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National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice testified publicly and under oath before the commission investigating September 11; Rice acknowledged that President Bush had received a classified CIA briefing on August 6, 2001, entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States,” though she characterized the report as “historical information based on old reporting.” She also acknowledged that the report mentioned the existence of Al Qaeda sleeper cells in the United States but “there was no recommendation that we do something about this.” Rice also admitted that Richard Clarke, whose book on the Bush Administration’s antiterrorism failures prompted her public testimony, sent her a memo in January 2001 in which he mentioned sleeper cells. Again, Rice said, “there was no mention or recommendation of anything that needs to be done about them.” Rice said that she couldn’t remember whether she had ever mentioned the existence of the sleeper cells to the president prior to August 6.New York TimesThe White House, under pressure from the commission, declassified the August 6 briefing, which in fact warned that Al Qaeda might be planning to hijack airplanes in the United States.Washington Post“That PDB said nothing about an attack on America,” the president told reporters as he left church on Sunday.White House transcriptAdministration officials insisted that the widespread uprising in Iraq, which appeared to show a new alliance between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, was not in fact a widespread uprising but rather a few isolated pockets of “thugs, gangs, and terrorists.”New York TimesDonald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, held a press conference: “We’re trying to explain how things are going, and they are going as they are going,” he said. “And this is a moment in Iraq’s path toward a democratic and a free system. And it is one moment, and there will be other moments. And there will be good moments and there will be less good moments.”Defense Dept. Operational BriefingAmerican forces fired a missile into a mosque in Falluja,New York Timeswhere six hundred Iraqis were reportedly killed this week, and twoReutersdead bodies, allegedly American intelligence agents, were shown on Arab television.Associated PressPresident Bush went fishing.New York TimesA Christian was crucified (for the 17th time) in the Philippines.ReutersPoppy cultivation in Afghanistan, which produced three quarters of the world’s opium last year, was said to be up 30 percent, andNew York TimesPresident Hamid Karzai declared a jihad on drugs.New York Times
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel let it be known that he will no longer be held to his promise not to kill Yasir Arafat.Associated PressSecretary of State Colin Powell said that American prosecutors were thinking about prosecuting Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the recently deposed president of Haiti, for corruption; Powell rejected a call by the Caribbean Community for an investigation into the events surrounding Aristide’s removal from Haiti. “I don’t think any purpose would be served by such an inquiry,” he said.New York TimesThe president of Ingushetia, a Russian republic, survived an assassination attempt, andReutersLithuania’s parliament impeached President Rolandas Paksas.International Herald TribuneA Russian scientist was sentenced to 15 years for selling unclassified material to a British company that Russian authorities claim was a CIA front.New York TimesUnrest continued in Uzbekistan, and policeInternational Herald Tribunein Taiwan used water cannons on protesters.New York TimesUnited Nations secretary general Kofi Annan, who as the U.N. head of peacekeeping failed to intervene to stop the Rwandangenocide, said that the reports of massacres and rapes in Sudan “leave me with a deep sense of foreboding.”New York TimesIllinois expressed regret for the lynching of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum in 1844 and the expulsion of the Mormons in 1846.Associated PressGovernor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California said that he would prefer state legislators to work part-time. “I like them when they’re scrambling and they really have to work hard.”New York TimesPeople were dying of hunger in Zimbabwe.Agence France-PresseNepal banned public protests in Katmandu; 25,000Associated Pressprotesters defied the ban and many were arrested.New York TimesA federal air marshall left her loaded pistol on a shelf in a public restroom at the Cleveland, Ohio, airport near gate C-3; a passenger found the gun and immediately contacted the proper authorities.Cleveland Plain DealerA military lawyer for a Guantánamo Bay prisoner filed a civil lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the president’s military tribunals.New York TimesCivil war broke out between two groups of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels.New York TimesA severed human head was found in a bag on a park bench in Honduras, where the government has been cracking down on street gangs; the bag also contained a note addressed to President Ricardo Maduro: “Maduro old man, we are so hungry we are eating people.”CNNThe head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, formerly known as the KGB, was named head of the Russian Volleyball Association.New York TimesTourism was up in the Middle East.New York Times
The USDA rejected a request from a Kansasbeef company that asked for permission to test all its cattle for mad cow disease; the decision was announced by the department’s undersecretary for marketing and regulation.New York TimesBritish researchers discovered a previously unknown prion disease among sheep.New ScientistThe feral hog population in East Texas was out of control, wildlife scientists warned, and one rancher said he was afraid to let his children leave the yard.Texas A&M UniversityFlorida police arrested a nine-year-old girl for stealing a black-and-white bunny rabbit named Oreo, and theAssociated PressBritish government proposed jailing people for merely associating with terror suspects.GuardianCanada ordered the slaughter of 19 million chickens, turkeys, and ducks to stop the spread of bird flu.New York TimesBrazil said that it had gotten the destruction of the Amazon rain forest under control and that only 9,169 square miles (an area the size of Massachusetts) were destroyed last year.Associated PressAventis Pasteur recalled its Imovax rabies vaccine because a live strain of the virus was found in one batch.Associated PressA new study concluded that Greenland’s ice sheet could melt within a thousand years, which would raise sea level 23 feet, andNational GeographicAmerican scientists announced that frequent ejaculation can help prevent prostate cancer.New ScientistScientists discovered that regular consumption of pig whipworm eggs can cure inflammatory bowel disease.New ScientistSelf-assembling nano-tubes could be used to make better joints, scientists said.Purdue NewsA study found that teenage lesbianssmoke too much.New ScientistCanada banned baby walkers, and aNew York TimesMexican woman performed a cesarean section on herself with a kitchen knife.Reuters
More from Roger D. Hodge:
Chances that a deep breath inhaled today will contain a molecule from Julius Caesar’s dying breath:
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences, by John Allen Paulos, Hill and Wang (N.Y.C.)
The earth once had three moons; the two lost moons may have crashed into the surviving moon, or been sucked into the sun, or flung out of the solar system to drift through deep space.
In Florida, an 87-year-old World War II veteran flying touch-and-go drills in a Cessna collided with an airborne skydiver. âThere was a âwoofâ sound,â said a witness, âlike falling on your face into your pillow.â
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âAmerican politics has often been an arena for angry minds.â