Originally created 08/22/06

Up2speed



Too involved in school to know what's going on in the world this past week? Here's an update:

WORLD

ISRAEL AND LEBANON: With the Aug. 14 cease-fire, Israel has begun to pull out of Lebanon and the Lebanese military has deployed.

As part of the agreement to end the 34-day conflict between the two countries, Hezbollah militants, who had been fighting with the Israeli army, agreed to disarm.

United Nations forces are assisting in the return to peace after more than 1,000 Lebanese and 159 Israelis were reported killed in the fighting.

NATION

DIVERSITY EXPLOSION: The United States is seeing a surge of immigrants - both legal and illegal - causing states to see a diversification of their populations.

Immigrants went from 11.1 percent of the population in 2000 to 12.4 percent last year, according to the figures released Aug. 15 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Minority groups make up an increased share of the population in every state but one (West Virginia), demographers found.

JUSTICE FOR JONBENET: The decade-old murder investigation of JonBenet Ramsey got a break with the Wednesday arrest of John Mark Karr, 41, a former schoolteacher.

Mr. Karr was arrested in Thailand and confessed that he killed the 6-year-old beauty pageant-winner after a failed kidnapping and ransom attempt.

He's being brought back to Colorado, where he will face charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and child sexual assault, according to Homeland Security officials.

SCHOOLS

SCORES ARE IN: Students have had their ACT scores for months now but the states and their school districts have just gotten the data back. Though scores were up statewide in Georgia and South Carolina, scores fell for Aiken, Columbia and Richmond counties.

Aiken County had a score 19.7, down from 20.1. Even with the drop, it was above the state composite average of 19.5. Richmond County scores averaged in at 18. 2, down from 18.6 a year ago. Columbia County dipped from 21.4 to 20.8 this year, but still bested the state average of 20.2.

Most Georgia and South Carolina high school students take the SAT rather than the ACT.

ENTERTAINMENT

IDOL TIME: As though you hadn't had enough. Thousands of hopefuls across the country auditioned for season six of American Idol. Singers, or those who fancy themselves as singers, stood in long lines to face brutal judgment in New York, San Antonio and Los Angeles last week. More were expected in Birmingham, Ala., on Monday. Auditions continue in Memphis, Tenn., Minneapolis and Seattle in the coming weeks.

SCIENCE

MISPLACED SPACE: NASA announced Tuesday that it can't find the original tapes of the first lunar landing.

Astronaut Neil Armstrong's space walk, seen by millions of viewers July 20, 1969, is among transmissions that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said it has failed to find after searching for a year.

Though 700 transmissions from the Apollo missions (which made the lunar landing) can't be located, a NASA spokesman said there are few worries because the information exists in one form or another. For instance, copies of the television broadcasts of the first lunar landing are still available.

MORE SPACE NEWS: Pluto might not be a planet. As the International Astronomical Union meets in the Czech Republic to debate what constitutes a planet, they also are trying to figure out how many planets our solar system has. An official verdict is expected Thursday when the organization puts proposals to the vote.

TECHNOLOGY

Computer-maker Dell recalled 4.1 million of its notebook computer batteries this past week because they pose a fire risk.

The Sony-made lithium ion batteries used in Dell's laptops were prone to overheating and the company said it will replace them. Those with the batteries, which were sold with or separately for several of the Latitude, Inspiron, XPS and Dell Precision models, are asked to use their AC adapter and power cords to power their systems.

An investigation has begun to see whether the Sony lithium ion batteries in other laptops have the same problems.

- Compiled from Associated Press, Augusta Chronicle reports