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Serbia‘s prime minister gave Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague to be tried for war crimes even though doing so was technically illegal; the prime minister of Yugoslavia resigned in protest. The International Court of Justice rebuked the United States for executing two German brothers in 1999 without following established international law, which required the German consulate to be notified of the men’s arrest and conviction. American and British warplanes bombed Iraq again, killing three people. Dissidents from the Ivory Coast filed suit against President Laurent Gbagbo in Belgium, whose courts, oddly enough, have universal jurisdiction in crimes against humanity. Ethnic violence broke out in the central Nigerian state of Nasarawa. United States troops intervened in the Macedonian conflict by escorting several hundred rebels out of a Macedonian town; riots ensued in Skopje, the capital, and an American diplomat was shot, apparently by accident, by a Macedonian soldier. A mob of students in Paterson, New Jersey, beat a homeless drunk to death with his own beer bottle. Sweden, whose police recently shot unarmed protesters with live ammunition, ratified the International Criminal Court. Uganda held parliamentary elections; one candidate fired a gun into a crowd of opponents; the bodyguard of another candidate killed a protester and was lynched by an outraged mob. Poles started getting checks from Germany to make up for having been enslaved by the Nazis. Wang Guoqi, a former Chinese army doctor, testified before Congress that he removed corneas, skin, and other body parts from executed prisoners; in one case, Wang said, he was forced to remove the skin from a man who was still breathing. Wang currently works in a restaurant in New Jersey.
Vice President Dick Cheney received a pacemaker to regulate his heartbeat. Vladimiro Montesinos, formerly Peru’s answer to Rasputin, was arrested in Venezuela, having become a liability to Hugo Chávez, and was sent home in shackles to face a life sentence for arms trafficking, money laundering, death-squad activities, torture, arms kickbacks, and bribery. President Vicente Fox of Mexico accepted the resignation of an old friend who took responsibility for the purchase of $400 towels, $1,500 sheets, and $17,000 electric curtains for the presidential palace. President Abdurrahman Wahid of Indonesia said he would declare a state of emergency and use the military to prevent parliament from removing him from office; the military suggested that it would do no such thing. Secretary of State Colin Powell stood next to Yasir Arafat and endorsed the idea of international observers to help enforce a cease-fire with Israel; later, standing next to Ariel Sharon, Powell clarified his previous statement, which had seemed clear enough, and said he did not support “some outside group of forces coming in.” Powell’s trip also included a visit to Jordan, where King Abdullah let him drive at the “king’s speed limit” in his custom silver BMW convertible. New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani was said to be spending his nights at the apartment of a Queens car dealer as he considered moving out of Gracie Mansion to get away from his wife. Jack Lemmon died. A New Orleans woman was charged with ten counts of attempted murder after an argument over an ugly baby; the woman threw fuel on ten people, three generations of one family (including two infants), and tried to set them on fire. Her match failed to light. Police in Aachen, Germany, were called in to quell a domestic dispute that arose after a man visited a brothel and discovered his wife working there. Researchers found that Italian mothers are the most anxious mothers in Europe. A three-year-old Italian boy was fined for peeing on a tree in a park in Rome; the traumatized boy, fearing another arrest, was said to be having a difficult time going potty.
A giant cloud of dust from the Sahara blew across the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, reducing air quality and visibility in Texas. The Bush Administration admitted that the federal budget surplus might just disappear. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that he would ask Congress to retire the MX missile, also known as the “Peacekeeper.” Bob Dole had an aneurysm. A movement was afoot in North Dakota to change the state’s name to “Dakota” because of fears that the word “north” was giving people the wrong idea. A large hippopotamus killed a security guard on a golf course in Johannesburg, South Africa. Scientists found that dairy cows produced more milk while listening to REM’s “Everybody Hurts” or the Pastoral Symphony by Beethoven than when listening to “Back in the USSR” by the Beatles or Wonderstuff’s “Size of a Cow.” Ireland announced that thousands of children in 1973 received a livestock vaccine (Tribovax) instead of a human one (Trivax) for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. Californian matadors were fighting bulls, gently, with velcro-tipped banderillas. Interpol’s headquarters was evacuated because of a package containing rotten meat and excrement. NASAlaunched an observatory to study the afterglow of the Big Bang. Homosexuals in London were given the right to register their relationships with the government. The United Nations General Assembly defined AIDS as a political, human rights, and economic issue; formerly AIDS was a venereal disease. Buckingham Palace was trying to cut corners. Children were starving in Sierra Leone. Millions of anchovies were dying in Oregon.
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