THEY MARCHED TO A PATRIOTIC TUNE
It was chilly on New Year's Day in Los Angeles, but the 113th Tournament of Roses Parade went off nearly without a hitch.
Because of the events of Sept. 11, the planners and paraders struck a patriotic tone, one that was relayed around the world via international television broadcasts. Old Glory was everywhere, so were red, white and blue flowers. A flight of fighter jets and a B-2 bomber -- newly returned from the war against terrorism -- flew through the skies as the kickoff.
Among those marching were students from tragedy-beset Columbine High School. Published reports indicate that the crowd gave some of its loudest applause for the kids from Colorado.
One really touching float was built by an immigrant from Vietnam who sold her home to help pay for its construction to show her love for her adopted country. It was titled: "Thank You, America and the World."
Next year's parade is already in the planning stage.
Many say the event is the biggest public relations vehicle the Los Angeles area has because it shows the colorful parade, usually held under sunny skies, to the rest of world -- some of it in the grips of cold weather.
(Thanks to UPI Feature Reporter Dennis Daily)
THINGS WE DON'T UNDERSTAND
Now that tensions seem to be easing between India and Pakistan, what will become of the world's biggest single stretch of camouflage cloth? In the northern Indian city of Agra, local tailors have spent the last two weeks stitching together a vast tapestry of 200 meters each side, of khaki, black and green cloth. Their mission was to camouflage the Taj Mahal, India's legendary 17th-century marble mausoleum, from Pakistani airstrikes.
(From UPI Hears)
NEWS OF OTHER LIFE FORMS
Sy Sperling -- whose commercial tag line "I'm also a member" has been lampooned in the popular culture -- has announced the names of the 2001 inductees into the Hair Club Hall of Fame "for men with great heads of hair." Among those making the list: former President Ronald Reagan -- "his wonderful head of hair gave him the confidence to project himself in a more positive way" -- and singing sensation Ricky Martin, who performed at President George W. Bush's inaugural celebration.
(From UPI's Capital Comment)
TODAY'S SIGN THE WORLD IS ENDING
A Nantucket, Mass., man is being held without bail for an apparently offhand remark that there might be a bomb in his luggage at the Barnstable Municipal Airport on Cape Cod.
Stephen J. Geba Jr., 49, was arrested Tuesday night after his remark to airport personnel prompted officials to close down the facility for nearly three hours, the Cape Cod Times reports. He was charged with communicating a false bomb report.
Geba was waiting to board an evening flight to Nantucket when he allegedly became upset that an airport employee insisted he not leave his bags unattended while he went to his car for a rest. He allegedly told her: "Yeah, you better check my bags. I might have a bomb in there."
His comments were reported to National Guard military police, which responded by closing down the airport and evacuating everyone.
A state police bomb squad checked Geba's baggage and his car but found no explosives. Barnstable police Lt. William Packer said Geba told police he was in a bad mood because of a recent personal argument.
One annoyed passenger said closing the airport because of Geba's remarks was "going overboard," but a Nantucket Air supervisor said that since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, "You have to proceed differently."
AND FINALLY, TODAY'S UPLIFTING STORY
Some South Africans are calling it a miracle. A 3-year-old boy is alive and recovering after spending 21 days, apparently alone, in the harsh veld terrain of Free State province.
The child, Michael Raadt, together with his 2-year-old cousin, Thabiso, wandered off from the Noupoort farm outside Luckhoff, a town in the semi-arid west of the province. At this time of year -- South Africa's summer -- daytime temperatures in the veld can exceed 100 degrees (Fahrenheit) in the sun, with the sparse shade offering little relief. At night, the temperature falls to 50 degrees or lower. The area is bleak, rough, dry and sparsely populated.
Alarms sounded when the children were missed, and local police enlisted the help of a special dog unit from the nearby Northern Cape. They failed to find the boys.
Three days later, a farmer near the Orange River spotted the younger, Thabiso, about 25 miles away from the children's home. Police said the child was "in a very bad condition," although he is now recovering.
The hunt for Michael continued.
On New Year's Eve, farmer Johan Lombard was walking on his land not far from the Noupoort farm when he saw the body of a child lying next to the farm dam. The child was dressed only in a T-shirt and appeared to be either unconscious or dead. Lombard immediately called the local police, who resuscitated the child and took him to a local hospital.
Michael's doctors say he should recover. As yet he has been unable to tell anyone how he managed to survive.