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Chechen militants took more than 1,000 children and adults hostage at a school in southern Russia, though the Russian government lied at first and claimed that there were only 354 hostages; at least 338 died, half of whom were children, when security forces stormed the school.Washington Post, ReutersA suicide bomber blew herself up in a Moscow subway station, killing at least 10 people.Associated PressPalestinian suicide bombers blew up two buses in Beersheba, killing 16 and wounding at least 80.Associated PressIraqi insurgents blew up another oil pipeline, and aAssociated Presscar bomb killed seven American marines and three Iraqi soldiers near Falluja.ReutersTwelve Nepalese hostages were apparently videotaped as they were killed by Iraqi militants.Associated PressColin Powell admitted that the Bush Administration misjudged the potential for armed resistance in Iraq.Associated PressThree people were trampled to death at an Ikea grand opening in Saudi Arabia.New York TimesArchaeologists found that a chimp-like hominid called the “Millennium Ancestor” was walking upright 6 million years ago.Sydney Morning HeraldPresident Bush said that the “war on terror” is unwinnable but then quickly changed his mind;Associated PressDick Cheney attacked John Kerry for having a “habit of indecision” and a “message of confusion”; and thepresident formally accepted his party’s nomination and promised to make the world a safer place.Washington Post
Millions of people in Florida were evacuated because of Hurricane Frances; thereAgence France-Pressewere floods and landslides in southwest China; earthquakesReutersin western Japan caused tsunamis, and a typhoon hit the country’s southern islands.Associated PressMalaysia announced another outbreak of bird flu.Associated PressThe World Health Organization said that hepatitis E cases have tripled in the last month in Darfur.New ScientistIt was discovered that full-body CT scans expose patients to the same level of radiation that people a few miles from Hiroshima received in World War II, and that the scans increase one’s risk of developing cancer.New ScientistNew research revealed that pollution affects the behavior of many animals such as egrets, gulls, snails, quail, rats, macaques, minnows, mosquito fish, falcons, and frogs. Endosulfan, for example, weakens newts’ sense of smell, lead disrupts the balance of gulls, and goldfish become hyperactive when exposed to atrazine.New ScientistThe United States was planning to develop portable nuclearpower plants, and aNew ScientistNew Jersey man died of Lassa fever.Associated PressThe Food and Drug Administration was trying to decide whether it’s ethical to give childrenamphetamines as part of a study.Associated PressTwo new AIDS vaccines failed to work.AllAfrica.comResearchers concluded that the Atkins diet doesn’t work in the long term, andReutersBill Clinton underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery.MTVArgentine researchers discovered that smoking and drinking are bad for men’s semen.Reuters
About half a million people protested the Republican National Convention in New York City; the protests were said to be the largest ever at a U.S. political convention.USA TodayPresident Bush again called for the privatization of Social Security, and theUSA TodayWhite House announced that monthly Medicare premiums will rise by a record 17 percent next year.Associated PressDick Cheney said that John Kerry is unfit to be president, and itWashington Postwas reported that Cheney’s presence on the Republican ticket will either help or hinder President Bush.Associated PressThe FBI was still investigating a possible Israeli mole in the Pentagon.TelegraphA Jewish man was arrested in France for setting fire to a Jewish community center and painting swastikas on the walls.BBCInvestigators reported that Osama bin Laden apparently does not fund Al Qaeda operations with his personal fortune, as was previously believed.Associated PressSeveral swift boat veterans were angry that their names were included without their permission on letters attackingJohn Kerry.Billings GazetteAlan Keyes, the Illinois Republican Senate candidate, declared that Dick Cheney’slesbian daughter is “a selfish hedonist.”Associated PressA man was arrested in West Monroe, Louisiana, for committing a crime against nature with his sister’s 125-pound Vietnamese potbelly pig.The News StarA scientist in Kentucky claimed to have created viable embryos using cells from dead people and cow eggs; Panayiotis Zavos claimed that his work, which used tissue from an 11-year-old girl who died in a car crash, a dead 18-month-old baby, and a 33-year-old dead man, proved that clones could be made of people after they have died.New ScientistIt was reported that Al Gore was given a speeding ticket in Oregon.ReutersChinese zookeepers were showing videos to a giant panda in an attempt to teach her how to take care of her two cubs.Agence France-PresseConsumer confidence was down.Associated PressA Kansas City company said that its synthetic urine was proving popular with researchers, and demandAssociated Pressfor buttock augmentation surgery was on the rise.TelegraphBrown bears were terrorizing a village in Transylvania.Reuters
More from Roger D. Hodge:
Flor Arely Sánchez 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 Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — 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 didn’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 amount of time a child spends in Santa Claus’s lap at Macy’s (in seconds):
Beer does not cause beer bellies.
Following the arrest of at least 10 clowns in Kentucky and Alabama, Tennesseans were warned that clowns could be “predators” and Pennsylvanians were advised not to interact with what one police chief described as “knuckleheads with clown-like clothes on.”
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“Matt 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. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”