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President George W. Bush staged a handshake between the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers at a summit meeting in Jordan.Guardian President Bush, Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas, and King Abdullah II of Jordan stood outdoors together in the hot sun wearing suits and ties but were kept free of unsightly perspiration by tubes installed by White House operatives that blasted cold air from an ultra-quiet air conditioner that was hidden nearby.New York TimesSharon and Abbas read statements about the “road map” to peace that were largely written by American officials.New York Times “I think when you analyze the statements, you’ll find them to be historic,” Bush told reporters later.”Amazing things were said.”Los Angeles TimesHamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade responded to the summit with a joint attack on an Israeli military outpost in Gaza, killing four soldiers.Washington Post, Reuters Elsewhere, in the West Bank, Israeli forces shot a seven-year-oldPalestinian girl in the abdomen.Guardian President Bush flew over Iraq shortly after he told U.S. troops in Qatar that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction would eventually be found.”We’re on the look,” he said.”We’ll reveal the truth.”International Herald Tribune Officials said that the president did not set foot in Iraq because the situation on the ground was too risky.There were also concerns that such a visit would appear too “imperial.”New York Times The president was photographed rubbing a soldier’s big bald head.New York Times The two top editors of the New York Times resigned in disgrace.New York Times A Lutheran minister in Denmark was suspended from his job for saying that “there is no heavenly God, there is no eternal life, there is no resurrection.”Associated Press A brothel in Nevada was offering free sex to American soldiers.CNN
Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector for the United Nations, said that the quality of American intelligence on Iraq was very poor and suggested that the American and British governments had “jumped to conclusions” about weapons of mass destruction.Guardian A growing number of weapons experts, engineers, chemists, and other scientists said that the “germ trailers” trumpeted by the Americans are not at all what one would expect from a mobile weapons lab and that the units appear to be designed to produce hydrogen to fill artillery balloons, which is what Iraqi scientists have claimed.It was reported that the British sold such a system to Iraq in 1987.Observer Two of the highest-ranking Al Qaeda leaders in United States custody denied that Al Qaeda had worked with the Iraqi government.New York Times The British government admitted that Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s director of communications, wrote a letter to the chief of the Secret Intelligence Service apologizing for a report, “Iraq: Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation,” which contained material that was plagiarized from an old out-of-date term paper found on the Internet.Campbell promised to take “greater care” in the future.New York Times Douglas Feith, an undersecretary at thePentagon, denied what he called the “urban legends” that the Pentagonlied about Iraq’s purported weapons of mass destruction or that intelligenceanalysts were pressured to come up with slanted reports. “I can’trule out what other people may have perceived,” he said. “Who knows what people perceive? I know ofnobody who pressured anybody.”Minneapolis Star TribuneToronto Star Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House, said he expected the weapons to turn up eventually and pointed out that it took the FBI five years to catch Eric Rudolph. Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, blamed it all on Bill Clinton.Minneapolis Star Tribune International weapons inspectors were wondering why American troops failed to stop Iraqi villagers who live near Tuwaitha nuclear complex from dumping uranium yellowcake and nuclear sludge on the ground and using the empty radioactive barrels to haul drinking and bathing water; one woman from a nearby village called Al Mansiya (“The Forgotten”) wondered why so many journalists were coming to visit.”We are like a string of beads that has been cut, and all the beads are on the floor,” she told a reporter.”We love the Americans, but we loved Saddam because he was our father.He was the tent over us â?? he was the string in our beads.”New York Times
An internal study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that about 25 percent of the country’s biggest industrial and water-treatment plants routinely violate pollution standards and that the agency does too little to correct the situation.Washington Post The Federal Communications Commission voted to relax restrictions on media ownership.UndernewsTom DeLay, the House Majority Leader, killed a Democratic attempt to extend a new tax credit to 6.5 million low-income families who were left out of President Bush’s latest tax cut.”There are a lot of things that are more important than that,” DeLay said.”To me, it’s a little difficult to give tax relief to people that don’t pay income tax.”New York Times The General Accounting Office warned that government is using “immature technology” in its missile defense shield, which is scheduled to be deployed by 2004.Reuters It was announced that U.S. troops will be pulled back from the “tripwire” along the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.International Herald Tribune Thailand was in trouble with the Bush Administration for its lukewarm support for the war on terrorism.”It is not enough to be with us in the war on terrorism,” said an official.”You have to trumpet it.”New York TimesEpiscopalians in New Hampshire elected an openly gay bishop.New York Times The U.S. Air Guitar Championships were held at the Pussycat Lounge in New York City.Time Out New York A federal appeals court ruled that video games are protected by the First Amendment.CNN The unemployment rate rose to 6.1 percent.New York Times A small airplanedropped from the sky over Los Angeles and landed on an apartment building.New York Times A new study by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found that anti-American sentiment was at an all-time high in the Muslim world.GuardianMartha Stewart was indicted for securities fraud and resigned as CEO of her company.San Francisco Chronicle Pet prairie dogs were spreading monkeypox in the American Midwest.Independent
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