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The United States raised its terror alert level and said that Al Qaeda might be planning to attack financial institutions in New York, Washington, and Newark, New Jersey. Howard Dean pointed out that, once again, the timing of a new federal terror alert was suspiciously convenient; other Democrats, such as Joseph Lieberman, denounced Dean’s suggestion as “outrageous.”Independent, Washington PostIt was reported that Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, a close associate of Osama bin Laden, retracted his claim that Iraq helped Al Qaeda with weapons of mass destruction, andNew York Timesthe 9/11 commission, which runs out of funds next month, was seeking private donations so that it can continue its work.New York TimesPresident Bush asked Congress to create a national intelligence director.ReutersKuwait banned Fahrenheit 9/11, andAgence France-Presseit was revealed that the Census Bureau has been giving population statistics on Arab-Americans, broken down by zip code, to the Department of Homeland Security.New York TimesThe White House predicted that this year’s federal budget deficit will be $445 billion.New York TimesFive Christian churches in Baghdad were targeted by suicide car bombers, andWashington Postanalysts at Deutsche Bank warned that oil prices could rise to $100 a barrel.ScotsmanPresident Bush crashed his mountain bike.Associated Press
The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution calling on Sudan to disarm its militias in Darfur but declined to use the word “sanctions” and made no mention of using force to stop the ongoing genocide; Sudan denounced the resolution as a declaration of war.Daily TimesMillions of Bangladeshis were left without homes because of flooding; hundreds of people died.New York TimesThere were explosions at the American and Israeli embassies in Uzbekistan, andNew York Timesa gas pipeline blew up in Belgium.New York TimesA Jordanian company said that it would pull out of Iraq after a militant faction called the Group of Death kidnapped two of its employees.New York TimesIraqi gunmen executed a Turkish truck driver.Boston GlobeDoctors Without Borders pulled out of Afghanistan, andNew York Timesricin was found in baby food in Irvine, California.Associated PressMore than 300 people died in a supermarket fire in Paraguay.ScotsmanA government audit found that Halliburton lost about one third of the property it was given to manage in Iraq; 6,975 out of 20,531 items were missing. The lost government property was worth $18.6 million.Houston ChronicleBritish troops allegedly forced Iraqi detainees to “dance like Michael Jackson.”Courier MailIsrael’s cabinet approved betting on horses, andNew York TimesSaddam Hussein was said to be enjoying his American-style cookies and muffins.Reuters
A team of scientists led by Stanley Prusiner, the neurologist who won a Nobel prize for his work on the prion hypothesis, succeeded in creating a synthetic prion that produced a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy in mice.New York TimesFrancis Crick died.New York TimesThe UN was urging that domestic Asian ducks be vaccinated for avian flu, which scientists say has become so common that quarantines and culls will no longer be sufficient.New York TimesThe Bush Administration issued a new rule that will permit the EPA to approve pesticides without finding out from wildlife agencies whether the chemicals will harm plants and animals protected by the Endangered Species Act.Associated PressThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that truancy because of fear of schoolyard violence was on the rise.Associated PressThe Vatican criticized feminists for trying to ignore the differences between men and women and said that a woman “is not a copy of a man.”Associated PressItaly was upset about a poster campaign in the London subway urging people not to eat smelly food; the posters show an overweight man sitting on a train surrounded by parma hams and salamis and strings of garlic.ReutersThe Bush Administration was making plans to harvest methane gas.New York TimesCemeteries in South Africa were recycling graves.New York TimesScientists discovered that fatigue is all in the mind.New Scientist
More from Roger D. Hodge:
Percentage of British elementary-school students who think Isaac Newton discovered fire:
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. “There was a ‘woof’ sound,” said a witness, “like falling on your face into your pillow.”
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“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”