TDT4 2002 Evaluation Topics


40001.  Galapagos Oil Spill

Seminal Event

WHAT:  Oil tanker runs aground
WHO:  Ecuadorian oil tanker Jessica
WHERE:  San Cristobal, near Galapagos Islands
WHEN:  January 16, 2001
Topic Explication
On January 16, 2001, Jessica, an Ecuadorian oil tanker carrying 240,000 gallons of oil ran aground some 800 meters off the coast of San Cristobal near the Galapagos Islands. Rough weather conditions dispersed most of the fuel into the Pacific Ocean. The fuel threatened local beaches and wildlife and severely impacted the region's fishing industry. The captain and crew of the Jessica were arrested shortly after the spill and face charges of criminal negligence.
On topic:Stories about the accident itself and the immediate response by local officials and wildlife rescue crews; investigations into the cause of the accident; criminal proceedings against the captain and crew; discussions of direct impact of the accident and resulting oil spill on the local economy and ecosystems.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 5: Accidents


40002.  UN Climate Conference - The Hague (Netherlands)

Seminal Event

WHAT:  United Nations Climate Change Conference
WHO:  160 nations; conference chair Jan Ponk
WHERE:  The Hague (Netherlands)
WHEN:  November 13-24, 2000
Topic Explication
160 nations met in the Hague in November 2000 to discuss practical measures for reducing global warming. Participants discussed concrete steps toward implementation of the 1997 Kyoto Protoclos, which aim to reduce average global greenhouse gas emissions (mainly carbon dioxide, CO2) by at least 5.2% below 1990 levels in the five year period between 2008-2012. Key points of debate included the questions of carbon sinks, emissions trading and the penalties for countries that fail to meet the established goals. The US and European Union presented opposing plans, and China and other developing nations threated to walk out of the proceedings due to objections over the way Dutch conference chair Jan Ponk organized the negotiations. Ultimately, the participants failed to agree on rules for implementing the Kyoto Protocol, and plans were discussed for reconvening in Bonn, Germany in May 2001.
On topic: Any discussions of the meeting in the Hague, talks and activities that took place during the meeting, details of the plans presented by the US or the EU, editorials or local coverage of participation in the meetings by member nations; direct outcomes of this meeting including plans for later meeting that are discussed as part of this meeting.
Note: This corpus contains articles discussing another UN Climate Change Conference that takes place in January 2001 in Shanghai, China. The current topic includes only the meeting in the Hague in November and articles that discuss only the Shanghai Conference are not on topic. Documents discussing both conferences should be considered on topic.  General articles about climate change, global warming or greenhous gas emissions that do not discuss this conference are not on topic.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 11: Political and Diplomatic Meetings


40003.  Scientists Lose Contact with Mir

Seminal Event

WHAT: Russian space scientists lose contact with Mir 
WHO:  Mir Space Station; Russian Space Agency (Rosaviakosmos) (RKA)
WHERE:  The great beyond
WHEN:  Lose contact: late December 2000; deorbit Mir: March 2001
Topic Explication
In December of 2000, plans to deorbit Mir were in the works when Russian ground controllers lost contact with the aging, 15-year old space station. The incident was the worst communication breakdown in the history of the Russian space program. Later, the Russian space chiefs admitted the possibility that they might never have regained control of the craft, transforming the Mir into a 150 ton roulette ball spinning around Earth.  Russian rocket scientists were later able to regain contact with Mir and in March Mir was vaporized in a controlled descent back to Earth.
On topic: Stories reporting the loss of communication with Mir, recovery efforts and any discussion of how this particular incident might affect plans to deorbit Mir are all on topic.  As a causal event, broader discussions of deorbiting Mir (the official announcement of which occured November 17, 2000) are also on topic.
Note:  Stories that discuss loss of communication or other problems with the new International Space Station and the Zarya Module, which are not part of Mir, are not on topic.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 7: Science and Discovery News


40004.  Russian Nuclear Submarine Kursk Sinks

Seminal Event

WHAT:  Russian nuclear submarine sinks
WHO:  Russian nuclear submarine Kursk; 118 crew members
WHERE:  Barents Sea
WHEN:  August 12, 2000; bodies recovered beginning in October 2000
Topic Explication
One of the most serious naval disasters in the history of the Russian navy occurred on Saturday, August 12, 2000 when the giant Russian nuclear submarine Kursk sank in the icy waters of the Barents Sea. Originally carrying a crew of 118, the submarine was rocked by two explosions while shadowing a US carrier battle group. None of the crew survived the accident.  Rescue operations included aid from British and Norwegian sources and continued for approximately one week after the Kursk first went down. Although the initial rescue operation lasted approximately 10 days, the first bodies weren't recovered until October. The Russian press sharply criticized President Vladmir Putin for his slow response and lack of clear information about the cause of the tragedy.
On topic: Any stories describing the accident, investigations into its causes, rescue efforts, recovery of bodies, criticism or commentary about the Russian government's response to the tragedy, any legal investigations into the accident or the rescue efforts.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 5: Accidents


40005.  FIFA Chooses Greatest Soccer Players of Century

Seminal Event

WHAT:  FIFA Gala names greatest soccer players of 20th century
WHO:  FIFA, the international organization regulating soccer;
Greatest male player: Brazil's Pele
Internet voting winner: Argentina's Diego Maradona
Greatest female players: USA's Michelle Akers and China's Sun Wen
Player of the year (male): France's Zinedine Zidane
WHERE:  Gala held in Rome
WHEN:  December 11, 2000
Topic Explication
At an award ceremony in Rome, soccer's international governing body chose its best male and female players of the century. On December 11, 2000, FIFA officially named the legendary Brazilian player Pele and the recently retired American star Michelle Akers as the greatest soccer players of the last hundred years. FIFA awarded a second, somewhat ad hoc award, based on the results of an internet poll, to Diego Maradona (Argentina) and Sun Wen (China).  France's Zinedine Zidane was named Men's player of the year.
On topic: Any stories reporting the Player of the Century ceremony, controversy surrounding FIFA's selections, editorials commenting on the choices.
Note: Stories reporting soccer matches, tournaments or general information about the sport that do not make specific reference to these awards are not on topic.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 10: Sports News


40007.  Presidential Power Struggle in Yugoslavia

Seminal Event

WHAT:  Controversy over who won the September Yugoslavian election
WHO:  Vojislav Kostunica, Slobadan Milosevic
WHERE:  Yugoslavia
WHEN:  Election: September 24, 2000; Riots and strikes begin: October 1, 2000; Milosevic aknowledges Kostunica's victory: October 6, 2000
Topic Explication
In elections that took place on September 24, 2000, Vojislav Kostunica garnerd more votes than did incumbent president Slobadan Milosevic. The official preliminary tally gave Kostunica 48% of the vote and Milosevic 40%. As neither candidate received 50% of the vote, a runoff was planned for October 8, 2000. This runoff election did not take place due to strikes, protests, and riots called by Milosevic's opposition from October 1 through October 6. On October 6, Milosevic acknowledged Kostunica's victory.
On topic: As an election topic, all aspects of the election are on topic -- from the announcement of candidates' intentions to run, through campaigning, the election itself, the voting process, the results, the controversy surrounding the election and public/official reaction.
Note:  This topic is limited to the election itself and stops once Kostunica is in office.  Kostunica's activities and decisions he makes as president are not on topic.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 1: Elections


40009.  US Senate Proposes Easing Cuban Trade Embargo

Seminal Event

WHAT: The Senate approves a compromise agricultural spending bill easing Cuban trade sanctions
WHO: The US Senate, US president Bill Clinton
WHERE: Washington, DC
WHEN: October, 2000
Topic Explication
In October, the US Senate passed a bill that relaxes trade sanctions on Cuba. This is a landmark lifting of the embargo in place since 1962. The legislation, which was approved by a margin of 86-8, allows the sale of food and medicine to Cuba, but prohibits U.S. public or private financial institutions from financing those sales. Thus, Havana will be allowed to purchse food and medicine from the U.S. only via third-party financiers. The bill also codifies a ban on U.S. travel to Cuba, which takes away a presidential prerogative to determine the travel restrictions.  President Clinton signed the bill into law later in October as part of a larger agricultural package.   Havana denounced the legislation as a sham that actually tightens the embargo.
On topic: Documents discussing the bill, its proposal in Congress and debate about it should be considered on topic.  Discussion about the bill and its passage in the House of Representatives is also on topic.  Reaction to the bill both from US and Cuban points of view as well as the business and agriculture worlds from either country are also on topic. General discussions of  US policies toward Cuba are on topic only if they specifically discuss the current legislation.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 9: New Laws


40012.  Former US President Bush Undergoes Surgery
Seminal Event
WHAT: George Bush will have hip replacement surgery
WHO: Former President George Bush Sr., Physician Dr. Ben Orman
WHERE: Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN
WHEN: Surgery: December 5, 2000; Bush leaves hospital: December 9, 2000
Topic Explication
George Bush Sr. had hip replacement surgery at the Rochester, MN Mayo Clinic on December 5, 2000. The former president will recuperate in Houston and keep a limited schedule following the surgery.
On topic: Documents disscusing George Bush Sr.'s hip replacement surgery should be considered on topic. Discussion about the causes and results of the surgery, the former president's recuperation, the role of his doctors, and the public response to the surgery should be included.
Notes: There is another topic and documents in the corpus about Former President Reagan falling and breaking his hip in January of 2001. These documents should not be included in this topic.  General stories about the health of former President Bush, who also suffers from Graves' disease, should not be considered on topic unless they specifically discuss his hip replacement surgery.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 12: Celebrity News


40015.  Floods in China's Hainan Province
 
Seminal Event
WHAT:  The most serious flooding of the past 100 years kills 10 people
WHO:  200,000 residents of region displaced
WHERE:  Southern China's Hainan Province
WHEN:  October 12-17, 2000
Topic Explication
Ten people were killed in southern China's Hainan Province between October 12-17, 2000. According to the Hainan Provincial Office for Flood, Wind and Drought Control, the flooding was the worst in a century. Thousands of soldiers and volunteers worked to relocate 200,000 residents to higher ground, and rescue workers distributed clean drinking water and other resources to ward off potential disease outbreaks.
On topic: Any documents discussing this particular flood are on topic. Descriptions of the weather patterns directly contributing to the flood, the victims of the flooding, rescue and cleanup efforts, governmental policies or enactments related to the flooding and any other direct outcomes of the disaster are all on topic.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 4: Natural Disasters


40016.  Vincente Fox Inaugurated as Mexico's President

Seminal Event

WHAT:  Mexico's surprise winner is inaugurated as president
WHO:  Vincente Fox, member of the center-right National Action Party (PAN); other candidates: Francisco Labastida of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI); Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas
WHERE:  Inaguration takes place in Mexico City
WHEN:  December 2, 2000
Topic Explication
Vincente Fox, winner of Mexico's presidential elections, was inaugurated in a ceremony in Mexico City on December 2, 2000. In his inaugural address, Fox promised to advance Mexico's democratic process, improve education and public health, attack crime and corruption and help 40 million people out of poverty. Fox, a member of the center-right National Action Party (PAN) was something of a surprise winner as the former ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) lost the presidency for the first time in 71 years with their candidate Francisco Labastida. The third candidate, Cuauhtemoc Cardenas of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) trailed badly in the election results.
On topic:This topic is limited to the inauguration of President Fox and does not encompass the election itself. Stories discussing the inaugural ceremonies, Fox's speech, plans for the inauguration, celebrations surrounding it and the like are on topic. Stories covering the presidential election that do not specifically discuss the inauguration are not on topic.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 1: Elections


40017.  Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Foreign Ministers

Seminal Event

WHAT: Conference of Euro-Mediteranean Foreign Ministers
WHO:  Ministers of the European Union plus12 Mediterranean partners from the southern and eastern Mediterranean (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt,
Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Cyprus, Malta; Libya has observer status).
WHERE: Marseille, France
WHEN: November 15-16, 2000
Topic Explication
On November 15-16, 2000,  Foreign Ministers from 25 nations attended the 4th Euro-Mediteranean conference in Marseilles, France. (Although invited to participate, Syria and Lebanon boycotted the meeting.) The Marseilles conference was heavily dominated by discussions of issues related to stability and conflict in the Middle East. A draft version of the Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Peace and Stability was completed, and various economic agreements were established.
On topic: Stories discussing preparation for the conference, content of the meeting itself, outcomes including any policies or measures adopted; any controversy surrounding the meeting or media coverage of the meeting and its outcome.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 11: Political/Diplomatic Meetings


40019.  Taiwanese Premier Tang Fei Resigns

Seminal Event

WHAT: Resignation of Premier Tang Fei of Taiwan
WHO: Premier Tang Fei, Vice Premier Chang Chun-hsiung
WHERE: Taiwan
WHEN:  October 3, 2000
Topic Explication
Taiwanese Premier Tang Fei resigned his post on October 3rd, 2000, apparently due to health issues resulting from surgery.  The following day, the entire Taiwanese Cabinet resigned following the announcement of Vice Premier Chang Chun-hsiun taking over the post as Taiwan's Premier. Tang Fei was the shortest serving Premier in Taiwanese history. A former longtime member of the former ruling Nationalist Party, he had been appointed by President Chen Shui-bian only 4 months earlier. Some claimed his resignation was due to a disagreement with President Chen and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) over the building of a $5.5 billion nuclear power plant. Tang's resignation plunged Taiwan into an economic crisis as investor confidence plummeted with the stock market hitting a 20-month low the day following Tang's departure.
On topic: Stories discussing Tang Fei's resignation, the subsequent resignation of the cabinet, reactions from critics and supporters.  Direct consequences for the Taiwanese stock market or larger economy resulting from (and attributed to) Tang Fei's resignation are also on topic.
Note: General discussions of Taiwan's economy or stock market performance that don't explicitly make the connection to Tang Fei's resignation are not on topic.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 13: Miscellaneous


40020.  Tyrannosaurus Rex Fossils Found in Montana

Seminal Event

WHAT:  Five Tyrannosaurus rex fossils, the largest find ever, were discovered by paleontologists
WHO:  Paleontologist Jack Horner and the Hell Creek Project Team from the Museum of the Rockies
WHERE:  The badlands of Garfield County, eastern Montana; part of the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge
WHEN:  October 2000
Topic Explication
Five Tyrannosaurus rex fossils were discovered October 2000 in the badlands of eastern Montana on a dig led by paleontologist Jack Horner. This is the largest number of T-rex fossils ever found in one location. The skeletons were found in Garfield County, which was a seabed and then covered by sequoia forests millions of years ago. The fossils are still buried in rock and will be unearthed in the summer of 2001. Horner will have the final say as to where the fossils will end up, via agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the federal Bureau of Land Management, despite the fact that the dinosaurs are federal property.
On topic: Any stories about the discovery of the fossils, discussion of the significance of the find, interviews with Horner or other team members about the discovery, discussions about future plans for the fossils that are a direct outcome of their discovery (where will the fossils be housed, how will they be excavated, etc.).
Rule of Interpretation Rule 7: Science and Discovery News


40021.  Earthquake in El Salvador

Seminal Event

WHAT:  An earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale hits El Salvador
WHO:  Thousand of people were reported missing, hundreds dead, and 1.1 million homeless
WHERE: 65 miles off the coast of El Salvador in the North Pacific Ocean
WHEN:  January 13, 2001
Topic Explication
On the morning of January 13, 2001, an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale hit the North Pacific Ocean 65 miles off the coast of El Salvador. At least 1000 were initially reported missing, over 700 reported dead, and 1.1 million were left homeless due to the massive landslides caused by the earthquake's motion. Most of the damage took place in small villages and towns between San Salvador and the coast. Donations and medical teams were sent from various countries and organizations to aid earthquake victims. The relief effort was complicated by over 2000 aftershocks and 500 landslides during the week following the earthquake.
On topic: Stories describing details of this earthquake, the response of the government of El Salvador and other governments or private organizations, complications to the rescue and relief efforts and any other direct outcomes of the disaster including the economic impact.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 4: Natural Disasters


40023.  President Bush Bans Abortion Funding

Seminal Event

WHAT:  US President issues executive order banning federal funding for international groups that offer abortions or counseling abroad
WHO:  US President George W. Bush, National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), National Right-to-Life Committee (NRLC)
WHERE: Washington, DC
WHEN:  January 22, 2001
Topic Explication
Twenty-eight years after Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion in the United States, President Bush ordered a ban on federal funding to international groups offering abortions or family planning counseling abroad. The ban had been initiated by former president Ronald Reagan in 1984, in what was then known as the Mexico City Policy. The ban was lifted by former President Clinton in 1993. Numerous protests against the ban took place in Washington, DC, as well as among international groups that rely on the funding.
On topic: Stories that discuss the implementation of the ban, protests surrounding this particular decision, public reaction or media commentary on the decision, reactions from the affected international agencies, including any action taken to counter the monetary shortfall by external non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Note: General coverage of pro-choice or anti-abortion rallies or protests are not on topic unless they are specifically related to this legislation.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 9: New Laws


40024. Chinese Census

Seminal Event

WHAT: China began its fifth nationwide census.
WHO:  Census employees, China's population
WHERE:  People's Republic of China
WHEN:  November 1-10, 2000
Topic Explication
On November 1, 2000, China began its fifth nationwide census. More than six million census workers conducted door-to-door registration for ten days. The census targeted the total population of China, gathering information about population distribution, education, migration, housing, employment and the percentage of urban vs. rural residents.
On topic: Documents discussing the collection of the census data, regulations concerning the collection and use of the data, outcomes and analyses of the data, comparisons with previous censuses.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 13: Miscellaneous


40025.  Self-immolation Attempt by Falun Gong Followers

Seminal Event

WHAT:  Five Falun Gong followers attempt self-immolation at Tiananmen Square on the eve of the Chinese Spring Festival
WHO:  One male and four female Falun Gong followers identified as residents from Kaifeng in China's province of Henan
WHERE: Tiananmen Square
WHEN: January 23, 2001
Topic Explication
One male and four female Falun Gong followers set themselves ablaze in a self-immolation attempt at Tianamen Square in Beijing on January 23, 2001, the eve of the Chinese Spring Festival. They poured gas on themselves and tried to burn themselves to death, reportedly in an attempt to follow the teachings of Falun Gong leader Li Hongzhi.  Police rushed to the site; one person died.  Falun Gong leadership issued a statement distancing itself from the incident.
On topic: Documents discussing this specific incident, reactions by the general public or statements about this incident by Falun Gong leadership or the Chinese governement, commentary in China and abroad to this specific incident.
Note: General stories about Falun Gong, its practices in China or abroad, and reactions by Chinese or international governments to the practice are not on topic unless they specifically discuss this incident.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 13: Miscellaneous



40026.  World Economic Forum Protests

Seminal Event

WHAT:  Protests against the 2001 Annual World Economic Forum
WHO:  3,200 politicians, cultural leaders and business people including NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations); thousands of protesters including leaders from the Anti-World Trade Organization Co-ordination
WHERE: Davos, Switzerland
WHEN: January 25-30, 2001
Topic Explication
The World Economic Forum is a closed meeting of global business leaders and politicians held annually to discuss international trade and economic development.  The 2001 meeting was held in Davos, Switzerland from January 25-30.  Due to violence surrounding protests at the 2000 meeting, Swiss officials banned all demonstrations and protests against 2001 the meeting in the small ski village of Davos, and called in hundreds of soldiers and police reinforcements from neighboring towns.  Officials denied entry into the country for potential protestors carrying anti-globalization literature, and the main railway station into Davos was closed.  Despite these measures, thousands of demonstrators from around the world gathered to express their dissastifaction with the effects of economic globalization. On the third day of the conference, about 150 protestors clashed with police and attempted to breach barricades that had been placed around the main conference site.  Violence also broke out in Landquart, a regional center an hour and a half away from Davos. Some 600 people were intercepted there and prevented from leaving for Davos, and police used tear gas to attempt to break up around 300 protesters.  The following day, about 100 people were arrested in Zurich following violence by anti-capitalism protesters transported back from the conference.
On topic: Stories discussing anti-protest preparations by Swiss officials, the protest actions throughout Switzerland during the conference and the response of Swiss officials to these actions, reactions to protests by WEF attendees, public and official reaction to the protests.
Note: The focus of this topic is the protests against the WEF and not the conference itself.  However, the conference itself is a causal event and as such, stories reporting on activities at the conference itself are on topic.  Plans for the conference, speculation about who will attend and so on are not on topic as they are not direct causal factors for the protests.Also be aware that there is a "shadow conference" that was timed to coincide with the World Economic Forum. This alternative conference, called the World Social Forum, was held in Porto Allegre and is NOT on topic.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 11: Diplomatic and Political Meetings


40028.  Zhu Rongji State Visit to Japan

Seminal Event

WHAT:  China Premier state visit to Japan
WHO:  Chinese State Council Premier Zhu Rongji, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori
WHERE:  Japan
WHEN: October 12-17, 2000
Topic Explication
Zhu Rongji, the Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, made an official visit to Japan during October 12-17, 2000. Premier Zhu met with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori on October 13, when they discussed the Japan-China Joint Declaration of 1998, marine research activities in territorial waters and the expansion of dialogue in areas of security and defense exchange.
On topic: Plans for the entire state visit, details about the activities of the Premier during his stay, meetings with officials, ceremonies, policy discussions, official and public reaction.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 11: Political and Diplomatic Meetings


40029.  UN Climate Conference - Shanghai

Seminal Event

WHAT: UN Climate Change Conference
WHO:  99 member nations
WHERE: Shanghai, China
WHEN: Meeting: January 17-20, 2001; Announcement: January 22
Topic Explication
In the most emphatic warning yet about the danger of global warming, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) issued a report on January 22, 2001 in Shanghai that projecting sharply increased climate changes due to air pollution. The report warned of drought and other disasters due to these changing climate conditions. The IPCC acts as the scientific research arm of international efforts to control climate change.
On topic: The entire Shanghai meeting, including decisions and discussions leading up to this announcement, plans for the meeting, reactions to this announcement (which was considerable and ongoing) or to other outcomes of this meeting.
Note:  This corpus contains another UN Climate Change Conference that takes place in November 2000 in the Hague, Netherlands. The current topic includes only the meeting in Shanghai in January, and articles that discuss only the Hague, Netherlands conference are not on topic. Documents discussing both  conferences should be considered on topic.  General articles about climate change, global warming or greenhous gas emissions that do not discuss this conference are not on topic.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 11: Political and Diplomatic Meetings


40030.  Guar Clone Born to Cow
Seminal Event
WHAT: An ordinary cow gives birth to a cloned Asian guar (an ox-like animal)
WHO: Advanced Cell Technologies, Bessie the Cow, Noah the Guar
WHERE: Worcester, Massachussets
WHEN: Announcement:  October 2000; Birth: January 2001
 
Topic Explication
In a project that brought together cloning technology and interspecies birth, an endangered ox-like animal called the Asian gaur gestated in the womb of an ordinary cow named Bessie. The guar was cloned by taking an egg from a cow, removing its genetic material, and replacing it with a single skin cell taken from a dead guar, creating an embryo identical to the donor guar.  Although the bull calf, named Noah, died within 48 hours, the gaur was the first animal ever to survive through the late stages of fetal development.
On topic: Documents discussing the birth as well as direct research leading up to birth of the gaur, public reaction and controversy resulting from this research should be considered on topic.
Note: General discussions of cloning, including human cloning and the controversy surrounding it should not be considered on topic unless they directly discuss this particular incident.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 7: Science and Discovery News


40031.  Former US President Reagan Breaks Hip

Seminal Event

WHAT:  Former US President falls and breaks hip
WHO:  Former US President Ronald Reagan
WHERE:  Santa Monica, California
WHEN:  January 12, 2001
Topic Explication
On January 12, 2001, former US president Ronald Reagan broke his hip in a fall at his home in Bel-Air, California. Reagan, 89, underwent a common surgical procedure that involved installing a pin in his hip. The former president hasn't made a public appearance since 1994, when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
On topic: Any stories that mention the accident and the surgery, articles that cover Reagan's recovery, the role of Reagan's family and doctors in his recovery, and the public response to the accident.
Note:  There is another topic and documents in the corpus about Former President George Bush, Sr.'s hip replacement surgery in December 2000.  These documents should not be included in this topic.  General stories about the health of former President Reagan, who also suffers from Alzheimer's disease, should not be considered on topic unless they specifically discuss his hip surgery.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 12: Celebrity/Human Interest News


40033.  Tiananmen Papers Published

Seminal Event

WHAT: Publication of the Tiananmen Papers in the US
WHO:  Compiled by Zhang Liang (pseudonym); Editors Andrew Nathan and Perry Link
WHERE: Publication in Hong Kong and US
WHEN: US publication January 2000; Hong Kong publication (in Chinese) April 2001

Topic Explication
TheTiananmen Papers is a collection of hundreds of documents depicting official reaction to the June 4, 1989 pro-democracy protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in which tanks and troops moved in, killing hundreds or thousands of student protesters.  The publication documents the behind-the-scenes decision making process of China's ruling body the Politburo Standing Committee and Communist Party leadership. The book's Chinese title is June 4th: The True Story. The documents in the collection were compiled and smuggled out of China by the psedonymous author Zhang Liang, a former Chinese government official who now resides in the United States.
On topic: Stories pertaining to Zhang Liang's efforts to compile documents for the collection, publication of the material, official and public reactions, interviews with the author and editors.
Note: General stories about Tiananmen Square that don't specifically reference this particular publication are not on topic.

Rule of Interpretation Rule 12: Celebrity/Human Interest News


40034.  President Clinton Issues Pardons

Seminal Event

WHAT: President Clinton pardons 140 people
WHO:  President Clinton, Beth Nolan, numerous others, including Marc Rich, Susan McDougal, John Deutch, Henry Cisneros; House Government Reform Commmittee.
WHERE: Washington, DC
WHEN: January 20, 2000
Topic Explication
In one of his last official acts, outgoing US president Bill Clinton pardoned 140 individuals who had been convicted or were under investigation for a variety of crimes. The pardons sparked a firestorm of controversy, launching investigations in both houses of Congress and igniting fierce protests from both Democrats and Republicans. The U.S. House and Senate issued a number of subpoenas calling for witnesses as well as financial records, and subesquent hearings were held by the House Government Reform Committee and Senate Judiciary Committees.
On topic: Announcement of the pardons, statements by Clinton or the White House regarding the selection process, public and governmental reaction, subsequent hearings and investigations into the pardons, media analysis and commentary.  Clemency actions include pardons, conditional pardons, commutations of sentence, remissions, etc.
Rule of Interpretation  Rule 2: Scandals/Hearings
40037.  Australian Open Tennis Championship

Seminal Event

WHAT: Australian Open Professional Tennis Competition
WHO:  128 players from around the world
WHERE: Melbourne, Australia
WHEN: January 15-28, 2001
Topic Explication
The Australian Tennis Open took place in Melbourne, Australia, between January 15-28, 2001. The competition included men's and women's singles, doubles, and mixed matches. The final victors included
Capriati's win at the Open was touted as a comeback: after being seeded 12th, she proceeded to win the women's singles competition, making her only the second woman ranked outside of the top ten ever to win a Grand Slam event.
On topic:  Stories about this particular tournament: games, players' performance, results, injuries; stories about Capriati's performance at this tournament leading to her comeback.
Note:  The Adidas International Tornament takes place in Sydney, Australia immediately preceeding the Australian Open.  These are different tournaments, and coverage of the Adidas International is not on topic unless a story also specifically discusses the Australian Open.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 10: Sports News


40038. Earthquake hits India's Gujarat State

Seminal Event

WHAT:  An earthquake measuring approximately 7.8 on the Richter scale hits India's Gujarat State
WHO:  30,000 dead, 55,000 injured; half a million homeless
WHERE:  The state of Gujarat, the nation's second most industrialized state, is located in the northwestern part of the country; epicenter in Bhuj
WHEN:  January 26, 2001
Topic Explication
On January 26, 2001 the most powerful earthquake to strike India in 50 years, measuring between 7.7 and 7.9 on the Richter scale, struck the state of Gujarat. The quake killed 30,000, injured 55,000, and left about half a million homeless. At the epicenter of the disaster was the city of Bhuj, and it was reduced to rubble by the initial earthquake and its 83 aftershocks. The tragedy was exacerbated by the faulty construction of many high-rise apartment buildings, although survivors were found up to 10 days later.
On topic: Any articles discussing this earthquake are considered on topic. Also on topic are mentions of relief efforts that arrived from a large number of sources, including financial aid from Pakistan, the US, the UK and the World Bank.  Additionally, articles that discuss the victims, the city's and nation's financial losses, and medical treatment and disease prevention strategies (for example, the effort to prevent the contamination of water supplies) are all on topic.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 4: Natural Disasters


40039. UK Establishes Diplomatic Relations with North Korea

Seminal Event

WHAT: Britian establishes diplomatic relations with North Korea
WHO:  British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)
WHERE: British Foreign Office, London
WHEN: December 12, 2000
Topic Explication Rule of Interpretation  Rule 13: Miscellaneous News


40043.  Madeline Albright Visits North Korea

Seminal Event

WHAT: U.S. Secretary of State meets with leaders in North Korean capital
WHO:  Madeline Albright, U.S. Secretary of State; North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il
WHERE: North Korean capital Pyongyang
WHEN: October 23-24, 2000
Topic Explication
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited North Korea in late October, becoming the highest-ranking U.S. official to ever visit North Korea and the first U.S. government representative to meet with leader Kim Jong II.  The purpose of the visit was to assess whether any ideas broached during talks might warrant a trip by President Bill Clinton to North Korea before he leaves office in January. The primary U.S. concern is North Korea's missile development program and its export of missiles to Iran and Syria. The United States wanted to persuade North Korea to abandon the long-range missile program that has been a driving force behind expensive U.S. missile defense plans.
On topic: Documents covering preparations for Albright's visit, what transpired during the meetings including press conference or official statements, media coverage of the meetings both in the US and in North Korea, domestic and international reaction to the visit (both public and official), and any direct outcomes of Albright's visit including implementation of measures proposed at the meeting.  The groundwork for Albright's trip was laid during an October 9-12, 2000 visit to the United States by Vice Marshall Jo Myong Rok, North Korea's second-highest ranking military and civilian official.  While in Washington, Jo met with Clinton, Albright, and Secretary of Defense William Cohen.  Although the Jo's October 9-12 visit is not itself part of the current topic, that meeting did conclude with a statement announcing Albright's visit to North Korea.  Any story that includes specific plans or discussion of Albright's visit that occurs during Jo's October 9-12 visit should be considered on topic as a direct causal factor, although discussions of Jo's meeting that do not directly discuss (plans for) Albright's visit should not.
Note:  There is likely to be much discussion about North Korea's missile and nuclear weapon capabilities during the weeks or months surrounding Albright's visit.  General stories that discuss North Korea's military capabilities but do not discuss Albright's visit are not on topic.  There is also likely to be a fair amount of speculation surrounding a potential visit by President Clinton to North Korea.  Again, if this issue is discussed in the context of Albright's trip, then it should be considered on topic, but if it is discussed in isolation it should not.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 11: Political and Diplomatic Meetings



40044.  North Korea - South Korea Ministerial Talks

Seminal Event

WHAT: North and South Korean leaders hold fourth round of inter-Korean ministerial talks
WHO:  38-member South Korean delegation led by Unification Minister Park Jae-kyu; North Korean delegation led by senior cabinet counselor Jon Kum-jin
WHERE: Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea
WHEN:  December 12-16, 2000
Topic Explication
  Rule of Interpretation Rule 11: Political and Diplomatic Meetings



40046.  Kofi Annan visits China

Seminal Event

WHAT:  UN Secretary General meets Chinese leaders
WHO:  UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Chinese President Jiang Zemin, Vice Premier Qian Qichen, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan
WHERE: Beijing, China
WHEN: January 20-22, 2001
Topic Explication
Between January 20-22, 2001 United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan visited Beijing for talks with Chinese leaders. He met with China's President Jiang Zemin, Vice Premier Qian Qichen and Foregin Minister Tang Jiaxuan. The talks covered a number of issues, including follow-up discussions about the Millenium Summit and UN reform, peacekeeping, disarmament, rapprochment between North and South Korea and the Middle East. In these meetings, the Secretary General also discussed human rights and followup to the Memorandum of Understanding signed last year between China and Mary Robinson, UN High Commisioner for Human Rights.  Annan also welcomed the news that China will soon ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
On topic: Stories about the meetings, preparations for these meetings, interviews with the participants, content of meetings, press conferences, public or official reaction.
Note:  Stories having to do only with the Millenium Summit and/or the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are not on topic, unless they are discussed in the context of Annan's visit to China.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 11: Meetings



40047.   The Deadly Texas Seven

Seminal Event

WHAT: Seven prisoners escape from a Texas jail
WHO:  The seven prisoners, the prison guards, prison officials, and even the host of "America's Most Wanted"
WHERE: Texas and Colorado
WHEN: December 13, 2000
Topic Explication
Seven prisoners--two murderers, two armed robbers, two rapists, and a man who beat his girlfriend's crying newborn baby so badly that he broke its arms and legs in seven places, pierced an eardrum and
fractured its skull--escaped from a South Texas jail in a daring prison breakout. Fleeing north and armed with almost 20 revolvers, shotguns, and rifles, the Texas Seven robbed a Radio Shack and sports store for cash,
police scanners, and more guns and ammunition. The group then posed as Christian missionaries in a mobile home community before law enforcement officials were tipped off to their location after viewers of "America's Most Wanted" called in with information. During the resulting SWAT raid, four of the seven were arrested and one committed suicide. The other two were located in late January in Colorado.
On topic: The escape, the subsequent crime spree, the fugitives themselves, the manhunt, and the arrests are all on topic. Also on topic are stories that discuss the prison guards' errors that allowed the inmates to breakout, as well as the reports issued by the Texas penal system that analyzed the security lapses.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 3: Legal/Criminal Cases



40048.  Train Fire in Austrian Tunnel
 

Seminal Event

WHAT: A cable car catches fire deep inside a mountain, trapping passengers and killing 155
WHO:  180 skiers and snowboarders aboard the cable car
WHERE: An alpine resort in Kaprun, Austria
WHEN: The morning of November 11, 2000
Topic Explication
On the morning of November 11, 2000, an inferno inside a mountain killed 155 snowboarders and skiers, many of them teens. Overheated hydraulic brake fluid dripped onto a cable car's plastic-coated floor and caused the fire. Although most of the victims escaped the burning car, they were subsequently killed by acrid smoke as they tried to run upwards out of the mountain. The twelve survivors managed to live by running downwards towards the mouth of the tunnel.
On topic: Articles discussing the accident, the rescue operation, the death toll, the subsequent investigation into the fire's cause, national days of mourning, and any resulting lawsuits are all on topic.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 5: Accidents


40049.  Gao Xingjian Wins Nobel Prize

Seminal Event

WHAT:  Gao Xingjian receives Nobel Prize in Literature
WHO:  Gao Xingjian,Goran Malmqvist,
WHERE:  Sweden
WHEN:  October 12, 2001
Topic Explication
On October 12, 2001, to the surprise of many and the chagrin of some, the Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy announced that the Nobel prize in Literature would go to Chinese dissident writer, dramatist, director and critic Gao Xingjian. At the age of 60, Mr. Gao is the first author of Chinese descent (he acquired French citizenship in 1998) to win the Nobel prize for literature. His works include Soul Mountain, and The Bus Stop, among others. His works are banned in China, and the banning of his most well-known novel The Other Shore in 1987 led to his departure from China to France. Some controversy surrounded the award due to perceived impropriety that the Swedish translator of Gao Xingjian's work, Goran Malmqvist, was also the acting chairman of the selection committee for the prize. The writer will receive the standard Nobel monetary award of approximately 1 million dollars.
On topic: Stories about Gao Xingjian winning the award, reactions to his winning including official and popular reactions, controversy about the award, interviews, reviews of his literature in light of the award.
Note: Stories about the Nobel Prize in general, and other awards given that don't refer to Gao Xingjian's award are not on topic. Topic describing the Nobel Prize in Medicine is not on topic for 40049.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 12: Celebrity/Human Interest News



40051. Dutch Parliament Votes to Legalize Euthanasia

Seminal Event

WHAT: Dutch ruling body votes to permit assisted suicide
WHO: The Netherlands' lower house of Parliament
WHERE: The Netherlands
WHEN: Lower house approves bill: November 28, 2000; Upper house approves bill: April 10, 2001
Topic Explication
In late November, the Netherlands' main legislative body approved a bill to legalize doctor-assisted suicide. The vote by the lower house of parliament would essentially legalize what has been a long-standing practice in the Netherlands. The new law essentially lays out guidelines to regulate the termination of life. The bill, which passed 104 to 40 over the objections of small Christian parties and the Catholic Church, was then considered by the upper chamber, where it passed in April by a measure of 46-28, with thousands outside Parliament chambers protesting the action.
On topic: Coverage of the bill's proposal, voting, adoption by Parliament and implementation; protests and commentary by world leaders, religious officials and the public.
Note:  General opinion pieces on euthanasia or cases of doctor-assisted suicide in the Netherlands or elsewhere that do not specifically discuss this bill are not on topic.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 9: New Laws




40053. Demonstrations in Havana Against US Policy

Seminal Event

WHAT: Thousands march in Havana to protest Cuban Adjustment Act in reaction to
WHO: Alberto Vazquez, Maikel Fonseca; Cuban Leader Fidel Castro
WHERE: Havana, Cuba
WHEN: Cadets' deaths: December 24, 2000; protests: January 19, 2001
Topic Explication
On December 24, 2000, Cuban military cadets Alberto Vazquez (17) and Maikel Fonseca (16) died trying to leave Cuba as stowaways in a jetliner's wheel well.  The deaths prompted Cuban President Fidel Castro to call for a mass rally on January 19, one day after the boys' burial.  The Cuban government blamed US policies, in particular the Cuban Adjustment Act, for contributing to the boys' deaths.  The 1966 law allows Cubans who reach American soil to apply for US residency rather than being deported.  Thousands (official Cuban estimates were much higher) participated in the protest march.
On topic: Stories describing the deaths of the two boys, public and official reaction, calls for the protest, coverage of the march, reaction to the protests from Cuba, US and other nations.
Notes:  In early 2000 the Cuban Adjustment Act was in the news as part of the 7-month international custody battle over the Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez.  The Gonzalez case is not part of the current topic and articles discussing that case should not be marked on topic unless they specifically discuss the events related to these January protests.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 13: Miscellaneous News


40055. Edmond Pope Convicted for Espionage in Russia

Seminal Event

WHAT: US citizen convicted for spying in Russia
WHO: American businessman Edmond Pope, US President Bill Clinton, Russian President Vladimir Putin
WHERE: Moscow, Russia
WHEN: Arrest: April 5, 2000; official charges issued: September 27, 2000; trial begins: October 25, 2000; pardon issued: December 9, 2000; Pope released: December 14, 2000
Topic Explication
American businessman and former member of US Naval Intelligence Edmond Pope was arrested in Moscow while purchasing unclassified documents about a high-speed Russian navy torpedo. This incident marked the first time in forty years that an American has been charged of espionage in Russia.  In December 2000, he was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in Lefortovo prison, a high security Russian labor camp.   In light of pressure from the US and a phone call from US President Bill Clinton, Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned Pope in the same month he was convicted and released him on humanitarian grounds.
On topic:  Stories covering Pope's arrest, trial, conviction and eventual pardon and release; official and public reaction to this case including pressure from the US to release Pope; political commentary on the direct impact of this case on US-Russian relations.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 3: Legal/Criminal Cases



40057.  Peace Treaty Between Eritrea and Ethiopia

Seminal Event

WHAT: Signing of a peace treaty between Eritrea and Ethiopia
WHO:  Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi; Eritrean President Issaias Afwerki; Organization of African Unity (OAU); UN Secretary General Kofi Annan; US envoy Anthony Lake
WHERE:  Algiers, Algeria
WHEN:  December 13, 2000
Topic Explication Rule of Interpretation Rule 11: Diplomatic and Political Meetings


40058.  New (?) Russian National Anthem

Seminal Event

WHAT:  Russian President brings back old Soviet National Anthem
WHO:  Russian President Vladimir Putin; Sergei Mikhalkov (the poet who wrote the words)
WHERE:  Russia
WHEN:  First reported: October, 2000; decree signed December 6, 2000
Topic Explication
Russia has been without a national anthem since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Although a 19th-century melody chosen by former President Boris Yeltsin had been substituted, the wordless music was never ratified by the parliament nor embraced by the people. As a result, President Putin asked the parliament to revive Josef Stalin's anthem of the Soviet Union as the anthem for capitalist Russia. In political terms, the move was seen as a possible signal that Putin wished to roll back democratic progress.
On topic:  Stories that discuss the possible return to the old anthem, the heated debate that resulted from the announcement, public and official reaction, the agreement between the legislature and Putin to officially designate the new anthem, and the new lyrics (that celebrate God) are all on topic.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 13: Miscellaneous News
40059.  Attack on the USS Cole

Seminal Event

WHAT:  American Naval Destroyer attacked by small attack ship
WHO:  USS Cole; 17 dead and 39 wounded crew members; Yemeni bombers, US and Yemeni investigators, and the perpetrators that include Osama bin Laden and Iraqi suspects
WHERE:  Aden harbor, Yemen
WHEN:  October 12, 2000
Topic Explication
While refueling, the American Naval Destroyer USS Cole was bombed by a small ship loaded with plastic explosives. The explosion ripped open a 40-by-40 foot hole in the side of the $1 billion naval destroyer, killing 17 crew members and injuring another 39. Although it's clear now that the attack was a renewed salvo of terrorism, it wasn't clear then as probes were launched by US and Yemeni investigators to locate the terrorist groups responsible.
On topic:  Stories that discuss this specific incident of violence, the victims, the ship, and the investigations are all on topic. Additionally, stories that cover American and Arab responses to this incident, tension between the FBI and Yemeni authorities, bin Laden's involvement, Iraqi support, reports issued by the Navy addressing terrorism and security lapses, the attempt to assign blame among military personnel, the crippled ship's return to the US, and root causes that specifically and explicitly tie Middle East policies with the Cole attack are all on topic.
Note:  Because of the complicated causes and consequences of this topic, it has the potential to grow large and amorphous.  Remember that on-topic stories for topics of this type are limited to direct causes and consequences of a particular act of violence.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 6: Acts of Violence or War
40060.  2000 Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded

Seminal Event

WHAT:  Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded
WHO:  Arvid Carlsson, Paul Greengard, and Eric Kandel
WHERE: Sweden
WHEN: October 9, 2000
Topic Explication
Sweden's Arvid Carlsson and Americans Paul Greengard and Eric Kandel won the 2000 Nobel Prize for Medicine for their research on how messages are transmitted between brain cells. The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet said the three had made "pioneering discoveries" in signal transduction between nerve cells in the brain. Their work has helped in understanding how the brain functions and the causes behind neurological and psychiatric diseases.
On topic: Stories about the researchers winning the award, coverage of the research leading to this award, reactions to their winning, interviews with the scientists, direct implications of their discoveries for technology or medical development.
Note: Stories about the Nobel Prize in general, and other awards given that don't refer to this specific award are not on topic. Topic 40049 describing the Nobel Prize in Literature is not on topic for 40060.
Rule of Interpretation Rule 12: Celebrity/Human Interest News

strassel@ldc.upenn.edu

Last modified: Wed Aug 7 11:55:55 2002