The worst tornado outbreak since the Tornado Super Outbreak of 1974 killed at least 290 in the South’s Dixie Alley Wednesday, including at least 194 in Alabama, where Tuscaloosa was devastated. A record-setting estimated 164 tornadoes struck from Mississippi all the way to New York, knocking two nuclear power plants off line and leaving hundreds injured, thousands homeless, and over a million without power. Alabama was hit hardest. A Toomer’s for Tuscaloosa Facebook page has been created to coordinate information and assistance for tornado survivors in the Tuscaloosa area.
To celebrate William Shakespeare’s 447th birthday, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater declared April 23 Talk Like Shakespeare Day. Website visitors were invited to imitate Shakespeare’s speaking style, send pictures and videos of themselves dressed up in Elizabethan outfits for a “Where’s William?” contest, and email virtual birthday greetings to the great Bard. Shakespeare is believed to have been born on April 23 in 1564, the same date he would die in 1616. He is widely considered the greatest poet to ever write in the English language and the greatest playwright in history. His most popular play is Romeo and Juliet . . .
Christians from around the world celebrated Easter by gathering in Jerusalem at the Holy Sepulcher, the site traditionally honored as Jesus’ tomb. This year’s turnout was especially large because the Eastern Orthodox and Western Churches celebrated Easter on the same day. Early Easter sunrise service celebrations began at dawn in Jerusalem at the Garden Tomb.
All through Holy Week, Shakespearian actors at the Globe Theater are performing a marathon reading to mark the King James Bible 400th Anniversary (King James Version, or KJV) celebration. The reading began Tuesday and will continue through Easter Monday on April 25. The genesis of the KJV began in 1604, when King James I authorized a committee to create an official translation of the Bible for the Church of England, in response to Puritan challenges to Anglican authority. The project was completed in 1611, and for the next two centuries the KJV remained the standard Bible among English speakers.
The Cincinnati Zoo’s baby giraffe finally has a name, following a week-long Facebook and blog contest. The new baby girl is named Zuri. “Zuri” is Swahili for “beautiful.” The name won the contest decisively with 4,838 votes, beating out “Mara,” which is Maasai for “spotted,” and “Nya,” which is Swahili for “purpose.” After a week of suggesting names on the zoo’s Facebook page, over 9,000 people visited the zoo’s blog to help select a winner from the three most popular picks.
British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson announced Tuesday that as part of his Virgin Oceanic deep-sea exploration initiative, he will be sending a solo piloted submarine to the deepest points of each of the world’s five oceans. Accompanying sub owner and operator Chris Welsh, sometimes serving as backup and sometimes piloting himself, Branson will attempt as many as 30 Guinness World Records over the course of 2011 and 2012. Branson will be using a submarine originally commissioned by his adventurer friend Steve Fossett, the first person to fly solo nonstop around the world …
Fashion figures Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are teaming up with MySpace cofounder Josh Berman to launch StyleMint, a personalized shopping website. Like a book-of-the-month club, the site will offer monthly merchandise designed by the Olsens, with recommendations customized to meet members’ individual style profiles. Berman and Diego Berdakin’s social commerce company BeachMint previously created a
The Cincinnati Zoo celebrated the birth of its first baby giraffe in 26 years Saturday morning, as four-year-old mother Tessa gave birth to her first calf. The gender and weight of the calf are not yet known because the mother and child are being allowed privacy for bonding until April 4. Tessa began displaying signs
Five orphaned baby rabbits have been adopted by Mitch, a two-year-old male Chihuahua at the Capricorn Animal Rescue in Padeswood, North Wales. A man found the five baby bunnies uncovered in a compost heap last week. They were only about three days old and too small to fend for themselves. The man brought the bunnies
Dorothy Young, last surviving assistant of stage magician Harry Houdini, died last Sunday at a retirement home in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. She was 103. Dorothy Lena Young was born May 3, 1907 in Otisville, New York. She was the daughter of a Methodist minister and the youngest of four children. Inspired by ballet dancing