Milestones

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DIED. ABU ABBAS, 56, Palestinian terrorist leader who masterminded the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea, during which American Jewish tourist Leon Klinghoffer was shot and pushed overboard in his wheelchair; while in U.S. custody at a prison outside Baghdad. Abbas, whose real name was Mohammed Abbas, had lived in the Iraqi capital under government protection in recent years, but was captured by U.S. forces after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime. Abbas—who learned his guerrilla tactics while fighting alongside the Viet Cong in the late 1960s—came to epitomize the jet-setting international terrorist, living in Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and Lebanon while organizing attacks against Israeli targets. His group, the Palestine Liberation Front, has accused the U.S. of assassinating Abbas. The U.S. military says he died of a heart attack.

DIED. PAUL WINFIELD, 62, prolific Hollywood actor whose role as a poor sharecropper in the 1972 film Sounder earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor; in Los Angeles. Winfield was known for his portrayals of dignified authority figures, most notably Martin Luther King Jr., whom he played in a 1978 TV mini-series. He won an Emmy Award in 1995 for his role as a judge in the TV series Picket Fences.

DIED. SPALDING GRAY, 62, confessional storyteller and movie actor; in New York City, where his body was found floating in the East River two months after his disappearance. Cause of death has not yet been determined, but Gray had a history of depression, and police are investigating reports that he jumped off the Staten Island ferry. Born in Rhode Island, he moved to New York to join an experimental theater troupe after his mother's suicide in 1967. Starting in the 1980s, he created stage monologues on topics as diverse as the Vietnam War (Swimming to Cambodia in 1984) and his own writing (Monster in a Box, 1992), both of which later became films. By the late 1990s, his pieces had become less dark and cynical as he settled into fatherhood and daily yoga on Long Island, but a 2001 car accident fractured his skull and brought on a new bout of depression.

SENTENCE REDUCED. ABUBAKAR BA'ASYIR, 65, jailed Indonesian cleric and accused spiritual leader of the Southeast Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiah, which has been blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings; by Indonesia's Supreme Court; in Jakarta. Abubakar was originally sentenced to four years in prison for subversion and immigration violations. But the subversion conviction was thrown out in December, and last week his jail term was cut to 18 months including time served, allowing Abubakar to be released in a matter of weeks. The court's decision sparked concern about Indonesia's commitment to fighting terrorism. Visiting Jakarta last week, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge insisted that Abubakar was deeply involved in terrorist activities. Abubakar, who denies any connection to terrorism, responded that "For [Ridge], all Islamic figures are enemies."

SENTENCED. JOHN ALLEN MUHAMMAD, 43, and LEE BOYD MALVO, 19, respectively to death and life without parole; for their October 2002 Washington, D.C.-area killing spree that left 10 people dead; in Manassas, Virginia. The string of random sniper attacks was carried out with a high-powered rifle fired from the trunk of a car. Judge LeRoy Millette called Muhammad's offenses "so vile that they are almost beyond comprehension."

PAROLED. KOBE SCHOOLBOY KILLER, 21, who at the age of 14 became a symbol of Japan's youth crime wave when he decapitated an 11-year-old boy in Kobe, Japan; after spending more than six years in a reformatory; in Tokyo. The killer, whose name has never been released, also admitted to bludgeoning a 10-year-old girl to death with a hammer. Upon his release, a lawyer who represented the killer said he "has grown up a lot in a short period of time.

Numbers

5,300 m Altitude of a new weather station on Mount Everest, which will be the world's highest when completed next year

$9 million Amount the Hong Kong government expects to raise annually by selling personalized car-license plates—an initiative to help reduce the budget deficit

36 Number of journalists killed on the job last year, 13 of whom died in Iraq. The figure is nearly double the 2002 total

136 Number of journalists imprisoned in 2003. For the fifth consecutive year, China has jailed the most: 39

90% Proportion of junk e-mail that can be traced to 200 digital-marketing groups, the largest of which are being sued by Internet companies under new U.S. antispam laws

32.4% Proportion of Japanese who do not want more tourists in their country, according to a government survey, due to the perception that foreigners are mainly to blame for the rising crime rate

1.2% Proportion of crimes committed by foreigners in Japan last year

$998,328.45 Change requested by a woman at a Wal-Mart in the U.S. state of Georgia, after she tried to pay her shopping bill with a fake $1 million banknote. She was arrested and charged with forgery