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A joint congressional committee released an 850-page report concluding that the September 11 attacks could have been prevented; a 28-page section detailing the Saudi Arabian government’s links to the terrorists was redacted.APThe report, which also found no evidence of links between Iraq and Al Qaeda, had been slated for release in December 2002 but was delayed due to administrative wrangling over which sections should be classified.UPIAfter killing Saddam Hussein’s sons, Uday and Qusay, U.S. forces circulated grisly photos of the corpses in hopes that the images would help to dispel conspiracy theories, popular among Iraqis, that the United States is still in league with Saddam Hussein.Agence-France PresseA spokeswoman for the division that conducted the raid declared, “The 101st kicks ass.”CNNFour American soldiers were formally charged with abusing their Iraqi prisoners.APThe International Red Cross demanded information on the status of three dozen Iraqi scientists detained in unknown locations.ObserverDeputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz warned Iraq’s neighbors not to meddle with the American occupying forces, proclaiming, “I think all foreigners should stop interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq.”ReutersThe former head of the U.S. army’s Depleted Uranium Project announced that the damage from munitions used in both Gulf Wars will eclipse the Agent Orange fallout of the Vietnam War.Buffalo NewsA woman from Delaware shipped 200 air-conditioning units to American soldiers in Iraq.AnanovaFrenchpolice evacuated an airport in Toulouse and blew up a bag of puff pastry.AnanovaThe Eiffel Tower caught fire.CNN
The Bush Administration was lobbying to amend a provision of the Kyoto Protocol that would phase out methyl bromide, the single most ozone-destructive chemical still used in industrialized nations.Scientists estimate that the ban would prevent 2 million cases of cancer in the United States and Europe alone; the administration’s proposed amendment would increase the chemical’s use threefold.IndependentA Belgian botanist announced that the banana as we know it will be extinct within a decade.BBCBritish officials instituted a National Foreplay Day after a study found that many Britons were avoiding it.AnanovaAustrian surgeons conducted the first successful transplant of a human tongue.APA mayor in southern Spain banned men from going out on Thursday nights; the mayor, who will deploy brigades of women to patrol the streets and issue fines to errant males, proclaimed that “in future, Thursday will be a day for women.”AnanovaThe Malaysian government decreed that a man may divorce his wife via text message; under Islamic Sharia law men are allowed to divorce their wives by uttering the word “talaq” (“I divorce you”) three times.BBCNorthern Europeans were protesting Greek plans to license more brothels in time for the 2004 Olympics.ReutersThe Canadian government released a 59-page user’s manual for marijuana.Canadian PressScientists in Rome concluded that pizza prevents cancer.ReutersAmericans were spritzing their offspring with “ChildCalm,” a spray that purports to mollify unruly children.Charlotte ObserverThe FDA approved a hormone shot for short kids.AP
Liberians dumped mangled corpses at the U.S. embassy in Monrovia to protest the lack of American involvement in their civil war.CNNMortuary workers in Zimbabwe were renting cadavers to motorists who wished to take advantage of the priority given to hearses in gas-station lines.ReutersOfficials in England unveiled a new system of “restorative justice,” in which criminals may avoid court by apologizing to their victims.ReutersJapanesepolice replaced their sirens with the recorded sound of church bells, in hopes of soothing agitated criminals.AnanovaThe NAACP called for an inquiry into the death of a black man who was found hanging from a tree with his hands tied behind his back; local police had concluded that the man, who had been dating the daughter of a white police officer, had committed suicide.APTwo FBI agents interrogated a bookstore employee who was observed reading an article entitled “Weapons of Mass Stupidity.”Creative LoafingA folksinger was banned from performing at a Border’s bookstore in Fredericksburg, Virginia, after she opined between songs that President Bush has “chicken legs” and would be well advised to lift weights.NewsdayThe Los Angeles Times refused to allow a Secret Service agent to interrogate a cartoonist who had depicted a figure labeled “politics” pointing a gun at President Bush against a background labeled “Iraq.”APA federal judge in Colorado sentenced three nuns to two and a half years in prison for damaging a nuclear-missile silo during an antiwar protest.APDefense contractor Lockheed Martin filed suit against antiwar demonstrators for $41,000 in security costs the company incurred preparing for a protest.Veteransforcommonsense.orgA poll found that 74 percent of Israeli settlers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would leave if paid to do so.Financial TimesOfficials from Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico changed the name of Highway 666 to Highway 491.APA man in Hong Kong set fire to his life savings to protest his bank’s low interest rates.AnanovaGerman scientists announced that vacation lowers your IQ.Ananova
More from Elizabeth Giddens:
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.
Number of people stopped and frisked by the NYPD in 2011 for “furtive movements”:
The faces of Lego people were growing angrier.
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