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Thousands of Chinese who worked as slaves for Japan in World War II filed suit in California against Japanese companies that might have profited from their servitude; Japanese military occupiers enslaved over ten million Chinese on the mainland and some 50,000 in Japan.Hundreds of members of the Falun Gong, a banned Chinese meditation cult with mildly apocalyptic doctrines, were beaten and arrested in Tiananmen Square.Turkey’sparliament considered loosening restrictions on free speech as well as the summary dismissal of thousands of Islamic civil servants; General Huseyin Kivrikoglu, who fancies himself to be the guardian of the secular Turkish state, suggested the purge.The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights released a report detailing abuses of immigrants by United States Immigration and Naturalization Service inspectors, who often mistreat and turn away legitimate foreign visitors, legal residents, and refugees with credible asylum claims.The United States government threatened to file suit against the City of New York for the police department’s use of racial profiling; Mayor Rudolph Giuliani defended the practice, saying that most crimes are committed by minorities.Britain’s new Human Rights Act went into effect; conservatives were concerned that the new “bill of rights” would permit gay sex in the schools.
A federal judge ordered that the Animal Welfare Act be extended to protect birds, mice, and rats used in research laboratories; vivisectionists expressed concern that the progress of science might be impeded.It was revealed that Britain was again experimenting with genetically modified crops, though the agriculture ministry had repeatedly denied it was doing so.New York’s state assembly was considering a five-year ban on such crops.A baby was born who was bred in a test tube and genetically selected to be compatible with his sister, who received a stem-cell transplant that might save her from leukemia.Canadianresearchers discovered that many common herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides used on fruit and vegetables encourage the growth of dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, and shigella.DNA tests identified the Hungarian WWII prisoner of war who spent 53 years in a Russian mental hospital.A British woman was awarded Ł345,222 for being wrongfully diagnosed with cancer, which resulted in fourteen operations, including a double mastectomy and a full hysterectomy.Red tide rendered much of the Texas coast unfishable.The Nuclear Regulatory Commission declared that a plan by the Goshutes tribe to establish a nuclear-waste dump on their reservation (45 miles from Salt Lake City, Utah) was safe; the dump, which could hold up to 44,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel, will be located at Skull Valley.
The Mid-East peace process continued as Israeli soldiers killed 84 Palestinians, including over a dozen children, in violence that followed a visit to the Dome of the Rock by Likud leader Ariel Sharon; two Israeli soldiers and two settlers were killed in the fighting.Hillary Clinton, alarmed by the violence in Palestine, decided that she had made a mistake after all when she attended a ceremony on the West Bank with Yasir Arafat’s wife, Suha, and embraced her; Mrs.Clinton also called for the release of classified materials concerning Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted of spying on the U.S. for Israel.Neo-Nazis firebombed a synagogue in Düsseldorf, Germany, on the anniversary of German reunification; last year 817 anti-Semitic crimes were reported in Germany.Slobodan Milosevic abdicated after police joined massive demonstrations that successfully overran government buildings; a four-year-old boy who broke away from his father was the first to ascend the steps of the parliament building in Belgrade; later, adult protesters urinated on the floor of the parliament’s main chamber.Scandal, a perfume shop owned by Marko Milosevic, Slobodan’s son, was destroyed.Hippies threw smoke bombs at police in Amsterdam outside a conference attended by the president of the World Bank.Former Russian president Boris Yeltsin published a memoir in which he admitted to drinking too much and to having planned in 1996 the abolition of Russian democracy. Fungus was devouring Russia’s Mir space station.Ethiopia said it would rebury Emperor Haile Selassie, who originally was buried beneath a toilet in 1975.An African who in 1888 was snatched from his grave, stuffed, and put on display in Spain was returned home for a decent burial.A New York judge dismissed a lawsuit that sought to prevent New York University from demolishing a former home of Edgar Allen Poe.Silver Dollar City, Inc., the company that owns Dollywood, the Dolly Parton theme park, announced it would open a Southern theme park in Stone Mountain, Georgia, the birthplace of the modern Ku Klux Klan; the company plans to emphasize the fun side of Southern history.
More from Roger D. Hodge:
Freddie Grayâ€™s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the cityâ€™s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Average speed of Heinz ketchup, from the mouth of an upended bottle, in miles per year:
After studying the fall of 64,000 individual raindrops, scientists found that some small raindrops fall faster than they ought to.
The Playboy mansion in California was bought by the heir to the Twinkie fortune, and a New Mexico man set fire to his apartment to protest his neighborsâ€™ loud lovemaking.
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â€śMatt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'Iâ€™m glad everyoneâ€™s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supportsÂ my lifestyle.'â€ť