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Israel continued its reoccupation of the West Bank. President Bush told Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to withdraw his troops “without delay,” and he dispatched Secretary of State Colin Powell to stop the violence. “Progress is impossible when nations emphasize their grievances and ignore their opportunities,” the President said. “The storms of violence cannot go on.” Secretary Powell noted that “there should be a time dimension to how long” the Israelis stay in the West Bank. Prime Minister Sharon said that Israel was “at the point of no return.” Asked what he would do if Sharon didn’t do what he was told, Bush said: “I don’t expect them to ignore. I expect them to heed the call.” Israeli soldiers attacked several hundred Israeli Arabs and peace protesters on the road to Ramallah; three members of the Israeli parliament were among those beaten; Israeli soldiers also shot several unarmed international peace protesters in Bethlehem and fired live ammo and stun grenades at reporters in Ramallah. Suicide attacks continued, and Hezbollah resumed firing rockets into northern Israel from Lebanon for the first time since 2000. Morale was high among the leaders of Hamas. Israel’s transportation minister proposed deporting the parents, brothers, sisters, wives, and children of suicide bombers. Two American Jews were attacked by a gang of anti-Semites in Berlin. Synagogues were firebombed in Antwerp and Paris. A Palestinian transplant patient received the kidneys of a Jewish woman who was killed by a suicide bomber. In Egypt, an angry crowd was prevented from reaching the Israeli embassy, so it vandalized a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant instead.
Bo and Ron McCoy filed suit in Pikeville, Kentucky, against a Hatfield descendent to get access to a cemetery where Tolbert, Pharmer, and Randolph McCoy were buried in 1882 after being executed by the Hatfields in a pawpaw patch. A study published in the Journal of Genetic Counseling said that incest between first cousins was perfectly safe from a biological point of view. Michigan’s 1897 law banning “indecent, immoral, obscene, vulgar, or insulting language” in the presence of women and children was struck down by an appeals court because it was too vague. The Roman Catholic church agreed to pay $1.2 million to a woman in Los Angeles who was sexually abused by a priest when she was a teenager; in New York a priest was charged with raping a child. An Irish bishop who once raised eyebrows for staying at a hotel in Thailand known for its young male prostitutes resigned after he was accused of protecting a pedophile priest. A lawyer in Florida filed suit against the pope, claiming that the Vatican had helped cover up for child molesters. Severino Antinori, an Italian fertility specialist, claimed that one of his patients was eight weeks pregnant with a human clone. Chronic wasting disease, a cousin of mad cow disease, was spreading among deer and elk in the Midwest. The United Nations said that tens of billions of dollars were needed to help the 5.7 million people who are still being affected by the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Officials in Illinois warned residents not to eat fish caught anywhere in the state more than once a week because of methylmercury contamination. A ski resort in Australia successfully tested a program to use sewage in its snow machines.
Hugh Grant said he thought Britney Spears’s legs were getting too muscular: “I wish Britney wouldn’t go on exercise machines so often,” he said. “It can give women big thighs.” Governor Jeb Bush of Florida was trying to trademark his name. A physics professor at the University of Connecticut was working on a time machine. “I’m not a nut,” he said. An Italian man who broke off the toe of Michelangelo’s David because a spirit told him to was being let out of his psychiatric hospital, as part of a day-release program, to work as a museum guide. Authorities in Tainan, Taiwan, announced that garbage trucks will soon broadcast English lessons as they pick up the trash. South Korean parents were subjecting their toddlers to frenectomies in the belief that the procedure, which involves cutting the membrane under the tongue, will free their tongues to better pronounce Engrish. More than 700 Finnish women declared that their wombs were on strike and would not give birth for four years unless the government halts its plan to build another nuclear power plant. A judge in Rome declared that an affluent doctor must continue to support his son until the 29-year-old unemployed lawyer, who has turned down numerous job offers, finds work that he finds personally fulfilling. Russia’s Mosenergo utility company was threatening to cut off power to a bioweapons laboratory complex near Moscow that houses a repository of anthrax, plague, and 3,000 other strains of bacteria. Snake charmers in India were having a hard time making ends meet. Someone stole the shrunken head of an Indian woman from the Frontier Times Museum in Bandera, Texas. A new study found that Americans are more obnoxious than ever.
More from Roger D. Hodge:
Chances that a deep breath inhaled today will contain a molecule from Julius Caesar’s dying breath:
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences, by John Allen Paulos, Hill and Wang (N.Y.C.)
The earth once had three moons; the two lost moons may have crashed into the surviving moon, or been sucked into the sun, or flung out of the solar system to drift through deep space.
In Florida, an 87-year-old World War II veteran flying touch-and-go drills in a Cessna collided with an airborne skydiver. “There was a ‘woof’ sound,” said a witness, “like falling on your face into your pillow.”
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“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”