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President George W. Bush traveled to Great Britain, along with 650 companions, including five personal chefs, but was unable to move freely in the country because of massive protests. At Buckingham Palace the president dined on roasted halibut with herbs, free-range chicken, potatoes cocotte, salad, and a sorbet bombe but presumably skipped the Puligny-Montrachet and the Veuve Clicquot, Gold Label, 1995. Truck bombs blew up the British Consulate and a British bank in Istanbul, killing at least 27 and wounding hundreds. Bloody victims ran screaming through the streets. Two hotels in Baghdad used by Westerners were bombed as was the headquarters of a pro-American Kurdish group in Kirkuk.New York Times, Daily TelegraphIraqi guerrillas were using homemade rocket launchers pulled by donkeys and concealed by piles of hay.New York TimesThe Pentagon was planning to launch a 24-hour satellite television channel based in Baghdad to make it easier to circumvent the news media “filter” that Bush Administration officials believe is misleading the public by emphasizing bad news about the occupation of Iraq.Washington PostPresident Bush was asked to comment on the contradiction between “all [his] talk of freedom, justice and tolerance” and the treatment of the prisoners at GuantĂˇnamo Bay, Cuba. “Justice is being done,” he replied. “These are illegal noncombatants.”New York TimesRichard Perle, a Pentagon adviser and one of the architects of the conquest of Iraq, admitted to an audience in London that the invasion was illegal: “I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing.”GuardianCounterterrorism officials said that all the recent Al Qaeda attacks were a sign that the organization has been weakened.New York TimesA rocket hit a hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan.Associated PressAn animal-rights group fed ham to 70,000 sheep that were destined to be eaten in the Middle East.Agence France-PresseL. Paul Bremer, the American proconsul of Iraq, said that Saddam Hussein is “a voice in the wilderness.”New York TimesLondon banned the feeding of pigeons in Trafalgar Square.Reuters
Judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan heard arguments over the indefinite detention of Jose Padilla, an American citizen who was arrested in Chicago last year and declared an “enemy combatant.” A government lawyer said that “Al Qaeda made the battlefield the United States”; an opposing lawyer said that “the president seeks an unchecked power to substitute military power for the rule of law“; Judge Rosemary Pooler observed that “as terrible as 9/11 was, it didn’t repeal the Constitution.”New York TimesThe Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that homosexuals have the right to get married.New York TimesThe House of Representatives voted to ban keeping lions, tigers, and other “big cats” as pets.Agence France-PresseMichael Jackson was arrested and booked for being a child molester; he then made bail and went to Las Vegas. His lawyer, who also represents Scott Peterson, an accused double murderer, said that the charges are “a big lie.”Fox NewsMexico fired its ambassador to the United Nations for saying that the United States treats his country as a backyard. “We never, ever, in any way would treat Mexico as some backyard or as a second-class nation,” said Colin Powell, the secretary of state. “We have too much of a history that we have gone through together.”New York TimesThe Carnegie Endowment for International Peace released a study concluding that Nafta has failed to create jobs for Mexico and has hurt thousands of rural Mexican farmers. The report also said that the net effect on U.S. jobs had been “minuscule.”New York TimesTen thousand people demonstrated in Miami against a meeting of trade officials who hope to set up a free-trade area among 34 countries in the Western Hemisphere.New York TimesPresident Eduard Shevardnadze of Georgia was forced to resign in the face of massive protests, andNew York TimesMuslims across the Middle East celebrated Jerusalem Day by demonstrating and chanting, “Death to Bush! Death to Sharon!”Associated PressThe Department of Homeland Security was reportedly planning to abandon its program requiring most Arab and Muslim foreign men to register with the government. Sources said the program was expensive, inefficient, and useless.New York TimesThe United Nations war-crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia heard testimony from Miroslav Deronjic, a former Bosnian Serb politician, that Radovan Karadzic gave the order in 1995 to slaughter the Muslim men and boys of Srebrenica: “At one moment, he said the following sentence to me: ‘Mirsolav, all of them need to be killed â?? whatever you can lay your hands on.’”New York Times
Conrad Black, the right-wing Canadian press mogul and British lord, was caught receiving large “unauthorized payments” from his company and announced that he was resigning as CEO and that he will sell his company, Hollinger International, which owns the Chicago Sun-Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Jerusalem Post, and other media properties.New York TimesIt was reported that Arnold Schwarzenegger wore a Prada suit to his inauguration as governor of California; his wife, Maria Shriver, wore a cream skirt and shell by Valentino.New York TimesKrist Novoselic, the former bassist for Nirvana, was thinking about running for lieutenant governor of Washington.New York TimesThe big mutual-fund scandal continued to unfold, andNew York TimesSenate Democrats and moderate Republicans used a fillibuster to block a $30 billion energy bill that would have given immunity from lawsuits to petrochemical companies that have polluted water supplies with MTBE, a carcinogenic fuel additive.ForbesThe Russian Orthodox Church denounced the Mormons for buying the names of dead Russians so they can baptize their dead souls. “Our ceremony is not rebaptism,” said a spokesman for the Nizhni Novgorod Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, “it only gives the soul of the deceased person the freedom of choice to accept our belief or to reject it.”GuardianA German cannibal named Armin Meiwes said he was sorry for killing and eating another man, who supposedly agreed to be eaten and shared a meal of his own penis with his killer. Prosecutors have charged Meiwes with “murder for sexual satisfaction,” because cannibalism is not a crime in Germany.BBCThe Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency began preliminary research into the development of a “hypersonic cruise vehicle” that in theory will be able to take off from a normal runway in the United States and within two hours striketargets more than 10,000 miles away.New ScientistAn American warship docked at Ho Chi Minh City.ReutersIsraeli researchers successfully used DNA to create a functional self-assembling electronic nano-device.New ScientistBritain’s Royal College of Surgeons said that face transplants, though technically possible, probably should not be performed.New ScientistGiant pouched rats were being used to sniff out land mines in Mozambique.Guardian
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.
Number of people stopped and frisked by the NYPD in 2011 for â€śfurtive movementsâ€ť:
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