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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:
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Amount the town of Rolfe, Iowa, will pay anyone who builds a home there:
Ancient Egyptians worshiped some dwarves as gods.
In Italy, a judge ordered that a man who paid for sex with a 15-year-old girl must buy her 30 feminist-themed books, including The Diary of Anne Frank and the poems of Emily Dickinson.
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“Matt 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. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”