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In response to the mad-cow crisis, the United States Department of Agriculture banned the human consumption of cow brains, skulls, spinal cords, vertebral columns, eyes, and nerve tissue from cows older than 30 months. Downer cows may no longer be eaten by humans, though they will be boiled down and fed to chickens and pigs, and younger cow brains may still be eaten.Forbes, New York TimesThe American Meat Institutecriticized the new rules, andNew York Timestrade officials were trying to persuade about 30 countries that have banned American beef that there’s nothing to worry about.Associated PressUSDA officials said that there was no need to test all cattle for mad cow disease before they are eaten, andNewsdayWashington’s mad Holstein was determined to have been old enough to have eaten other cows.New York TimesLarge shipments of frozen french fries, which were pre-fried in beef tallow, were in limbo because Japan and other Asian countries were refusing to accept them.Tri-City HeraldState officials in California said they were unable to reveal the ultimate destinations of a large quantity of tainted soup bones, tenderloins, and other cuts of meat included in the voluntary mad-cow recall, because doing so would violate the beef industry’s proprietary interests. Consumers were told simply to ask their grocers if their meat was infected. “I do think that the USDA has erred in its judgment,” said a health officer in Alameda County. “It has sacrificed the public’s health in favor of the beef industry.”San Francisco ChronicleFederal authorities continued to claim that the diseased meat “is a zero-risk product,” and oneSan Francisco Chroniclegovernment expert pointed out that Americans are much more likely to die of E. coli, listeria, or salmonella than from mad cow disease; in fact, since the mad Holstein was discovered in Washington, more than 1 million Americans were poisoned by their food, 6,000 were hospitalized, and 100 died.Seattle TimesIn Murfreesboro, Tennessee, a man was in trouble for keeping 114 dead cats in his freezer.The TennesseanA new study found that CAT scans might permanently damage young children’s brains.GuardianPresident Bush spent the first day of the new year killing small birds in Texas; he reportedly resolved to eat fewer desserts.New York Times
The FBI issued a national alert to watch out for people carrying almanacs, because almanacs, which contain all kinds of useful information, could be used by terrorists.Associated PressAlmost a dozen commercial flights were cancelled because of security concerns,Christian Science Monitorincluding several Air France flights between Paris and Los Angeles that were called off because of mistaken identities: six passengers, including a five-year-old and an elderly Chinese woman, had names similar to terrorism suspects.Associated PressBritain’s transportation minister warned that terrorism-related delays could be expected “for many years to come.”Associated PressMail bombs were sent to Romano Prodi, president of the European Union Commission; to Europol, the European police intelligence agency; and to the president of the European Central Bank.Associated PressA car bomb blew up a restaurant in Baghdad, atNew York Timesleast eleven people were killed and 68 were wounded when a bomb blew up at a basketball game in the Philippines, and gunmenThe Australiankilled Archbishop Michael Aidan Courtney, the papal nuncio in Burundi.New York TimesA small plane fell from the sky and crashed into two houses near Dallas, and aNew York Timescharter flight from Egypt to Paris crashed into the Red Sea, killing 148 people, mostly French tourists.New York TimesAnother U.S. helicopter was shot down in Iraq.New York TimesOsama bin Laden released a new audiotape calling for Muslims to “continue the jihad.”Associated Press
Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself from the Justice Department investigation of the White House’sexposure of an undercover CIA agent, and a special counsel was named to oversee the inquiry.UPIA new program (called the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology system, or US-VISIT) was launched to photograph and fingerprint every foreigner who needs a visa to enter the United States. “The system,” said one expert, “seems to presume that most terrorists are fools.”NY Daily NewsPolice in Săo Paolo, Brazil, began fingerprinting and photographing American tourists to comply with a judge’s order that Americans be treated like Brazilians who enter the U.S.GuardianIt was reported that the CIA is planning to set up a new secret police force in Iraq, modeled after the Phoenix program of the Vietnam War, that will ensure the United States retains control over the country after official sovereignty passes to a native government. The secret plan, of which Dick Cheney was the purported secret author, will cost $3 billion and will be funded from the CIA’s secret budget.London TelegraphA French magistrate was thinking about indicting the vice president in a bribery case involving a gas liquefication factory built by Halliburton in Nigeria.NationEight aides to President Roh Moo Hyun of South Korea were indicted for illegal fund-raising.ReutersBush Administration officials were trying to figure out how to cut next year’s budget without offending anyone powerful enough to fight back.New York TimesThe American spacecraft Stardust got very close to the Wild 2 comet and managed to photograph its nucleus and to capture some of its dust.New York TimesNASA’s Spirit rover landed on Mars and began sending photographs back to Earth.Associated PressAfghanistan’s loya jirga approved a new constitution; the country will be known henceforth as the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and no law will be made contrary to Islamic belief. “There is rain coming,” said Sebaghatullah Mojadeddi, the council chairman, “and flowers are coming from my body.”New York TimesBritain’s Office of National Statistics said that the country is worth $8.8 trillion.Agence France-PresseSwitzerland pardoned citizens who were convicted of helping Jews during World War II.New York TimesIsrael announced that the population of Jewish settlers in the Occupied Territories has doubled since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993.New York TimesReligious “Yahwists,” people who try to follow Old Testament lifestyle rules, sued Arkansas to force the state to permit Yahwist prisoners to eat kosher meals and to grow long hair and beards.New York TimesSix men were indicted for burning a cross in the yard of a Georgia woman who was dating a biracial man.New York TimesGod told Pat Robertson that George W. Bush would be reelected.Associated Press
More from Roger D. Hodge:
Years ago, I lived in Montana, a land of purple sunsets, clear streams, and snowflakes the size of silver dollars drifting through the cold air. There were no speed limits and you could legally drive drunk. My small apartment in Missoula had little privacy. In order to write, I rented an off-season fishing cabin on Rock Creek, a one-room place with a bed and a bureau. I lacked the budget for a desk. My idea was to remove a sliding door from a closet in my apartment and place it over a couple of hastily cobbled-together sawhorses.
Annual premium on a $6,000 life insurance policy for a champion German shepherd:
Astronomers discovered a pulsar called a superbubble, which spins 716 times per second.
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari told reporters that his wife â€śbelonged toâ€ť his kitchen.
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â€śMatt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'Iâ€™m glad everyoneâ€™s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supportsÂ my lifestyle.'â€ť