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President Bush unveiled his new “five-point plan” for Iraq during a speech at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and offered to destroy the Abu Ghraib prison if Iraqis want him to; the president also promised to give Iraq a modern prison system.New York TimesThe Bureau of Justice Statistics announced that 1 in 75 American men were in prison or jail last year, and itAssociated Presswas reported that interrogators from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, went to Iraq last fall and trained military intelligence teams at Abu Ghraib prison.New York TimesIyad Alawi, a doctor who has long been on the CIA payroll, was chosen to be the new Iraqi prime minister when “limited sovereignty” is handed over to an interim “caretaker” government on June 30, thoughNew York TimesAmerican officials and the Iraqi Governing Council were still fighting over who would be the interim president.ReutersRichard Perle, James Woolsey, and other right-wing American allies of Ahmad Chalabi met with Condoleezza Rice to announce their displeasure at what they called the recent smear campaign against the Bush Administration’s former favorite Iraqi.New York TimesA Chilean court stripped former dictator Augusto Pinochet of his immunity from prosecution.New York TimesThe International Atomic Energy Agency said that looters have carried off whole buildings from Iraqi military and industrial sites,New York Timesand police in Philadelphia found some children playing with a bazooka.WPVI TV Philadelphia
Attorney General John Ashcroft asked the American public for help finding terrorists who he said are planning to “to hit the United States hard”; a number of officials criticized the announcement and said that the government had no new information about terror threats.Sacramento Bee, New York TimesThe FBI sent out a warning of an “imminent” terrorist attack but then retracted the warning within a few hours.New York TimesA report by the General Accounting Office found that government agencies are engaged in at least 199 data-mining projects, 36 of which involve personal information taken from private sources.Computer WorldThe governor of Georgia declared a state of emergency in six counties because of the “potential danger” posed by demonstrators at the Group of 8 meeting.New York TimesRussia ordered its border guards to be nice.AnanovaPrime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel was still trying to convince his coalition to go along with plans to withdraw from part of the Gaza Strip, and he threatened to fire cabinet members, such as Benjamin Netanyahu, who oppose him.Financial TimesA British journalist who was arrested in Israel for talking to Mordechai Vanunu, the scientist who exposed Israel’s nuclear weapons program, was released from custody and complained that he had been stuck in a dungeon with excrement-covered walls; Vanunu was released last month after 18 years in prison and has been ordered not to talk with foreigners.GuardianAs part of a land-claim settlement with the Canadian government, the Inuit people of northern Labrador agreed to form a 28,000-square-mile autonomous territory called Nunatsiavut.New York TimesSuspected Al Qaeda militants killed 22 people and took many hostages in an attack on the oil industry town of Khobar, in eastern Saudi Arabia.ReutersAn Army Corps of Engineers email revealed that Vice President Dick Cheney’s office “coordinated” Halliburton’s multi-billion-dollar Iraq contract; Cheney has said that he had nothing to do with the contract, which was awarded without competing bids.Agence France-PresseA performer with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus fell to her death in front of an audience.Associated PressThe New York Times published an extraordinary editors’ note admitting that the newspaper had been manipulated by members of the Bush Administration and by Iraqi exiles such as Ahmad Chalabi into running false stories (especially on the subject of Iraq’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction) that advanced the administration’s war agenda and had failed to follow up aggressively on many of those stories, and had failed, in those instances when it did follow up, to make prominent note of the fact that the stories were false. The retraction was published on page A10, where many readers would fail to notice it.New York Times
A researcher at the University of Michigan found evidence that the large increase in asthma and allergies over the last twenty years has been caused by antibiotics.New ScientistA Russian scientist died of Ebola fever, and authoritiesNew York Timesin Texas killed 24,000 chickens after avian flu was found on a farm near Sulphur Springs.New York TimesThe first U.S. case of West Nile virus in 2004 was reported in New Mexico.New ScientistKirin Brewery Co. announced that it had geneticallyengineered a cow, which has not yet been born, that will be immune to mad cow disease.ReutersThirteen million pounds of raw almonds were recalled because of salmonella contamination.New York TimesMTV declined to air advertisements for Super Size Me, a documentary about a man who eats nothing but McDonald’s food for a month, because it was determined that the ads unjustly disparage fast food.ReutersMalibu banned smoking on the beach.New York TimesIt was reported that Las Vegas is still growing.New York TimesScientists discovered in a seven-year study that mice with the highest metabolic rates lived 35 percent longer, a finding that challenges the usual understanding of the relationship of metabolism and life span.Eureka AlertChina sent one of the Buddha’s fingers to Hong Kong.New York TimesArmin Meiwes, the famous German cannibal, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight and a half years in prison.GuardianDoctors in Kentucky, who have been practicing face transplants on dead bodies, asked for permission to give a living person a new face.BBC
More from Roger D. Hodge:
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in Californiaâs ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as âinvasive,â âexotic,â âalienâ â all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as âindigenously Californianâ elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a âhome without its mother.â Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
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 tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the âworldâs biggest selfies,â and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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âShelby 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.â