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The White House admitted that President Bush’s claim in his last State of the Union address that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from Niger was based on “unsubstantiated” intelligence;CNNGeorge Tenet, the director of central intelligence, took the blame for the president’s discredited claim and said that “these 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the president.”BBCTom Daschle, the Senate minority leader, said that this matter “ought to be reviewed very carefully.”CNNHoward Dean, the former governor of Vermont and a Democratic presidential candidate, said that “this government either is inept or simply has not told us the truth.”BBCPresident Bush, asked whether he regretted his false claim about the uranium, responded by saying there was “no doubt” in his mind that he was right to conquer Iraq.”And there’s no doubt in my mind, when it’s all said and done, the facts will show the world the truth.”New York TimesCondoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, said that the president’s discredited claim was still technically a true statement: “The British government did say that.”New York TimesAmerican soldiers continued to die in Iraq,Associated Pressand the U.S. Central Command reported an average of 13 armed attacks on American forces each day.Asia TimesPresident Bush’s approval rating was down to 59 percent, according to a new poll, and 52 percent of respondents said that the level of American casualties in Iraq was “unacceptable.”SlateIraq’s new interim Governing Council was announced.Its first act was to abolish six holidays associated with Saddam Hussein; April 9, the date of the fall of Baghdad, was declared a new national holiday.New York TimesDanish troops in Iraq received a supply shipment of lawn mowers and snowplows.Agence France-Presse
President Bush traveled to Africa where he and his family were entertained by the sight of two elephantsmating.New York Times, SlateMrs. Bush read a book about Clifford the big red dog to some HIV-infected children in Uganda; the children responded with a song: “AIDS has no mercy to the youth,” they sang. “We all die young.”ReutersThe Food and Drug Administration was planning to make it easier for companies to make misleading health claims about their food products. “Many Americans are not getting clear information on how the foods they choose affect their health,” said the FDA’s commissioner about the initiative. “We need to do a better job on this urgent public-health problem.”New York TimesIt was discovered that clown fish can change their sex as they move up in social status.New ScientistBritain proposed giving transsexuals the right to get married in their adoptive sex.Daily TelegraphJerry Springer, the talk-show host, filed to run for the Senate in Ohio.ReutersGerman Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder cancelled his Italian vacation in retaliation for insulting remarks about German tourists made by Italy’s tourism minister; regional officials asked the Italian government to declare a “state of calamity” to compensate for the anticipated loss of German tourist business.New York Times, BBCA racist factory worker in Mississippi who was angry at being forced to attend sensitivity training killed five co-workers and then himself.New York TimesThe federal commission investigating the September 11 attacks complained that the Justice Department and the Pentagon were not cooperating.New York TimesPresident Bush was photographed holding hands with the president of Senegal.New York TimesA new study found that marriage significantly undermines the careers of scientists and criminals.Daily Telegraph
The World Meteorological Organization said that the extreme weather conditions observed this spring across the globe (very high temperatures in parts of Europe, 562 tornadoes in one month in the United States, a heat wave in India that killed at least 1,400 people) were strong evidence that global climate change is happening now and that the number of such extreme weather events can be expected to increase.WMO Press ReleaseEastern equine encephalitis, a mosquito-borne disease which mainly affects horses, was said to be “unusually active” this year.New ScientistThe Food and Drug Administration reported that a feed company in Washington State had admitted to violating rules designed to prevent the spread of mad cow disease.ReutersFishermen in Italy were using live kittens to catch giant sheat fish in the Po River.IndependentCustoms agents in Hong Kong seized 10,000 endangered turtles on their way from Malaysia to China, probably to be eaten.Associated PressKraft Foods, apparently worried about tobacco-style lawsuits from obese people, announced that it was committed to producing healthier foods.Daily TelegraphEleven people in Texas were quarantined with SARS-like symptoms.New York TimesLegionnaires’ disease was on the rise.Associated PressA giant flyborg, an artificially intelligent robot balloon, escaped from the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Britain.BBCIt was discovered that some women ovulate more than once a month.New ScientistSingapore lifted its ban on chewing gum.Reuters
More from Roger D. Hodge:
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
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 naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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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.”