RELEASED. Xiang Xiang, 4, 83-kg giant panda; into the wild, marking the first time a panda bred in captivity was freed; in a forest in Sichuan province, China, as a swath of bamboo shoots, the animal's favorite food, were starting to sprout. Xiang Xiang was reared at China's Wolong Giant Panda Research Center. Wolong officials, who spent three years training Xiang Xiang to fend for himself and will continue to monitor the panda with a satellite tracking system, said the event was a key step in boosting the population of the endangered species, which now numbers about 1,800.
REAPPOINTED. Nong Duc Manh, 65, as general secretary of Vietnam's Communist Party; in Hanoi. Known as a canny consensus-builder, Manh remains head of a party beset by recent corruption scandals, including the resignation of the minister of transport over accusations he failed to prevent embezzlement of state funds by several officials. Manh pledged to combat graft while maintaining Vietnam's robust economic growth by accelerating market reforms.
CHARGED. Steven Jordan, 50, U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who ran the interrogation center at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq; with 12 counts of military violations, including abuse of detainees, making false official statements, dereliction of duty and interfering with investigators; in Washington. Jordan is the highest-ranking person to be charged in the two-year-old prison scandal, for which several low-ranking soldiers have been convicted.
SENTENCED. Alexander Milinkevich, 58, Belarussian opposition leader, to 15 days in jail after being found guilty of attending an illegal demonstration; in Minsk. Milinkevich finished a distant second to President Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus' disputed presidential elections in March, which triggered massive protests in the former Soviet republic. Milinkevich was arrested after leading a demonstration of about 6,000 on April 26 that called for the constitutional overthrow of the Russian-backed Lukashenko.
DIED. Alida Valli, 84, intelligent, incandescent Italian actress who appeared in more than 100 films, including Carol Reed's The Third Man, Luchino Visconti's Senso and Bernardo Bertolucci's The Spider's Stratagem; in Rome. A baroness who went into hiding during World War II to avoid being recruited for Mussolini's propaganda efforts, she received a career Golden Lion award at the 1997 Venice Film Festival.
DIED. Bill Kirschner, 87, inventor, with his brother Don, of the first commercially viable fiber-glass skis and co-founder of K2, which became the largest U.S. ski manufacturer; in Seattle. Familiar with fiber glass from his work building animal cages, he sensed that the material could produce faster skis than the wood and metal ones then available. Introduced in 1964, the skis became favorites of Olympic and world champions and helped turn K2 into a winter-sports titan.
DIED. John Kenneth Galbraith, 97, best-selling Harvard economist and unabashed liberal who spent his career fighting "conventional wisdom," a phrase he coined in 1958; in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At 203 cm tall, he wasquite literallya big thinker. In his examination of the intertwining of economics and politics, he once termed America a "democracy of the fortunate," and his ideas underpinned U.S. President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society program. He was known for his witty, often acerbic directness, once noting, "The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable." The concepts in his watershed book, The Affluent Society, became so pervasive that to subsequent generations of readers, "It's like reading Hamlet and deciding it's full of quotations," said Nobel-laureate economist Amartya Sen. "You realize where they came from."
$2.12 Amount of fuel allowance per km that Kenyan M.P.s, who earn up to $120,000 a year, are now getting to cover travel expensesalmost double their previous entitlement
22.8% Proportion of Kenyans who live on less than $1 a day
83.53 cm Average chest circumference of Chinese women, according to the Beijing Institute of Clothing and Technology
1 cm Amount the average chest circumference of Chinese women has increased since the early 1990s, due in part to better nutrition, prompting manufacturers to make bigger bras
1% Chance a child born poor in the U.S. has of becoming rich as an adult, according to a recent study
22% Chance a child born rich in the U.S. has of staying rich as an adult
69.85 cm Size of objects detectable on Earth by a new Israeli satellite, launched by Russia last week, that will allow Israel to gather data on Iran's nuclear program
$800 million Cost of Iran's Bushehr nuclear-power plant, which Russia is helping to build
10.2% Year-on-year growth rate for China's economy in the first quarter of 2006
5.85% The new benchmark lending rate for China's central bank, after Beijing increased the rate by 0.27 of a percentage point last week in an attempt to prevent economic overheating
By David Lau
In the annals of identity theft, this may be hard to beat: after a two-year investigation, Japanese electronics manufacturer NEC revealed last week that counterfeiters had effectively ripped off the company's entire brand. Factories in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong were allegedly involved in a sophisticated piracy ring that produced around 50 different types of electronic equipment, including DVD and MP3 players, which the counterfeiters then hawked as NEC products. The pirates even went so far as to design their very own line of fake NEC goods. The fact that NEC hadn't designed them didn't stop irate buyers calling the Japanese firm with complaints when the counterfeit devices occasionally proved defective. Pirates, it turns out, don't stand by warranties.