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June 29: Sentencing for convicted Ponzi-scheme operator Bernard Madoff will begin June 29. Madoff, who bilked up to $65 billion from investors in a fraudulent investment scheme, could face a maximum of 150 years behind bars and possibly $170 billion in restitution. No matter the actual amount of prison time, most believe the sentence will amount to a life sentence for the 71-year-old.
To the hills
June 30: Under a Status of Forces Agreement put into place in the waning days of the Bush administration, American military forces operating in Iraq will be required to clear out of Iraqi cities by this day. In the United States' place, the developing Iraqi security forces will take responsibility for keeping the peace in the urban centers. Under terms of the deal-which is still yet to be ratified by the Iraqi people-all U.S. forces will need to have pulled out by 2011.
July 1: Some of Utah's prohibition-minded alcohol laws will be officially loosened today. Beer lovers may celebrate the rift in the so-called "Zion Curtain" that has up until this day prohibited bars from operating normally in Utah, as establishments will be able to serve alcohol to customers without first making them join a "private club." The state's traditional hard line on alcohol can be traced directly to the Mormon Church, which frowns upon alcohol consumption.
July 4: Closed since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the National Park Service will officially reopen the crown of the Statue of Liberty on Independence Day 2009. Department of Interior officials have noted that while the World Trade Center attacks initially closed the statue, it was fire safety issues that kept the top of the monument off-limits to the public for nearly eight years.
Tour hits the mountains
July 10: Though it started officially on July 4, the 2009 Tour de France will begin to heat up on this day when riders in the grueling 21-stage bicycle challenge hit the hills for the first mountain stage. The July 10 ride-which at nearly 140 miles is the longest ride in the whole race-will kick off three consecutive days of climbing through the Pyrenees and could be where Lance Armstrong makes his move if the former American champion indeed enters the race.
Happy Birthday, Calvin
July 10: If French theologian and Swiss icon John Calvin had lived to see his 500th birthday, he might well have celebrated with a tall draught of Calvinus Beer, a Geneva microbrew. Like Martin Luther, Calvin was a well-known beer-o-phile. Since it is seemingly unavailable outside of Geneva, good five-point Calvinists might well wish to celebrate TULIP with a bottle of BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien 2007, a sour ale designated by RateBeer.com as the top Swiss brew.
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