Illustrations by Istvan Banyai
The Air Guitar World Championships, an orgy of heavy-metal camp, happen today in Oulu, Finland. Pantomime shredders perform one-minute frenzies before a panel of judges. Air roadies are permitted, but must leave the stage before the show. The winner gets a real guitar.
Investors, buckle up. Alan Greenspan, the former Fed chairman whose comments, even in retirement, can lower the Dow, publishes his memoir today, which reportedly fetched an $8 million-plus advance. The Age of Turbulence was planned as a straightforward autobiography, but instead Greenspan wrote an analysis of his career and the future of the economy. He promises lots of surprises—and already has delivered one, announcing that he wrote much of the book in the bathtub.
Today’s presidential election in Lebanon will likely inflame tensions between the country’s pro- and anti-Syrian contingents. The latter has lost strength as its parliamentary members have been killed off. The vote could splinter the government, with both camps claiming power..
Ukraine’s bloodless pro-Western coup in 2004 has given way to a stalemate between President Viktor Yushchenko and Russia-aligned rival Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych was defeated in 2004 but returned as prime minister and head of a parliamentary majority. Their camps vie for power in today’s parliamentary election.
The last chance for the Anglican Church to avoid a schism could come today with a deadline for the American Episcopal Church to abandon its increasingly tolerant positions on gays—it has not recanted its support of gay unions and gay bishops or allowed conservative churches to break away.
With the Iraq War in its fifth year, President Bush and his supporters face an important milestone when General David Petraeus testifies before Congress this month on whether the troop “surge” has worked. Petraeus has hinted he’ll ask for more time to see results; a growing Republican contingent is threatening to abandon Bush and call for withdrawal.