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North Korea announced its intention to accelerate its program to build a nuclear deterrent and said that a U.S. naval blockade or embargo could lead to “all-out war“; a state-run newspaper said that “the Iraqi war proved that disarmament leads to war.Therefore it is quite clear that the DPRK can never accept the U.S. demand that it scrap its nuclear weapons program first.”Associated PressPresident Bush declared that the world will not tolerate nuclear weapons in Iran.”Iran would be dangerous,” he said, “if they have a nuclear weapon.”New York TimesThe Senate Select Committee on Intelligence made a deal to conduct a “review” of the Bush Administration’s handling of intelligence on Iraq but only if Democrats agreed not to call it an “investigation.”New York TimesStansfield Turner, a former director of central intelligence, criticized the Bush Administration for its use of intelligence to justify the conquest of Iraq: “There is no question in my mind [that policymakers] distorted the situation, either because they had bad intelligence or because they misinterpreted it.”Agence France-PresseJohn Dean, former White House counsel to Richard Nixon, was more blunt: “If Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked.Manipulation or deliberate misuse of national security intelligence data, if proven, could be ‘a high crime‘ under the Constitution’s impeachment clause.It would also be a violation of federal criminal law, including the broad federal anti-conspiracy statute, which renders it a felony ‘to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose.’”Findlaw.comOther mainstream commentators were also beginning to use the word “impeachment” in connection with the weapons of mass destruction scandal.Los Angeles TimesAmerican soldiers in Iraq were being killed at a rate of one per day.Guardian
The Justice Department announced that it had arrested a Muslim truck driver from Ohio who has admitted to working with Al Qaeda, and officials said that he was planning to attack the Brooklyn Bridge with a blowtorch.New York TimesOne hundred seventy pounds of cesium 137 and strontium 90 were found in a taxi in Tbilisi, Georgia,New York Timesand 30 kilograms of cesium 137 were recovered from an unemployed schoolteacher in Bangkok who was trying to sell the material to terrorists.”Cesium 137 is serious stuff, highly radioactive,” said one expert.”You put it alongside four kilograms or more of dynamite and you’ve got a really dangerous terror weapon.”Sydney Morning HeraldLos Alamos National Laboratory admitted that it had lost two glass vials of plutonium oxide and said that the radioactive material might have been thrown in the garbage.Associated PressThe International Atomic Energy Agency reprimanded Iran for its refusal to comply with an agreement on nuclear safeguards and called for the country to accept stricter inspections.ReutersMassachusetts repealed its “clean elections” law.New York TimesAttorney General John Ashcroft asked journalists to help convince the American people that the U.S.A.Patriot Act, the antiterrorism law that gave sweeping new powers to federal law enforcement agencies, is really a good thing.New York TimesPresident Bush issued guidelines banning racial profiling except in cases of terrorism and national security.New York Times
The peace process between Israel and the Palestinians continued to move forward: Israel assassinated a Hamas leader;New York TimesPalestinian snipers killed a seven-year-old Israeli girl and wounded her five-year-old sister and her father;Reutersa suicide bomber blew up a grocery store in a small farming town in northern Israel, killing the owner.Deutsche WelleThere were riots in Benton Harbor, Michigan, where black residents have long complained of police harassment, after a motorcyclist died during a police chase.Associated PressSeveral Iranians set themselves on fire to protest the arrest in Paris of 165 members of the People’s Mujahedeen, an Iranian opposition group.Associated PressAung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition leader who was taken into “protective custody” by the military government of Myanmar, turned 58.It was reported that Suu Kyi has not been given a change of clothing since she was detained three weeks ago.Daily TelegraphRussia’s Duma, the lower house of parliament, passed a bill that would allow the government to shut down news organizations that publish “biased” election campaign coverage.New York TimesSenator Orrin Hatch said that he favored the development of technology that would automatically destroy the computers of people who violate copyright restrictions.It was then discovered that Hatch’s own website makes use of pirated software.Wired.comAl Gore was reportedly planning to start a cable television network.New York TimesPresident Bush raised $3.5 million in one night, possibly a new record.New York TimesThe new Harry Potter book sold about 5 million copies in one day; the author, J. K. Rowling, was said to be richer than the Queen of England.New York TimesScientists created a genetically engineered grass that doesn’t cause hay fever.New ScientistOther genetic engineers came up with coffee plants that produce up to 70 percent less caffeine.New ScientistA naked headless corpse was found near the castle Frankenstein in Germany.ReutersA nine-year-old girl in an Indian village married a dog to avoid a bad omen.BBCNew Zealand proposed a tax on flatulent livestock.Reuters
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 “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’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 they’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 don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’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 — because ocean life pays better than money! — 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