2001 News and Interesting History Tidbits

DR Congo
International Aid Agencies in Congo including Save the Children, Oxfam and Christian Aid are pleading for more help from the International Community for war ravaged Congo. They are telling world leaders a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions is occurring in the Democratic Republic of Congo. With 16 million Congolese starving making it one of the world's worst humanitarian crises in 50 years. Those affected worst are the children in the country where 40% of children receive no schooling and 10,000 children have been commandeered to act as child soldiers in the war.

Museum Entrance Fees Scrapped in UK
The entrance fees for 13 of the most popular museums in Britain have ended thanks to a pledge made during the last General Election making them available to everyone.

Natural History Museum

Science Museum

Victoria & Albert

National Railway Museum in York

National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside

National Maritime Museum

National Railway Museum

Imperial War Museum

Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of London

Royal Armouries

Theatre Museum

Code Red Virus
The code red ( WORM ) virus is first seen on the Internet. The worm is designed to attack web sites running on Microsoft's IIS web server. The virus is thought to have affected over 250,000 web sites between 13th July and 20th July before a patch provided by Microsoft fixed the vulnerability and became well known for displaying the words "Hacked By Chinese!" on sites it had taken control of ( hence the name ) .

Human Cloning
In the Bahamas a company called Clonaid has intimated that they might be cloning human beings. Clonaid argues that it is ethical to clone human genetic material and complications like congenital defects or fetal death do not scare Ms. Boisseller, president of the company. She will not confirm or deny whether a human has actually been cloned in her laboratory.
On December 27, 2002, Clonaid's Boisselier, a Raƫlian bishop and CEO of Clonaid, announced that a baby clone, named Eve, was born. They have since claimed additional successful cloning of human beings but as of this date ( July 2008 ) no proof has ever been substantiated by outside scientists that could confirm or deny Clonaid's claims.

The United States House of Representatives votes to ban all human cloning but it is not voted into law as the Democratic led Senate votes against it.

The current status of laws regarding cloning around the world is still in disarray as many see the possibilities of ( Human therapeutic cloning ) which could provide great breakthroughs in medical science for regenerative medicine, and tissues and organs for transplantation. But concerns over mad scientists tinkering with the gift of life makes the laws which are needed to allow for medical advances difficult to formulate.

US Attacked By Terrorists on September 11, 2001 Known as 911
The United States is attacked by terrorists

American Airlines Flight 11 is hijacked and crashed into the North tower of the World Trade Center.

United Airlines Flight 175 is hijacked and crashed into the South tower of the World Trade Center.
The second crash is captured live on news cameras and shown live on Television stations throughout the country.

An hour after the Flight 175 crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center the 110-storey building collapsed and the North Tower followed within a few minutes. Witnesses report seeing a number of people jumping from the towers just before they collapsed.

The final death toll killed in the suicide attacks on 11 September was over 3000.

It took almost nine months to clear the millions of tons of rubble from The World Trade Center Known as "Ground Zero".

President Bush declared a worldwide war on terror, and on 8 October the United States and Britain attacked targets in Afghanistan, where the terrorist leader Bin Laden was believed to be hiding.

9/11 Attack

Personal Video Released From Birds Eye View Of 9/11 Terrorist Attack

Osama bin Laden Video
The Pentagon released a captured videotape of Osama bin Laden in which the al-Qaida leader said the deaths and destruction achieved by the Sept. 11 attacks exceeded his ''most optimistic'' expectations.

Slobodan Milosevic Arrested
Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has been arrested and taken to prison. The charges include corruption and theft of state funds and he is also wanted on war crimes charges by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Selby Rail Crash
A car veered off the M62 Motorway onto the railway line near Selby causing the Newcastle to London passenger train into a head on crash into a goods engine on the East Coast Main Line in North Yorkshire, with 10 dead and 60 injured in the crash.

General Pervez Musharraf Takes Power In Pakistan
Pakistan's military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, takes on the role of president and chief executive. Following his announcement the constitution and parliament were suspended two days after the announcement. This follows earlier decisions to ban opposition parties holding planned pro-democracy rallies.

British Labour Party Wins Second Term
Tony Blair and the British labour party are elected to a second term winning 413 seats against the Conservative party with 166 seats and the Liberal Democrats winning 52 seats giving the labour party a majority of 167 overall in the house of commons.

Aids Drugs Profit Before The Lives Of Millions
The world's biggest pharmaceutical companies bring legal action to fight legislation which would allow generic versions of their patented drugs being made in or imported to South Africa. Following uproar around the world and the pharmaceutical industry accused of putting profit before the lives of millions of people in the developing world, they have back out of the court battle and also after dropping the case, agree to sell Aids drugs at cost price in developing countries - a discount of up to 90%.

The Eden Project Opened in Cornwall
The Eden Project which is the worlds largest greenhouse and is designed to help save the worlds largest number of plant species from around the world, with a number of domes with each emulating a natural climate and geographical area of ecologically , the project has over 100,000 plants and is now one of the UK's most important tourist attractions .

Nepal Royal Family
The king, queen and seven other members of the royal family in Nepal are shot dead after the heir to the throne Crown Prince Dipendra went on the rampage with a gun before turning it on himself.

The Gothenburg Summit
The Gothenburg Summit ends having focused on the European Union's enlargement which will bring the number of members up from 15 to 27 over the next decade.

The other major discussion area was pressing ahead with implementation of the 1997 Kyoto protocol on global warming.

Much of the summit was dominated by violent clashes between anti-globalisation protesters and police.

During the visit by US President Bush negotiations broke down over the implementation of the "Kyoto treaty". Mr Bush described the Kyoto treaty as "unrealistic and not based on science".

The US ( George W Bush ) refuses to sign the Kyoto Agreement on Climate Change

G8 Summit Genoa
The leaders of world's seven richest nations begin the G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy with a focus on reducing global poverty in third world countries. One of the announcements later this week is expected to be a $1bn global health fund to fight Aids, TB and malaria. The other main area of discussion is expected to be talks on free trade around the world which would mean removing tarriffs on imports and ending subsidies in some area's. There are expected to be over 100,000 demonstrators protesting everything from Free Trade to Mr Bush's plans for new anti missile defence systems for the United States.

Trans World Airlines (TWA)
Trans World Airlines established in 1930 filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001 as part of the deal for American Airlines to acquire Trans World Airlines making American Airlines the No. 1 carrier in the United States

Sotheby's and Christies
The former chairmen of Sotheby's and Christies are charged by a federal jury in the United States on charges of conspiring to overcharge its customers with commission rates because the chairmen of the two apparently rival auction houses had a secret deal to fix commission rates.

Sotheby's former chairman Alfred Taubman was found guilty of conspiring to fix commissions charged to clients and sentenced to one year in prison, but the chairman of Christies refused to come the US and could not be extradited so the case never got to court.

Cincinnati Riots
The Cincinnati Mayor Charles Luken declares a state of emergency after the third night of violence and looting, as a reaction to the fatal shooting in Cincinnati of Timothy Thomas on April 7. Thomas , a 19-year-old black male, is shot by Steven Roach, a white police officer, during an on-foot pursuit by several officers.

Foot and Mouth Epidemic England
A Suspected case of foot and mouth disease is detected at an Essex abattoir, the first case in the UK for 20 years.

The case is later confirmed and four million animals in the UK were slaughtered.

Twenty-five new cases of foot-and-mouth have been identified from 11 different areas, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 163.

The Ministry of Agriculture (Maff) slaughters 1,600 cattle on two farms near Exmoor, after four new cases of foot-and-mouth confirmed around the village of Wiveliscombe, near Taunton. Maff officials are concerned that the disease could spread further into Exmoor itself and affect wild deer and the pony population.

The disease cost the farming industry between £800m and £2.4bn and destroyed the livelihoods of thousands of farmers. The UK was finally declared foot-and-mouth free in January 2002

Enron Collapse
Enron an energy trading company filed for Chapter 11 protection in one of the largest corporate bankruptcies in U.S. history. By the end of the year, Enron's collapse had cost investors including pension plans billions of dollars.

Pacific Gas and Electric File Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Pacific Gas and Electric ( PG&E ) file Chapter 11 Bankruptcy when they are unable to sell electricity to consumers for more than they buy it on the open market.
The State of California under leadership of California Governor Gray Davis bailed out the utility.

California Electricity Price Increase 46% and Blackouts
California regulators approved electricity rate hikes of up to 46 percent following the partially deregulated California energy system .

California officials order the first of a further two days of rolling blackouts.
Rolling blackouts had began on
June 14, 2000 due to a heatwave
January 17-18, 2001
March 19-20, 2001
May 7-8, 2001

The California electricity crisis which included extremely high prices and Rolling blackouts was a direct result from the manipulation of energy of a partially deregulated California energy system by companies like Enron and Reliant Energy.

Mir Space Station Ends
Mir Russia's and the worlds first consistently inhabited long-term research station in space ended 15 yrs in space when it is decommissioned and ends with a planned fiery plunge into the South Pacific. The space station was originally built for only Russian space exploration. The use of Mir evolved over the years as tensions between East and West eased with the ending of the cold war to become a sign that space exploration could become a truly joint project with the US Space Shuttle taking supplies and new crew members from many countries including the US and Russia.

Mars Odyssey Arrives At Mars
The Mars Odyssey spacecraft took off on a six-month, 286-million-mile journey to the red planet. It reached Mars on October 24, 2001. It is designed to orbit the planet Mars to hunt for evidence of past or present water and volcanic activity to help answer the question of whether life has ever existed on Mars.

FBI Agent Arrested
FBI Agent Robert Phillip Harrison was arrested at his home for selling American secrets to Soviets. He had received about $1.4 million in cash as well as diamonds for his illegal services to the Soviet Union.

Insurance Companies and Genetic Screening
In the UK up to 2001 insurance companies were asking for more and more Genetic Screening prior to policy issue to be used for policy premium pricing or even refusal.

Genetic Screening is a way to check a persons DNA to test for genetic disorders.

Genetic Screening involves taking either a blood or a saliva sample and testing it for certain known gene defects which may cause Alzheimer's disease, Inherited breast and ovarian cancer, Cystic fibrosis, Sickle cell disease, bowel cancer and Huntington's Chorea to name just a few.

The UK government put a moratorium on the practice in 2001 allowing only 1 type of test to be used for screening, but the insurance companies have said without Genetic Screening overall cost of insurance could increase significantly.

Genetic Screening has the potential to be one of most important medical advances in modern history by helping to identify and even treat before a life crippling or life threatening disease takes hold. It also has the potential to be the most divisive tool used by the insurance industry to change the Health and Life Insurance business.

Governments in the civilised world will need to wrestle with this thorny issue and find the path that helps use the technology for the good of mankind while not allowing large numbers of people to lose health care coverage because of the DNA they were born with.

2001 Tax Cuts
The Republican controlled House voted for the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act ( EGTRRA ) which would create a tax cut of nearly $1 trillion over the next decade.

EGTRRA generally reduced the rates of individual income taxes:

New 10% bracket was created for single filers with taxable income up to $6,000, joint filers up to $12,000, and heads of households up to $10,000.

The 15% bracket's lower threshold was indexed to the new 10% bracket

The 28% bracket would be lowered to 25% by 2006.

The 31% bracket would be lowered to 28% by 2006

The 36% bracket would be lowered to 33% by 2006

The 39.6% bracket would be lowered to 35% by 2006

Additional changes related to the act were passed in 2003.

Like any major changes in a taxation system there are many more complications way beyond a simple few sentences including changes to estate taxes, gift taxes, (IRAs) including 401(k) and 403(b) plans , dividend income taxes just to name a few.

Bluebird Recovered
The wreck of Donald Campbell's boat, Bluebird, has been raised from the bottom of Coniston Water in Cumbria. The wreck had been there since the attempt to break the world water speed record in 1967 in which killed Donald Campbell had died.

Napster Closed Down
Napster is finally closed down by court order following an injunction on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) . Napster had grown in just two short years from just a few visitors and file swappers to multiple millions of visitors sharing music mostly in the form of MP3's depriving the music industry of millions of dollars. And in 2002 Napster was forced to file for Chapter 11 protection but an American bankruptcy judge forced Napster to liquidate its assets according to Chapter 7 of the U.S. bankruptcy laws.

War Crimes
A U.N. tribunal in The Hague in the Netherlands convicts Bosnian Croat political leader Dario Kordic of war crimes for ordering the systematic murder and persecution of Muslim civilians during the Bosnian war.

Guantanamo Bay To Be Used For Prisoners
U.S. officials announced that Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners would be held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

United States loses it's seat on the U.N. Human Rights Commission
The United States lost its seat on the U.N. Human Rights Commission for the first time since the commission was formed in 1947 when the countries of France, Sweden and Austria are chosen for the three seats allocated to Western countries on the 53-member commission.

Great Pacific Northwest Earthquake
February 28, 2001 One of the largest earthquakes in Seattle history . Thousands fled from their homes. The magnitude of this disaster was between 6.0 and 7.0 on the Richter Scale. As of two days later, some damage to property but no deaths and several injuries were reported.

Shoe Bomber Fails To Blow Up Airplane
Richard C. Reid, dubbed by the press as the shoe bomber, a passenger on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami, tried to ignite explosives in his shoes, but was subdued by flight attendants and fellow passengers.

On January 30, 2003, he was found guilty on terrorism charges at a federal court in Boston, Massachusetts and is currently serving multiple life sentences.

Dale Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt died in a crash during the Daytona 500

Bomb Attack
Ethnic Albanian extremists carry out a bomb attack on a bus convoy carrying more than 250 Serbs to a religious ceremony in Kosovo .

Indian Parliament Attacked By Gunmen
Gunmen have broken through tight security to attack the parliament building in the Indian capital, New Delhi leaving At least 12 dead and 22 injured .

The US Pulls Out Of 1972 Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty
President George W. Bush served formal notice that the United States was pulling out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia.

Suicide Bombers Israel
Two suicide bombers blew themselves up in back-to-back explosions at a downtown Jerusalem pedestrian mall, killing 11 bystanders

Worst serial killer in British history GP Harold Shipman
A public inquiry, publishes it's final report and concludes the former GP Harold Shipman may have killed more than 300 of his patients making him the worst serial killer in British history

Anthrax Attack
Concerns over the threat of an increase in biological attack by terrorists increased when a Florida man died after opening a letter containing anthrax bacteria sent through the US Postal Service.

Ecological Disaster Galapagos
The fuel supply tanker 'Jessica' has run aground on the Island of San Cristobal in the Galapagos Islands, marine biologists are warning of an ecological disaster to the Archipelago. ( the ship did leak 180,000 gallons of oil which caused an ecological disaster with up to 62% of the marine iguana population on one island killed off.

September 11th 2001 Terrorist Attacks On Twin Towers and Pentagon

The terrible events of September 11th 2001 how much has changed and how our lives and consequently the news we see and read are still dominated by that event in history .

We are past the stage of understanding what, how and why it happened but the changes by not only the US government but most of the rest of the western world's governments affect our daily lives .

They may range from the security put in place to hopefully stop it from ever occurring again to the current war in Iraq and troops in Afghanistan hoping to stop AlQuada from creating a place to plan and commit their atrocities.

I do not agree with many things our governments do in our name but also have to admit I do not know what I would do if I had to make some of the choices they make, I believe it is easy for many of us to say we should not do xx but without knowing all the facts we can not judge.

If we do or do not like our politicians or their politics after a few years they are thrown out of office.

Only historians in later years when they do have all the facts will be able to judge the right or wrong of their actions.

Just in modern history over the last 70 years I can think of a number of decisions I would not liked to have made as a politician

Dropping the Nuclear Bomb on Japan

Going to the very edge of war during the Cuban Missile Crisis

The British Prime Minister Chamberlain allowing Germany to flout the agreements from world war I to "achieve peace in our time"

Going into the Vietnam War

Entering the Korea War

Going to War with Iraq

There are equally a number which I think would be easy to make because the case for action was quite clear cut

Declaring war on Japan following Pearl Harbor

Declaring war on Germany following Germany attacking smaller countries

Going into Afghanistan after Bin Laden

Going into Kuwait after Iraq invaded

Taking back Falklands Islands from Argentina after they invaded

I did not mean for this to run onto the rights and wrongs in politics merely to point out that decisions by world leaders on behalf of their people can not be easy to make , when they know that young men and women may well die because of that decision.

A personal view of the 9/11 attacks on Democracy

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