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After maintaining for three years that Yaser Esam Hamdi, an American citizen captured in Afghanistan, was so grave a threat to the United States that merely permitting him to meet with his lawyer would fatally compromise national security, the Bush Administration (having been told by Justice Antonin Scalia that “the very core of liberty secured by our Anglo-Saxon system of separated powers has been freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the Executive”) declined to defend its case against Hamdi in open court and announced that he will be stripped of his citizenship and released in Saudi Arabia.Boston Globe, Washington Post, ZNetCharges were also dropped against Ahmad al Halabi, a Syrian-American airman who was accused of spying at the prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. ReutersColin Powell said that the Iraqi insurgency is “getting worse,” and U.S. forces arrested a high-ranking officer in the Iraqi National Guard, one week after he was appointed commander of the Diyala province, because he supposedly has ties to insurgents.BBCPresident Bush said that John Kerry’s criticisms of his policies in Iraq are hurting the war effort.ABC NewsAn expert panel appointed by the Pentagon concluded that the United States lacks the troops to maintain its current military commitments, andNew York TimesHalliburton was thinking about selling its KBR subsidiary, which handles the company’s contracts in Iraq.New York TimesThe Pentagon announced that it will issue microwave pain guns to its forces in Iraq.Daily TelegraphThe United States military was planning a large new offensive in Iraq to prepare for the scheduled January elections, andWashington PostSecretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld admitted that the ongoing war could result in a “limited” election. “Well, so be it,” he said. “Nothing’s perfect in life, so you have an election that’s not quite perfect.”Reuters
The Transportation Security Administration announced that it plans to force airlines to provide personal information about passengers so that it can test a new system for identifying potential terrorists; in some cases the airline records will be compared with private databases.ReutersYusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, was refused entry to the United States because his name appears on a list of terrorism suspects.ReutersThe federal government refused to admit that a regulation exists requiring airline passengers to show a form of picture ID before they board planes.Sacramento BeeThe inspector general of the Homeland Security Department reported that airport screeners are still permitting knives, guns, and explosives to be smuggled through security checkpoints by government testers.New York TimesMore flaws were found in Diebold Election Systems’ electronic voting machines.Wired NewsThe Israeli government seized 80,000 cans of dog food that had been labeled as foie gras.Christian Science Monitor2004-09-27HaaretzThe BBC cancelled a satirical cartoon series called “Popetown,” which featured corrupt bishops and depicted the pope jumping around the Vatican on a pogo stick.Guardian, Associated PressAn academic conference at Yale University was devoted to Michael Jackson, andAssociated PressJimmy Swaggart said that he would kill any gay man who “looks at me like that.”The AdvocateWal-Mart agreed to stop selling The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, a nineteenth-century anti-Semitic forgery, on its website; a spokesman said the company had “made a business decision to remove this book.”Jewish Telegraph AgencyDavid Koresh’s 1968 Camaro was sold at auction to a car wash owner from San Antonio, Texas, for $37,500.Houston ChronicleIsrael used a car bomb to assassinate a Hamas official in Syria.Christian Science MonitorA Malawianpothead decapitated two women with an axe.Reuters
President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria said that the African Union will send thousands of troops to keep the peace in Sudan.New York TimesNigerian rebels threatened to attack oil wells in the Niger delta.ReutersCalifornia regulators announced that car makers must cut carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by 2016, and crudeWashington Postoil closed at $48.88 a barrel, a new record.BloombergArmed gangs rioted in Haiti outside a food distribution center in Gonaives, which was largely destroyed by tropical storm Jeanne.NewsdayAnother hurricane hit Florida.Washington PostIn Italy, an old woman was killed by a falling crucifix, and theIndependentcompany that makes Hostess Twinkies and Wonder Bread went bankrupt.ReutersNew research concluded that low-birthweight babies are twice as likely to commit suicide.BBCIt was discovered that Israelitraffic fatalities rise by 35 percent in the days following a terrorist attack.New ScientistScientists said that over the last 15 years several glaciers in Antarctica have increased the rate at which they are sliding into the sea.Wired NewsThe discovery that methane and water vapor are concentrated together on Mars suggested that methane-producing bacteria may be present on the planet.New ScientistA group of Australian scientists developed a vaccine to cut down on the methane emitted by sheep when they belch and fart.New ScientistChina opened its first Formula One raceway.New York TimesAmerican researchers developed a device that uses spinach to generate electricity, and scientistsNew Scientistwere hoping to use rat brainwaves to find people buried by earthquakes.New ScientistCalifornia banned necrophilia.Scotsman
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