A mini-concert by the Zac Brown Band at the Daytona International Speedway will precede the 55th Daytona 500 on Feb. 24. The Daytona Beach Half Marathon on Feb. 17 and a charity fishing tournament with NASCAR drivers on Feb. 22 are just two of the events leading up to the big race.
The Academy Awards
The Oscars could take on political overtones if Zero Dark Thirty surprises and takes home the award for best picture at the 85th Academy Awards on Feb. 24. Veteran Hollywood actors Ed Asner and David Clennon both excoriated the movie for portraying torture in a positive light. Martin Sheen too joined in the criticism before later recanting.
Despite a tax fraud conviction (now under appeal), former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi appears positioned for the political comeback of a lifetime. Berlusconi, who resigned his position in 2011 amid legal troubles and a sovereign debt crisis, has crept to within striking distance of Pier Luigi Bersani of the center-left Democratic Party in the run-up to the Feb. 25 election.
The first results from testing Yasser Arafat’s exhumed body for radioactive poisoning are due Feb. 28. The Palestinian Liberation Organization chairman’s 2004 death has led to a crescendo of speculation that someone poisoned him, possibly using the radioactive element polonium-210. The Palestinian government in July approved a plan to exhume Arafat’s body and conduct tests.
On March 2 mushers will begin the first leg of the famed Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Competitors and their dogs will depart Anchorage, Alaska, on a two-week, 1,150-mile adventure billed as “The Last Great Race.” In recent years, quickly melting snow has caused race organizers to move the course, which traverses the wilderness from Anchorage to Nome, 30 miles north.