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Thai health officials confirmed that avian flu has probably begun to spread from person to person. Influenza experts were begging drug companies to begin manufacturing enough vaccine to prevent a pandemic but the companies were complaining that production is too expensive and that they will lose money if a pandemic does not occur. Patent issues were also cited.New York TimesEmory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, began notifying more than 500 patients that they might have been exposed to sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakobdisease because of inadequate sterilization procedures.Associated PressTony Blair underwent heart surgery, andNew York TimesMerck & Co. withdrew its arthritis drug Vioxx because it apparently doubles the risk of heart attack.New ScientistThe Pope beatified Karl I, the last emperor of Austria, an alcoholicadulterer who performed a miracle and used poison gas during World War I; the miracle allegedly occured in 1960, when a Polish nun prayed to Karl and was cured of sores and varicose veins.TelegraphA Muslim schoolgirl in France shaved her head to protest the ban on Islamic head scarves, and eightReutersstudents in Georgia were poisoned by a cookie.New York TimesTwenty-six people were killed by separatist bombs in the Indian state of Nagaland.Reuters
Senator John Kerry defeated President George W. Bush in their first debate. Bush was criticized by experts for giving simplistic answers, smirking, slouching, and repeating himself. He said eleven times that his job is “hard work,” and referring to Missy Johnson, whose husband was killed in Iraq, the president said that “it’s hard work to try to love her as best I can.”New York TimesSquirrel season opened in Louisiana.New York TimesIn Baghdad, suicide bombs killed dozens of children who were gathering to receive candy from U.S. soldiers.BBCIraqischoolchildren were still waiting to start school, which has remained closed because of the ongoing civil war.New York TimesCondoleezza Rice was still trying to use the discredited story of Iraq’saluminum tubes to justify the invasion of Iraq.New York TimesThe oxygen generator failed on the international space station, and theCBSArmylowered its standards in an attempt to attract more recruits.New York TimesElection officials across the country were reporting record numbers of new registrations, and Republican state officials in Ohio and Florida were doing their best to invalidate them on technicalities.New York TimesA federal judge ordered the government to notify Indian land owners before it sells their property; the ruling was part of a lawsuit in which Indians claim that the U.S. government has cheated them out of $137 billion in royalties from the use of their lands.New York TimesFistfights broke out among Christians from different sects at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which is said to be the site of Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, and the site of his tomb. “There was a lot of hitting going on,” said a witness. “Police were hit, monks were hit, there were people with bloodied faces.”GuardianThere was more rioting in Haiti.Associated PressA suicide bomber killed 23 people at a Shiite mosque in Sialkot, Pakistan.New York TimesScientists were waiting for Mount St. Helens to blow up.Seattle Times
A federal judge struck down a provision of the USA Patriot Act that permitted the FBI to carry out secret searches of Internet and telephone records but prevented companies from revealing that the searches had taken place. John Ashcroft said that the act is “completely consistent with the United States Constitution.”Associated Press The FBI was having a hard time translating all its intercepted terrorism-related wiretap conversations.New York TimesA new homeland security blimp was seen flying around in Washington, D.C., and the House of Representatives voted to overturn Washington’s 27-year-old ban on handguns.New York TimesResearchers were trying to make buckyballs, the carbon nanoparticles that kill water fleas and damage fish brains, safer.New ScientistChinese researchers unveiled a microscopic swimming robot.New ScientistCases of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) were on the rise.ReutersSpain’s cabinet approved a measure legalizing gaymarriage.New York TimesRichard Avedon died.New York TimesA new study suggested that vitamin supplements could increase the risk of dying from cancer.GuardianRussia’s cabinet approved the Kyoto Protocol, andNew York TimesRepresentative Tom DeLay was “admonished” by the House ethics committee for trying to bribe a colleague to change his vote on a bill.New York TimesUNICEF warned that sex slavery is booming in south Asia, and aReuterspenis snatcher was beaten to death in Nigeria.iAfrica
More from Roger D. Hodge:
Damages sought, in a defamation suit, by a Chicago landlord from a tenant who complained about mold via Twitter:
The British House of Lords voted to limit the right of parents to spank their children.
The Mall of America hired its first black Santa, a real estate company valued Mr. and Mrs. Claus’s North Pole home at $656,957, and it was reported that the price of the gifts from “Twelve Days of Christmas” went up by more than $200 in 2016, to $34,363.49.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."