War ends on Sunday
"The First World War will officially end on Sunday, 92 years after the guns fell silent, when Germany pays off the last chunk of reparations imposed on it by the Allies," The Daily Telegraph reports. "The final payment of £59.5 million [$97-million]writes off the crippling debt that was the price for one world war and laid the foundations for another. Germany was forced to pay the reparations at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 as compensation to the war-ravaged nations of Belgium and France and to pay the Allies some of the costs of waging what was then the bloodiest conflict in history, leaving nearly 10 million soldiers dead."
"Several of the 17 prisoners condemned to be put to death in the U.S. by the end of January are likely to receive a temporary reprieve after a commercial drug company said it had run out of the anesthetic widely used as part of the lethal injection," The Guardian reports. "The Illinois-based pharmaceutical company Hospira said it had suspended the production of Pentothal because it could no longer obtain a sufficient quantity of the drug's active ingredient from a separate firm. The firm - the drug's sole producer - said the delay could last until next March."
One day on campus
- "Investigators and the family of Colton Tooley were looking for clues to what led the 19-year-old student, armed with an AK-47, to open fire Tuesday at the University of Texas, spraying several rounds before police said he turned the gun on himself as officers closed in," The Austin American-Statesman reports. "The gunfire … sent students and employees at one of the nation's largest universities scrambling for cover as sirens blared and loudspeakers urged them to seek shelter."
- "In an unfortunate coincidence," the Statesman also reported, "several student organizations, including the Libertarian Longhorns, the UT Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, the UT Objectivism Society and the UT Federalist Society planned to host John Lott, author of the book More Guns, Less Crime at the UT Law School. … The event is postponed tentatively."
Happy birthday, kid
"The princess birthday cake for a three-year-old girl was one of the few things left untouched after a brawl that police said involved 75 people at a hall in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio," CNN.com reports. "Some 150 people were at a party … when the fight started early Tuesday … Seven police jurisdictions were called in to quell the fighting." The first responding officers, a police chief said, "actually had to wait until they got backup there in order to make entry because there were so many people throwing bottles and chairs." Organizers brought their own alcohol to the party, where there were nearly 30 children. Police said the fight apparently broke out between the birthday girl's father and her mother's boyfriend.
Boomers and suicide
"A new analysis shows a significant rise in suicide rates among middle-aged people," Psychcentral.com reports. "Sociologists Ellen Idler of Emory [University]and Julie Phillips of Rutgers University paint baby boomers as the driving force behind the new development. Their report is found in the journal Public Health Reports. … The suicide rate for the U.S. population overall has been declining for decades, Idler notes. And people aged 40-59, in particular, have long had a moderate suicide rate. The baby boomers, people born between 1945 and 1964, have broken that pattern. By 2000, most people aged 40 to 59 were baby boomers and the suicide rate started climbing steadily for these middle-age ranges."
Grumpy for congress?
"A clown could be banned from standing for parliament in Brazil because critics complain that he can't read and write," Orange.co.uk/news reports. "Francisco Silva, a.k.a. Tiririca, which means Grumpy in Portuguese, is [running]to represent Sao Paulo in October's general election. Incredibly, he is ahead in the polls, but critics say he should not be [eligible]as the constitution states members of congress must be literate. They have filed a lawsuit demanding that he be forced to take a literacy test, reports Metro."
Enjoy being a ghoul?
"Josephine Streiner, 92, is a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She is also the oldest living ghoul from the 1968 horror classic Night of the Living Dead," The Wall Street Journal reports. "'It was definitely one of the highlights of my life,' says Mrs. Streiner, who lives in Pittsburgh and appeared in several scenes as a short-haired ghoul, or zombie, walking in a nightgown with her arms outstretched. Like many of the original zombies, now in their 70s and 80s, Mrs. Streiner never imagined that a few minutes on a grainy black-and-white film would, decades later, bring her requests for autographs and other trappings of near-celebrity. But that's show business."
Thought du jour
"If you work very hard, and give life everything you've got, you may not quite make it."
- Elwy Yost