Leap Year: this day in the history of Feb. 29

We don’t mean to state the obvious, but Feb. 29 happens once every four years (usually) – and leap year is here again. That means a whole day's worth of news will tomorrow be added to this date's comparatively small archive. 

2. Sunday, Feb. 29, 2004

AP Photo/Pablo Aneli
People celebrate after news of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's departure reached northern Cap Haitien, Haiti, in February 2004. Aristide fled Haiti, bowing to pressure from a rebellion at home and governments abroad, U.S. and Haitian officials said.

• Following a coup d’état, Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigned as president of Haiti and fled the country on a United States plane accompanied by US military personnel. Within three hours, Haiti’s Supreme Court Justice Boniface Alexandre announced that he had assumed power as interim president. Mr. Aristide accused US officials of kidnapping, saying they had orchestrated the coup against him to remove him from power and forcing him into exile.

• Iraqi officials met their deadline of drafting an interim constitution. Iraq’s Governing Council signed the document after the end of the Shiite feast Ashoura a few days later. Officials said the charter would recognize Islam as “a source of legislation” rather than the only source as some officials had sought, and that no law would be passed that violated the tenets of the Muslim religion.

• The 76th Academy Awards were broadcast from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. The night’s biggest winner, “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King,” swept all 11 categories in which it was nominated, including Best Picture and Best Director, matching the record held by “Titanic” and “Ben-Hur.” Best Actor and Actress honors went to Sean Penn for “Mystic River” and Charlize Theron for “Monster.” Best Supporting Actor and Actress honors went to Tim Robbins for “Mystic River” and Renée Zellweger for “Cold Mountain.”   

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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