory. This is the first time that American personnel have been captured by rebel groups. U.S. agents regularly help the Colombian military fight the rebels and the cocaine trade the rebels protect. Kidnapping is a regular part of the rebels’ tactics, trading hostages for money or for the release of jailed colleagues. The guerrillas control approximately 40% of the country. The 38-year civil war still kills over 3,500 people a year.
Goodbye Dolly! Born into a media storm in 1997, Dolly the Sheep, the world’s first mammal cloned from an adult, died at the relatively young age of six years in Edinburgh. Sheep usually live 10-12 years. She leaves behind six children. She was put to sleep after it was discovered that she had a serious and worsening lung infection, not uncommon for sheep housed indoors, as Dolly was. Critics of cloning point to her early death and several other medical problems as indications that cloning techniques are far too dangerous to try on humans.
George Bush Jr.’s personal crusade to get rid of Saddam Hussein ran into trouble when weapons inspectors failed to make any significant discoveries in their first six months of inspections. Saddam, who was supported by America when he was using his weapons against Iran in the 1980s, seems set to remain firmly in power. Worldwide peace rallies have attracted unprecedented crowds opposed to an American led war. The President’s father, George Bush Sr., led the first war against Saddam back in 1991 when Iraq invaded neighbour Kuwait.
While President Bush goes after Iraq, which insists it has no banned weapons (a claim backed by UN weapons inspectors), North Korea is loudly boasting that it is back developing nuclear weapons and is not afraid to use them. Unlike military lightweight Iraq, North Korea is virtually untouchable for American forces. An attack on North Korea would lead to a devastating missile attack on South Korea and the 37,000 U.S. troops that are stationed there. These missiles could also easily strike Japan and even possibly the U.S. itself. Peace talks are necessary.
The Two Towers, the second installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy has outperformed the first movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, at the box offices. It is now set to break the billion-dollar mark in worldwide ticket sales this spring. Produced by New Zealander Peter Jackson and filmed in this beautiful country, The Two Towers will become the second most profitable film of all time behind Titanic, which rang in a staggering $1.6 billion at theatres worldwide. The third and final Ring film is out in December of this year.
Here’s another story about two towers. An incredible new tower is to be constructed in the hot Australian outback. A massive solar powered generator of electricity, the tower will stand 1,000 metres high. That’s almost twice as high as Toronto’s CN Tower, currently the world’s tallest. Designed by a German company, the new tower should be completed in 2006, costing about $1 billion. It is expected to generate enough clean electricity for 200,000 homes, preventing the annual creation of 700,000 tons of greenhouse gases.