22nd April 08:07
The US economy is poised for its best performance in five years. By Ron
DECEMBER 31, 2003 - PAGE ONE STORIES
New year heralds good fiscal tidings
The US economy is poised for its best performance in five years. By Ron
Global politics of quake relief
Following disasters, strategic nations like Iran tend to garner help.
By Peter Ford
Towns pitch in to save 'meth orphans' of Appalachia
After drug busts, locals step in to create foster homes for the kids
left behind. By Patrik Jonsson
Join over 184 years of proud academic heritage at Norwich University by
earning a Master of Diplomacy degree online in less than 24 months.
Insecurity threatens Afghan vote
The June national election may need to be moved to September or later.
By Scott Baldauf
Reporters on the Job
Inside a group caught between three powers
Mujahideen-e Khalq, an Iraq-based group fighting Iran's regime, may be
expelled from its base this week. By Scott Peterson
States work to curb drunk-driving fatalities
Experts attribute 2003's expected high death toll to a lack of
resources and driver apathy. By Noel C. Paul
If the No. 1 team can't win, it must be college football
A controversial formula instead of a playoff system determines which
are the two best teams. By Mark Sappenfield
Daily Update: a round-up of the best web coverage on Iraq, Al Qaeda, and
Challenge to Serbian Democracy
It's long past time that Serbia reform and integrate into modern
IRS Storms the Tax Shelters
The Internal Revenue Service is toughening its approach to tax cheats.
Successful catalog sales rep, or 'shopaholic' enabler?
In her new temp job, the writer discovers her chronic shopping
customers need a 'just say no' lecture. By Colleen Foye Bollen
Castro's New Year revolution still stands 45 years later
Ten US presidents have tangled with the world's longest serving
dictator. By Pat M. Holt
Sign up for the Monitor Treeless Edition!
Afghan bread rises to any occasion
It's possible the distinctive flavor comes from native-grown wheat. By
Where have all the resolutions gone?
People report that self-improvement has become a year-round project. By
Flora, fauna, and food in the Dominican Republic
Our writer visits ecofriendly Punta Cana resort and samples cave
dining. By Peter N. Spotts
Curacao's dark past shapes a bright future
Once home to a huge slave-trading depot, the Island is a multicultural
center of learning. By Chris McBeath
Trinidad's music takes flight at Parang
The annual indigenous music festival draws dozens of bands. By Bruce
See the rain forest from within
Rain forest covers St. Lucia from the 3,000-foot peaks down to the
black-sand beaches. By George Oxford Miller
THE HOME FORUM
Today's Article on Christian Science: Changed thought, better health
Today's article on Christian Science.
A brief field trip to my life after child-rearing
If you succeed, kids grow up and go away. Perhaps I'm afraid of
success. By Madora Kibbe
Ringing in the new year
A Monitor Quiz: Can you identify these homonyms? By Nancy M. Kendall
Do you want an RSS feed of the Monitor? Now you can have one.
TODAY'S NEWS IN BRIEF
Business & Finance
The Securities and Exchange Commission sued Parmalat Monday. In a
federal court filing in New York, regulators accused the bankrupt
Italian food giant of "grossly misstating" assets to US investors while
perpetrating "one of the largest and most brazen" corporate frauds in
history. US investors hold some $1.5 billion in Parmalat bonds and
notes. Meanwhile, an attorney for jailed founder and ex-chief executive
Calisto Tanzi said his client has admitted diverting some $600 million
in company funds.
AES Corp., a global leader in independent power production, reached a
deal Monday to restructure $1.2 billion in debt owed to Brazil's
government. As part of the agreement, AES will unite its four Brazilian
holdings - which include Eletropaulo, the utility that serves Sao Paulo
and is the nation's largest - into a single entity. The company,
Brasiliana Energia, will be 49.9 percent controlled by the
government-run National Development Bank. AES is based in Arlington, Va.
Lehman Brothers was poised to complete a takeover, along with Starwood
Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, of troubled London-based hotel chain Le
Meridien in a $1.2 billion debt deal, published reports said. Lehman
owns about $354 million of Le Meridien's $1.8 billion debt and has been
in talks with several hoteliers on a possible rescue plan, Dow Jones
News Service said. Le Meridien has some 130 hotels in 56 countries.
Starwood, based in White Plains, N.Y., operates the Sheraton, Westin,
and W Hotels, among others.
Boeing Co. was awarded a $9.6 billion contract to supply fighter
aircraft to the US Navy, the company's St. Louis-based defense division
announced Monday. Under the agreement, the Navy will buy more than 200
F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighters and pay for the design and development
of EA-18G airborne electronic-attack aircraft over the next five years.
Hasbro subsidiary Wizards of the Coast will close its 85 retail stores
by March to focus on game design, the nation's No. 2 toymaker
announced. Wizards is based in Renton, Wash., and produces games such
as Dungeons & Dragons, and Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon trading
cards. Hasbro is based in Pawtucket, R.I.
Federal health officials have banned ephedra, a popular herbal
weight-loss treatment and athletic-performance enhancer. The move
follows years of debate and marks the first time the Food and Drug
Administration has ordered a dietary supplement off the market due to
potential health risks. The supplement, which manufacturers assert is
safe, has been linked to the death earlier this year of Steve Bechler,
a pitcher with the Major League Baltimore Orioles.
Philippine authorities are set to deport two American brothers arrested
for allegedly meeting charity groups suspected of ties to Al Qaeda. One
of the men, Michael Stubbs (above, l., alongside brother James), worked
as a heating and air conditioning technician at the Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory - a major nuclear weapons lab in San Francisco -
for nearly a decade ending in 2000. Officials say the FBI is looking
into whether Stubbs had access to sensitive information. The brothers
deny any wrongdoing.
Hundreds of Californians are rushing to file lawsuits against the Roman
Catholic Church before a year-end deadline to register old abuse
claims. Attorneys handling the cases predict as many as 750 people will
sue statewide and that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the nation's
largest, will pay a sum that could surpass the record-breaking $85
million accord that the Archdiocese of Boston reached with past victims
of clergy abuse. The flood of litigation is the result of a state law
that lifted for a year the statute of limitations on molestation suits.
Pennsylvania declared Pittsburgh "financially distressed" Monday,
opening the way for an outside overseer to draw up a recovery plan for
the city. Pittsburgh's mayor requested the designation to help stave
off bankruptcy and empower the city to impose a long-deferred tax on
suburbanites who work downtown. The city is projecting a $42 million
deficit next year; it has laid off hundreds of employees in recent
Relatives and friends were mourning seven young ****s killed in a
police chase Sunday along US Highway 21 near Troutman, N.C. The
allegedly stolen vehicle hit an embankment and landed in a creek. The
Highway Patrol says none of the victims had licenses or wore seat belts.
The second explosion in three days in Baghdad's busy shopping district
killed one Iraqi civilian and injured another. Witnesses said the blast
went off as US military vehicles drove by. Hours earlier, US troops
detained nine men north of the Iraqi capital in a raid targeting
suspected anticoalition insurgents. The Los Angeles Times reported,
meanwhile, that do***ents recovered in Iraq indicate that SES
International Corp., a Syrian firm headed by a cousin of the country's
leader, Bashar Assad, supplied arms and ammunition to the former regime
ahead of the US-led invasion in March, violating a UN embargo. The
company denied involvement in illicit trade.
After a series of letter-bomb incidents, the European Union tightened
security at its Brussels headquarters and elsewhere. Two devices have
been intercepted at EU offices in The Hague and another was sent to the
head of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, since a package bomb
went off Sunday at the Bologna, Italy, home of EU Commission President
Romano Prodi. None of the incidents caused injuries. Investigators
reportedly are focusing on an Italian anarchist group.
Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf won the power to fire the prime
minister and disband parliament in sweeping constitutional changes
approved by the Senate Tuesday. Opposition lawmakers boycotted the vote
and a previous one in the house. Passage followed Musharraf's recent
agreement with a powerful Islamist political bloc, the MMA, to resign
as army chief by the end of 2004. The president originally seized power
in a 1999 military coup.
Unusually cold weather in northern India has killed more than 100
people in four days, officials said. Most were street laborers or
beggars in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, where
temperatures are hovering near 41 degrees, F. Many schools have closed,
and local authorities have distributed blankets and lit bonfires for
Although he's said he won't run, Ukraine's President Leonid Kuchma may
seek a third term next year, the Constitutional Court ruled. The
post-Soviet constitution sets a two-term limit, but the court said that
didn't apply because it was ratified in 1996, two years after Kuchma's
first term began. Opposition parties said they may stage protests
against the ruling in January.
We'll be extending your stay
It's been a mixed holiday for the crew of the North Korean-flagged ship
Elisabeth. Eight Ukrainian nationals aboard were rescued from the
partially sunken freighter by the Greek Coast Guard on Christmas Eve,
in an incident that drew heavy media coverage there. But when
authorities checked the vessel for leaks Dec. 26, they found not the
declared cargo of cement, but 35 tons of cigarettes. The shipmates are
now under arrest on smuggling charges.
Hi, I'm calling about your ad
The headline in a Shanghai newspaper earlier this month read: "Phone
war waged on illegal posters." That's putting it mildly. City officials
have a new strategy to deal with people who tack ads and fliers on
lampposts, walls of buildings, and other public places. And how will
they do this? By placing computerized phone calls to the numbers that
appear on the unsightly pages - every two hours at first, then more
frequently until there's one every eight seconds. The calls will demand
that posters remove the ads and either delist the phone numbers or
appear in court and be fined up to $60.
What does this mean? Most looked-up words of 2003
Merriam-Webster, publisher of dictionaries since 1843, has joined those
organizations that issue lists of the year's "top 10." In this case, of
words that curious Internet users looked up most often on its various
websites. According to president John Morse, the company found that the
most frequent searches were for "not so much new words as newly popular
words" heard in conversation or seen in news headlines and "other kinds
of daily reading." Herewith, the "words of the year," based on hits to
For Customer Service send e-mail to: email@example.com
To subscribe, go to:
To unsubscribe, change your e-mail address, or subscribe to
other Monitor e-mail services go to:
(c) 2003 The Christian Science Monitor. All rights reserved.
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
Version: 6.0.556 / Virus Database: 348 - Release Date: 12/26/2003