APPOINTED. SHINZO ABE, 51, as Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, and TARO ASO, 65, as Foreign Minister; as part of a cabinet shuffle by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi; in Tokyo. Abe, a former secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and Aso, a veteran lawmaker, are both political thoroughbreds and the grandsons of former Prime Ministers. The elevation of the pair, each known for their assertive stances on Japan's relations with its Asian neighbors, sparked concerns in China and South Korea, whose relationships with Japan have soured over recent border disputes and lingering bitterness about Japan's past imperialist aggression. The two are considered front runners to succeed Koizumi, whose term expires in 2006.
ANNOUNCED. AGREEMENT TO FIELD A UNIFIED TEAM at the 2006 Asian Games and the 2008 Olympics; by North and South Korea; in Macau. Athletes from the two countries walked together at the opening ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympics, but the countries have never merged squads for a major competition.
DIED. BEST MATE, 10, champion Irish-born steeplechase racehorse; in Exeter, England. A three-time winner of the prestigious Cheltenham Gold Cup and beloved by racegoers, the legendary gelding collapsed from a heart attack just before the last jump on the Exeter course as his trainer, Henrietta Knight, looked on. Known to millions of fans as "Matey," he had just returned to form after recuperating from a burst blood vessel. "He died doing what he loved, which was to race," said Knight, of the graceful, gutsy and reliable jumper.
DIED. AMRITA PRITAM, 86, novelist and poet who published her first story collection at age 16 and went on to write more than 60 works exploring the suffering of South Asian women and the violent division of the Indian subcontinent following the end of British rule in 1947; in New Delhi. Born to a Sikh family in what is now Pakistan, Pritam fled to India during the country's partition—a brutal period that she described in her most famous poem, Ode to Waris Shah.
DIED. ENDRE MARTON, 95, Budapest-born Associated Press reporter who filed the first eyewitness account of the bloody Hungarian uprising against communist rule in 1956; in New York City. Competing with his wife, who worked for another wire service, he flouted the clampdown on communications by stealthily using a government telex machine to file his initial 2,000-word chronicle, which opened with a description of a Soviet tank firing on protesters "whose only weapons were Hungarian flags."
$7,000 Fine levied on Greenpeace for damage to a coral reef at a Philippine marine park when its flagship Rainbow Warrior II ran aground during a visit to investigate the impact of climate change
90 cm Decrease over the past decade in the height of Lake Victoria, Africa's largest freshwater lake, due to environmental degradation
40% Recent increase in the price of star anise, following reports that the Chinese fruit is used to produce the drug Tamiflu, which can help treat bird flu
$690,000 Price paid at auction for a 1975 Ford Escort GL once owned by Pope John Paul II, bought by a millionaire Baptist from Houston
$244,000 Price paid by a U.S. casino in May for a 1999 Volkswagen Golf once owned by Pope Benedict XVI