2007 News and Interesting History Tidbits

Damage On Space Shuttle Endeavour
While docking with the International Space Station (ISS) damage is spotted believed to have been caused during takeoff . The damage is 9 pieces of foam which have broken away. The damage is a major concern for Nasa since the Columbia disaster in 2003 which was caused through a similar problem and not repaired prior to re-entry. Astronauts perform a series of space walks to first inspect the damage and send pictures back to NASA and then patch up the damage to protect the area for re-entry. The Space shuttle has been sent to the International Space Station to replace one of the four gyroscopes which help control the orbiting outpost's orientation in space.

Chinese Made Toys Recall By Fisher Price
Fisher Price part of the Mattel group is to recall more 1 1/2 million Chinese manufactured toys over fears that the paint used could pose a health risk to young children if ingested. The toys effected include the popular Sesame Street's Big Bird and Elmo which are targeted at young children who are more likely to put the toys in their mouths.

Pervez Musharraf Pakistan
The Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf clings to power by suspending the Constitution and imposing martial law. Following pressure from the United States he agrees to set a date for free elections in a country that is becoming increasingly unstable and is a nuclear power

Killing Spree Virginia Tech
Student Cho Seung Hui goes on a killing spree at Virginia Tech killing a former girlfriend Emily Hilscher and her next door neighbor Ryan Clark, and then went on to shoot to death 30 other students before taking his own life

South Carolina Firemen Lose Their Lives
A fire in a South Carolina Sofa Super store changed from an ordinary fire into a flash fire causing the loss of life of fire fighters who were trying to save employees trapped in the store

Stem Cell Research
The US House of Representatives votes to ease restrictions on federal funds for stem-cell research. President George W Bush has vowed use his Veto for a second time because he believes stem cell legislation crosses a moral line.
Scientists believe stem cell research will one day allow them to repair tissue affected by disease or injury and that the research could provide breakthroughs in the treatment of debilitating diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Chrysler sold to a private equity fund
Daimler Chrysler ( Mercedes ) sells off Chrysler to a private equity fund for $7.4 billion after losses in 2006 on the Chrysler division of $1.4 billion

New Wembley Stadium Completed UK
The new Wembley Stadium is completed with the worlds largest single span roof ( supported only at the sides ) measuring 1,033 ft in diameter

Diana memorial concert at London's Wembley Stadium
A live concert beamed to over 140 countries around the world as a memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales hosted by Princes William and Prince Harry featuring Sir Elton John, Duran Duran, Staus Quo, Tom Jones and many others is watched live by over 60,000 fans at Wembley Stadium. All ticket proceeds and money from TV rights will be used for charitable causes that were supported by the princess.

Seven Wonders of the Modern World
An official declaration of the new Seven Wonders of the Modern World was made determined from a worldwide poll organized by the New7Wonders Foundation.

The New Wonders of the World Are

1. The Great Wall of China ( It is the largest man made monument ever to have been built and is visible from space. )

2. Petra, Jordan ( Petra On the edge of the Desert, was the glittering capital of the Nabataean empire of King Aretas IV )

3. Christ Redeemer Rio de Janeiro, Brazil ( Statue of Jesus stands some 38 meters tall, atop the Corcovado mountain overlooking Rio de Janeiro )

4. Machu Picchu, Peru ( Ancient Inca City built by the Incan Emperor Pachacútec halfway up the Andes Plateau, and deep in the Amazon jungle )

5. Pyramid at Chichén Itzá, Mexico ( the most famous Mayan temple city, served as the political and economic center of the Mayan civilization )

6. The Roman Colosseum, Italy ( This great amphitheater in the centre of Rome to celebrate the glory of the Roman Empire )

7. The Taj Mahal, India ( This immense mausoleum by the fifth Muslim Mogul emperor, to honor the memory of his beloved late wife. )

Aberto Gonzales Resigns
Aberto Gonzales came under increasing pressure for the reasons he fired seven federal prosecutors which were thought to be political and resigns as Attorney General

Murders In 2007 Compared To 1947
We make assumptions that the chances of being murdered has got much worse over the last 50 years or so. Surprisingly to me anyway statistics prove different.

1947 8,000 murders and the population in the US was about 145 million
2007 16,500 murders and the population in the US was about 300 million

These figures are not perfect as the figure for 2007 is just an estimate from earlier published years and trends.

The number of murders per thousand population is very slightly higher but not as high as many of us might assume.

Housing Bubble Bursts
In the US and Great Britain the boom in house prices over the last 5 years comes to an end with property prices dropping overall, much of the increase had been due to much easier credit controls on those buying homes leading to a greater number of repossessions. The end of 2007 does not signal the end to the property slump as due to the number of sub prime mortgages in the system which will adjust to the full rates during 2008 causing more home owners to default on mortgage payments.

One of the side effects has been the sale in bundles of these sub prime mortgages to finance institutions both in the US and abroad so many banking stocks take large hits on share prices which could well worsen in 2008.

Another side effect of the housing bubble burst is the tightening of credit controls and the amount of credit available which in turn effects the spending power of the consumer ( the US economy is driven by consumer spending ) so many are concerned about a Recession in 2008.

In some areas ( Nevada and Florida ) foreclosures are running as high as one filing for every 152 households , and prices are dropping by over 10% at the end of 2007, many analysts are predicting further house price drops in 2008 of an additional 15% with the number of foreclosures also expected to increase.

The Housing Bubble Burst An Idea For The Reason
House Price Against Wages Multiplier 70 years
Year, Average House Price Average Wages, Inflation, Multiple Wages for House
1930, $3,845.00, $1,970.00, -2.8%, 1.95
1940, $3,920.00, $1,725.00, 0.73%, 2.2
1950, $8,450.00, $3,210.00, 1.09%, 2.6
1960, $12,700.00, $5,315.00, 1.46%, 2.3
1970, $23,450.00, $9,400.00, 5.84%, 3.5
1980, $68,700.00, $19,500.00, 13.58%, 3.5
1990, $123,000.00, $28,960.00, 5.39%, 4.2
2000, $189,150.00, $40,343.00, 3.19%, 4.6
2006 , $299,900, $44,472, 3.24%, 6.7

The interesting fact that comes out is that house prices as a multiplier of wages have increased over the decades but never as much as they they have over the last 6 years and generally large increases have been related to inflation

Oil 2007 Government Tax Take

I happened across this graph on the OPEC site from 2007 showing the percentage of tax taken by each country for each dollars worth of oil and I must admit was surprised at how high a percentage the UK Government takes which explains why the cost of Petrol is so expensive in England

Gallon of Gas in England roughly $8.60
Gallon Of Gas In US Roughly $3.00

US Government Take 26%
UK Government Take 55%

2007 Oscars
Best Picture : The Departed

Best Documentary : An Inconvenient Truth

Best Actor Leading Role : Forest Whitaker ( The Last King Of Scotland )

Best Actress Leading Role : Helen Mirren ( The Queen )

Best Actor Supporting Role : Alan Arkin ( Little Miss Sunshine )

Best Actress Supporting Role : Jenifer Hudson ( Dream Girls )

Using Man Made Fires For Climate Control
After many years of problems for both the indigenous people ( Aborigines ) of Australia and an increase of major bush fires wiping out large tracts of land and sometimes affecting major cities, Australia has embraced the Aborigines ancient traditions of indigenous fire management by burning areas of the Australian Outback to act as wild fire breaks just after the rains to stop wild fires spreading uncontrollable later in the year.
The project has been made possible by the most unlikely of companies ConocoPhillips who have agreed to pay the Aborigines A$1m ($850,000) a year, for 17 years, to offset 100,000 tons of the refinery's own greenhouse emissions.
The half a million Aborigines in Australia have long suffered from huge social problems in dysfunctional communities ravaged by domestic violence and alcoholism as the governments plans to assimilate them into the mainstream have largely failed, but schemes like this may well provide the opportunity for them to provide a service they understand better than anybody else and helping in the fight against global warming.

Gordon Brown Takes Over As British Prime Minister
GORDON Brown becomes The new British Labour leader and Prime Minister when Blair stands down

More Mountain Gorillas Killed
Four more mountain gorillas have been found shot in the Virunga National Park, home to 380 mountain gorillas over half the worlds population of this endangered species. Unlike many of the murders of these endangered animals this is not the work of poachers, but something even more sinister ( the latest speculation is that this is the work of rebels who think killing the endangered species is a way of hurting the Congolese authorities ). This brings the total killed this year to seven gorillas including 2 silverbacks earlier this year.

Liberty of the Seas
The world's biggest ship the "Liberty of the Seas" goes into service with a gross tonnage of 160,000

The ship is a Royal Caribbean cruise ship which entered regular service in May 2007. The 18-deck ship accommodates 4,370 passengers served by 1,360 crew.

She sails between Miami, Florida and the Eastern Caribbean or Western Caribbean depending on itineraries on weekly trips visiting the following ports

Miami, Florida
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Labadee, Haiti
Labadee, Haiti
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Georgetown, Grand Cayman
Cozumel, Mexico

2007 US Car Sales
2007 has been a bad year for car sales due to the housing market problems and the over all credit squeeze.

Final figures just released from Autodata Corp

General Motors 3.82 million cars and trucks in the U.S. down 6% from 2006
Toyota Motor Corp. 2.62 million cars and trucks in the U.S. Up 3% from 2006
Ford 2.57 million cars and trucks in the U.S. down 12% from 2006

But to make matters worse Toyota continues to gain ground with new car sales overtaking Ford in the US and GM car sales declining decreasing the gap between Toyota and GM for the number 1 US car sales slot. Predictions for 2008 are gloomy as many forecast even more problems in the housing market and predictions of the lowest new car sales in the US in ten years back to the levels of 1998.

Lewis ( Scooter ) Libby Convicted
Lewis ( Scooter ) Libby former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney is convicted on March 6th of perjury, lying and obstruction of justice over charges relating to his role in the leaking of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame

Apple Introduces The iPhone
The iPhone was shown for the first time at Macworld in San Francisco on January 9th 2007

The iPhone goes on sale on June 29th selling tens of thousands in the first few days

Apple introduces the Apple iPhone which epitomizes the next generation of mobile phone devices, with a super cool look and touch pad for navigation and includes a virtual keyboard.

It's features include
Web Browsing
Music Download
Reading Newspapers

Russian Flag North Pole
A team of Russians plant a titanium Russian Flag on the seabed in the exact spot for the North Pole .

This was possible because for the first time in modern history the Northwest Passage at the top of the world from the Pacific to the Atlantic was free of ice, making the possibility of oil exploration possible.

Many countries claim rights to the area and it could prove to be a major source of discussion over the next 20 years.

Rupert Murdoch Buys Wall Street Journal
Rupert Murdoch buys Dow Jones & Co. which includes The Wall Street Journal for $5 billion-plus

Terrorist Attack Glasgow Airport
A green Jeep Cherokee filled with gas cylinders and fuel is crashed through the check in entrance at Glasgow Airport in Scotland where it burst into flames . The unusual and worrying part of the attack was that the terrorists were working as doctors in the British Health Service

2007 Report On Obesity In America
A report about the growing problems of Obesity in America gives the most worrying figures ever published with nearly 60% of American Adults overweight or Obese

Terrorist Attack Benazir Bhutto
The former prime minister of Pakistan ( Benazir Bhutto ) returns after 8 years of self imposed exile and within a few hours of her arrival suicide bombers struck her motor cavalcade killing 136 of her supporters, but she escaped unharmed.
Pakistan has had an increasing number of terrorist bomb attacks in 2007 and many fear for the future in a country where religious extremist violence is increasing.

In Late December Benazir Bhutto is assassinated putting the country on the road to civil war.

Burma Rulers Crush Protests
The ruling military Junta in Burma ( Myan-mar ) moved against street protests by Buddhist Monks and others with riot police leaving over 1,000 protesters dead after firing indiscriminately into the crowds.

Fake $100 Bills
Concerns in Asia over the increasing number of fake $100 bills and the high quality is causing concern for the economy's of Japan and it's neighbours. The largest counterfeit operation is believed to originate in North Korea and concerns that the North Korean Government ( possibly indirectly through bribes by local counterfeiter's could be involved are fueling further concern

2007 Presidential Hopefuls
The presidential candidates who decided to run for the highest office in the US

Republicans: Mitt Romney, Rudi Guliani, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Tommy Thompson, Duncan Hunter, Sam Brownback, Tom Tancredo, Jim Gilmore, Fred Thompson.

Democrats : Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Ron Paul, Mike Gravel, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich.

The leading front runners at the end of 2007 are
Democrats : Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards
Republicans: Mitt Romney, Rudi Guliani, John McCain, Fred Thompson,

But with still along way to go changes can happen in American Politics

Some had already dropped out by the end of 2007 before the race even begun

Bridge Collapses Minneapolis
A Bridge crossing the Mississippi river on I35W in Minneapolis collapses with cars dropping the 50ft into the river, due to quick responses by emergency services only 13 people lost their lives in the tragedy

Final Harry Potter Book
The last and final Harry Potter book goes on sale
" Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"
written by J. K. Rowling. 10 years after the first Harry Potter Book was published.

Below are the books with publishing dates

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (26 June 1997)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2 July 1998)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (8 July 1999)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (8 July 2000)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (21 June 2003)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (16 July 2005)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (21 July 2007)

Crandel Canyon Mine Disaster
Six miners are trapped and lost when a mine at Crandel Canyon, Utah collapses and the tragedy is worsened when 2 rescue workers and a mine inspector are also lost when the tunnel they are digging to get to the trapped miners gives way.

The Worlds Nuclear Weapons Arsenal
Below are the current estimates for 2007 of Countries Nuclear Weapons Arsenals

Russia 7,000 --- 16,000
U.S.A. 5,700 ---- 10,000
France 350
U.K. 200
India 120 - 200
Israel 75 --- 170
China 130
Pakistan 30 --- 92
North Korea 1 - 10

These figures are as estimated by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Israel has never officially declared it is a nuclear power so never acknowledged

Western U.S. Freeze of 2007
A cold snap lasting from January 13th to January 18th hit the West Coast and froze several crops throughout California, Oregon and Washington State. Often called the Western U.S. Freeze of 2007, this weather-related disaster claimed thousands of acres of citrus crops and even caused snow to fall in parts of Southern California..

New Prime Minister Jamaica
Bruce Golding is elected as the new leader of the governing JLP and the new prime minister of Jamaica he succeeded Portia Simpson-Miller

Tropical Storms Strike Karachi in Pakistan
Severe storms have struck Karachi in southern Pakistan leaving hundreds dead and most of the city without power. Power lines and trees have been bought down in the largest city in Pakistan causing a number of people to be electrocuted due to the downed power lines.

Dow Jones
On April 25, 2007, the Dow passed 13,000 in trading and closes above 13,000 for the first time
On July 19, 2007 the Dow Jones closes above the 14,000 level

two dollars to the pound
It's interesting when studying history how history can put things considered to be a major talking point in perspective

Below Are A Few Example Years Exchange Rates

1933 Exchange Rate $4.78 to the British Pound
1962 Exchange Rate $2.80 to the British Pound
1997 Exchange Rate $1.60 to the British Pound
2007 Exchange Rate $2.07 to the British Pound

I was doing some research today for the 30's and spotted this from 1933
it was actually to with the price of gold

The Roosevelt gold buying policy was inaugurated today with the government paying $31.36 per ounce 27 cents higher than quotations on the London Gold Exchange.

The London Price is currently $31.00 based on the

exchange rate October 9th 1933 $4.78 to the British Pound

The Current Exchange rate :
exchange rate October 9th 2007 $2.07 to the British Pound

California Fires 2007
24th October 2007: 500,000 are evacuated from San Diego when a dozen wildfires fueled by strong 60 - 70 MPH Santa Ana winds destroy over 1000 homes and over 1/2 million acres have been burned to the ground so far. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has declared a state of emergency in seven counties.

Links for maps and info on 2007 California Fires

2006 Previous Year ---- ( Current Year Is 2007 ) ---- Following Year 2008

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