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March 1

Pulp Fiction

HarperCollins, whose ReganBooks imprint had planned to publish O.J. Simpson’s ‘hypothetical’ confession until public anger halted it, invites another drubbing with today’s publication of a “reality fiction” book about Mickey Mantle. The imagined “firsthand” account of his life is packed with lurid—and dubious— tales of the slugger’s encounters.

March 1

Passing Storm

Some 35,000 victims of Hurricane Katrina may have to fend for themselves today, after FEMA stops providing rental assistance.

March 4

Baltic Ballots

Web-obsessed Estonians—who knew?—conduct the world’s first online national parliamentary election today. Citizens equipped with smart-card readers and a Web connection can cast ballots using the computer chip in their national ID cards.

March 5

Conrad Bilk?

Conrad Black, the smug Canadian press baron-cum-British lord, stands trial today along with several of his former executives for allegedly bilking his publishing empire of more than $80 million to finance his jet-setting lifestyle. He could face up to ninety-five years in prison.

March 6

Late Bloomer

Long mocked as “the most expensive album never made,” Guns N’ Roses’s Chinese Democracy should finally get a spin today. Thirteen years and $13 million in the making, the project burned through at least four producers, featured a rap cameo by Shaquille O’Neal, and included an in-studio chicken coop built to appease a finicky guitarist, all presided over by the group’s tempestuous lead singer—and lone remaining original member—Axl Rose.

March 11

Spring Forward, Faster

Daylight saving time begins three weeks earlier this year in an effort to save energy. Clocks “spring forward” by an hour today and don’t “fall back” until the first Sunday in November (a week later than in the past).

March 13

Mama Mia!

Silvio Berlusconi faces charges today that he paid a British lawyer $600,000 to lie on his behalf during earlier trials for corruption. The oft-targeted former Italian prime minister, aka “Il Cavaliere,” has thus far managed to avoid conviction in his many brushes with the law.

March 19–23

Legislators Gone Wild

Stop the presses! The Senate, like the rest of the non-undergraduate universe, will work this week, sacrificing what in recent years has been a spring break. As part of a plan by the new Democratic majority to create the impression of frenzied hard work, the House has also boosted its workweek from a bankerly three days to five, and the Senate has trimmed its other spring break—two weeks in April—by half.

March 25

Middle Passage Remembered

On the bicentenary of its abolition of the slave trade, Britain treads a careful line: An official “statement of regret” may be in the offing for today. Last year, Tony Blair went further than any Western head of state by expressing “deep sorrow” for his country’s actions, but Britain (like other nations, including the United States) has stopped shy of a formal apology to avoid widespread calls for reparations.

March 28
Walking on Air

Backed by a Las Vegas businessman, the Hualapai Indians open a glass walkway cantilevered seventy feet past the edge of the Grand Canyon and thousands of feet over its floor to drum up more tourism (it’s been years since Robbie Knievel’s jump). The U-shaped structure is fitted with shock absorbers to minimize swaying.

March 31

Where Have You Gone, Jackie Robinson?

As part of Major League Baseball’s effort to check the dwindling number of black players, the World Series–champion St. Louis Cardinals play the Cleveland Indians today in the inaugural Civil Rights Game, intended to spur young black athletes’ interest in the game.

Also This Month:

Drop Your Weapons?

Britain, which could be within striking distance of a nuclear-powered Middle East, votes this month on whether to replace its only nuclear deterrents— four aging nuclear-armed submarines—at a cost of up to $40 billion.

Breaking Up the Balkans

The status of Kosovo, under UN control as part of Serbia since the late 1990s, should be resolved this month. The province is expected to gain autonomy from Serbia, though the term independence may be avoided in the final settlement to appease Serbia and others.

Cult-de-sac

Shoko Asahara, the near-blind Japanese cult leader who masterminded the 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway, hangs this month for killing twenty-seven people and injuring about 5,000 more in a string of nerve gassings and other attacks.

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