Schwarzenegger confesses: Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger acknowledged this week that he had fathered a child with a member of his household staff prior to his first run for governor, in 2003. The revelation came a week after reports that he and his wife, Maria Shriver, who have four children, were separating. “I understand and deserve the feelings of anger and disappointment among my friends and family,” Schwarzenegger said. “I have apologized to Maria, my children, and my family. I am truly sorry.” The house staff member had worked for the family for 20 years before retiring last year with a severance payment. Schwarzenegger has assumed financial responsibility for the child, now around 14 years old. After learning that Schwarzenegger had fathered the child, Shriver moved out of the couple’s Brentwood mansion and is living in a Beverly Hills hotel. Since leaving office in January, Schwarzenegger has signed contracts to appear in three new films, including two new installments of the Terminator franchise.
Hair burglar strikes: A sophisticated thief stole $150,000 worth of human hair from a salon that specializes in expensive wigs and extensions. “Whoever did it knew exactly what they wanted,” said Lisa Amosu, the owner of the My Trendy Place salon in southwest Houston. Security cameras caught the burglar bypassing the cash register and the synthetic wigs, and loading up two duffel bags with Remy hair, the most durable and silky kind. Remy hair from the heads of Indian women is particularly prized and expensive, costing thousands for an elaborate piece. Human hair has become a hot commodity on the black market. Thieves stole $10,000 in hair from a San Diego salon, $85,000 worth from a business in Missouri City, Texas, and $60,000 worth from a business in San Leandro, Calif. Recent robberies have also involved violence. In Dearborn, Mich., the owner of a beauty-supply company was killed by gunmen, who stole $10,000 worth of hair extensions.
Floods roll on: More than 3 million acres of farmland have been flooded by the still-rising Mississippi River, wiping out early corn and soybean plantings and submerging whole communities. River levels at Vicksburg were expected to break records. To ease flooding in cities downriver, the Army Corps of Engineers has opened spillways, inundating the Cajun countryside. In Butte La Rose, a small Cajun community 35 miles southwest of Baton Rouge, all 600 homes have been evacuated. “We pretty much know our house will be under water, so we’re trying to save everything we can,” said resident Brandi Chiassom. Damages have been assessed at up to $9 billion for the area from Memphis south to the Gulf of Mexico.
Little Rock, Ark.
Huckabee says no: Ending months of speculation, former Gov. Mike Huckabee said he would not seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. Huckabee made the announcement in the closing minutes of his live Fox News Channel show, capping off an hour of preannouncement hoopla. After “deep personal reflection,” Huckabee said he chose to avoid a bruising political campaign in favor of a lucrative career as a TV and radio host. “All the factors say go, but my heart says no,” he said. The winner of the 2008 Iowa caucuses and a favorite with social conservatives, Huckabee had been polling between 25 and 30 percent among likely voters in recent weeks. His departure could create an opening in the Iowa and South Carolina primaries for Michele Bachmann or Tim Pawlenty.
Emanuel takes office: Former Obama adviser Rahm Emanuel was sworn in as the 46th mayor of Chicago, replacing Richard Daley, who held the office for 22 years. Emanuel, a former Illinois congressman, inherited an in-box that includes a billion-dollar deficit in 2012. Last week, he told a throng of 7,500 supporters and celebrities he’ll have to make tough choices. “We simply can’t afford the size of city government that we had in the past,” Emanuel said. “It’s not just a matter of doing more with less. We must look at every aspect of city government and ask some basic questions: Can we afford it? Is it worth it? Do we need it?” The city’s first Jewish mayor, Emanuel assembled an ecumenical coalition of clergy for his inauguration, including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim leaders. On his first day in office, he signed six executive orders to strengthen the city’s ethics rules, and announced he would not accept campaign contributions from lobbyists.
Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Endeavour lifts off: With wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords watching in private, the space shuttle Endeavour lifted off on its 25th and final mission. Giffords’s husband, Mark Kelly, is one of six astronauts on board, along with a payload of spare parts and scientific experiments. Giffords, who was shot in the head in an assassination attempt in January, watched from a wheelchair with relatives of other crew members. “Good stuff, good stuff,” she said to her chief of staff as the shuttle lifted off. Two hundred miles above the earth, the Endeavour docked with the International Space Station, and the crew began work on the mission’s main objective: installing the $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a state-of-the-art particle physics detector that will hunt for antimatter and measure cosmic rays. Endeavour will eventually be displayed at a science museum in Los Angeles. The shuttle Atlantis is scheduled for takeoff in July for what will be the final mission in NASA’s 30-year-old shuttle program.