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Quick Facts

The International Day of the Girl Child is a United Nations (UN) observance on October 11 each year.


International Day of the Girl Child

International Day of the Girl Child 2012 Theme: “Ending Child Marriage”

Thursday, October 11, 2012

International Day of the Girl Child 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

The International Day of the Girl Child promotes girls’ rights and highlights gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys. It is a UN observance that is annually held on October 11.

Two young Indian girls enjoying their time at school. ©iStockphoto.com/jaimaa85

What do people do?

The International Day of the Girl Child gives people and organizations the opportunity to raise public awareness of the different types of discrimination and abuse that many girls around the world suffer from. On this day, many community and political leaders talk to the public about the importance of girls’ right to equal education and their fundamental freedoms. Various events are held to showcase the work that people are doing to empower girls through active support and engagement with parents, families, and the wider community.

 Public life

The International Day of the Girl Child is a UN observance and not a public holiday.


Discrimination and violence against girls and violations of their human rights still happen. The UN felt a need to raise awareness of the challenges that millions of girls face every day. In December 2011, the UN declared that it would annually observe the International Day of the Girl Child, starting from October 11, 2012.

International Day of the Girl Child Observances


Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Tue Oct 11 2011 International Day of the Girl Child United Nations observance  
Thu Oct 11 2012 International Day of the Girl Child United Nations observance  
Fri Oct 11 2013 International Day of the Girl Child United Nations observance  
Sat Oct 11 2014 International Day of the Girl Child United Nations observance  
Sun Oct 11 2015 International Day of the Girl Child United Nations observance

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Quick Facts

World Post Day marks the anniversary of the Universal Postal Union’s establishment in 1874. It is held on October 9 each year.

Local names

Name Language
World Post Day English
Día Mundial del Correo Spanish

World Post Day 2012: Theme: “A New Strategy for a New World”

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

World Post Day 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

World Post Day marks the anniversary of the Universal Postal Union’s establishment and is annually held on October 9. The union aimed to create and maintain a structure for the free flow of international mail around the world.

World Post DayWorld Post Day marks the anniversary of the Universal Postal Union’s establishment. ©iStockphoto.com/Shawn Gearhart

What do people do?

In many international organizations and countries, high ranking officials or ministers make speeches or issue proclamations on the history or achievements of national or international postal services. Postal services may issue special postage stamps to commemorate the ideals, history or achievements of the national postal service on or around World Post Day. These are prized by stamp collectors and philatelists (people who study stamps). In addition, special lessons on these topics may be arranged for school children and the postal services and their employees may receive extra training or recognition and attention in the media.

The Universal Postal Union in cooperation with UNESCO has, for the past 35 years, organized an international letter-writing competition for young people. Many participating postal services use World Post Day to award prizes to the winners of the competition.

Public life

World Post Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.


From the earliest times in history, “postal services” existed in the form of messengers who travelled large distances on foot or horseback. In the 1600s and 1700s, many countries set up national postage systems and entered into bilateral agreements for the exchange of mail between countries. By the late 1800s there was a large web of bilateral agreements that made the distribution of international mail complicated, nontransparent and inefficient.

In 1863, Montgomery Blair, Postmaster General in the United States of America, organized a conference of representatives from 15 European and American countries. During this conference, the delegates laid down a number of general principles for mutual agreements on international postal services but did not create an international postal agreement. On September 15, 1874, Heinrich von Stephan, a senior postal official in the North German Confederation (an area that now forms parts of Germany, Poland and Russia), opened a conference in Berne, Switzerland, with delegates from 22 countries. On October 9, 1874, the delegates signed the Treaty of Berne and established the General Postal Union.

The number of countries that were members of the General Postal Union grew rapidly and the union’s name was changed to the Universal Postal Union in 1878. In 1948, the Universal Postal Union became a specialized agency of the United Nations. The 16th Universal Postal Union Congress was held in Tokyo, Japan, from October 1 to November 16, 1969. During this conference the delegates voted to declare October 9 each year as World Post Day.

The work of the Universal Postal Union continues to be very important to global communication and trade, even in the era of digital communication. In areas and communities with a high level of access to digital communication, postal services are important for distributing goods bought in Internet stores. In communities with lower levels of access to digital communication, postal services remain vital for the distribution of information and goods. Post offices and trucks used to deliver mail to outlying areas are also becoming service points to bring digital communication to many more people. Moreover, the union is working on ways to bring electronic money transfer services to rural areas in countries in the Middle East and in north-east Africa.

World Post Day Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Thu Oct 9 1980 World Post Day United Nations observance
Fri Oct 9 1981 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sat Oct 9 1982 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sun Oct 9 1983 World Post Day United Nations observance
Tue Oct 9 1984 World Post Day United Nations observance
Wed Oct 9 1985 World Post Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 9 1986 World Post Day United Nations observance
Fri Oct 9 1987 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sun Oct 9 1988 World Post Day United Nations observance
Mon Oct 9 1989 World Post Day United Nations observance
Tue Oct 9 1990 World Post Day United Nations observance
Wed Oct 9 1991 World Post Day United Nations observance
Fri Oct 9 1992 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sat Oct 9 1993 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sun Oct 9 1994 World Post Day United Nations observance
Mon Oct 9 1995 World Post Day United Nations observance
Wed Oct 9 1996 World Post Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 9 1997 World Post Day United Nations observance
Fri Oct 9 1998 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sat Oct 9 1999 World Post Day United Nations observance
Mon Oct 9 2000 World Post Day United Nations observance
Tue Oct 9 2001 World Post Day United Nations observance
Wed Oct 9 2002 World Post Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 9 2003 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sat Oct 9 2004 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sun Oct 9 2005 World Post Day United Nations observance
Mon Oct 9 2006 World Post Day United Nations observance
Tue Oct 9 2007 World Post Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 9 2008 World Post Day United Nations observance
Fri Oct 9 2009 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sat Oct 9 2010 World Post Day United Nations observance
Sun Oct 9 2011 World Post Day United Nations observance
Tue Oct 9 2012 World Post Day United Nations observance
Wed Oct 9 2013 World Post Day United Nations observance
Thu Oct 9 2014 World Post Day United Nations observance
Fri Oct 9 2015 World Post Day United Nations observance

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Politics Aside, There’s No Debating the Scary Facts of Romney’s Tax Policy

Pundits are applauding Romney’s performance in a deeply technical debate. But Imara Jones argues he revealed a troubling misunderstanding—or misrepresentation—of tax and health policies that keep the country afloat.

The 2012 Attack on Voting Rights Isn’t Racist—Just Ask Artur Davis

The black politico is the tea party’s new best friend, because he insists his colleagues in the Black Belt are the real threat to voting rights. Brentin Mock reports.

A Tech Innovation in Detroit: Connect People, Not Computers

Jamilah King reports from Motor City, where a stimulus-fueled tech revolution is underway–and in which organizers say the real innovations are offline.

VIDEO: Meet W. Kamau Bell and Deanna Zandt, Your Hosts for Facing Race 2012
The FX star takes a break from his new late-night comedy show to invite you to join us in Baltimore from Nov. 15-17.

On Sapelo Island, Another Case Study in How Black Exploitation Fuels Wealth
From Georgia to sub-Saharan Africa, inequity and exploitive land deals are making a handful of people rich—again.

Pennsylvania GOP Leader Insists Voter ID Opposition Is About ‘Lazy’ Voters
State Republicans keep saying things that confirm suspicions their voter ID push is about more than “integrity” at the polls.

Minnesota Voters Raise Their Diverse Voices for Voting Rights
Our community journalist Lolla Mohammed Nur describes how people of color are changing the narrative about the state’s voter ID amendment.

How Can You Be a Conscious Sports Fan?
Yes, sports and justice can work together. Here are three ways to make it happen.

Orlando Cruz Becomes First Openly Gay Man in Boxing
The featherweight Puerto Rican boxer made history today by describing himself as a “proud gay man.”

Junot Díaz Thanks ‘Teachers and Librarians’ for Genius Grant
Our Facing Race 2012 keynote speaker landed the MacArthur Foundation’s prestigious award this week.

Shonda Rhimes Teams Up With ‘Awkward Black Girl’ Issa Rae for New ABC Comedy
The heralded screenwriter turns out to be among thousands of fans of Rae’s Web TV show.

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More insanity and shenanigans from the folks at the Family Research Council, and the American Family Association.


SPLC Urges Public Figures Not to Attend Values Voter Summit

by Hatewatch Staff on September 11, 2012

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and a coalition of human rights groups have written to several public figures, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, asking them not to speak at this weekend’s Values Voter Summit in Washington. The event is hosted by the Family Research Council (FRC), which the SPLC lists as a hate group for its dissemination of false and demonizing propaganda about the LGBT community.

The FRC has engaged in repeated, groundless demonization – portraying LGBT people as sick, vile, incestuous, violent, perverted, and a danger to the nation, the letter says. One of its officials has gone so far as to say homosexuality should be criminalized. Perhaps the FRC’s ugliest lie is its claim that gay men molest children at a far higher rate than heterosexual men – that pedophilia “is a homosexual problem,” in the words of Tony Perkins, the FRC president.

The FRC’s extremism is also illustrated by its recent hiring of retired Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, a radical anti-Muslim propagandist and conspiracy theorist, as its executive vice president. Last year, Mr. Boykin stated that “Islam is not a religion and does not deserve First Amendment protections”– a statement that is antithetical to American ideals. In the Affordable Care Act, he literally sees a plot to create a shadow police force that he compares to Hitler’s “Brownshirts.” The FRC has not only hired Boykin, it has given him a prominent speaking slot at the Summit.

Sponsoring the Summit at the invitation of the FRC is the American Family Association (AFA), also listed as a hate group by the SPLC. Incredibly, an AFA senior official has blamed the LGBT community for the Holocaust. The AFA’s director of issue analysis, Bryan Fischer, wrote in 2010: “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.” He once said that welfare rewards black people who “rut like rabbits.”

In addition to the SPLC, the human rights groups that signed the letter are: People for the American Way Foundation; the Human Rights Campaign Foundation; the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation; the National Black Justice Coalition; the National Council of La Raza; and Faithful America.

The SPLC’s analysis of FBI hate crime data shows that gay men and lesbians are by far the group most likely to be victimized by violent hate crime.

“Defaming them publicly day after day – lying about them – only throws fuel on the fire,” the letter says.


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Published: August 31, 2012

Lucimarian Roberts, the mother of Robin Roberts, the co-host of “Good Morning America,” died Thursday night in Gulfport, Miss., just hours after Ms. Roberts began a medical leave for a bone marrow transplant. She was 88.

Donna Svennevik/ABC, via Associated Press

Lucimarian Roberts with her daughter Robin in 2006.

Her death was announced by ABC News.

“Robin arrived home with her sister, Sally-Ann, forging through flooded and blocked roads to be with her beloved mother in time to see her,” Tom Cibrowski, a senior executive producer of “Good Morning America,” said in an e-mail to the entire news division on Thursday. The Mississippi area was dealing with flooding from the effects of Hurricane Isaac.

In the 1980s, the elder Ms. Roberts was the first black to serve as chairwoman of the Mississippi State Board of Education.

She made many appearances on her daughter’s program and collaborated with her on a book titled “My Story, My Song: Mother-Daughter Reflections on Life and Faith.”

Robin Roberts’s departure from “Good Morning America” had been set for Friday. But in a last-minute change of plans, she told her viewers she was leaving a day early to visit her ailing mother.

Besides her daughters Robin and Sally-Ann, Ms. Roberts is survived by another daughter, Dorothy; a son, Lawrence Jr.; and eight grandchildren.

Her husband, Col. Lawrence E. Roberts, died in 2004. He was a member of the all-black Army Air Corps unit known as the Tuskegee Airmen. He also served in Vietnam, where he was awarded one of his three Legion of Merit medals.





Published: September 2, 2012

  • The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Korean evangelist, businessman and self-proclaimed messiah who built a religious movement notable for its mass weddings, fresh-faced proselytizers and links to vast commercial interests, died on Monday in Gapyeong, South Korea. He was 92.

John Marshall Mantel/Associated Press

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon at a rally in 2005.

Paul Barker/Reuters

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his wife, Hak Ja Han, presided over a mass wedding ceremony in 1999.

His death was announced on his church’s Web site, which said he had been battling complications from pneumonia, including kidney failure.

Mr. Moon courted world leaders, financed newspapers and founded numerous innocuously named civic organizations. To his critics, he pursued those activities mainly to lend legitimacy to his movement, known as the Unification Church, although his methods were sometimes questionable. In 2004, for example, he had himself crowned “humanity’s savior” in front of astonished members of Congress at a Capitol Hill luncheon.

Mr. Moon was a leading figure in what Eileen V. Barker, a professor emeritus of sociology at the London School of Economics, called “the great wave of new religious movements and alternative religiosity in the 1960s and 1970s in the West,” a time when the Hare Krishna and Transcendental Meditation movements were also gathering force.

Mr. Moon, said Professor Barker, an expert on new religious movements, was “very important in those days — as far as the general culture was concerned — in the fear of cults and sects.”

Building a business empire in South Korea and Japan, Mr. Moon used his commercial interests to support nonprofit ventures, then kept control of them by placing key insiders within their hierarchies. He avidly backed right-wing causes, turning The Washington Times into a respected newspaper in conservative circles.

An ardent anti-Communist who had been imprisoned by the Communist authorities in northern Korea in the 1940s, he saw the United States as the world’s salvation. But in the late 1990s, after financial losses, defections and stagnant growth in the church’s membership, he turned on America, branding it a repository of immorality — he called it “Satan’s harvest” — and repositioned his movement as a crusade for moral values.

As Mr. Moon approached 90, not long after he survived a helicopter crash in 2008, three of his sons and a daughter began assuming more responsibility for running the church and his holdings.

In its early years in the United States, the Unification Church was widely viewed as little more than a cult, one whose polite, well-scrubbed members, known derisively as Moonies, sold flowers and trinkets on street corners and married in mass weddings. In one of the last such events, in 2009, 10,000 couples exchanged or renewed vows before Mr. Moon on a lawn at Sun Moon University near Seoul.

Such weddings were the activity most associated with Mr. Moon in the United States. They were in keeping with a central tenet of his theology, a mix of Eastern philosophy, biblical teachings and what he called God’s revelations to him.

In the church’s view, Jesus had failed in his mission to purify mankind because he was crucified before being able to marry and have children. Mr. Moon saw himself as completing the unfulfilled task of Jesus: to restore humankind to a state of perfection by producing sinless children, and by blessing couples who would produce them.

Marriage was a key part of achieving salvation, and for a couple the marriage was as much a commitment to the church as it was to each other.

In a ceremony involving 2,075 couples at Madison Square Garden in 1982, for example, the men wore identical blue suits and the women lace and satin gowns. Mr. Moon was said to have made the matches, based on questionnaires, photographs and the recommendations of church officials.

Often the couples had met only weeks earlier or could speak to each other only through an interpreter. Many had to remain separated for several years, doing church work, before they were allowed to consummate the unions.

Mr. Moon struggled against bad publicity. He was sent to prison on tax evasion charges and accused of influence-buying and maintaining ties to the Korean Central Intelligence Agency. He denied both allegations. In the late 1970s he was caught up in a Congressional investigation into attempts by South Korea to influence American policy. There were battles with local officials over zoning for church buildings and tax-exempt status.

As his church grew more prominent in the 1970s and ’80s, it became embroiled in numerous lawsuits over soliciting funds, acquiring property and recruiting followers. Defectors wrote damaging books. From 1973 to 1986 at least 400 of the church’s flock were abducted by their family members to undergo “deprogramming,” according to an estimate by David G. Bromley, a professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University and an expert on Mr. Moon. The church denied that it had brainwashed its followers, saying members joined and stayed of their own free will.

Segye Times/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mr. Moon saw himself as completing the unfulfilled task of Jesus: to restore humankind to a state of perfection by producing sinless children, and by blessing couples who would produce them.

Mr. Moon said he was the victim of religious oppression and ethnic bias because of his Korean heritage. Established churches were angered, he said, because they felt threatened by his movement.

“I don’t blame those people who call us heretics,” he was quoted as saying in “Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church” (1977), a sympathetic account by Frederick Sontag. “We are indeed heretics in their eyes because the concept of our way of life is revolutionary: We are going to liberate God.”

Prominent people were paid to appear at Moon-linked conferences. The first President George Bush did so after he left office. Others, like former President Gerald R. Ford, Bill Cosby, Mikhail S. Gorbachev and Jack Kemp, attended banquets and gatherings, sometimes saying afterward that they had not known of a connection between Mr. Moon and the organizations that invited them.

Personal setbacks marked Mr. Moon’s later years. In 1984 his second son, Heung Jin, died at 17 from injuries sustained in a car crash. Another son, Young Jin Moon, who was 21, committed suicide in 1999 by jumping from a 17th-story balcony at Harrah’s hotel in Reno, Nev. In 1995 Nansook Hong, the wife of his eldest son, Hyo Jin Moon, who at one time was Mr. Moon’s heir apparent, broke from the family and wrote a book characterizing her husband as a womanizing cocaine user who watched pornographic movies and beat her, once when she was seven months pregnant.

Ms. Hong portrayed the entire Moon family as dysfunctional, spoiled and divided by intrigue and hypocrisy. (She also wrote that the church believed that the spirit of Heung Jin had returned for a time in the body of a Zimbabwean man who traveled the world and, with Mr. Moon’s sanction, beat straying church members.)

From early on Mr. Moon was revered by his followers as the messiah, and in 1992 he conferred that title on himself. He also declared that he and his second wife, Hak Ja Han, were the “true parents of all humanity.”

Mr. Moon founded the Unification Church in South Korea in 1954 and began organizing it on a large scale in the United States in the early 1970s. It eventually claimed up to three million members worldwide, but historians of religion dispute that number, estimating a membership of 50,000 at the church’s height in the late 1970s, with only a few thousand in the United States. Membership has been difficult to evaluate more recently; church officials give different estimates and often define membership differently, according to an individual’s level of involvement.

Mr. Moon’s organizations established connections with African-American religious leaders, and Mr. Moon made forays into culture and education, establishing a ballet company in South Korea and financing a ballet school in Washington. In 1992 an organization with ties to Mr. Moon rescued the University of Bridgeport, in Connecticut, from bankruptcy, pouring in $110 million in subsidies over a decade and taking effective control. Mr. Moon received an honorary degree.

The university’s administration denied that the church had influence, but critics of the arrangement contended that students were being lured into church training with the promise of scholarships, noted that the church had opened a boarding school on campus for members’ children, and said that the church had used the university to import money, in the form of tuition, as well as followers, in the form of the many foreign students who attended.

For a time Mr. Moon lived in an 18-acre compound in Irvington, N.Y., which Ms. Hong described as having a ballroom, two dining rooms (one with a pond and waterfall), a kitchen with six pizza ovens and an upstairs bowling alley. The church owned another estate, Belvedere, in nearby Tarrytown. Farther north along the Hudson River, the church founded the Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown, N.Y. On its Web site, it sometimes is referred to as “UTS: The Interfaith Seminary.” Mr. Moon’s business ventures in South Korea at one time or another included construction, hospitals, schools, ski resorts, newspapers, auto parts, pharmaceuticals, beverages and a professional soccer team. He also had commercial interests in Japan, where right-wing nationalist donors were said to be one source of funds.

In the United States, Mr. Moon had interests in commercial fishing, jewelry, fur products, construction and real estate. He bought many properties in the New York area, including the New Yorker Hotel in Midtown Manhattan and the Manhattan Center nearby.

At one time or another he controlled newspapers including Noticias del Mundo and The New York City Tribune; four publications in South Korea; a newspaper in Japan, The Sekai Nippo; The Middle East Times in Greece; Tiempos del Mundo in Argentina; and Ultimas Noticias in Uruguay. In 2000, a church affiliate bought what was left of United Press International.

The extent of his holdings was somewhat of a mystery, but one figure gives a clue: Mr. Moon acknowledged that in the two decades since the founding of The Washington Times, in 1982, he pumped in more than $1 billion in subsidies to keep it going.

The church said its various operations earned tens of millions of dollars a year worldwide.

In their book “Cults and New Religions” (2006), Mr. Bromley and Douglas E. Cowan wrote that according to church doctrine, a member “recognizes Moon’s messianic status, agrees to contribute to the payment of personal indemnity for human sinfulness, and looks forward to receiving the marital Blessing and building a restored world of sinless families.”

Sun Myung Moon was born on Jan. 6, 1920, in a small rural town in what is now North Korea, according to his official biography. When he was 10, his family joined the Presbyterian Church. When he was a teenager, around Easter 1935, according to Unification Church lore, Jesus appeared to him and anointed him God’s choice to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth.

A secular education beckoned, and in 1941 Mr. Moon entered Waseda University in Japan, where he studied electrical engineering. Two years later he returned to Korea and married his first wife, Sun Kil Choi, who bore him a son. In 1946, leaving them behind, he moved to Pyongyang, now the capital of North Korea, to found a predecessor of the Unification Church called the Kwang-Ya Church. He was imprisoned by the Communist authorities, and later said that they had tortured him.

He was freed in 1950 — by United Nations forces, his official biography says — and was said to have walked 320 miles to Pusan, on the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula. There, as the account goes, he built a church with United States Army ration boxes and lived in a mountainside shack.

Despite the centrality of marriage in his developing theology, Mr. Moon divorced his first wife in 1952 (something that was glossed over in the official biography) and the following year moved to Seoul, where he founded the Unification Church in 1954. Within a year, about 30 church centers had sprung up.

Before the decade was out he published “The Divine Principle,” a dense exposition of his theology that has been revised several times; in her book, Ms. Hong, his daughter-in-law, said it was written by an early disciple based on Mr. Moon’s notes and conversation. He sent his first church emissaries to Japan, the source of early growth, and the United States, and began building his Korean business empire.

Rumors of sexual activities with disciples, which the church denied, dogged the young evangelist, and he fathered an illegitimate child born in 1954. In 1960, Mr. Moon married the 17-year-old Hak Ja Han, who would bear him 13 children and be anointed “true parent.”

He embarked on world tours over the next decade and in 1972 settled in the United States, seeing it as the promised land for church growth. “I came to America primarily to declare the New Age and new truth,” he is quoted as saying in the book “Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church.”

He took an interest in politics, urging that President Richard M. Nixon be forgiven for his role in the Watergate crisis. Church leaders plotted a strategy to defend the president. Church rallies in support of Nixon drew thousands to Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden and the National Mall.

Mr. Moon’s interests expanded into film when a church-linked company backed the 1982 movie “Inchon,” a $42 million Korean War epic notable for its bad reviews and the casting of Laurence Olivier as Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

In the late 1970s, Mr. Moon came under scrutiny by the federal authorities, mainly over allegations that he was involved in efforts by the South Korean government to bribe members of Congress to support President Park Chung-hee. A Congressional subcommittee said that there was evidence of ties between Mr. Moon and Korean intelligence, and that the church had raised money and moved it across borders in violation of immigration and local charity laws.

Then, in October 1981, Mr. Moon was named in a 12-count federal indictment. He was accused of failing to report $150,000 in income from 1973 to 1975, a sum consisting of interest from $1.6 million that he had deposited in New York bank accounts in his own name, according to the indictment.

“I would not be standing here today if my skin were white and my religion were Presbyterian,” Mr. Moon said after the charges were announced. “I am here today only because my skin is yellow and my religion is Unification Church.”

He called the case a government conspiracy to force him out of the country.

Mr. Moon was convicted the next year of tax fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice and sentenced to 18 months in prison. He was assigned to kitchen duty. As his church’s fortunes declined in the United States, Mr. Moon revised his pro-American views. In a 1997 speech, he said America had “persecuted” him. He also attacked homosexuals and American women. Mr. Moon and his church largely dropped from public view in the late ’90s and 2000s, but once in a while they attracted attention. In 2001, a Roman Catholic archbishop from Zambia, Emmanuel Milingo, married a Korean woman in a multiple wedding performed by Mr. Moon. The archbishop then renounced the union.

One of the more bizarre moments in Mr. Moon’s later years came on March 23, 2004, at what was described as a peace awards banquet held at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington. Members of Congress were among the guests. At one point Representative Danny K. Davis, an Illinois Democrat, wearing white gloves, carried in on a pillow one of two gold crowns, which were placed on the heads of Mr. Moon and his wife.

Some of the members of Congress who attended said they had no idea that Mr. Moon was to be involved in the banquet, though it was hosted by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, a foundation affiliated with the Unification Church.

At the banquet, Mr. Moon stated that emperors, kings and presidents had “declared to all heaven and earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity’s savior, messiah, returning lord and true parent.”

He added that the founders of the world’s great religions, along with figures like Marx, Lenin, Hitler and Stalin, had “found strength in my teachings, mended their ways and been reborn as new persons.”





Published: September 1, 2012

  • Hal David, the Oscar- and Grammy-winning lyricist who in the 1960s and ’70s gave pop music vernacular the questions “What’s It All About?,” “What’s New, Pussycat?,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” and “What Do You Get When You Fall in Love?,” died on Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 91.

Gus Ruelas/Reuters

Hal David in 2011.

The cause was a stroke, according to his wife, Eunice, who said he died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Mr. David, whose lyrics could be anguished pleas, wistful yearnings, sexy mash notes or wry musings, and sometimes all four in the same song, was best known for the long strand of hits he and the composer Burt Bacharach wrote for Dionne Warwick.

He was something of a late bloomer: he did not have his first Top 10 hit — “Magic Moments,” recorded by Perry Como — until 1958, when Mr. David was in his late 30s. He achieved his greatest successes well after he turned 40, at a time when many of the other successful songwriters were half his age and many young performers were writing their own songs.

Mr. David’s words also found fertile ground on Broadway, in the hit musical “Promises, Promises”; in the movies, in the Oscar-winning song “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”; and at weddings via the classic first-dance song “(They Long to Be) Close to You.”

If Mr. David and Mr. Bacharach’s oeuvre was more cosmopolitan and less hip than that of the Beatles or Bob Dylan, their ruminations on love and heartbreak have nonetheless proved as viable and enduring — after all, not everyone went to Woodstock. Their alternate ’60s was populated on one hand by the turtleneck-and-martini set, embodied by the likes of Tom Jones (who had a hit with “What’s New, Pussycat?”) or the debonair Mr. Bacharach himself, and on the other hand by the everywoman just breaking in her first pair of workplace shoes, like the protagonist of “I Say a Little Prayer,” who runs “for the bus, dear” and while riding thinks “of us, dear.”

“I Say a Little Prayer,” a No. 4 hit in 1967, was the most successful of the three dozen or so singles Mr. David and Mr. Bacharach wrote and produced for Ms. Warwick, whom they met in 1961 when they were journeymen on the New York music-publishing scene and she was a 20-year-old backup singer.

After she sang on some demo recordings of their songs, a disgruntled Ms. Warwick complained to them, “Don’t make me over, man.” Mr. David turned that line into a full lyric, with an unusual (for the time) feminist stance, and Ms. Warwick’s recording of the resulting song, “Don’t Make Me Over,” became her first hit, in early 1963. From then until mid-1971, rarely a month went by when the troika were not represented on the Billboard singles chart, with charismatic hits like “Walk On By,” “Message to Michael,” “Alfie” and “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.”

With Ms. Warwick’s voice in place, Mr. David found his own, writing with the intense romanticism of the Tin Pan Alley songwriters he grew up admiring but replacing the literary curlicues of, say, Lorenz Hart or Oscar Hammerstein II with a conversational emotionalism.

Many years later, Mr. David wrote on his Web site that he strove for “believability, simplicity and emotional impact” in his lyrics. His words, combined with the frequent slaloms of Mr. Bacharach’s melodies and rhythms, often drew — and required — the most skilled technicians and interpreters of the time. Among them were Dusty Springfield (“Wishin’ and Hopin’,” “The Look of Love”), Gene Pitney (“Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa”) and Karen Carpenter (“Close to You”).

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