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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:
Flor Arely SĂˇnchez 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 JuliĂˇn region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases â€” 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 didnâ€™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 â€śpredatorsâ€ť and Pennsylvanians were advised not to interact with what one police chief described as â€śknuckleheads with clown-like clothes on.â€ť
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â€śMatt 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. 'Iâ€™m glad everyoneâ€™s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supportsÂ my lifestyle.'â€ť