Today's Headlines

US News

Rhode Island Nightclub Fire Investigation Deepens
With the death count from the fire raised to 97, law enforcement officials continued their investigation into the cause of the disaster. Beyond scouring the site, which is being treated as a crime scene, investigators have questioned dozens of people, including patrons of the nightclub, firefighters on the scene, and members of the band Great White, whose pyrotechnics ignited the soundproofing foam on the stage, bringing about the fire. Of particular note is the discovery that pyrotechnic shows had been allowed in the club in the past.

Tourist Fights To Live After Being Run Over By Cop
A French tourist remained in critical condition today after being run over by a police vehicle while she and her sister were sunbathing on a beach; the sister died of her injuries. Sandrine Tunc and her sister Stephanie were sunbathing near the edge of a crowded Miami-area beach. The police SUV was driving along the edge, surveying the crowd, when the accident occurred.

Monkey Escapes From Biodefense Lab
A small gray and tan monkey escaped from a University of California at Davis laboratory two weeks ago. The monkey was "disease free" and used for breeding purposes, according to the Calfornia National Primate Research Center, but the accident has raised grave concerns among the opponents of a $150 million biocontainment facility on the site, which would be used to study the world's most dangerous diseases.

International News

Quake Kills 300, Injures 1000 in West China
An earthquake in the western Xinjiang region of China caused widespread destruction early this morning (at 2:03 AM GMT). The quake, measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale, occurred about 100 miles west of the city of Kashgar in the sparsely populated area of Jiashi. Witnesses and officials state that the worst damage is in the Bachu region, further east, in which there are approximately 370,000 residents. Many of the victims were schoolchildren, killed in the collapse of a school in Bachu near the epicenter.

Plane Crash Kills Afghan Minister
Afghanistan's Minister for Mines and Industries Juna Mohammad Mohammadi and Pakistani foreign ministry official Mohammad Farhad Ahmed were among eight on board a Cessna jet that crashed in southeast Pakistan. Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority said that contact with the plane was lost 29 minutes after the plane left Karachi, Pakistan at 3:00 AM GMT. Officials suggest that pilot error in low visibility was the most likely cause for the crash.

Powell Arrives in South Korea
US Secretary of State Colin Powell arrived in Seoul, South Korea this morning on the final leg of his tour of Asia, in which he hoped to build Asian support for the US-led drive to disarm Iraq. Another goal of the mission is to bring about multilateral talks on the North Korean nuclear crisis. Powell is expected to attend the inauguration of new South Korean president Roh Moo-Hyun tomorrow, then meet with the new leader.


Fukui Named Governor of Bank of Japan
Toshihiko Fukui, a former Bank of Japan official, will be appointed the governor of the bank on March 19, 2003. Fukui quit the BOJ amid a scandal five years ago, but his long history of sound economic policy as part of the BOJ oversight committee convinced Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to name Fukui to the post. Fukui's task: to stop the rampant deflation in the Japanese economy that is hurting business.

EU, US Split On Growth Measures
While putting aside foreign policy differences, the United States and the European Union are having differences in fiscal policy as well. While Bush preaches a hefty tax cut plan as the solution to problems, European nations are instead promoting fiscal discipline. These talks were the result of the recent G7 meetings.

EMI Looking To Buy Warner Music
EMI, the last major independent music company, is looking to purchase the music production arm of Time Warner for between $3 and $4 billion. EMI is being applauded for this move, looking to buy in an industry struggling with declining sales, and the move alone may remove long-standing talk that other companies are looking to buy EMI.

Science & Technology

Citibank Wins Gag on Crypto Research
The High Court in London has imposed an injunction against researchers at Cambridge University who have uncovered serious problems in the system that banks use to keep ATM PINs secure. This order prevents any public disclosure of cryptographic vulnerabilities as a result of an upcoming trial involving 'phantom withdrawals,' in which a South African couple is suing Diners Club because of 50,000 pounds worth of withdrawals in Britain in March 2000, when the couple was at home in South Africa. Diners Club claims their systems are secure, so the couple must have made the withdrawals.

Microsoft Files Counterclaim Against Sun
Microsoft has filed a counterclaim in the ongoing private antitrust suit that Sun has filed against the Redmond, Washington corporation. Sun's original suit against Microsoft claimed that the company had violated an agreement between the two companies in which Microsoft would ship Sun's Java platform with Windows. Microsoft has shipped their own version of Java with Windows, which has some incompatibilities with Sun's version, which has resulted in the suit. Microsoft's countersuit states that due to the original suit's injunction against Microsoft, Sun has breached the contract by not allowing them to ship Java with Windows.

Intel Slows Down Path To 64 Bit Desktops
Top researchers at Intel say that a lack of applications, the existing situation in the memory market, and the challenge of getting consumers and the rest of the industry to migrate to new chips means Intel will hold off on delivering 64-bit chips to desktops for years. "It could be the end of the decade" before mainstream desktops need more than 4 GB of memory, said Justin Rattner, a senior researcher at Intel.


AIDS "Vaccine" Gets Less Than Stellar Reviews
A hotly anticipated new AIDS vaccine failed to protect most people from the disease in its first major clinical trial, although it did show some promise, said a spokesman for VanGlen, Inc. The bright spot in the study was that the expected infection rate for the 314 black volunteers who received the vaccine was reduced by 78%, an unexpected result, and that the rate was reduced by 67% for all non-white, non-Hispanic volunteers.

Bush Proposes Major Changes To Medicare
President Bush has begun one of the most ambitious efforts ever to reinvent Medicare and Medicaid since they were introduced in 1965. Revisions to the plan include more state control over the Medicaid program which provides coverage for low-income families, and some privatization of Medicare, which provides medical coverage for the elderly. Along with the revisions to Social Security, this represents a major overhaul to Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs of the 1960s.


Bryant Extends 40 Point Streak To Nine Games
Kobe Bryant scored 41 points on Sunday, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to victory over the Seattle SuperSonics 106-101. It was Kobe's ninth straight game in which he scored 40 or more points. The only player with a longer such streak is Wilt Chamberlain, who had a streak of 14 40+ point games in 1962. With the win, the Lakers continued to cement their playoff standings, holding firm on their grip on the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Kasparov Upset At Grandmaster's Tournament
The world's highest ranked chess player Garry Kasparov lost to tournament newcomer Teimous Radjabov in the 20th Linares Super Grandmaster's chess tournament early this morning. Meanwhile, World Cup champion Vishwanathan Anand drew with Vallejo Pons, while the second-ranked player in the world, Vladmir Kramnik defeated sitting World champion Ruslan Ponomariov.


Norah Jones Dominates Grammy Awards
Norah Jones won five Grammy awards last night at the annual music awards, including Newcomer of the Year, Song of the Year for Don't Know Why, and Album of the year for Come Away With Me. Bruce Springsteen and The Dixie Chicks each walked away with three awards. Also of note was the reunion of Simon and Garfunkel to open the show.

Art Directors Choose Catch Me If You Can, The Two Towers
At the seventh annual Art Directors Guild Awards, the major awards were won by Catch Me If You Can and The Two Towers, which won for, respectively, best design among contemporary films and best period-fantasy design. Catch Me If You Can's victory was a bit of a surprise, as it was not nominated for best art direction at the Oscars.

And Now, Some Typical Daylog Fare

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain,
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.

I usually don't bother to watch industry award shows, finding them often so self-serving and self-complimentary that they make me ill. However, I found myself paying attention to the Grammys last night, for no other reason than the word was out that Simon and Garfunkel may be reuniting. Since I am a big fan of late 1960s music and folk music, this was eagerly anticipated and hoped for by me.

And as the show opened, I got my wish.

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
'Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence.

The duo opened the show by performing their 1964 classic The Sound of Silence. It was the perfect song for this moment in time, I think.

Two old men sat on the stage, singing a song written in another time. But it still rings true, even after all these years.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence.

It was also eerily appropriate to this moment in time, as well. A time when there is so much unrest in the world, so many countries full of anger and threatening acts of war. Meanwhile, so many sit idly silent, seemingly afraid to lose what is already in hand.

"Fools" said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you."
But my words like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed
In the wells of silence

It's somehow appropriate that this song opened the show in New York City, not too far from where the towers collapsed a year and a half ago. Since then, our government has tried to find people to blame, but yet no one has heard the voice of the people.

They aren't silent, but many seemingly cannot hear the voices.

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming.
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets
are written on the subway walls And tenement halls."
And whisper'd in the sounds of silence.

Can you hear it?

Lyrics to The Sound of Silence written by Paul Simon, 1964