Recent History

Enron Files For Bankruptcy – 12/3/2001

The Enron Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a New York court on this day in 2001. This became one of the biggest cooperate scandal in America history. Enron Corp. was formed in 1985, following a merger between two gas companies, Huston Natural Gas Co. and InterNorth Inc. The energy supplier and trading company gained dramatic heights under the supervision of Kenneth Lay, CEO and chairman who rebranded the company. Quickly, the company was ranked seventh on Fortune magazine's list of the top 500 U.S. companies. By the year 2000, the company had hired 21,000 workers and reported earnings of $111 billion. However, throughout the following year, Enron's stock cost started collapsing by dropping from $90.75 in August 2000 to $0.26 by the end of November 30, 2001. Following the drop in stock price, Lay sold the largest part of his own Enron stock, while at the same time urging Enron workers to purchase more shares and promising them that the company will soon recover. However, things did not go as planned because Enron's stock value kept falling while workers watch as their retirement investment accounts is wiped out.  After that, Enron was hit badly when Dynegy (another energy company), cancelled an arranged $8.4 billion buy-out in late November, which made the company filed for bankruptcy. Within few days investors had lost billions of dollars to Enron's crash, another 5,600 workers lost their jobs while $2.1 billion in pension plans was paid.The bankruptcy made the name Enron synonymous with one of America's largest cooperate scandal. Afterwards, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and the Department of State Justice investigations exposed that the company had intentionally inflate its reported earnings while keeping debt and losses in another firm. This new development made government charge Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling who were the company's CEO from February to August 2001 for concealing their company's financial debts and losses from investors. Further investigations shows that the chief accounting officer Arthur Anderson had ask the company's auditors to destroy documents s that may implicate Enron.In July 2004, Skilling was arraigned before a Huston court on 35 counts charges, which includes fraud, conspiracy and insider trading. On the other hand, Lay was accused of 11 similar charges. On January 30, 2006, during the trial, former employees of the company appeared to testify including Enron's ex-CFO Andrew Fastow, who had earlier pleaded guilty on two counts charges of conspiracy and agreed to testify against his former bosses. Throughout the trial, Skilling who emptied some $60 million worth of Enron stock not long after his resignation from the company denied knowing about the company's impending doom. In addition, Skilling, 52, became the only one many people identified with the scandal. In May 2006, Skilling was found guilty of 19 of 35 charges and was sentenced to 24 years in prison, while Lay's was found guilty of 10 charges but a Huston judge dissolve the case because he died of heart disease two months later. 

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Recent History

Hostage Crisis In Moscow Theater - 10/23/2002

About 50 Chechen rebels stormed their way into a Moscow theater much to the surprise of the hundreds of people who were inside the establishment at that time. The up to 700 people who thought that they would be enjoying the sold-out performance ended up being held captive as hostages instead on October 23, 2002 by the rebels.The cast of the musical “Nord Ost” was set for their second act at the Moscow Ball-Bearing Plant’s Palace of Culture when suddenly, an armed man from out of nowhere started firing his machine gun in the air. When people thought that it could not get any worse, other terrorists came rushing into the scene, explosives were strapped to their bodies, an obvious threat that that they were not afraid to die right then and there. They soon identified themselves as belonging to the Chechen Army. They only had but one demand – Russian military forces ought to back out and stay away from Chechnya, a war-devastated area in the northern part of Caucasus Mountains. The predominantly Muslim populated country of Chechnya has long been crying out for its independence. The country clashed with Russian forces in a two-year period war when the latter tried to regain control over the place. The war ended in 1996 but the Russians eventually returned three years later after suspecting the Chechens as being responsible for the series of bombing incidents that transpired in the Russian territory. President Vladimir Putin was elected in year 2000 right after promising his people that he will deal with the Chechens accordingly and will not give the “terrorists” room for negotiation.It was a grueling 57 hours for all of those who were trapped inside the Palace of Culture. To add to their horror, two hostages ended up being killed. The Russian special forces initiated their attack against the terrorists is the morning of October 26th. The Russians reportedly pumped a powerful narcotic in the building before breaking into the walls and roof of the theater. This let them gain the upper hand – nearly all of the terrorists and hostages were rendered unconscious by the narcotic gas. Most of the rebels were killed by the Russian forces. One hundred twenty of the hostages ran out of luck and died during the raid. Some thought that the security forces went overboard when they opted to use the dangerous gas. The security forces defended their decision, saying that the surprise attack became necessary because this was the only way that they could have disarmed the rebels while purposefully taking into account that they also needed to detonate the explosives.The theater crisis marked the beginning of the bloody feud between the two countries. Putin’s government held Chechnya responsible for torture, kidnapping, and other grueling crimes. The Chechen rebels on the other hand tried their best to overpower the Russians in any way they can, instigating terrorist attacks whenever they could. The rebels were accused of initiating a suicide bombing a Moscow subway in February 2004 as well as the major hostage crisis in a Beslan school on September that same year.

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Recent History

Arnold Schwarzenegger Becomes Governor of California – 10/7/2003

On October 7th of 2003, former actor and word class body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected the 38th Governor of California, in a special recall election. Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Austria in 1947. His father was the local Chief of Police in the town where Arnold grew up, and had voluntarily joined the Nazi party back in 1938. Schwarzenegger grew up in a Roman Catholic family who attended mass every Sunday. The family was so poor that Arnold recalls one of the highlights of his youth being the time his family got a refrigerator. Schwarzenegger began weight training at the age of 15. He won the Mr. Universe title at age 20 and the Mr. Olympia title seven times. He is considered to be one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time, and has written many books and articles on the sport. Following his successful body building career, Schwarzenegger gained worldwide fame in action films such as Conan the Barbarian and The Terminator, while also appearing in funny movies like Twins and Kindergarten Cop. In all, he has appeared in more than 30 movies, and has made many guest appearances. Since the age of 10, Schwarzenegger had dreamed of moving to the United States of America. His dream was realized at the age of 21, when he moved to the United States, despite being somewhat unprepared and not speaking very much English. He may have even been an illegal immigrant at some point. However, at the age of 23, Schwarzenegger won his first Mr. Olympia in New York City.He gained his United States citizenship in 1983. On April 26th of 1986, Schwarzenegger married Maria Shriver. The relationship would last 25 years and produce four children – Katherine, Christina, Patrick, and Christopher.Arnold Schwarzenegger officially took office as the Republican governor of California on November 17th of 2003, when he was sworn in to replace Governor Grey Davis. Arnold Schwarzenegger's political aspirations should come as no surprise, as he was married to Maria Shriver, who is a member of the Kennedy family. However, Maria Shriver is a Democrat. In any case, Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected again as the Republican governor of California in 2008.Schwarzenegger left office on January 3rd of 2011, and was succeeded by Jerry Brown. That same evening, Arnold confessed to his wife that he had fathered a child fourteen years earlier with one of their household employees. On May 9th of 2011, Shriver moved out of their home in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles, and filed for divorce.The net worth of Arnold Schwarzenegger is conservatively estimated to be about 100 million to 200 million dollars. Over the years, his investments have netted him profits, making his actual net worth hard to calculate.When Arnold was asked which events in his life he is least proud of, he replied “I'm least proud of the mistakes I made that caused my family pain and split us up."Schwarzenegger's autobiography, Total Recall, was released in 2012. 

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Recent History

President Bush Learns of The Twin Towers - 9/11/2001

On September 11th of 2001, starting at 8:46 am, New York City's Twin Towers were attacked by two passenger jets on suicide missions. At the time, President George Bush was on his way to Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. He had planned to make a scheduled visit with some school children when he received the first terrible message. At first, Bush thought the mishap was due to some sort of hideous pilot error. Within an hour, Bush was reading to the children in the classroom when he received word that a second plane had crashed into the second World Trade Center tower. Earlier that morning, Bush had received news that there was a slightly increased (but non-specific) threat of terrorist attack that day. Undeterred, President Bush continued with his plans to visit Booker Elementary School.Bush arrived at the school soon after the first report, and was waiting in an empty classroom when he saw the news footage of the attack on one of the school's TV screens. Almost immediately (and just moments before the second plane crashed), he was whisked into a classroom full of children to read a story book to a group of first graders.People were filming Bush's reading session when House Chief of Staff Andrew Card walked into the room at 9:06 am, and whispered into the president's ear that the second plane had hit the second tower, and that the nation was under attack by an unknown entity. Bush looked shaken for a moment, as the children continued to read. He let them continue reading for another eight or nine minutes. When the reading was done, Bush commended the children on their wonderful reading skills, and encouraged them to read more, and to watch less TV. Meanwhile, the whole Twin Tower catastrophe was being broadcast on TV. Then Bush posed for pictures with children, parents, and school administrators. A reporter was heard asking the president if he was aware of the attacks. Bush said he'd talk about it some other time.Bush was then escorted to an empty classroom, where he spoke on the phone with Vice President Cheney and New York governor George Pataki.Secret Service agents hurried Bush over to Air Force One, which was located at an airport in Sarasota. On his way to the plane, while trying to decide where would be the safest place for him, Bush received a message that the Pentagon had been hit by yet another passenger plane, and that a third passenger plane had crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. No one ever learned where that last plane was headed.The pilot of Air Force One flew around in circles at cruising altitude, as George Bush spoke with his advisors on the phone to decide where they should land. Air Force One stopped briefly at an Air Force Base in Louisiana, followed by landing in Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. By 6:42 pm, President George W. Bush was back in Washington DC. 

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