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Countdown with 'Countdown'

Simultaneous 'Countdown' of the top news stories exclusively  at

Finality — It was an announcement that all of us have known was coming, especially those in the families of the more than 1,100 men, women, and children, for whom no human remains were identified.  For New York 9/11 victims, there is a lack of finality with empty graves and funerals without caskets.  For 1161 families — and, in a sense, for 9,720 unidentified bone and tissue fragments — that is the way it's going to have to be, until further notice.  The medical examiner of New York City announced that the skill of forensic science has been exhausted; it is .  It has been a grim and solemn effort, and it began on that awful, sun-bleached day in September of 2001… If the World Trade Center victims have little hope of any finality, then those who love have again today had finality postponed.  Thought to be on the verge of giving final judicial consent to the removal of the feeding tube keeping the brain-damaged Florida woman alive, Judge George Greer ruled otherwise today.  Finality will have to wait, at least for another 48 hours when the emergency stay expires.

New Martin Luther King Jr. footage — Yesterday, the JFK Library released new home movies of President Kennedy. Of practical news value, they contained only the unexpected image of him playing golf — something he'd been afraid to let photographers capture, after he'd attacked Eisenhower for having done so... Today, we’re learning even more about past leaders.  It was Sunday, March 7th, 1965 — civil rights protestors were beaten as they attempted to cross the Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.  That was "Bloody Sunday." The day after, the Reverend would meet with other leaders to discuss what to do next.  And, nearly 40 years later, it turns out someone at that meeting was carrying not just a movie camera — but a color movie camera.  Now people can get a glimpse of the man who helped defy discrimination by color in America, in color.

European unity tour — On the diplomatic level, it is as if the disagreement between Continental Europe and the United States over the war in Iraq never happened.  What lies beneath the surface of that, in the hearts of Jacques Chirac or Gerhard Schroeder, is anybody's guess.  But no guessing is required as to how the official statement reads, from the various heads of state on the : We may not have agreed on Iraq — we all agree on Iran....  But, not so fast.  The picture of Europe and America, unified against Iranian nukes might hit a major snag.  Some .

Put 'er there — Shaking hands is seemingly mundane and never reflected upon.
As Countdown's Monica Novotny discovered experts say it is a veritable computer printout of information about the shaker.  The history of the handshake goes back to Roman times. Men would greet one another with an open palm, to show they were not carrying a weapon.  Today, as confirmed in a recent British survey, the handshake is still considered to be an important way to make a first impression — a weapon in its own right.  There are four steps to a good handshake:

  • Engage: Be fully present during the exchange
  • Pause: Stop only for a moment but don't be the first to pull away
  • Observe: Pay attention what information was presented by the person
  • Remember: Did you get the same handshake going in to the interaction as you did coming out?

Whether you're more of a "bone-crusher" or "dead fish," you're ready to put 'er there.

Royal snub — Weddings usually bring families together in celebration.  But the upcoming nuptials of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowls is becoming a royal mess.  This is better than "The Forsyte Saga" or "Brideshead Revisited."  And unlike most British series — it lasts longer than thirteen episodes.  It looks like only one thing could further reduce the dignity attending such events — pay-per-view.  The latest: , but neither will her husband Prince Philip or siblings Andrew and Edward, nor Anne.  But Charles's sons, Harry and William, will be there — hopefully neither will wear a uniform of any kind….
Several British newspapers that the Queen is steamed over the haste of the marriage and the farce that ensued after the couple announced a wedding at Windsor Castle, before realizing that a civil service there would've made the place eligible for any British couple to have a civil service there.  As it is, holding the wedding inside the Windsor Guildhall will mean that the public will at least get to clamor outside… Maybe inside if any more family members decide not to attend... Then there's the latest surprise: ?  The 1836 Act of Parliament that created "civil marriages" specifically barred members of the Royal Family from participating in them.  Britain's Lord Chancellor said that act had been repealed, and the marriage would be legal.  But a prominent British attorney helpfully pointed out that under a 1753 law, as a Royal, Charles could simply proclaim Mrs. Parker Bowls his wife.  Hey no wedding, no license, no embarrassingly short guest list — think about it.