Get out your berets, baguettes and bottles of wine — it's time to celebrate Bastille Day! A celebration in honor of the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, it marks the beginning of the French Revolution and the unification of the French people under a new Republic.
Watch the Flight of the Conchords celebrate French independence in the video below:
President Obama is back from his overseas trip and is focusing on domestic issues: specifically, the health care overhaul. Playing a part in the president's health care agenda is the newly nominated surgeon general, Dr. Regina Benjamin. President Obama announced the nomination yesterday in his first appearance since returning stateside. To see the announcement in full, watch the video below.
Thousands of exiled Tibetans in New Delhi and Dharmsala chanted prayers for long life to honor the birthday of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. He turns 74 today, but with the outpouring of prayers and support he said he expects to live to be 100. This was the 50th birthday that the Dalai Lama has spent in exile in India.
Below is a tribute to the spiritual leader, with the prayer for long life being recited.
The European Agriculture Commission is lifting marketing standards on 26 types of produce. This means that produce such as apricots, mushrooms and melons may be getting a little bit uglier. The regulations for the 10 most popular varieties of produce, including apples and citrus fruits, will remain unchanged. Should an unsightly apple make its way onto a market shelf, however, it can still be sold with the label "product intended for processing."
Tonight about a dozen competitors will spell off in the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Spellers are all between the ages of 9 and 15. What began with 293 spellers, is now narrowed down to 41, and by the end of the day there will be only one. The winner will receive $30,000 in cash, as well as thousands more in scholarships, bonds and encyclopedias. Think you can make the spelling bee cut? Take the test at the bee's site, and make sure to tune in tonight at 8:00 PM on ABC to cheer on your favorite speller.
Sameer Mishra is last year's champion. Watch the video below for a re-cap of his spelling skills.
Thousands of pilgrims celebrated a huge outdoor mass with Pope Benedict today in Nazareth, home town of Jesus. The Pope urged Muslims and Christians to find a way to live together in peace. He has also called for the creation of an independent Palestinian state. After the mass, Pope Benedict met with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.
In a poorly thought-out public relations move, the Department of Defense planned a photo op, but failed to take into account their chosen setting. The result scared many New Yorkers when a low-flying Boeing 747 and F-16 jet circled the Statue of Liberty and parts of lower Manhattan yesterday. The mission was to snap a photo of Air Force One with the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop. But seeing a massive jet barely above the skyline is something that still sends shivers through many New York residents who have vivid recollections of September 11. Officials, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have spoken out about the flyover, calling it "insensitive."
Today marks the 19th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope's launch into space aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Since 1990, the telescope has provided us with more than 570,000 pictures of 29,000 celestial objects. What had you done by the time you were 19?
The mysterious death of 21 champion polo horses last week left scientists stumped. There was no sign of foul play, and no obvious cause for the deaths. Now the leader of the Venezuelan-owned team has told an Argentine newspaper a supplementary vitamin is behind the mystery. The horses were given Biodyl, which contains a combination of vitamin B-12 and other minerals. Although not approved in the United States, the supplement is widely used elsewhere to help horses with exhaustion.
Since its inception, music downloading has been the source of controversy. From the uproar of bands claiming a loss of revenue to lawsuits against college students who download music without paying for it, the past 10 years have been a file-sharing firestorm. The recent trial of the four men behind The Pirate Bay, a notorious Swedish file-sharing Web site, ended in each being sentenced to a year in prison. View a timeline of the turbulent history of music downloading.
In Bangkok, anti-government protests have turned violent. Supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra are calling for the removal of the current ruler, Abhisit Vejjajiva, who took office four months ago. Thai soldiers dispensed tear gas and fired shots at the protesters, who responded with throwing gasoline bombs. Around 70 people are injured, but there are no reported deaths. For more we turn to Seth Mydans, the Southeast Asia correspondent for the New York Times.
For footage of the violent protests, watch the video below.
Captain Richard Phillips of the cargo ship, the Maersk Alabama, is still being held captive by pirates off the coast of Somalia. The other 19 crew members were able to regain control of their ship, the captain chose to remain a hostage to guarantee his crew's safety. Shortly before the attack, Phillips e-mailed his wife to tell her pirate activity was picking up in the area.
In the video below, Andrea Phillips discusses her husband being held captive.
To recognize great figures in history, the United States Postal Service issues commemorative stamps. The most recent great figures? The Simpson family: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. You can vote for your favorite Simpson and pre-order stamps at the USPS site. The stamps will be issued May 7, after the price of stamps rises another 2-cents. D'oh!
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