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President George W. Bush challenged the United Nations to prove that it is “a force for good and peace” and not “an ineffective debating society”; he said that America must overthrow Saddam Hussein because “it’s time for us to secure the peace”; and he demanded that Congress give him unlimited power to make war. Iraq agreed to readmit United Nations weapons inspectors without conditions, but the White House denounced the offer as a stalling tactic and insisted that inspections would never work anyway. The Pentagon presented the President with detailed invasion plans, and Saudi Arabia agreed to allow American forces to attack Iraq from bases there but only if the United Nations blesses the war. Congressional Democrats explained that they were reluctant to oppose the war with Iraq because of the November election. The six Arab men from Lackawanna, New York, who were accused of being a secret Al Qaeda cell were charged with “providing material support” to terrorists under the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective death Penalty Act, which a federal judge recently declared “unconstitutional on its face.” The government admitted it had no evidence of any specific crime that the men were planning to commit, though prosecutors alluded to “catastrophes of biblical proportion.” Almost 15 million people in southern Africa are in danger of starving, the head of the World Food Program said, and Ethiopia announced that it was running out of food. McDonald’s recalled 100,000 “bobble head dolls” because they contain hazardous amounts of lead. The New England Journal of Medicine published a study concluding that an overly clean household environment can lead to allergies and asthma in children. Rats were said to be overrunning the mansions of Beverly Hills. Guidelines for vaccinating the entire population of the United States for smallpox in five days were sent to state health commissioners. The fourth annual East Coast Bigfoot Conference and Expo was held in Pennsylvania. The World Sheepdog Trials in Bala, Wales, were disrupted by a low-flying military jet. A magpie stole and ate a 73-year-old Dutchman’s artificial toe.
A bomb, apparently set by Jewish terrorists, exploded in a Palestinian elementary school shortly before recess, injuring several children. A suicide bomber killed an Israeli soldier, and another blew up a bus in Tel Aviv, killing five. “I ran outside and saw a heart still moving on the sidewalk,” one witness said. “A few meters away were the lungs.” An Israeli tank killed a 10-year-old Palestinian boy in Ramallah who was playing outside after curfew. Israeli soldiers destroyed all but one building in Yasir Arafat’s compound in the West Bank and put up a barbed-wire fence around the ruins; Arafat refused to leave his building even after the Israelis cut off his water and removed his air conditioners. British and Australian researchers found that suicide rates increase under right-wing governments. Turkey’s government banned the country’s most popular politician from the November election because he was convicted three years ago of reading a poem that was judged to be an incitement to religious hatred. The novelist Michael Houellebecq went on trial in France for saying that Islam is “the most stupid religion.” Christians at New Life Ministries in Loudon, Tennessee, tried to resurrect a 15-year-old girl who died of untreated bone cancer. A white-spotted bamboo shark gave birth to three baby sharks in Detroit even though she hasn’t been near a male shark in six years. Astronomers found evidence of water in the atmospheres of distant planets, and scientists in Switzerland created antimatter antiatoms of cold antihydrogen.
Germany’s justice minister was in hot water for saying that “Bush wants to divert attention from his domestic problems. It’s a classic tactic. It’s one that Hitler also used.” She later denied that she had compared Bush to Hitler but did say that their methods were similar. German chancellor Gerhard Schröder was reelected. France released Maurice Papon, who was imprisoned for deporting Jews to the Nazi death camps, because he is old and sick. The Bush Administration finally agreed to support an independent investigation into the intelligence failures leading up to September 11 after a congressional investigation continued to turn up embarrassing details such as the 1998 warning, ignored by the CIA, that terrorists wanted to fly planes into the World Trade Center. Russia reported that its population had dropped by 505,900 people so far this year. A scientist from the City of Hope in California created genetically engineered flies that turn gay when it gets hot. A federal appeals court said that the military can prohibit the sale of pornography on military bases. The Pentagon revealed that 800 American soldiers are stationed in east Africa. A translation of recently discovered Mayan carvings telling the story of a catastrophic war between two great powers was completed. Sonia Gandhi visited Kashmir wearing a bullet-proof vest. Moyer Packing, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, recalled 203,600 pounds of beef tainted with E. coli bacteria that was sold throughout the northeastern United States. Hundreds of people, mostly schoolchildren, were sickened and dozens died in Tangshan, China, from eating food from a snack-bar that had been laced with rat poison by a competitor. It was reported that many U.S. airports are not using their expensive new baggage-screening machines because they are inconvenient to operate. Pundits continued to reassure readers that the Constitution of the United States of America is not, in fact, a suicide pact. Researchers at Duke University discovered a gene that gives sheep large beautiful bottoms. Astronomers discovered a new type of black hole.
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 â€” 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 â€” 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 â€” 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 â€” 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 ministerâ€™s lair â€” became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.
One Friday evening, the refugeesâ€™ 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: â€śWe donâ€™t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!â€ť 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 â€śa nation of oppressors and exploiters.â€ť
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â€śHe 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 â€” literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.â€ť