Every Monday, we travel into the archives of The New York Times to find the first time the paper covered various topics. This edition looks at the Popemobile, Splenda, Hamas and more.

Popemobile

October 1, 1979

Pope Prays at Irish Shrine; Will Fly to the U.S. Today
popemobile-1980a.jpgTwice today the Pope [John Paul II], who is to arrive in the United States tomorrow, delivered homilies that reflected his conservative views of theology and Christian morality. Twice he repeated his appeal, made yesterday at Drogheda, for the end of violence in Northern Ireland. Twice he drove through cheering multitudes in the high, partly open special vehicle that the Irish press has inevitably christened the Popemobile. [Image courtesy of Motor Trend.]

Keep reading for UFC, Splenda, Bill Parcells, Hamas and Joan Rivers.

Ultimate Fighting Championship

March 8, 1994

Death Is Cheap: Maybe It's Just $14.95
UFC-logo.jpgHere's a statement you won't hear made by Don King, Seth Abraham, Dan Duva or any other pay-per-view sports purveyor: "I don't want anyone to die. It may be good for the buy rate. But I don't want anyone to die."

Thus spoke Campbell McLaren, general manager of the Semaphore Entertainment Group, which on Friday will air "The Ultimate Fighting Championship II," a no-rules war among martial artists that could conclude in rigor mortis.

For just $14.95! Yes, friends, beyond Wrestlemania! Beyond boxing! Beyond Tough Man (the amateur boxing event)! Pay-per-view (possible) death!

The Ultimate Fighting Championship pits 16 martial arts experts in areas from jujitsu and kung fu to wing chun and pentcak silat in a one-night tournament without rules, gloves, rounds, breaks or timeouts, where punches, kicks, elbows, and chokes are encouraged, and winners are decided by surrender, a doctor's diagnosis or death.

Splenda

October 26, 2000

An All-Out Effort is Under Way to Market an Artificial Sweetener
splenda.jpgA world of home-baked coconut pie, made without sugar? That is among the promises that the marketers of Splenda, an artificial sweetener generically known as sucralose, are making through a large-scale campaign that began last month and will peak in January with a series of television commercials intended to create consumer interest in the product.

Splenda is made by McNeil Specialty Products, a division of Johnson & Johnson. While McNeil executives would not disclose spending for the campaign, one industry expert put the figure at about $40 million, citing publications that the company distributed at trade shows this summer to describe how it planned to support the product.
* * * * *
McNeil is betting that Splenda's distinguishing characteristics—it is derived from sugar and can be used in cooking—will turn out to be strong selling points. In sucralose, three of the hydrogen-oxygen groups in each sugar molecule are replaced with chlorine atoms. The effect is that the sweetener is not absorbed into the body, meaning there are no calories to burn off later.

The process was discovered by researchers in Britain in 1976 and was approved for consumer use by the Food and Drug Administration two years ago. Since then, it has become an ingredient in an array of foods and beverages, including Diet Rite cola, Swiss Miss sugar-free cocoa mix and Diet V8 Splash. It can withstand heat, making it unusual among artificial sweeteners. Now its promoters want to build up its image with consumers and persuade them to buy it in stores. The target audience is mostly women 35 and older, with busy lives involving lots of demands on their time and yet an inclination to bake. Diabetics are also being singled out through the company's Web site and other efforts with doctors.

Bill Parcells

September 28, 1958

parcells2.jpgRiver Dell Opens First Varsity Season With 13-to-12 Triumph
River Dell Regional High School opened its first varsity football season today by upsetting Ridgefield Park, 12-12. The Golden Hawks took a 13-0 first-half lead. Lew Frey ran 16 yards for one touchdown and Ken Tripp took an 11-yard pas from Bill Parcells for another. Parcells ran for the extra point.

Hamas

September 18, 1988

Islamic Fundamentalist Group Splitting Palestinian Uprising
hamas.jpgThe emergence of the new organization, known as Hamas, a word that means Zeal and is also an acronym for the Movement of the Islamic Resistance, not only poses a threat to the secular, P.L.O.-oriented leadership of the uprising, but has also complicated the efforts of several West Bank leaders to press Yasir Arafat and the P.L.O. leadership abroad to capitalize on their political gains by offering to come to terms with Israel.

"The land of Palestine is an Islamic trust left to the generations of Moslems until the day of resurrection," says the 40-page Hamas covenent issued on Aug. 18. "It is forbidden for anyone to yield or concede part or all of it." It flatly rejected any P.L.O. efforts at "so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences."

"The solution to the Palestinian problem will only take place by holy war," the Hamas document says. "The initiatives and international conferences only waste time."

Joan Rivers

August 16, 1960

Joan Rivers Bows Tonight
joan-rivers.jpg"The Diary of Joan Rivers," a one-woman revue with Miss Rivers, will begin a two-week engagement tonight at Dave Gordon's Phase 2, 302 Bleecker Street. The offering has been directed by Bob Waxman, who also will lay the piano accompaniment. Performances will be given twice nightly—except on Mondays, when Lionel Shepherd and his mimes will be seen.

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