Weekly News Roundup: Aug. 24-28
By Adam Smith
August 28, 2009
Though there were many events that shaped this week in the news, there was none more poignant than the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. The last of the Kennedy political dynasty died with Ted Kennedy, and his passing marks the end of an era. And so we lead this week's round up with a look at the career of the veteran lawmaker.
Ted Kennedy Dies
The story that dominated the headlines this week was the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy. At the age of 77, Kennedy succumbed to the brain tumor that had plagued him for more than a year. Though continuing to work from home, focusing especially on the national heath care system, his illness had kept Kennedy away from the Senate for most of the last year.
Kennedy's turbulent Senate career started in 1962. He saw his brothers John and Robert Kennedy assassinated, and in 1969 was embroiled in scandal after driving his car into a pond, and leaving his passenger, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, behind. Kopechne's body was found 10 hours later, and the incident dogged Kennedy's presidential hopes throughout his career.
Kennedy's passing marks the end of an era. For nearly 50 years, Kennedy toiled in the Senate, an idealistic and larger-than-life figure. Whether one agreed with Kennedy's politics or not, there's little doubt that he was one of the most influential and persuasive lawmakers of the last half century. His passing sees the end of not only his own career, but of the Kennedy political dynasty, and of an era of American politics. There is now only one remaining sibling from that generation, Jean Kennedy Smith.
Madonna Booed in Romania
The Queen of Pop's newest tour hit a bump in the road in Romania. Madonna's European tour has featured Roma dancers and performers—better known as Gypsies—and a crowd of 60,000 in Bucharest turned on the pop star when she paused during her show to comment on widespread discrimination against Gypsies. Human rights groups say that the Roma people suffer more discrimination that any other people group in the world. Madonna paused during her concert to address the issue, saying: "It has been brought to my attention ... that there is a lot of discrimination against Romanies and Gypsies in general in Eastern Europe. It made me feel very sad." Her plea was answered by thousands of boos. So, evidently concertgoers in Romania are not down with messages of peace and unity.
Moon Rock Just Petrified Wood
The Dutch national museum suffered some embarrassment this week when it found that one of its prized possessions, a moon rock allegedly brought back by the Apollo 11 astronauts, is actually just a hunk of petrified wood. The "moon rock" was originally given to former Prime Minister Willem Drees in 1969 by the U.S. Ambassador. Well, evidently the U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands during that time period secretly hated the Dutch, because instead of giving them a genuine moon rock, he punked them with a piece of wood. No doubt, Ashton Kutcher and his hidden camera crew have been waiting around the corner from the museum for the last 40 years, itching to jump out and reveal the truth.
No Muslims Allowed at Black Eyed Peas Show
Muslims in Malaysia have been banned from attending two upcoming Black Eyed Peas shows in the country as a result of the concerts being sponsored by Guinness. The country is 55 percent Muslim, and the religion bars its adherents from the consumption of alcohol, even though Muslims in large cities like Kuala Lumpur rarely stick to the rules. The concert's website has even gone so far as to post on its front page, "Are you a non-Muslim aged 18 years and above?" If visitors answer no, site access is blocked. Of course, the Black Eyed Peas also violates Malaysian law against horrible, commercialized musical drivel.