PICTURE OF THE WEEK: Easter Bunnies
Rabbits are a common symbol of Easter and while they may seem like a
great gift idea, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) urges
consumers to consider alternatives to live animals as presents.
Despite their cuddly appearance, rabbits are fragile creatures who
require special care. "Too often, people buy a rabbit thinking you can put
them in a cage and they'll be a great pet, which is completely wrong,"
said Stephanie Shain, director of outreach for companion animals at The
HSUS. "Baby bunnies require significant time socializing with people
every day outside their cage in order to bond with and enjoy being
handled by people."
Shain says plush rabbits make a great gift. Not only are they
maintenance-free, they won't end up in an animal shelter with other
unwanted Easter pets. Rabbits are the third most common animal relinquished to shelters in the United
States, and too few people visit their shelter when they are ready to add a bunny to their home.
Other alternatives to live rabbits include chocolate bunnies. The "Make Mine Chocolate!" campaign offers a
great bunny-free gift idea designed to discourage the public from purchasing live rabbits for Easter. The
campaign's signature pin, a ceramic chocolate rabbit with a blue ribbon, can be worn on jackets, shirts or
backpacks and provides the wearer a chance to answer questions from inquiring minds. A business card with
information on the program comes with each pin purchase. Visit www.MakeMineChocolate.org for more
information and to order pins, t-shirts and other materials.
Article courtesy of The Humane Society of the United States
WEEKLY NEWS 1: Company Charged for Phone Calls
The government wants to make a company pay $770,000 for calling
people. Why? Because those people put their telephone numbers on a
national do-not-call list. The mortgage company, Dynasty Mortgage,
had 70 cases where they made telephone calls to people on the list.
The Federal Communications Commission, which monitors television,
radio, cable, and telephones, said that this would be the first time that a
company is being fined for this offense. Dynasty Mortgage continued to
make telephone calls to the people on the list even after being warned
by the FCC in December 2003. The company is being charged the
highest fine possible, which is $11,000 per call.
The FCC said that the company made 70 calls to 50 homes in Arizona
and California between March 2, 2004, and January 20 of this year.
The company has 30 days to pay or file an appeal against the fine. The company’s president, Curtis White,
said he would try to fight the fine.
The do-not-call list began in October 2003 in order to protect people’s privacy and limit the number of
telemarketing, or sales, calls. The law now states that businesses can not call people on the list unless they
have done business with them in the past. There are more than 69 million telephone numbers on the list.
People can put their telephone numbers on the national do-not call list or file complaints at
--Written by Jasmine Washington
WEEKLY NEWS 2: Fitness Video for the Family
Do you participate in 60 minutes of physical activity a day? Whether it’s
biking, rollerblading or helping around the house, experts say that’s the
amount of exercise kids need to be healthy and fit. This might seem
hard to do when your skateboard and lacrosse sticks have been locked
up in the garage for the season, but “Fit Kids--A Fun Kids Workout”
should help you beat the winter blues.
“Fit Kids” is a brand new exercise video made especially for young
people. It stars popular fitness expert Denise Austin and 12 kids who
range in age from nine to 15. Part I of the video features an aerobic
workout that combines elements of dance, hip-hop, sports, yoga and
stretching. Set in New York’s Times Square, a background of bright
colors and music encourage you to have fun and keep moving.
Austin believes that exercise should be a “family affair,” so Part II of the video is a 20-minute workout you
can do with your whole family.
“Make a pact with your parents,” Austin advises on her website. “For every hour of television you watch or
video games you play, promise to spend the same amount of time being active with your family.” In addition
to the video, Austin suggests families plan physical activities like bowling, walking around a museum or even
playing a game of Twister.
Denise Austin has been helping adults shape up with books and videos for more than 25 years, but recent
headlines about childhood obesity have turned her focus to kids. As a member of the President’s Council on
Physical Fitness and Sports, she plans to work with kids at schools in all 50 states by the end of the year.
“Fit Kids” is available on VHS and DVD wherever exercise videos are sold. For more tips on getting fit, visit
www.fitness.gov, or check out the “Fit Kids” website at www.deniseaustin.com/fitkids.
--Written by Diane Bobis
WEEKLY NEWS 3: Americans Living Longer
The National Center for Health Statistics released numbers early last
week that showed a record jump in how many years an American
person can expect to live.
The research, which was done in 2003, found that the life expectancy
for the average American is 77.6 years old. Girls are expected to live an
average 81 years, 5.3 years longer than the average boys’ expected
74.8 years. The difference between the genders is slightly less than
2002’s 5.4-year gap.
Why do girls live longer than boys? While the answer to that question
may differ among some people, many scientists, professors and health
officials believe the reason is because their hearts continue to pump
strong as they get older. Professor David Goldspink of Liverpool
University said boys’ hearts tend to lose 25 percent of their pumping power by the time they reach 70 years
The National Center for Health Statistics said fewer deaths from various illnesses, such as heart disease,
cancer and stroke, were believed to be the reasons behind to the expectancy hike.
--Written by Leah Williams
WEEKLY NEWS 4: The 10,000-year Clock
Danny Hills has an idea, and only time will tell if his idea will work.
Hills, a former Milton Bradley toy designer and Disney theme park ride
inventor, wants to make a clock that will run an estimated 10,000
years. He is currently trying to get designers, builders and the public
interested in his plan for a lengthy timepiece.
It's believed that the 10,000-year Clock, also called the Clock of the
Long Now, is being built inside a cave in eastern Nevada, near the town
of Ely, the Great Basin National Park and the Utah border.
The Long Now Foundation is an organization based in San Francisco,
California. It began in 1996 to develop the clock, and teams from the
foundation are trying to come up with models for the clock. The first try
was 9-feet tall and completed on New Year’s Eve 1999. It is on display in the Science Museum in London.
The clock is expected to cost an estimated $10 million. Hills told the IT Manager’s Journal in July 2004 that he
wanted to build the clock so people would slow down their lives, think of long term projects and appreciate
what is right in front of them.
--Written by Leah Williams
AROUND THE WORLD 1: Proton Car Gets Competition
Proton--Malyasia's biggest carmaking company--will be facing new
competition. For the past 20 years, the Malay government has protected
Proton from competing with other manufacturers by imposing an import
tariff (or tax) as high as 300 percent on foreign cars. The tariff for other
Southeast Asian carmakers is up to 190 percent.
However, Malaysia has become part of a regional fair trade agreement
with its neighbors and, since January 1, has had to lower those tariffs to
20 percent. Additionally, Honda Motor Company and Toyota Motor
Corporation have launched lower-priced models to compete in the Malay
On February 26, Prime Minister Abdullah bin Ahmad Badawi said the
government will continue to support Proton, but there is no way to keep
foreign companies from cutting into the Malay market.
To ensure local cars still have a competitive edge, the Malay government has raised excise duties from 90 to
250 percent. Excise duties are placed on goods consumed inside a country, whereas import tariffs are placed
on goods made in foreign countries.
Earlier this month, Proton announced that it will launch a new model of its Tiara cars by March.
--Written by Teresa Liao
AROUND THE WORLD 2: Cold Weather In Europe
Europe has recently been hit with cold, icy weather. In March,
temperatures in Rome fell to the lowest they've been in March for the
past 18 years. Three Romanians died of the cold as temperatures in the
capital of Romania fell to their lowest since 1900.
This unusually cold weather for Europe has resulted in snow-covered
palm trees in the Mediterranean, high heating costs and hard travels.
Flights in Paris and Amsterdam were recently canceled, leaving
thousands of passengers in airports overnight.
Amsterdam’s airport has limited incoming flights because of the
snowfall, but has made an effort to continue the outgoing flights in
order to relieve stranded passengers. “As long as there are problems
with dealing with incoming flights, we are giving priority to ensuring
smooth departures,” said an airport spokeswoman on Thursday.
A Dutch meteorological institute recorded 20 inches of snowfall in some areas, which is the most snow for the
month of March in the past 20 to 25 years in the Netherlands. “The cold snap of the last 3 days has been one
of three or four of the most significant in the last 30 to 40 years,” said a weather expert at Spain’s National
In Genoa, Italy, the heavy snowfall has made driving difficult and resulted in traffic problems around the area.
Italian officials closed the Genoa airport and some schools because of the blizzard on the coastline.
Snow in northern and central Greece has blocked roads and forced authorities to close some schools.
Consumption of electricity is at a new high and electricity suppliers said they were running out of fuel. In
central France, 6,000 houses went without electricity. The price of gas, used to heat houses, is expected to
rise quickly in Britain.
--Written by Christopher Gooch
AROUND THE WORLD 3: Queen Knights Bill Gates
In addition to being the richest man in the world, Bill Gates now has a
new title. On Wednesday, he was knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth
II in a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Because Gates is not
British, he can not use the title “Sir” before his name. Instead, he will
use the initials K.B.E. after his name, meaning “Knight Commander of
the British Empire.”
Gates, who is the founder of Microsoft, is worth an estimated $48
billion. He is being honored with the knighthood because of his many
charitable activities throughout the world, as well as his contributions to
high-tech business in Great Britain. Microsoft employs about 2,000
people in Britain.
Gates and his wife Melinda have created the Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation, which has donated $4.9 billion to various charities. One of the main goals of the foundation is to
improve the health of people in developing nations.
Following the ceremony, Gates and the queen had a discussion about computers. Gates said that the queen
admitted she is not much of a computer buff. “She said all the kids do (use computers) and they are very
useful…but typing is not as natural for her as it is for young people.”
--Written by Patricia Daniels
AROUND THE WORLD 4: Millionaire Breaks World Record
Steve Fossett, a millionaire adventurer, began his flight from Salina,
Kansas, at 7PM on February 28, 2005. He planned to set a world record
for the first solo, non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world.
Fossett flew in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, a single engine turbo fan
aircraft that was specifically designed for non-stop flights around the
world by a solo pilot.
Problems arose when it was discovered that the aircraft had lost 2,600
lbs of fuel during takeoff. Because of this problem, doubts were cast
about whether Fossett could continue the mission. However, as a result
of strong tailwinds, and the shifting of fuel from outer to central tanks,
the flight was able to continue.
During the course of his flight Fossett flew over many countries, including Africa and Libya. He had to make it
back to the Salina airport from which his flight departed to complete his mission without breaking the rules
set down by the FAI (Federation Aeronautique Internationale). The FAI is the governing body that lays down
the rules for aviation record attempts.
On Wednesday afternoon, Fossett broke the record set in 1962 for the longest flight without stopping and
After a total of 67 hours in the cockpit--and traveling over 23,000 miles--Fossett successfully completed his
task of becoming the first man to circumvent the world without stopping and without refueling. He landed at
1:49PM CT on Thursday, March 3, at Salina airport in Kansas.
--Written by Olyvia Overman
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 1: Ice May Exist on Mars
Scientists recently announced that they have seen remnants of ice on
Mars. They believe the ice floated on a Mars sea just a few million years
ago. That may seem like a long time ago, but Mars is about five billion
years old--so a few million years ago is fairly recent. The space craft
that took the images was launched from the European Space Agency
and is called Mars Express.
The researchers and scientists believe that the flat, fossilized pieces
near the Martian equator represent ice. This supports their theory that
bacteria still live on the planet. Scientists had already discovered that
water flowed on the Martian terrain, but were not aware of bodies of
water existing in the recent past. Because Mars is farther away from the
sun than the Earth, scientists believe that the sea, where the ice
remnants are, would have frozen quickly.
Mars’ dusty terrain preserved the ice shapes, and scientists believe that ice may still exist beneath the
surface. These shapes are similar to ice floats in Antarctica, and that led scientists to conclude that ice was
present on the planet. The area where the shapes were found is called Elysium Planitia, and it is not
punctured by craters--which is more evidence that the sea was frozen. Scientists believe the sea formed and
froze two to five million years ago.
--Written by Amelise Javier
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 2: Sighting of a Babbler
On Saturday, February 26, the American Museum of Natural History,
located in New York, announced that two naturalists have viewed
something that no bird-watcher has ever before seen. They spotted in
the wild an extremely rare bird known as the rusty-throated wren-
babbler. They spotted this rarity along the slopes of the Himalaya
The lucky pair, Benjamin King and Julian Donahue, gained entrance to a
densely-forested region of northeastern India. During a November
expedition in the Mishimi Hills, this pair of birders played recordings of
bird calls that lured the small wren out of hiding. The two men identified
the 4-inch long bird as the species that is known only because a single
dead wren-babbler was found in 1947.
King and Donahue spent one hour following the low-flying maneuvers of this wren-babbler. Their careful
observations confirmed that the bird possessed on its throat a tell-tale, triangular rust colored patch, and that
its feathers contained a mixture of brown and white. Bird watchers around the world applaud the achievement
of these two traveling naturalists--the first spotting of a wren-babbler within its natural habitat.
--Written by Sue Chehrenegar
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 3: Fingers Offer Personality
A fortune-teller would say that they can tell all about a person from
looking at the palm of their hand. Now, based on evidence from a new
study, psychologists may be looking at people’s fingers for insight into
In a study published this month in the journal Biological Psychology,
researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada found a link
between finger length and physically aggressive personalities.
Specifically, they found that the length of the index finger in comparison
to the ring finger correlates with the physical aggression in men.
Women did not show the same correlation.
What does finger length have to do with personality? For over one
hundred years it has been known that men and women have different length ratios between their index and
ring fingers. In a more recent study, it was found that there was a direct relationship between this finger
length ratio and the amount of testosterone (male hormones) that a baby was exposed to during pregnancy.
Higher prenatal testosterone levels are associated with smaller index fingers in comparison to the ring finger.
In the present study, smaller index fingers were also connected to higher levels of physical aggression in men
throughout their lives. This association was only true for physical aggression, not verbal aggression or other
types of hostile behaviors.
Dr. Peter Hurd, the psychologist who headed this study, plans to study hockey players to determine if there is
a relationship between finger length ratios of the players and their total penalty minutes.
The important thing to remember is that these studies only show correlations. This means that finger lengths
don’t cause aggressive behavior or vice versa. There are also many people out there who have short index
fingers who are not aggressive and many people with long index fingers who are aggressive.
--Written by Kristine Thornley
SPORTS ZONE 1: Owls Without Coach for Tournament
After a violent court infraction on Tuesday, February 22, Temple
University’s men’s basketball coach will not stand at the sidelines during
the post season conference tournament. John Chaney extended his
initial one game suspension to the rest of the regular season and the
Atlantic 10 conference tournament.
Two weeks ago, Temple met rival St. Joseph’s University for their final
meeting before post season play. Chaney felt the officials were not
calling several illegal screens, or picks made by St. Joe’s. A screen is set
when a player blocks the movement or vision of his opponent while
remaining stationary. An illegal screen occurs when the player moves
Chaney put in Nehemiah Ingram strictly to “send a message.” He
wanted his player to commit hard fouls against St. Joe’s. Ingram fouled out in four minutes. But most
alarmingly, Ingram fouled John Bryant hard enough to break his arm. Bryant is unlikely to play the rest of the
season, including during the post season.
Chaney has acknowledged his poor judgment, but it's unknown what will happen after this season. Some
basketball analysts speculate this incident tarnished the 73-year-old so much it will force him into retirement.
The Hall of Fame coach served another suspension in 1994 after threatening another team’s basketball coach,
but said to reporters, “"I've had a reputation for many years, I've done many things wrong and made a lot of
mistakes," Chaney said. "My name is a lightning rod. Right now, I'll just take inventory of myself."
--Written by Sarah Kurachek
SPORTS ZONE 2: Tiger, Mickelson Want Shorter Schedule
Two of the top golfers in the world want the Professional Golf
Association (PGA) to shorten its sports season. The golf season
currently runs for 11 months, beginning in January and ending in
November. Tiger Woods and Master’s champion Phil Mickelson say a
shorter season would benefit avid golf fans and sponsors.
An 11-month season gives golfers a wide variety of tournaments to
compete. A shorter season means less tournaments. This will force the
world’s top golfers to play against each other more often, and this,
Woods believes, will attract and retain fans during the season. "There's
no other sport that plays 11 months of the year,” Woods said to
reporters. “I think we should end with Labor Day. How can we compete
against football? It's not going to happen."
Mickelson says top golfers average 18 to 22 tournaments per year. The PGA offers over 44 tournaments. He
thinks fewer tournaments will help the PGA’s partnerships with television networks, advertisers, and other
business sponsors. Again, because fans will tune into televised tournaments if they see the world’s best
golfers competing, sponsors will be able to target that population more easily and cheaply.
However, less tournaments means less opportunities for golfers who do not get the same attention that
Woods and Mickelson receive.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said his organization is looking at options to make the game more
entertaining to both fans and sponsors, but no permanent changes have been made yet. A shorter season is
one option, but Finchem also says the PGA is also looking at changing the locations of certain tournaments.
--Written by Sarah Kurachek
THIS WEEK IN HISTORY
A famous poet, painter, and sculptor named Michelangelo Buonarroti was
born on March 6, 1475. He is known as Michelangelo. One of his best known
works was the painting of the Sistene Chapel (pictured here), which is found
in Rome. He began painting his work on the ceiling and walls of this chapel
in 1508. He continued to work on this masterpiece for 12 years. This artist
painted for a good part of his entire life, which was 89 years!
On March 10, 1876 the first words "Mr.
Watson, come here; I want you." were
transmitted over a telephone system from
inventor Alexander Graham Bell to his assistant Thomas Watson. As a
young man, Bell was trained for public speaking and speech correction. Bell
became fascinated with sound waves and hypothesized that speech could be
transmitted over a telegraph-like system. On February 14th 1876, he filed a
U.S. patent application for his telephone and on March 7, 1876 he was
awarded U.S. patent 174,465 granting him ownership over his telephone
device and the concept of a telephone system.
On March 12, 1888 the "Blizzard of 1888"
took place. This was the most severe
winter storm to ever hit the New York City
region. The treacherous conditions caused
hundreds of deaths and millions of dollars
in property damage. The storm lasted
thirty-six hours and dumped forty inches
of snow over the city. Snowdrifts kept
New Yorkers within the city limits for
COMICS & POEMS 1: Aford Turtle, Comic Strip
--Written by Aaron Riddle
COMICS & POEMS 2: The Race Story, Poetry
The Race Story
The smell of fresh cut grass
The blur of screaming spectators on the sideline
The crack of the gun
The splash of mud and grass on your legs
The break of the pack
The sorrowful discard of a fallen teammate
The burning of the first mile
The dieing of the second mile
The numbness of the third mile
The sight of the finish line
The back of your last opponent
The silence of focus
The loss of peripheral vision
The unbelievable strides
The unknown energy
The last step, the sudden stop
The collapse, the taste of dirt, the splash of water
The gagging, the breathing, the blackout
The wake, the news
--Written by Rudy Ayala
MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT 1: Lucas Calls it Quits
George Lucas says that he is done with the Star Wars franchise after
"Revenge of the Sith." Star Wars, which has been around for 30 years,
includes 6 major films, TV specials, toy lines, books and many other
products. After production is wrapped up and the sixth film released,
Lucas has no plans to continue the series.
Star Wars is currently composed of 6 movies. They're split into 2
trilogies, or three films as a set. The first trilogy included "Star Wars,"
"The Empire Strikes Back," and "Return of the Jedi." The first Star Wars
film was released in the 1970s and garnered much fanfare and praise.
It took a very long time for the second trilogy to be released. Finally, in
the late 90s, the first film of the second trilogy was in theaters. It will
conclude with the release of "Revenge of the Sith." The other two films
in the current trilogy are "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones." Lucas has been criticized for the
updated trilogy, especially for "The Phantom Menace." Critics believe that it was too campy and untrue to the
Star Wars legacy.
Lucas has been quoted as saying several different things about the Star Wars movies. He has indicated that
Star Wars was supposed to be 9 parts long and that he had written all the different parts a long time ago.
Other quotes from him indicate that the original three film trilogy was all there was and all he had planned,
but he wanted to do the second trilogy as a back story. The real truth is unknown. All that is certain is, as
things stand now, "Revenge of the Sith" will be the last Star Wars movie.
--Written by Robert Turner
MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT 2: The Brady Bunch on DVD
It’s the story of a lovely lady and a show that’s been on the airwaves
since TVs screens were black and white. A lot has changed since “The
Brady Bunch” first debuted in 1969, but each decade seems to bring a
whole new generation of viewers who can’t get enough of “Marcia,
Fans of the much-loved family comedy now have a new way to catch
their favorite episodes. On Tuesday, March 1, Paramount Television
released “The Brady Bunch--The Complete First Season” for the first
time on DVD.
The four-disc DVD set features all 25 original episodes, including the
“Honeymoon” pilot where Mike Brady, a widower with three boys,
marries Carol Martin, a single mother of three girls. In a scene of
absolute chaos, the boys’ dog, Tiger, chases the girls’ cat, Fluffy, right past the punch bowl and wedding cake.
Other episodes include the most memorable “Kitty Karry-All is Missing,” “Dear Libby” and “Sorry, Right
Number,” where Mike is so fed up with the kids’ telephone bill he installs a pay phone in the family room.
The DVD special features include commentaries from show creator Sherwood Schwartz and actors Barry
Williams (Greg), Christopher Knight (Peter) and Susan Olsen (Cindy). Disc 4 also features “Coming Together
Under One Roof,” a bonus documentary that tells the story of how the show came about and how the cast
It’s expected more Brady DVDs will be released in the future. The series ran for five seasons and a total of
117 episodes. When the show was cancelled in 1974, reruns began airing immediately. It has never left the
airwaves. Today it airs daily on cable channel TV Land.
--Written by Diane Bobis
U.S. GOVERNMENT 1: Ten Commandment Case in Supreme
This week the U.S. Supreme Court justices began hearing cases about
whether the Ten Commandments displayed in government buildings
goes against the separation between church and state in America. This
would be the first time since 1980 that the justices heard a case about
the Ten Commandments since they ruled that it could not be displayed
in public schools.
The two cases heard this week are from Texas and Kentucky. The Texas
case is about a Ten Commandments monument near the state Capitol
building. The Fraternal Order of Eagles gave the monument--which
stands 75-feet from the Capitol building in Austin--to the state in 1961.
A former lawyer, Thomas Van Orden, brought the suit to court with the
help of Erwin Chemerinsky, a Duke University law professor.
The Kentucky case is about a copy of the Ten Commandments in a picture frame in two county courthouses.
The Supreme Court is the highest court to make decisions in America. The justices must decide if religious
symbols are a part of public life.
The Ten Commandments are rules of living that can be found in the Christian Bible. “Thou shalt not kill” and
“Love thy neighbor” are examples of two commandments.
The Supreme Court justices are nine life appointed judges. They are Stephen Breyer, Ruth Ginsberg, Clarence
Thomas, David Souter, Anthony Kennedy, William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Sandra Day O’Connor, and John
--Written by Jasmine Washington