I spent most of yesterday in Winson Green, Birmingham, following the deaths of three young British men in the early hours of the morning. I visited the small mosque where two of the men (brothers aged 32 and 30) had been regular worshippers, and where both their uncle and older brother were in a state of profound shock and grief.
Since the second half of the last century Birmingham has always had a rich ethnic mix: in the 1950s Caribbean immigrants came over to drive buses and trains as well as work in the factories, followed by Asians, largely from India and Pakistan, and in the 1970s, Ugandan refugees.
Bob Riley wanted to help. It was Sunday, Oct. 5, and the Alabama governor was on the phone with Neel Kashkari, a Treasury Department official who the next day would be named by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson as interim leader of the government's just-approved $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. But Riley couldn't wait for Kashkari's role to become official. He needed to impress upon the new bailout boss the seriousness of the exploding financial crisis in Jefferson County, home to Birmingham. Riley argued that it was urgent that the federal government come to the aid of his state - now.
Two more teams fell out of the top 10 this week. Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calf.) lost to giant-killer Birmingham (Van Nuys, Calif.) 28-21. Earlier this season, Birmingham knocked off then-No. 7 Poly (Long Beach, Calif.), and the Patriots enter this week's top 25 at No. 22. In Georgia, last week's No. 9, Roswell, suffered its first defeat, a 13-10 loss to Walton (Marieta, Ga.).
A UK court fined Cadbury Schweppes, the world's largest confectionery group, £1 million ($2 million) Monday for selling unsafe chocolate in Britain and Ireland during 2006 in a salmonella health scare.
In his heyday Seve Ballesteros would periodicallygive us Statesiders a chanceto know him. Never amountedto much. He'd play our windlesscourses and eat our dull foodand retreat quickly to his homein Spain and to his tour in Europe,where he was king.
The BCS National Championship Game last Monday made millions of dollars for the two teams and their conferences -- just as millions more have been made from the myriad other bowls. This only encourages the myth that college sport is a financial bonanza. It isn't, of course. Only a handful of universities make any money. Usually it is more like the way it was last spring in Alabama when Jim Stephens, the chairman of the board of trustees at Birmingham Southern College, came to see the school president, David Pollick.
Three Birmingham college students were arrested and charged Wednesday in connection with a string of Alabama church fires that is described in court papers as a joke that "got out of hand," authorities said.
After the 2000 U.S. elections there was much sniggering in Britain about vote challenges, hanging chads as the U.S. political system initially failed to throw up a clear winner. British parliamentarians laughed at the cartoon of two Martians alighting from a spaceship in New York and asking a traffic cop "Well, when can you take me to your leader?"
The long, strange case of the United States v. Eric Robert Rudolph took a turn Wednesday into a hotel ballroom, where hundreds of prospective jurors joined a legal dance that could last through the fall.
Serial bombing suspect Eric Robert Rudolph and his attorneys will argue in court Tuesday that his case should be moved because he cannot get a fair trial in Birmingham, where he is charged with bombing a women's clinic in 1998.
Prosecutors in the case against the man accused in a string of bombings filed a motion late Friday arguing he could get a fair trial in Birmingham, Alabama, in response to a defense motion asking for a change of venue.