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Britain and Spain introduced a resolution to the United Nations Security Council that would suspend sanctions against Iraq and give the United States control over the Iraqi oil industry until a permanent representative Iraqi government takes power; officials acknowledged that this might take a few years.Washington PostAhmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress and a great favorite of the Pentagon, warned his detractors that he had acquired about 60 tons of documents from the files of the Iraqi secret police and the Baath Party, and that the documents detailed Saddam Hussein’s relations with other Arab leaders. He also threatened to shut down Al Jazeera and accused the television station’s journalists of having been informants for the Iraqi government. “We will not allow this channel to continue its destructive work, which might lead to civil war in Iraq through their lies and the spreading of rumors, because rumors,” Chalabi said, “are worse than killing.”New York TimesPresident Bush continued to maintain that “Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction” even as high-ranking administration officials said that they would be “amazed” if such weapons were found.Glasgow Sunday HeraldOther officials suggested that actual illegal weapons might not be found and said that they were more concerned with proving that there had been a “capability” to produce them.Associated Press Weapons experts working in Iraq claimed that they had found a mobile bioweapons laboratory; other military officials in Iraq were skeptical of the claim, saying the evidence was inconclusive and that no trace of such weapons had been found. “We came to bear country and we came loaded for bear,” said one Defense Intelligence Agency official, “and we found that the bear was not there.”Independent.co.ukIraqi nuclear scientists warned that partially enriched uranium from the Al Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center had been taken by looters. “I saw empty uranium-oxide barrels lying around,” one scientist said. “We saw people using them for milking cows and carrying drinking water.”NewsweekPeople living near giant hog factories in the United States were complaining of neurological damage from hydrogen sulfide gas and other dangerous pollutants produced by vast manure cesspools.New York TimesThe Environmental Protection Agency was planning to give large industrial livestock farms amnesty for violations of the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws.New York TimesDonald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, nominated an oilman from New Mexico to be secretary of the Navy.Associated PressTwo American soldiers were shot dead in Iraq, and people thereReuterscontinued to complain about the ongoing chaos and violence of the occupation. Doctors at Baghdad’s Al Rashad state mental hospital said that American soldiers had knocked down their walls with tanks and then did nothing as the hospital was looted. The sole remaining patient, an insane killer named Ali Sabah, explained that he had stayed because “I hate the world and the world hates me. I don’t want the monkey to see me and I don’t want to see the monkey.”New York Times
Senator Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, dropped his attempt to make permanent the broad surveillance powers granted the federal government by the Patriot Act, which are set to expire in 2005, and the Senate voted to expand the power of the government to spy on suspects who are not known to be associated with terrorist organizations.New York TimesA German diplomat charged that the United States is turning into a police state.Times.co.ukThe National Archives announced that it was giving up its attempt to recover the famous 18-and-a-half-minute gap in President Richard Nixon’s White House tapes.New York TimesPrime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy testified at his own bribery trial; heNew York Timescomplained in an interview that he hadn’t been to his house in Bermuda in three years, and said that he was the only man who could save Italy from Communism. “How much longer,” he asked, “do I have to keep living this life of sacrifices?”New York TimesA one-year-old boy was shot dead by Israeli soldiers as he played outside his home in the Gaza Strip.New York TimesIsrael was cracking down on human-rights activists, and itNew York Timesbegan to require all foreigners entering the Gaza Strip, including United Nations relief workers, to sign a waiver stating that they will not hold the Israeli army responsible if it injures or kills them.Sydney Morning HeraldPrime Minister Ariel Sharon dismissed the American peace “roadmap” as “useless formulations that are not connected with reality.”New York TimesA truck bomb killed at least 29 people at a government compound in Chechnya.Washington PostA new study found that violent song lyrics produce violent thoughts and emotions in listeners.New Scientist
King Mohammed of Morocco released 9,459 prisoners from jail to celebrate the birth of his son, Hassan, and reduced the sentences of 38,529 others.ReutersWilliam J. Bennett gave up gambling; Mario Cuomo, the former New York governor, said he didn’t see what Bennett had done wrong and pointed out that gambling is “not among the seven great sins or even among the 70 small ones.”New York TimesThe crew of the cargo ship Pesca Well was under investigation in Panama for possibly throwing five Dominican stowaways overboard. “This case should be a lesson for all seafaring men,” said a magistrate. “Throwing people overboard is no way to solve a problem.”Associated PressOne hundred twenty-nine passengers were sucked out of a Congolese cargo plane when its rear door opened at 33,000 feet.Associated PressPresident Bush appeared to be irritated at criticisms of his recent Top Gun moment: “Listen,” he said, “it was an honor for me to go on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. I appreciate the chance to thank our troops. It was an unbelievably positive experience.”New York TimesBritish scientists put six Sulawesi crested macaques in a room with a computer for a month and found that the monkeys, despite their affection for the letter S, failed to produce a single word but displayed a particular interest in defecating and urinating on the keyboard.Associated PressIt was reported that Microsoft is developing a portable toilet equipped with Internet access.SF ChroniclePeople for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced a “partial moratorium” on its boycott of Kentucky Fried Chicken, a division of Yum Brands, after the company agreed to several demands, such as putting cameras in slaughterhouses to make sure the chickens are butchered as humanely as possible.New York TimesA special federal and state task force was offering grief therapy to farmers in California whose chickens and other fowl were killed to stop the spread of Exotic Newcastle Disease.Associated PressFederal authorities said that they will permit passengers to take cats, dogs, and other animals, including monkeys, on airplanes for emotional support but not snakes, rodents, or spiders.ReutersSwedish authorities refused to permit a couple to name their baby “Staalman,” which is Swedish for “Superman.”Associated PressThe dollar was down against the euro.USA TodayScientists said they were very close to creating sperm.New Scientist
More from Roger D. Hodge:
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”