—By Richard Corliss
AWARDED. To SpaceShipOne, a privately built rocket funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen; the $10 million ANSARI X PRIZE, created in 1996 by MIT graduate Peter Diamandis to make low-cost space travel accessible to the public; in Mojave, California. To win the prize, the rocket had to fly into space and return to earth twice in less than a week. According to SpaceShipOne's designer Burt Rutan, the prize covers less than half of Allen's original investment.
RATIFIED. An AGREEMENT between the United Nations and the Cambodian government to create an international tribunal to try former leaders of the murderous Khmer Rouge regime; in Phnom Penh. After almost six years of negotiations and delay, the 107 members present in Cambodia's 123-seat assembly voted unanimously to approve the proceedings, the focus of which will probably be on seven alleged former leaders from the brutal reign of Pol Pot. They are expected to be tried for atrocities committed from 1975 to 1979, when an estimated 2 million Cambodians were executed, starved or tortured to death.
PLEADED GUILTY. DENNIS CHRISTIAN, 49, and DAVE BROWN, 49; to sexual assault charges; on Pitcairn Island, an isolated British territory in the South Pacific. Christian, who admitted assaulting a 12-year-old, and Brown, who admitted to indecently touching underage girls, are among seven men on trial for alleged sexual abuses stretching back 40 years. The defendants claim underage sex has been a tradition on the island since the arrival of their ancestors, the 18th century mutineers of the H.M.S. Bounty.
CHARGED. Chief Warrant Officers JEFFERSON WILLIAMS and LEWIS WELSHOFER JR., Sergeant First Class WILLIAM SOMMER and Specialist JERRY LOPER; with "murder and dereliction of duty," according to a U.S. Army spokesperson, in the death of Iraqi Major General Abed Hamed Mowhoush; in Fort Carson, Colorado. Military prosecutors claim the four soldiers suffocated Mowhoush during an interrogation in Qaim, Iraq, in November 2003, when they allegedly trapped him inside a zipped sleeping bag, rolled him around and sat on his chest. The soldiers face a possible life sentence.
DIED. KENNETH BIGLEY, 62, British engineer kidnapped on Sept. 16 in Baghdad by members of an Islamic militant group, Tawhid and Jihad, and beheaded following an apparent escape attempt; in Iraq. Earlier videos showing Bigley in a cage of chicken wire, pleading for the British government to comply with his captors' demands, sparked weeks of debate over Prime Minister Tony Blair's handling of the crisis and the Iraq war in general. Following news of Bigley's death, his family issued a statement saying they believed the government had done everything possible to secure his release.
DIED. GORDON COOPER, 77, U.S. astronaut who flew the last mission of the pioneering Mercury space program; in Ventura, California. Cooper set records for time spent and distance traveled in space; his 191-hour Gemini mission in 1963 helped demonstrate that a future moon trip was possible. With his career cut short because of what he called "a lot of in-house politics," he retired from the Air Force in 1970 and became president of a company that tested and raced cars and pioneered the installation of jet engines. Once asked who the best fighter pilot was, he answered, "you're looking at him."
DIED. RODNEY DANGERFIELD, 82, necktie-tugging, bug-eyed U.S. comedian known for his self-deprecating one-liners and his catch phrase, "I don't get no respect"; in Los Angeles. After struggling as a young stand-up comic under the name Jack Roy, he quit show business and sold aluminum siding for 12 years. But in 1967, he returned with a new stage name and earned his first big break on The Ed Sullivan Show. Dangerfield's hard-luck shtick made him a TV staple in the '70s and '80s, and he starred in the slapstick screen comedies Caddyshack and Back to School—hits that brought him much respect.
Performance of the Week
Hong Kong's Legislative Council members are not generally a feisty bunch—at least they weren't until the surprise September election of political agitator Leung (Long Hair) Kwok-hung. Sworn in last week before a chamber filled with startled colleagues (whom he labeled "insane"), Leung shouted, "Long live democracy!" and assailed the council President for suggesting he wear something fancier than his ubiquitous Che Guevara T shirt.