a January 22: |
2002 Kmart, which has 2100 discount stores and 250'000 employees, files for bankruptcy protection after poor December 2001 sales and competition from rivals Wal-Mart Stores and Target leave KM short of cash. Kmart stock (KM) has plunged to a 38-year low, last closing at $1.74 a share on 18 Jan 2002, and dropping further today (the exchanges were closed on 19 and 20 Jan for the weekend, and on Monday 21 Jan for Martin Luther King holiday) to $0.55 intraday and a $0.69 close. [5~year price chart >]
2002 In Egypt, Sayed Ragab al-Sawirki, owner of a chain of stores selling clothes and home appliances, is sentenced to 7 years at hard labor for having five wives at once (he had married 19 women, although not all at the same time). Polygamy is not widely practiced in Egypt.The Koran allows a man to have four wives as long as he treats them equally. It then says that this is impossible, which some think means that polygamy is not allowed. One of the wives, Dina Shukri, is sentenced to 3 years at hard labor for illegally marrying Sawirki a fourth time after previously divorcing him three times. Under Islamic law, a woman who divorces the same man three times cannot remarry him again unless she has married a different man in the intervening period. Others, guilty of various frauds in relation to the marriages, receive lesser sentences.
^ 2001 Twin boy guerrilla leaders hold press conference.
The teen-age twins who led the God's Army rebel group acknowledge that they have no mystical powers to repel bullets and say that they want to give up fighting. Wearing oversized soccer shirts, Johnny and Luther Htoo, who led a hit-and-run campaign for three years against the Myanmar military, say their days as soldiers are at an end. "I want to live as a family with my parents," Luther tells reporters at a border police base near the Myanmar frontier with Thailand. "I want to study." Luther says that the God's Army, a rag tag guerrilla group, had 150 soldiers at its peak while fighting to try to win autonomy for the ethnic Karen minority. When they surrendered to the Thai army last week, driven by hunger and exhaustion, the God's Army had probably not more than 20 followers. Seventeen of them, including the twins, surrendered 16 and 17 January. Luther says that he knows of only three comrades still in the jungles.
The twins' legend began around 1997 when Myanmar troops came to their village during a sweep of Karen areas. The mainstream guerrillas group, the Karen National Union, reportedly fled while the twins rallied some men and directed a successful counterattack. After that, the twins' followers said the boys who are Christians had powers from God. Their followers believed bullets couldn't hit them and mines wouldn't explode under their feet. "God sent me to be the leader to fight against Burma," said Luther, who like his twin does not know his exact age. "I am not afraid because God is always with me." Asked if he has mystical powers to repel bullets, Luther said: "It is not true."
Thai authorities say they believe the twins are 15 years old. But the undernourished boys, who are vegetarians, look little more than 10. Luther says that the God's Army has stopped fighting since it lost its base at Ka Mar Pa Law, just inside Myanmar, in early 2000 when it was attacked by Myanmar forces. At that time, the boys became separated from their parents. The parents trekked to Thailand, where they live in one of the refugee camps strung out along the Thai-Myanmar border.
"If God did not help us, we all would have died a long time ago," says Luther. He says that he is unsure if he would stay in Thailand. "If I could go back (to Myanmar) I would," he says.
The twins appear at the news conference with a dozen armed Thai border police standing guard alongside 12 o