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Published:April 14th, 2008 09:58 EST
World Chronicle: April 14

World Chronicle: April 14

By Krzys Wasilewski

It happened today in Nairobi, Kenya…

The political deadlock in the East African country of Kenya seems to finally be over. President Mwai Kibaki introduced Sunday a new government, ending the period of over four months that brought some 1,000 casualties and shattered the traditionally stable state. Rail Odinga, the opposition leader and former presidential contender who narrowly lost to the incumbent in what appeared to have been a rigged election last December, will stay at the helm of the government, commanding 40 ministers equally divided between two main political powers. Among two vice prime ministers the president side is represented by Uhuru Kenyatta, son of Kenya’s liberation hero and first president Jomo Kenyatta. According to the signed agreement, the cabinet will rule until its term ends in 2012, or when the parliament devises a new constitution.

It happened today in Rome, Italy…

The right comes back to power in Italy after Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition won the early election held on Sunday and Monday. According to the unofficial results, the center-right block garnered almost 45 percent of the vote; the center-left party led by charismatic Walter Veltroni came in second with a little over 38 percent. The Italian Interior Ministry informed that the turnout reached 82 percent, one of the highest in recent history. Many experts point out that Berlusconi’s comeback after two years, when Italy was ruled by the Socialists, was possible due to the surprisingly good result of his coalition partner, the Northern League. With Umberto Bossi at the helm, the radical right Northern League demands tougher anti-immigration policy and the creation of an independent country carved out from the northern, richer part of Italy.

It happened today in Sofia, Bulgaria…

The British Daily Telegraph newspaper writes on Monday that a Bulgarian farmer, obviously fed up with his third wife, married his neighbor’s goat. The 54-year-old farmer, Stoil Panayotov, explained his decision saying that his current wife had been unable to give him a child whereas the goat had already borne three babies. In a ceremony in March which, unsurprisingly, drew hundreds of people from nearby villages, Panayotov exchanged his wife for the goat. “So this deal was more profitable to the goat owner, I got a second-hand goat and he got a brand new wife,” the happy farmer told the newspaper. It is unknown where the newlyweds went for their honeymoon.

It happened eight years ago in Washington, DC…

It was on April 14, 2000, that Metallica, a popular heavy metal music band, filed a suit against the file-sharing program Napster. The group was soon joined by such celebrities as Dr. Dre and Madonna who also sought a way to prevent online users from obtaining their songs for free and prior to their original release. Although the move sparked a wide-spread boycott of Metallica’s albums from the Internet community, the suit became a cornerstone in the fight against worldwide piracy. In March 2001, the court banned Napster from distributing copyrighted material, successfully shutting down the service four months later.

It happened 143 years ago in Washington, DC…

President Abraham Lincoln was shot today in 1865 while attending the play Our American Cousin at Ford‘s Theater. The man who pulled the trigger, John Wilkes Booth (an actor and secret supporter of the Confederacy), waited until the play reached its funniest part in the third act when he approached the president and aimed at the back of his head. Lincoln was quickly transported to a nearby apartment where he was under the care of an army surgeon. Nine hours later, the president was dead, becoming the first American head of state to be assassinated. During his deplorable act, Booth was reported to have shouted “Sic semper tyrannis!” which can be translated as “Thus always to tyrants.” Having snuck out of the theater, he was caught 12 days later and hanged on April 26, together with several other traitors.

It happened 180 years ago in Washington, DC…

The American Dictionary of English Language, produced by Noah Webster, had its publishing debut today in 1828. When he started writing his monumental work, Webster was 43 and earned his living as a teacher at various schools. Twenty-seven years later, the dictionary was completed and consisted of 70,000 words, together with their definitions and pronunciation. The beginnings were difficult – it sold in only 2,500 copies and drove its author into huge debt that would haunt him to the end of his life. Nevertheless, Webster’s dictionary was a revolutionary work in the United States because as the first source it recorded the differences between the American and British versions of English. An ardent patriot himself, Webster popularized the idea of a new, American language that he hoped would be spoken wide and breadth the country. Apart from the dictionary – which would become an indispensable help for generations of American students – Webster also wrote, among others, A Grammatical Institute of the English Language: A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language (released in 1806). In 1833, Webster published his version of the Bible, called the Common Version.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please write to: krzys.wasilewski@yahoo.com