Originally created 12/19/06

Up to Speed



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

World

NEW U.N. LEADER: Ban Ki-moon, of South Korea, was sworn in Thursday as the new secretary-general of the world of the United Nations, replacing Ghanian Kofi Annan, who stepped down. Mr. Ki-moon was appointed in October and will begin his term Jan. 1. He will be the eighth leader of the organization.

National

SENATOR HAS BRAIN SURGERY: A South Dakota senator who fell ill with strokelike symptoms in his office in Washington, D.C., had to have emergency brain surgery. Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson was in critical condition Thursday after bleeding in his brain, which was caused by a condition he has likely had from birth. Sen. Johnson's health might affect the slim Democratic majority (51-49) over Republicans in the Senate. If he has to be replaced, a Republican appointee would result in a 50-50 split and allow the Republican party to retain Senate control through Vice President Dick Cheney's tie-breaking vote.

Sports

LEATHER'S BETTER: The National Basketball Association decided to return to using the old leather basketballs after complaints from players about the composite ball made of synthetic fibers. On Thursday, Spalding offered $115 refunds to consumers who purchased and want to return the NBA's composite ball.

Offbeat

LONG ARMS SAVE DOLPHINS: The world's tallest man saved two dolphins in a Chinese aquarium by pulling out plastic from their stomachs Thursday. The dolphins got sick after eating plastic from the edge of their pool in the Liaoning province, and attempts to use surgical instruments failed because the dolphins' stomachs contracted during the procedure, the China Daily newspaper reported.

Veterinarians then asked for help from Bao Xishun, a 7-foot-9 herdsman from Inner Mongolia with 41.7-inch arms, who the Guinness Book of World Records confirmed as the world's tallest living man.

Movies

GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINATIONS: The movie awards considered to be the test-run for the Oscars released their list of contenders, which included Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, starring Sacha Baron Cohen; The Devil Wears Prada; and Dreamgirls for the category of best musical or comedy and Johnny Depp for best actor in a musical or comedy. Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated twice for best actor in a drama for his work in Blood Diamond and The Departed.

Music

WHAT'S IN A VIDEO: Stunt man Evel Knievel has sued rapper Kanye West over his video for Touch the Sky, where the Grammy winner jumps a motorcycle over a canyon. The lawsuit seeks damages and to halt distribution of the video, which features Pamela Anderson.