We are nearing the halfway point of 2013 and what a year it has already been! For some, May has been frighteningly traumatic due to deadly tornadoes and the conviction of Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt of the genocide of more than 1,700 indigenous Ixil Mayans during his 1982-1983 rule in the first time that a head of state was tried for genocide by his country’s own judicial system. For others, well, they won millions of dollars in one of America’s biggest lottery jackpots ever, a woman was even found alive in the rubble of last month’s Bangladesh building complex collapse and crews are working to extract her and three women missing in separate cases were found together in Cleveland.
One of the women called 911 after breaking out of the house where she had been living. “Help me; I am Amanda Berry,” she said, her voice distraught in an audio recording of the call. “I’ve been kidnapped and I’ve been missing for 10 years. And I’m here and I’m free now.” Berry and Gina DeJesus were in their teens when they disappeared in 2003 and 2004, WEWS reported. Michele Knight vanished in 2002, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Moreover, for better or worse, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two suspects in the April 15 Boston Marathon terror attack, was buried in a Muslim cemetery in Doswell, Virginia, near Richmond, a source close to the investigation told CNN. The body went unclaimed for nearly two weeks after Tsarnaev was killed April 19 following a police chase. His uncle claimed the body but had trouble finding a cemetery that would bury Tsarnaev. Police said the remains had been entombed thanks to a “courageous and compassionate individual.”
The police did not give a location for the grave. Speaking of the aftermath of terrorist attacks, construction workers bolted a 408-foot spire into place atop One World Trade Center, symbolically capping New York’s comeback from the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. The spire brings the iconic building to a height of 1,776 feet — an allusion to the year the United States declared its independence. It also makes the building the tallest in the Western Hemisphere. With so much having occurred in just thirty-one days, we at TopTenz.net would like to reflect on May 2013 by counting down the top ten most notable world news stories of the past month.
10. The Powerball jackpot rose on Friday, 17 May 2013 to $600 million, making it the second largest lottery jackpot in United States (U.S.) history.
The drawing was scheduled for Saturday. The jackpot, with a cash value of $376.9 million, marks the largest in Powerball history, surpassing a $587.6 million jackpot split by winners in Arizona and Missouri in November. The largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history was $656 million in the Mega Millions game in March 2012. Much to our disappointment and immense sadness, the author of this list was NOT one of the winners… L Instead, one winning ticket sold in Florida for record Powerball jackpot of more than $590 million, lottery official said. Oh well…
9. Orb won the 139th Running of Kentucky Derby on a muddy track, while Oxbow Won Preakness Stakes
On Saturday 4 May 2013, Orb, ridden by Joel Rosario, finished first in 139th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Nineteen horses competed in what is known as the “Run for the Roses.” On Saturday, 18 May 2013, Longshot Oxbow, ridden by Gary Stevens, won the 138th running of the Preakness Stakes. The winner led from wire-to-wire at Pimlico Race Course in Maryland. Race favorite Orb came in fourth, dashing hopes for a Triple Crown. The horse was ridden by Joel Rosario, who guided the 3-year-old to victory in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago.
In addition to the Kentucky Derby, other major competitions not involving horses occurred later in the month. Tony Kanaan of Brazil won the 97th Indianapolis 500 and Arvind Mahankali, a 13-year-old from Bayside Hills, New York, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee, correctly spelling “knaidel” to clinch the title.
8. A new CNN/Time/ORC International Poll indicates four in 10 Americans say they are willing to give up some civil liberties to fight terrorism, and suggests worries about terrorism have edged up after the Boston Marathon bombings.
The national survey shows that concerns about terrorism are up slightly, with 40% saying they worry that someone in their family will become a victim of terrorism, up 6 percentage points from a 2011 CNN poll conducted on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. The survey also indicates that support for government monitoring of the Internet is down 8 points from right after 9/11, although there is still majority support: 55%; however, there is growing approval of the use of surveillance cameras in public places, with 81% saying they are in favor of it, nearly a 20 point jump from 2001.
7. Rhode Island Okayed Gay Marriage
On Thursday, 2 May 2013, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage after the state legislature approved the measure. The law made Rhode Island the 10th state to give same-sex couples the right to wed. Delaware became the 11th state to legalize same-sex marriage after the state Senate approved the measure and Governor Jack Markell signed it into law. Meanwhile, The Boy Scouts of America announced that it will allow openly gay youths to join, following a vote at the organization’s annual meeting in Texas, although The Boy Scouts will maintain a ban on openly gay adult leaders.
6. Another Month of American Tragedies
A series of tragedies afflicted the world’s most powerful country in May 2013. It literally felt like one disaster after another at times. First, The Senate approved an idiotic Internet sales tax proposal, moving the legislation a step closer to law and paving the way for shoppers to pay sales tax on the majority of online purchases. New Orleans police searched for three suspects after at least 12 people were injured in a shooting during a Mother’s Day parade. Next, Philadelphia abortion provider Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of killing three babies, has agreed not to appeal and will not be sentenced to death, district attorney’s office said.
Gosnell, 72, faced four counts of first-degree murder, accused of killing four babies by using scissors to cut their spinal cords. Authorities alleged that some of the infants were born alive and viable during the sixth, seventh and eighth months of pregnancy. He also faced a count of third-degree murder in the death of Karnamaya Mongar, 41, who authorities say died during a second-trimester abortion. Gosnell also was charged with conspiracy, abortion at 24 or more weeks of pregnancy, theft, corruption of minors, solicitation and other related offenses.
On Friday, 17 May 2013, two rush hour trains collided and derailed near a Fairfield, Connecticut, train station and there are preliminary reports of injuries, a Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Railroad spokesperson said. Sixty people were taken to hospitals with injuries — five in critical condition — after a commuter train collision during rush hour, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said. Amtrak reported it had suspended travel between New York and Boston. Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch said travel headaches could persist for weeks. The future of NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space observatory was in question after a part that helps aim the spacecraft failed, the U.S. space agency said.
5. May’s Terrible Tornados!
Later, on Thursday, 16 May 2013, officials said at least six people were killed when a spring tornado outbreak devastated parts of North Texas. Then, on Saturday, 18 May 2013, an emergency official said about 50 to 60 people were injured after a car drove into a group of hikers at a parade in Damascus, Virginia, a police dispatcher told CNN. Of those injured, there were at least five or six “trauma victims,” the dispatcher said. The accident occurred during a parade at the annual Trail Days festival in the town near the Virginia-Tennessee border. Worst of all were the deadly wave of tornadoes as the month drew to a close. At least three tornadoes touched down in two states on Sunday, 19 May 2013 as severe weather swept the region. The twisters swept through parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, and possibly Iowa and Missouri. A large “violent and extremely dangerous” tornado was spotted on the southwest side of Wichita, Kansas, the National Weather Service said.
A second confirmed tornado was seen near Edmond, Oklahoma, said the weather service. A third tornado touched down near Wellston, Oklahoma, taking out power lines and damaging several homes, according to video from CNN affiliate KFOR. A storm system that spawned tornadoes in Kansas, Oklahoma and Iowa killed at least one person in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Later, areas of metropolitan Oklahoma City appeared to be in shreds after a massive tornado moved through the region. “The houses are destroyed … completely leveled,” a helicopter pilot for CNN affiliate KFOR said. “People are trapped. You are going to see the devastation for days to come,” Betsy Randolph, spokeswoman for Oklahoma Highway Patrol, told CNN. Interstate 35 in Moore was closed as a result of debris from the tornado.
Moore Medical Center was evacuated after sustaining damage, a hospital spokeswoman said. The mayor of tornado-ravaged Moore, Oklahoma said he will try to get an ordinance passed requiring storm shelters or safe rooms in new housing projects. “I have six councilmen and I need four votes to get it passed,” Mayor Glenn Lewis told CNN on Wednesday, 22 May 2013. The mammoth EF5 tornado with winds up to 200 mph swept through Moore, Oklahoma and surrounding areas and killed 24 people, including 9 children, and wrecking 2,400 homes. At least seven of those children were killed at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, police said. Emergency personnel continue to scour the school’s rubble. At least 145 people were hospitalized in the area, said hospital officials. Insurance claims for damage caused by the tornado will likely top $1 billion, Kelly Collins of the Oklahoma Insurance Department told CNN. That would exceed the insurance cost of a 1999 tornado that killed 36 people in the same area.
The tornado that killed at least 24 people was 1.3 miles wide with an estimated peak wind speed from 200 to 210 mph, the National Weather Service said. Few residents had access to a storm shelter. “Probably less than one tenth of one percent” of the houses in Moore are built with basements, said Mike Hancock, president of Basement Contractors in Edmond, Oklahoma, but Hancock and other experts say affordable shelters are feasible. An above-ground shelter runs $8,000 to $10,000; a small basement would cost $15,000 to $20,000; and a concrete cellar built during new-house construction would cost as little as $2,200, said Mike Barnett, a custom home-builder in the area for thirty-seven years.
To help the victims, please see this source.
4. A Second Top IRS Official Would Leave Over Scandal
In mid-May, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ordered an investigation into Internal Revenue Service political targeting of some conservative groups, he announced. The IRS has admitted that members of its Cincinnati office engaged in such activity, but documents suggest at least three other IRS offices did the same. Acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Steven Miller said his agency has pinpointed two “rogue” employees in the agency’s Cincinnati office as being principally responsible for “overly aggressive” handling of tea party requests for tax-exempt status over the past two years, a congressional source told CNN on Wednesday, 15 May 2013.
According to a report by the IRS inspector general released yesterday, the agency developed and followed a faulty policy to determine whether the applicants were engaged in political activities, which would disqualify the groups from receiving tax-exempt status. The controversial practice began in early 2010 and continued for more than eighteen months, the report said, declaring that “the IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention.” President Obama said Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has requested and received the resignation of acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller.
The president vowed new safeguards to ensure that such targeting is not repeated at the IRS. President Obama will appoint Danny Werfel as the acting IRS commissioner, the White House announced. Werfel is currently the controller of the Office of Management and Budget. Internal IRS memo says Joseph Grant, commissioner of the agency’s tax exempt and government entities division, will retire on 3 June in wake of scandal on targeting of conservative groups. Then on Thursday, 23 May 2013, IRS official Lois Lerner, who oversaw the unit that singled out conservative groups, was placed on administrative leave, Fox News confirmed according to congressional sources in both parties — a day after she refused to testify at a congressional hearing.
3. The Dow and S&P 500 finished at record highs as investors cheered the latest report on the U.S. job market.
Now, for some positive news! The U.S. economy is on stronger footing than a year ago, but Ben Bernanke wants to be careful not to squelch the recovery now. “A premature tightening of monetary policy could lead interest rates to rise temporarily, but would also carry a substantial risk of slowing or ending the economic recovery and causing inflation to fall further,” the Federal Reserve chairman told the U.S. congressional Joint Economic Committee on Wednesday, 22 May 2013. The Federal Reserve has kept its key short-term interest rate near zero since December 2008, and expects it to stay there for a “considerable time” as the recovery strengthens, Bernanke said.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose more than 140 points and closed below the 15,000 level that was crossed for the first time earlier Friday, 3 May 2013. The S&P closed above 1,600. The rally caps a solid week and a good start to May for stocks. The Dow made history, hitting 15,000 after a strong jobs report. The S&P 500 topped 1,600 for the first time. U.S. employers continued to add jobs in April, at a pace above forecasts but still relatively slow. The Labor Department reported Friday that 165,000 jobs were added for the month, and that the unemployment rate fell to 7.5% from 7.6%. The jobs number is an improvement over March, when employers added 138,000 jobs. A fourth straight week of gains sent the Dow and S&P to record highs, boosted in part by rising optimism among American consumers. All three major indexes have gained roughly 16% this year on a combination of gradually improving economic data and continued support from the Fed.
U.S. stocks surged again in early trading on Tuesday, 28 May 2013 as investors digested stellar economic data that appeared to put the housing and financial crises far in the rearview mirror. One of the reports powering the markets showed that U.S. home prices posted their strongest gains since 2007. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller national index, prices rose 10.2% in the first quarter. In another report, consumer confidence surged to a five-year high in May, fueled by increased optimism about an improving job market. The Consumer Confidence Index, which gauges how consumers feel about the economy each month, rose to 76.2 in May — its highest reading since February 2008, according to research firm the Conference Board.
2. FDA to make the morning-after pill available with no prescription regardless of age
On Wednesday, 1 May 2013, The Department of Justice appealed a federal judge’s ruling that directed the FDA to make the morning-after pill available with no prescription regardless of age. The move came a day after the FDA authorized a drugmaker to market the emergency contraception without a prescription to females fifteen and older.
1. Three Additional Suspects, Friends of Boston Bombing Suspect, Taken Into Custody in Boston Bombing Probe and Charged
A man fatally shot by the FBI in Orlando, Florida, was being investigated for a possible connection to the Boston Marathon bombings, a U.S. law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the case told CNN. Ibragim Todashev knew both of the Tsarnaev brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, the official said. The FBI shot Todashev in self-defense in an incident at Todashev’s house, the official said.
Agents were led to Todashev, who had once lived in Boston, “through investigative leads,” the official said. Todashev was from the Chechnya region, as were the Tsarnaev brothers. Todashev not only confessed to his direct role in slashing the throats of three people in the killings in Waltham, Massachusetts, he also fingered Tsarnaev in the deaths, the official says. Earlier in the month, three additional suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing were taken into custody, Boston police said on Wednesday, 1 May 2013. Three fellow students of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appeared in court accused in the dumping of his laptop and a backpack containing hollowed-out fireworks.
Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev previously were accused of carrying out the attack. The twin blasts at the Boston Marathon on 15 April killed three and wounded more than 260 others. Tamerlan died after a shootout with police, and Dzhokhar is in custody. Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s death certificate says he died of gunshot wounds and blunt trauma, said Peter Stefan, the owner of the funeral parlor that holds Tsarnaev’s body. Tsarnaev died April 19 after a shootout with police; authorities have said he also was run over by his brother, Dzhokhar, who was later captured.
The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon attack indicated that the bombing was retribution for what he called U.S. attacks against Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq, a law enforcement official said. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev made remarks about the bombing in a makeshift message found in the boat where he was captured in the backyard of a Watertown, Massachusetts, home. Tsarnaev scribbled that the Boston victims were collateral damage as Muslims have been during war, and that an attack against one Muslim is an attack against all of them.
By Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, author of Banned From The Internet