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Q&A: The difference between states and territories

Hijacked ship still being held

Did I miss it? Whatever happened to the hijacked ship with all the tanks on board?

The Ukrainian ship Faina was boarded by about 50 Somalian pirates on Sept. 25 off the coast of that African nation.

The Faina is still anchored near the central Somalia coastal town of Hobyo. U.S. warships continue to surround it, trying to make sure none of its military cargo is offloaded and ends up in the hands of Islamic extremists.

The ship was reportedly carrying 33 Russian-made T-72 tanks and other weapons bound for Kenya, though it was later confirmed the true destination was the Sudan.

The pirates say the ship's operator is negotiating a possible ransom payment for the release of the ship and its 20-man crew but has no interest in the military cargo. Kenya claims the cargo but refuses to pay any ransom to get it back. The pirates say they got this information in a fax from the head of ship operator Tomex Team, and a spokesman for that company confirmed that they do not want the cargo.

From John Boy to Mercedes

Is Richard Thomas, best known as John Boy on The Waltons, the voice talent on the BMW commercials?

Right tax bracket, wrong car. Thomas has done voice work for Mercedes-Benz.

State vs. territory

What is the difference between a territory and a state? I thought residents of territories were not allowed to vote.

A state is a semiautonomous territorial and political subdivision of a federated nation like the United States. A territory, like American Samoa, is a jurisdiction that is neither a part of one of the states nor a federal district and has varying degrees of self-rule. Congress decided long ago that only selected parts of the Constitution apply to territories.

Additionally, there are "commonwealths," like Puerto Rico, with their own constitutions and greater autonomy than territories. U.S. territories include the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam. Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands are U.S. commonwealths.

Under the Constitution, residents of territories and commonwealths do not vote in elections for U.S. president and vice president.

'Medium' to return in 2009

I have been watching in vain for the Medium program with Patricia Arquette starring on Monday nights last season to start in the fall lineup on TV. Has this series been canceled?

No. NBC renewed it for telecast in early 2009, after the end of this season's NFL telecasts.

Q&A: The difference between states and territories 11/30/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 10:30am]
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