Phantom Menace Opening
Phantom Menace Opens - A chunk of America loses sleep. (Photo: L.A. Times)

May 19, 1999 – Midnight Madness For Phantom Menace – Glimmers Of Hope For Kosovo – Murder Charges For A Right To Die.

Phantom Menace Opening

Phantom Menace Opens – A chunk of America loses sleep. (Photo: L.A. Times)

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May 19, 1999 – The latest episode in the Star Wars series, Phantom Menace opened at midnight to the sound of stampeding crowds and thundering cash registers. An estimated 200,000 people weren’t going to be showing up for work this morning, since many had been camped out for the midnight opening, some for days in anticipation of the big event. Theatre owners were giddy and Lucasfilms was swimming in receipts. As usual, the film drew a wide range of reviews from jaw-dropping to sleep inducing.

Meanwhile, a glimmer of peace for the war-ravaged region of Kosovo as diplomats engaged in serious talks over an end to fighting. The talks took on an urgency as Serb troops were massing along the borders with Albania and Macedonia and digging in, preparing for an anticipated ground attack by United Nations forces. The outcome of the diplomatic meetings was said to be positive, though the Russian, Finnish and U.S. representatives said they needed a new way to solve the crisis. Even as diplomatic moves appeared to gain momentum, NATO was pressing ahead with its bombing campaign. The Yugoslav Army claimed an attack on the Southeast Kosovo town of Gnjilane took civilian casualties, when a bomb aimed at a factory hit a restaurant, killing four and injuring fifteen.

And it was a right to die matter but it was going to morph into a murder case as Georgette Smith, paralyzed from the neck down, asked to be taken off the respirator and allowed to die. The decision to do so would end up being a murder case as Smith’s Mother had been accused in shooting her daughter in the neck, severing her spine. 68 year-old Shirley Egan became enraged when she overheard her daughter Georgette talking about moving her to a nursing home. If Georgette Smith died, her mother could face murder charges.

And that’s just a little of what went on, this May 19th (a Wednesday) in 1999 from The CBS World News Roundup.





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