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Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel announced plans to evacuate 17 Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip. “I am working on the assumption that in the future there will be no Jews in Gaza,” he said.ReutersYasir Arafat expressed disbelief, right-wing politicians were outraged, and one political ally suggested that the prime minister was merely trying to distract attention from corruption scandals that could result in his indictment.Guardian, Ha’aretzIt was reported that David Kay, the former American arms inspector, was shocked at the huge controversy created when he simply spoke the truth about the nonexistent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.New York TimesPresident George W. Bush said it was important to “compare the facts to what was thought,” and heNew York Timesdecided to order an investigation into American prewar intelligence failures.Associated PressBritish Prime Minister Tony Blair authorized a similar investigation.Financial TimesPowerful Republicans were said to be urging President Bush to get rid of Dick Cheney, who continued to insist, contrary to all evidence, that stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction will be found in Iraq, and that Saddam Hussein was allied with Al Qaeda. “Am I the evil genius in the corner that nobody ever sees come out of his hole?” Cheney asked an interviewer. “It’s a nice way to operate, actually.”Asia TimesThe United States released three teenagers from the Guantánamo Bay prison camp.New York TimesA federal judge struck down as unconstitutionally vague the provision of the USA Patriot Act that bans giving “expert advice or assistance” to terrorists.New York TimesIt was reported that the U.S. government plans to order airlines to provide background information on all passengers for a new screening system, and officialsAssociated Pressin Iowa were thinking about joining the Matrix.Associated Press
A federal judge tried for the third time to impose punitive damages on the Exxon Mobil Corporation for the Exxon Valdez oil spill fifteen years ago; Exxon Mobil said it would appeal the $4.5 billion judgment.New York TimesThe National Research Council of the National Academies said that America’s pollution laws are outdated, and aReutersnew study found that male dolphins, whales, and seals have been turning into hermaphrodites because of pollution.BBCA pierced breast popped out of Janet Jackson’s outfit during the Super Bowl halftime show, and aMSNBCdead sperm whale with an unusually large penis exploded on a street in Taiwan, showering nearby pedestrians, cars, and shops with gore.MSNBCIn Jerusalem, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew up a bus, killing at least 11 people and spraying body parts into nearby buildings.Washington PostA Canadian soldier was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan, as was a British peacekeeper.New York TimesIn Iraq, a suicide bomber drove a car into a Baghdad hotel and killed three people; sixReutersU.S. soldiers were killed by roadside bombs; two employees of CNN were killed in an ambush; threeLos Angeles TimesAmerican soldiers were killed when a homemade bomb destroyed their Humvee; and nine Iraqis died when a suicide attacker drove a car into a police station.New York TimesAt least 67 Iraqi Kurds were killed and 247 were wounded in another suicide bombing.ReutersU.N. secretary general Kofi Annan sent a team to Iraq to see whether it was safe enough to hold elections.Reuters
One hundred twenty-four members of Iran’sparliament resigned to protest the disqualification of more than 2,000 moderate candidates by the conservative Guardian Council.GuardianAlain Juppé, the former prime minister of France, was convicted of corruption.New York TimesJohn Kerry won the New Hampshireprimary, and reportersNew York Timescontinued to notice sartorial oddities among the Democratic presidential candidates.New York TimesA judge ruled that Arnold Schwarzenegger broke campaign-finance laws during the recent election, and theNew York TimesCalifornia Assembly was considering a proposal to incorporate feng shui into the building code.New York TimesThe Food and Drug Administration banned the feeding of cattle blood to calves. Dinner scraps from restaurants, known as “plate waste,” will no longer be fed to cattle either, though rendered cows will still be fed to pigs and chickens, and vice versa.New York TimesDr. Stanley Prusiner, the Nobel Prize-winning expert on prions, said that until all cattle are tested for mad cow disease, none should be considered safe, and he noted that improved feed practices will not prevent spontaneous cases.New York TimesDutchresearchers found that some migraines are caused by brain disease.ReutersA Pennsylvania company recalled 52,000 pounds of beef that might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.New York TimesThe International Poultry Exposition was held in Atlanta; among the items on display were automated slaughterers, pluckers, and skinners; an antibiotic delivery device that injects 3,500 chicks per hour with pressurized air; metal detectors that cull bits of metal and bone from meat; and a hands-free neck-breaking machine.New York TimesThe World Health Organization reported a possible case of human-to-human transmission of the avian flu that has killed millions of birds across Asia and at least 12 people.BBCChina reported a new SARS case after the patient had already recovered.Associated PressA polio case was confirmed in the Central African Republic, which had been free of the disease since 2000, andNew York TimesPresident Bush was reportedly planning to cut back on AIDS and poverty programs in the Third World.New York TimesFormer president Jimmy Carter denounced the proposed Georgia state science curriculum, which omits basic information about the theory of natural selection, and scientistsAtlanta Journal-Constitutiondiscovered a new neurodegenerative disease that affects older men called fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome.Globe and MailThe Congressional Budget Office predicted a record $477 billion budget deficit this year; deficits over the next decade could reach more than $2 trillion if the president’s tax cuts are extended.New York TimesAmazon.com posted its first annual profit.Wired NewsSea piracy was up 20 percent last year, andBusiness Times SingaporeSomalia’s warlords reached yet another peace deal.New York TimesFidel Castro accused George W. Bush of plotting to assassinate him.Associated PressDick Cheney gave the pope a crystal dove.New York Times
More from Roger D. Hodge:
Flor Arely SĂˇnchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San JuliĂˇn region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases â€” first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didnâ€™t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average duration of a Japanese prime minister’s tenure since August 1993, in months:
Brain shrinkage has no effect on cognition.
An Indianapolis fertility doctor was accused of using his own sperm to artificially inseminate patients, and a Delaware man pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing his former psychiatrist.
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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