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Moscow warned the United States about its new Cold War rhetoric; the Russians were upset over remarks by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who said that “Russia is an active proliferator” of dangerous weaponstechnology which “seems to be willing to sell anything to anyone for money.” The United States expelled 50 Russian diplomats, four of whom were thought to have been working with Robert Philip Hanssen, the FBI agent recently arrested for spying; Russia in turn said it would expel the 50 diplomats most precious to America. Fighting with Albanian rebels continued in Macedonia; the Bush Administration and NATO were refusing to get involved, preferring to wait until they were humiliated by large massacres and ethnic cleansing. Russian president Vladimir Putin urged the use of force to prevent the conflict from spreading. Denouncing Mexico’s close-minded “caveman politicians,” Zapatista rebel leader Subcommander Marcos went home to the jungle after failing to reach a settlement with congress over Indian rights. A new member of the hominid family was christened “flat-faced man of Kenya.” Arkansas legislators were debating whether to ban the teaching of evolution and radio-carbon dating techniques; a proposed bill would require teachers to tell students to mark “false evidence” or “theory” in their books next to discussions of evolution. Three Greek shepherds found nine 2,300-year-old marble statues while building a fence. The Taliban explained that they destroyed Afghanistan’s ancient Buddhist statues because a group of Europeans had recently visited and offered money to preserve the statues, but none to feed starving Afghani children. The Bush White House ended a 50-year quality-control arrangement with the American Bar Association in which the association screened nominees to the federal judiciary. An analysis of budget documents revealed that President Bush plans to cut child-care programs and programs that help abused children. Another teenager shot up a school in California.
The world’s largest offshore oil rig sank off Rio de Janeiro, spilling 400,000 gallons of oil and diesel fuel. The United States government fired a mapping specialist at the U.S. Geological Survey who posted a map on the Internet showing caribou calving grounds in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where President Bush hopes to drill for oil. The Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would withdraw new standards approved by the Clinton Administration that limited the amount of arsenic in drinking water. Italy’s environment minister threatened to cut off power to the Vatican’s radio station because it emits too much electromagnetic radiation. A new internal report alleged that Roman Catholic priests have been sexually abusing nuns in several countries, especially in Africa, where the notion that nuns are probably HIV-negative was apparently a contributing factor. The European Union passed a resolution calling on 39 drug companies to drop a lawsuit against South Africa in which they seek to overturn a law that would lower the price of anti-AIDSdrugs. President Sam Nujoma of Namibia threatened to banish all homosexuals. A crazed German woman was arrested after she bit several people as she ran around screaming that she was a vampire.
Foot-and-mouth disease spread to the Netherlands and Ireland. Britain was planning to destroy over 500,000 cows. American researchers suggested using napalm. After months of dithering, United Statesagriculture agents seized a flock of sheep from Skunk Hollow Farm in Vermont that are suspected of having a form of mad-cow disease. Twenty-one cattle in Texas will be destroyed because of similar concerns. Animals without Borders was shipping stray dogs from Romania to Belgium and France to prevent them from being killed in a campaign to remove 200,000 strays from the streets of Bucharest. Scientists warned that clones often have random genetic flaws that produce severe developmental problems, immune-system disorders, and other defects; some cloned mice, for example, become enormously obese when they reach a certain age. Census data showed that Hispanics will soon outnumber “non-Hispanic whites” in Texas. Spanish authorities removed 30 truckloads of garbage, weighing 154 tons, from a man’s home near Madrid after neighbors complained about the smell. A new study found that safer and more effective land mines will be available after 2006. Violence continued in Borneo. Russia’s space station Mir fell from the sky. Canada was short on sperm.
More from Roger D. Hodge:
For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing — for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now — for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco — well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations — half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime minister’s lair — became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.
One Friday evening, the refugees’ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: “We don’t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!” The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.
Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
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“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”