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The Vatican proclaimed, not for the first time, that the Roman Catholic Church was the one true Church of Christ and that worshippers of false gods were in a “gravely deficient situation” with respect to their eternal souls.A group of Jewish scholars and rabbis called on Jews to let go of their ancient fear of Christians.A Canadianpolice ship successfully navigated the Northwest Passage in about one month.President Bill Clinton shook hands with Fidel Castro at a luncheon in New York; it was the first time Castro had shaken hands with a sitting American president.The judge in the Wen Ho Lee nuclear-secrets case wrote that “The totality of the information of which I now have knowledge presents a tableau different from that described by the government last December. Instead of being confined, as it was then, to an umbral area of pitch-black darkness, the relevant information has shifted to a penumbral region that is a somewhat mottled shade of gray.”The leaders of Aryan Nations, a white supremacistcult in Idaho, were ordered by a jury to pay $6.3 million in damages to a woman and her son who were beaten by Aryan Nations security guards; after the verdict, Richard Girnt Butler, the pastor of Aryan Nations, said: “This is nothing. We have planted seeds.”Three Israeli border police officers were detained after they beat three Palestinians and photographed one another standing on top of them.Louisiana agreed to stop placing children in private prisons where they were routinely beaten and neglected.Bureau of Indian Affairs director Kevin Gover apologized to American Indians for “the decimation of the mighty bison herds, the use of the poison alcohol to destroy mind and body, and the cowardly killing of women and children.”
Six men in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, were arrested for cannibalism; the men dug up graves, ate human flesh, and made shoes out of human skin.Archaeologists discovered proof that some ancient American Indians practiced cannibalism.Time Warner bought Africana.com, an Internet company founded by Harvard professors Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Kwame Anthony Appiah.Five teenagers were arrested for beating a pizza delivery man to death for a free meal; the boys left $600 in their victim’s pocket.Gloria Steinem was married at the home of Wilma Mankiller.A United Airlines passenger jet had to take evasive action near Los Angeles to avoid a collision with an F-117 stealth fighter jet.In a Spanish article posted to Voter.com, TexasRepublican representative Henry Bonilla said that Governor George W. Bush was “extending the monkey” to Hispanic voters.Governor Bush was overheard saying that a New York Times reporter was a “major-league asshole,” an epithet that the Times chose not to print; the Washington Times glossed the comment as “a vulgar euphemism for a rectal aperture.”Researchers at Eukarion, Inc. developed a drug that doubles the lifespan of nematode worms.
One hundred and forty-nine world leaders disrupted traffic in New York City; United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan warned that disease, poverty, war, hunger, and pollution were difficult problems that required cooperation among nations.Hutu militiamen killed ten people with machetes in a gorilla sanctuary in southeastern Congo.Rwanda’s president expressed his disappointment that other nations did not prevent his country’s 1994 massacres of Tutsis by Hutus.The President of the Congo Republic was seen visiting the Congo gorilla exhibit at the Bronx zoo.President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was served with a lawsuit while standing outside a church in Harlem; the lawsuit, which was filed in a Manhattan federal district court, seeks damages for the death of the plaintiff’s husband, who was killed by members of Mugabe’s party.Several UN workers were beaten to death in West Timor; the next day, Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid said “I think now the situation is very good there. That is according to the full report I got this morning.” A Pentagonsecurity gate popped up and wrecked a car carrying the Germandefense minister; two years ago the same thing happened to the Japanese defense minister.Germanpolice confiscated 7,500 neo-Nazimusic CDs.German government regulators ordered Wal-Mart to raise its prices after they concluded that Wal-Mart was illegally trying to harm competitors with artificially low prices.A homeless man was discovered camping out in the Cape Town home of South African president Thabo Mbeki; South Africa’s ministry of corrections said it would release 11,000 petty criminals to ease prison overcrowding.Colombian police discovered a partially constructed submarine that was being built by drug traffickers; upon completion the 100-foot submarine would have had a 200-ton cargo capacity.Officials said they had evidence of the involvement of a Russian engineer with previous experience building subs.Carlos Castańo, the head of Colombia’s rightist paramilitary death squads, released an open letter in which he said that “The crime of anti-subversion or of pro-capitalism cannot exist in a civilized universe.”Prosecutors in Manhattan revealed that Dr. Michael J.Swango, a doctor who has admitted to being a serial killer, kept a commonplace book in which he copied passages from thrillers that expressed his joy of killing: “I love it. Sweet, husky, close smell of an indoor homicide.”
President Hugo Chávez, having successfully consolidated his personal control of every branch of the Venezuelan government, turned his attention to private civic groups and said he would demolish the country’s main labor union and replace it with one dominated by the government.Baroness Margaret Thatcher accused British Prime Minister Tony Blair of trying to “abolish Britain.” Venus Williams won the U.S. Open tennis championship.Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a system of cooperation among nations that use submarines so that endangered crews might be more easily rescued.Russia’sdefense minister confirmed that President Putin plans to cut the Russian military by a third.While in Japan, the Russian president was serenaded by a robotdog that sang the Russian national anthem.Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky claimed that the Kremlin told him to sell his stake in a major television station or risk going to jail.A Thairesearcher named Pikikhate Sooraksa unveiled “Roboguard,” a gunslinging remote-control robot guard.Al Gore was endorsed by the Teamsters.Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader called for the legalization of marijuana.Two Florida state representatives, both Republicans, had a fistfight in the parking lot of Radio Mambi, a talk-radio station in Miami.American children were being injured by scooters in alarming numbers.
More from Roger D. Hodge:
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word â€śhallwayâ€ť must have a nautical name. Why didnâ€™t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet heâ€™d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands theyâ€™d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you donâ€™t belong to, that doesnâ€™t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isnâ€™t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members â€” because ocean life pays better than money! â€” who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Rank of Detroit among major U.S. cities whose residents give the largest portion of their income to charity:
A South Dakota researcher concluded that only scant blood spatter results when chain saws are used to dismember pigs.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature