Today's Headlines

US News

Mother Saw Captured Son On Iraqi Television
Anecita Hudson of Albuquerque, New Mexico said that she saw her son, Army specialist Joseph Hudson, interviewed in the video of Iraqi POWs which aired on television in Iraq and was later picked up by a Filipino television station that she subscribes to. Specialist Hudson, who was stationed at Fort Bliss in Texas, was one of more than a dozen prisoners of war captured by Iraq over the weekend. "He's been captured. They interviewed my son live from Iraq. From my point of view, he looked so scared," said Hudson. US military officials did not immediately release identities of any of the soldiers, who were captured or killed in an ambush near Nasiriyah in southern Iraq.

Major Gay Rights Case To Appear Before Supreme Court
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear a significant gay rights case which may make laws banning sodomy unconstitutional on the grounds that they violate the right to privacy. The case stems from the events of the night of September 17, 1998, in which Harris County, Texas sheriff's officers entered an apartment in Houston looking for what a neighbor had told them was a man with a gun "going crazy." Instead, they found the tenant, John Lawrence, having sex with another man, Tyron Garner. While the caller was charged with filing a false report, both Garner and Lawrence were charged with violating Texas law against "deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex." The case has been repeatedly appealed and will now appear before the highest court in the land.

Bush Acknowledges War May Be Longer Than Expected
In an impromptu press conference held as President Bush returned from a retreat at Camp David yesterday, the President alluded to a potentially long and bloody battle, saying the war with Iraq is in its "opening phases" and that American forces are at "the beginning of a tough fight." Meanwhile, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Richard Lugar told CNN that initial intelligence reports revealed that Saddam Hussein was injured in the war's opening bombardment of an Iraqi leadership compound on Thursday. "There were initial intelligence reports from various sources that he was carried from his building where he was on a stretcher, apparently injured," Lugar said. "What condition he's in, what his mood is, very hard to tell, because we frankly don't know."

International News

Iraq Fights Back
After success in holding out Basra against the coalition forces, Iraqi forces mounted an offensive against US and British forces from the town of Nasiriya in southern Iraq, which had been surrounded by coalition forces. The offensive, which involved the use of fake surrenders and ambushes, resulted in the death of nine Marines and the capturing of a dozen more. The coalition forces responded to this offensive by undertaking a large bombing campaign against several major cities in Iraq, most notably Baghdad, which suffered the largest bombing since the major offensive last Friday night.

Saddam Hussein Appears On Iraqi Television
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, dressed in full military regalia, appeared on state television on Monday, hailing the Iraqi military on the fifth day of a U.S.-led invasion to overthrow him. "We made a lot of sacrifices to avert war," Saddam said, who then went on to praise the "valiant" contribution of the Iraqi military in resisting a US and British war against Iraq that began on Thursday. Reuters correspondents in Baghdad said they were confident that the man appearing on live television was Saddam, although the Iraqi leader has a handful of lookalikes who sometimes stand in for him.

Pakistan Angered By Murder Of Kashmiri Leader
Pakistan has strongly condemned the "cold blooded murder" of Abdul Majeed Dar, a leader of Pakistani interests in occupied Kashmir. The government of Pakistan urged India to quickly bring to justice the perpetrators of this "heinous" crime, as well as a call to end all "brutalities" in the occupied territory. A spokesman for Pakistan's Foreign Ministry told reporters that this is the latest "cowardly act" in a series of attacks which exemplifies the "state-sponsored terrorism" unleashed by India in the Kashmir region. India had no initial comment on the call to arms, but did acknowledge the murder of Dar.


Tokyo Stocks Rally, Other Asian Markets Missed
While the Japanese stock market rallied this morning over hopes of a quick end to the war, the other Asian stock markets were mixed in the belief that the war with Iraq may last longer than previously expected. "What is changing is the perception that the war will be short and sharp. I think markets are now adjusting to the prospects of a more protracted engagement," said Spencer White, Asia Pacific equities strategist at Merrill Lynch. This change in perspective is occuring due to stronger-than-expected resistance in the ground war in Iraq, where several peripheral towns have resulted in major battles with coalition forces.

Nigeria Declares War On Oilfield Militants
Nigeria's army chief has temporarily relocated to the Niger Delta to direct a growing military campaign against ethnic militants whose clashes have led to losses of 29% of Nigeria's oil output, military officials said on Monday. Industry officials said the move, while intended to quell persistent unrest around the oilfields, was likely to further inflame the situation if soldiers launch reprisal attacks over the killing of a dozen colleagues by militants in the past week. The situation revolves around unrest between a handful of villages in the region. Both Texaco and Shell have oil fields in the region of unrest.

France Telecom Raises Money By Selling Rights
France Telecom, battling heavy debts and major corporate losses, unveiled a plan to sell 15 billion euros worth of rights. The price of the shares was set at 14.50 euros, which is 28% lower than France Telecom's closing price. The share dilution initially caused a sharp lowering of France Telecom stocks, but was being looked at as a sure sign of determination by the company to bolster their finances. The French government has subscribed to about 9 billion euros worth of the issue, which falls in line with the government's 56% ownership in the company.

Science & Technology

Apple Postpones Developer's Conference; May Announce OS X 10.3
Apple Computer has announced that they are moving their WorldWide Developers Conference, originally scheduled for mid-May at San Jose's Convention Center, to mid-June and a new location: San Francisco's Moscone Centre. The reason for this is the expected public announcement of Panther -- Apple's code name for Mac OS X 10.3. The new location affords much greater accessibility and presence for the mainstream press, which is leading into the speculation that 10.3 may be as major a release as 10.2 (Jaguar) was. The rumor mill is also stating that Panther may support IBM's 64-bit PowerPC 970 chip and that the first public demo will occur here.

Websites Gear Up For Weekday War Coverage Traffic
Websites delivering content related to coverage of the war in Iraq are pumping up for the upcoming week, in which workers with internet access will likely be utilizing the internet coverage of the war in the absence of other means. "We've created a system here that's very flexible and allows us to respond to spikes in traffic," said spokesman Don Marshall. Other sites have "emergency" versions of their pages, or have switched to using a content management system that generates static-only versions of many of their war coverage pages, enabling the pages to be served much more quickly.

Microsoft To Aid In Secure Software Course
Microsoft has teamed up with the University of Leeds to develop the first undergraduate course in the United Kingdom that focuses on the skills necessary to develop secure code. The course is slated to begin next January. Students will be required to write secure code to perform simple tasks which can be linked together for larger-scale secure tasks. Microsoft UK Chief Security Officer Stuart Okin said: "We are working with the University of Leeds because until now Computer Science graduates in this country were not obtaining adequate theoretical or practical experience. For instance, the module will educate students about buffer over-runs and how to avoid the pitfalls such as those exposed in the recent Slammer virus outbreak."


Eastern Europe Facing AIDS Epidemic
A new study on AIDS in the countries of the former Soviet block indicates that the region is on the verge of being devastated by enormous spikes of new cases of HIV/AIDS. The report, prepared by France's Institute of Health Monitoring appears in the British medical journal The Lancet and states that attitudes in the area are to blame and must be changed. "Rates of HIV in Central Europe remain low at present, but behaviors that promote HIV transmission are present in all countries. Improved measures to prevent further HIV spread are urgently needed," the report says. "In view of the current levels of HIV prevalence, Eastern Europe will soon be confronted with a major AIDS epidemic."

Diagnostic Test Discovered For Mystery Ailment
Doctors in Hong Kong have developed a simple diagnostic test for the virus responsible for the global outbreak of the so-called "super pneumonia" known as SARS. The test, validated on eight patients so far, was made possible after scientists were able to grow the virus in a laboratory using tissue from a victim of the disease. This breakthrough will enable researchers to precisely identify the pathogen as well as quickly assess potential treatments for the condition. The disease has now affected almost 400 people in 14 countries and has been responsible for a total of 17 deaths.


Butler Is 2003's NCAA Cinderella
12th seeded Butler University continued their run in the NCAA men's basketball tournament, knocking off Rick Pitino's 4th seeded Louisville 79-71 on their way to the Sweet 16. Darnell Archey led the way, scoring 26 points while making 8 out of 9 attempted three point shots. "I was in the zone. I felt like Michael Jordan in '92 against the Blazers," Archey said. "My teammates just kept getting the ball to me with wide-open looks." Butler is set to face #1 seed Oklahoma this Friday in Albany, New York.

Ill Tiger Woods Wins Bay Hill Invitational
Tiger Woods, suffering from food poisoning after eating pasta he said he'd cooked for himself at home on Saturday night, won the Bay Hill Invitational PGA golf tournament, becoming the first golfer since Gene Sarazen 73 years ago to win the same tournament four consecutive times. "I thought about going to the hospital, but the problem is it's so easy to check in, but getting out is the hard part," said Woods after a closing 4 under par 68, which more than doubled his lead en route to a 19-under 269 total. "As dehydrated as I was from throwing up and the other thing, I wanted to get on an IV drip, get my fluid levels up in case today was hot and humid, but I didn't know if they were going to let me go, so I didn't do that."


Chicago Dominates Oscars, Politics Do Not
Chicago took home six Academy Awards at the 75th annual ceremony last night, including best picture, but politics were largely absent from the ceremonies. Among the winners: Adrien Brody was named Best Actor for The Pianist, Nicole Kidman won Best Actress for The Hours, Chris Cooper won Best Supporting Actor for his role in Adaptation, Catherine Zeta-Jones won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Chicago, Spirited Away was named the Best Animated Film, and Roman Polanski was named the Best Director for The Pianist. The lone political moment occurred when Michael Moore, who won Best Documentary for Bowling For Columbine made a speech attacking George W. Bush's war policies, which was greeted with a mix of cheers and catcalls from the audience.

Networks Face Major Choices On Iraq, Other Programming
As the war with Iraq advances into its second week, the major television networks must now make crucial decisions about whether or not to continue to focus on war programming or switch to more traditional network fare. With the wide availability of other sources of war information, such as CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, is it necessary for the broadcast networks to replace all programming with war programming? ABC, for now, is continuing to focus on war broadcasting, while CBS plans to make sure that the NCAA tournament games are show. NBC, on the other hand, has largely returned to their typical programming schedule.

And Now, Some Typical Daylog Fare

At last, spring has come to Iowa.

I woke up this morning to some truly amazing weather, and thus decided to take a walk as the sun rose. And as the first rays began to peek over the horizon, feeling warm on my skin, I began to feel that inner glow that only the first real shot of spring can give.

It is a wonderful, beautiful, majestic day, and I think I will spend the rest of my coffee break outside.

Lent Diary, Day 20

In my daylog for February 19, 2003, I outlined my plan for a challenging Lenten discipline: no food or water during daylight hours. Visit that daylog for more details.

The temptation to eat and drink is often intense during the day.

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting on the porch reading and watching clouds drift by when suddenly I had an incredibly deep hunger pang. It was probably the strongest sense of hunger I've had since starting my discipline.

I closed my eyes for a bit, said a quick prayer, and thought of other things, and slowly it subsided.

But in that moment, I was sorely tempted.