• Thu
  • Oct 23, 2014
  • Updated: 2:53pm

Six degrees

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 August, 2009, 12:00am

North Korea launched one in April - so it claims - but last week it was South Korea's turn to watch a self-produced rocket lift off towards earth's orbit. However, it has taken both countries more than half a century to follow the lead of the Soviet Union, which launched Sputnik 1 into the heavens on October 4, 1957 ...

On the same day, in New York, on the other side of the cold war divide, Evelyn Simmons was giving birth to her second son. Russell Simmons would go on to become the co-founder, with Rick Rubin, of pioneering hip- hop label Def Jam and creator of the fashion line Phat Farm. He was to be eclipsed by his younger brother, though ...

Joseph Simmons, a practising reverend also known as Rev Run, was a founding member of hip-hop group Run-DMC (above). The hugely influential group came together in the early 1980s and lasted until 2002, when Simmons (left) walked out of a tour with rock band Aerosmith, and Jason 'Jam-Master Jay' Mizell (right), another of the three founding members, was shot and killed ...

Although his killer has never been identified, Kenneth 'Supreme' McGriff, a drug trafficker and organised crime figure, was convicted of putting up the money for Mizell's murder. McGriff, now known as prisoner No 26301-053, is serving a life sentence at Colorado super max prison ADX Florence ...

ADX Florence prisoner No 02582-016 was Charles Harrelson, a Texan hit man and father of actor Woody Harrelson. Harrelson was sentenced to two life terms for the 1979 assassination of a district judge. Before he died, in 2007, evidence suggesting Harrelson did not commit the crime came to light and this is mentioned in Cormac McCarthy's book No Country for Old Men. (In the 2007 film of the book, Woody Harrelson plays a bounty hunter). Although no connection has ever been discovered, Harrelson claimed in an early confession to the judge's murder that he shot president John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963 ...

At the time of his assassination, Kennedy was close to signing an agreement with the Soviet Union to undertake the exploration of space as a joint venture and had just signed into law the Partial Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits the test detonations of nuclear weapons except underground. The only countries known to have tested nuclear weapons but that have not signed the treaty are China, France - and North Korea.


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