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The interim Iraqi government officially notified the International Atomic Energy Agency that 380 tons of extremely powerful HMX and RDX explosives that American forces simply failed to secure have disappeared from a former military facility called Al Qaqaa. The explosives can be used to destroy buildings, arm missile warheads, and detonate nuclear devices, and it was generally conceded that the Al Qaqaa cache, which was under seal by the IAEA prior to the U.S. invasion, is the most likely source of the explosives used in the extremely effective roadside and suicide bombs that have been the primary weapon of the Iraqi insurgency. The Department of Defense has known about the loss of the explosives for more than a year.The Nelson ReportU.S. officials said that the Iraqi insurgency is at least twice as large as previously estimated and that it has “unlimited money.”New York TimesAttacks on Americans in Iraq were up about 30 percent.New York TimesTransparency International announced that Iraq is among the most corrupt countries on Earth, and theNew York Timeschief contracting officer for the Army Corps of Engineers called for an investigation of how Halliburton was awarded large government contracts for work in Iraq.New York TimesFifty new Iraqi soldiers were ambushed and killed near Mandali.New York TimesMargaret Hassan, the local director of CARE International, was kidnapped and later appeared on television begging for her life.Associated PressPat Robertson revealed that God told him the Iraq war would be a disaster and that he tried to warn President Bush, who refused to listen. “I mean, the Lord told me it was going to be (a), a disaster, and (b), messy,” Robertson said. “I warned him about casualties.”CNN
President Bush accused Senator John Kerry of using “old-style scare tactics” in his campaign for president; Vice President Dick Cheney warned that John Kerry isn’t strong enough to win the war on terrorism, especially if a nuclear bomb goes off in the middle of one of our cities.New York TimesIt was reported that the federal government has still failed to stockpile anti-radiation pills, which can prevent thyroid cancer from radiation in the event of a nuclear accident or terrorist attack, and that even the distribution study required by the Bioterrorism Act of 2002 has not been completed.New York TimesCounterterrorism officials were still having a hard time finding specific evidence to support Tom Ridge’s claim in July that Al Qaeda is planning to disrupt the November election.Washington PostAbsentee ballots missing the names of John Kerry and John Edwards were mailed to Ohio voters.Cincinnati PostTwo Polish doctors and two ambulance workers were charged with murder for killing patients in exchange for kickbacks from funeral homes.Associated PressSome Israeli rabbis were calling on soldiers to disobey orders if they are told to expel settlers from the Gaza Strip.New York TimesThe state government of Utar Pradesh in India was investigating reports that the Taj Mahal is leaning.Associated PressSecretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson said that the flu vaccine debacle is “not a health crisis,”CNNseveral states were threatening to jail or fine medical personnel who give flu shots to healthy people, andBritish Medical Journalit was reported that European countries, which prudently avoided depending too much on any one supplier, do not expect to experience shortages.New York TimesA 14-year-old Thai girl died of avian flu, andAgence France-Pressetwenty-three tigers died in a Thai zoo after they were fed infectedchickens.Associated PressSenator John Kerry killed some geese in Ohio and showed reporters his bloody hand to prove it.New York Times
Researchers at Yale University successfully grew human testicular tissue in mice; the goal of the research is to harvest sperm from the tissue so that pre-pubescent cancer victims can preserve their fertility.New ScientistBritish scientists want to create human embryos that have three genetic parents.New ScientistA recount resulted in a revised estimate of the number of human genes to between 20,000 and 25,000, andNew ScientistFrench researchers reported that the spotted green pufferfish also possesses about 25,000 genes.New York TimesSingle mothers are less likely to give birth to boys, a study found, and anotherNew Scientiststudy found that the children of older fathers have a greater risk of going crazy later in life.British Medical JournalThe U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the world’s whales had no standing to sue President Bush over the Navy’s use of sonar equipment that kills them.ReutersTribal sheiks from Falluja asked the Americans to please stop bombing their city, and aNew York TimesNational Guard jet accidentally bombed a hiking trail Pennsylvania.Associated PressAnthony Hecht died.TelegraphBoston police killed a woman with a non-lethal pepper spray projectile after the Red Sox defeated the New York Yankees to win the American League Championship Series.Associated PressNew calculations suggested that gravity may not be a constant after all.New ScientistPresident Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan inaugurated a large new mosque in Kipchak, his birthplace; the marble walls of the mosque, which covers 190,000 square feet and holds up to 10,000 worshippers, are engraved with sayings from the Koran and from the Rukhnama, Niyazov’s spiritual autobiography.Agence France-PresseSix Buddhist monks from Ratchaburi, Thailand, were arrested and defrocked for holding wild drug and alcohol parties.New York TimesThe British Armed Forces officially recognized its first Satanist, a sailor on the HMS Cumberland who will now be permitted to perform Satanic rituals on board.BBCGerman archaeologists unearthed Martin Luther’s privy.BBC
More from Roger D. Hodge:
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
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 naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby 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.”