Looking ahead

Looking Ahead | News to watch in the weeks to come

Issue: "Ready or not, here we go," March 28, 2009

Happy birthday, Pat

March 22: Probably never in Pat Robertson's 79 years did he expect this: Ahead of his March 22 birthday, a group of students at Robertson's Regent University have formed a Regent Democrats club.

Recalling ecodisasters

March 24: The last bit of March is not a good time for environmentalists with long memories. Two decades ago on March 24, the Exxon Valdez oil supertanker ran aground on a reef and gurgled between 10 million and 35 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound off the coast of Alaska. And 30 years ago on March 28, the nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island in central Pennsylvania suffered a partial meltdown.

Bernanke's loan program

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March 25: As a counterpart to the U.S. Treasury, the Federal Reserve will launch a program to bolster the market for auto and business loans. The Fed will commit $200 billion to loan to investors promising to buy up certain types of bad bank assets. If the Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Facility program goes as Fed chairman Ben Bernanke hopes, it could free up close to $1 trillion in lending.

Same-sex site

March 31: To comply with the terms of a settlement of a 2005 lawsuit, internet dating website eHarmony will have to bring its gay dating website live by the end of March. The 2005 lawsuit alleged eHarmony, which does not match gays and lesbians, violated New Jersey anti-discrimination statutes. The new website, CompatiblePartners.net, was listed as "under construction" as of March 12.

Mission to Mars

March 31: In a precursor to a manned mission to Mars, the European Space Agency in conjunction with Russia's space agency will begin a 105-day simulation with six pseudo-cosmonauts. The six will enter an isolation chamber outside of Moscow to begin studying the effects of the prolonged isolation of a manned Mars mission. The cohabitants will be limited to communicating with the outside world via email and with project leaders through voice transmissions delayed 20 minutes to simulate communication problems from the Red Planet.

NATO turns 60

April 4: Founded, according to its first secretary general, "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down," NATO will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a summit co-hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The pair will hope to overcome their sometimes-icy relationship to pull off the summit in the French border town Strasbourg and its German counterpart Kehl.


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