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Nobel Prize winner Rahman Abdel-Raouf Arafat Al-Qudwa, better known as Yasir Arafat, died of unknown causes at a French military hospital. He was 75.AP Samples of Arafat’s blood were sent to the United States and Germany to test for poison, whileJerusalem Post some claimed that Arafat had a fondness for wild homosexual orgies, and had consequently died of AIDS.Front PageArafat’s funeral, attended by tens of thousands, was marked by two hours of honorary gunfire.Jerusalem PostMahmoud Abbas, Arafat’s most likely successor, dodged bullets in Gaza.Al Jazeera The Palestinian leadership was left wondering where Arafat had stowed his billions of dollars, andThe New York Times downtown Jerusalem went wireless, with free Internet access for all.Ha’aretz In Iraq, the United States took control of Falluja. Thirty-eight U.S. troops, six Iraqi soldiers, and 1,200 insurgents were killed in Operation al-Fajr (the Dawn), previously known as Operation Phantom Fury.Global Security Civilians there were finding it hard to come by medical supplies, and few clinics remained open. “People are eating flour because there’s no proper food,” one refugee reported.Al Jazeera Troops were diverted from Falluja to quell uprisings in Mosul, andUSA Today there were at least five explosions in Central Baghdad.Al Jazeera Tanks rolled through Los Angeles. At first it appeared that they were responding to protests by civilians, but it later was revealed that they were only stopped at a red light.AlternetLA Times The State Department pledged $90 million to rebuild Falluja, andAP the New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art paid more than $45 million for Duccio di Buoninsegna’s 8″x11″ “Madonna and Child.”Charlotte Observer
Commerce Secretary Donald Evans and Attorney General John Ashcroft resigned, as did MSNBC Secretary of State Colin Powell, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, Education Secretary Rod Paige, and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.ABC News “Corporate integrity has been restored,” Ashcroft wrote to the President. “The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved.”The New York TimesHalliburton admitted that it might have bribed Nigerian officials.ForbesDick Cheney, who appears to have an enormous penis, Milwaukee Magazine went to a hospital complaining of shortness of breath, and was discharged three hours later.Boston Globe A pregnant baboon ran wild at George Bush Airport, and Houston ChroniclePresident Bush nominated Alberto R. Gonzales to replace Ashcroft.Washington Post Gonzales, a critic of the Geneva convention and long-time Bush loyalist,AP was instrumental in protecting then-Governor Bush from the details of clemency pleas for death row inmates in Texas,Common Dreams and in 1996 took pains to help Bush hide a 1976 drunk driving conviction.Texas Monthly Former high-school football star Demarco McCullum, Texasprisoner #999180, The Advocate became the 21st prisoner executed in that state this year.CNN A train carrying nuclear waste from Valognes, France, to Gorleben, Germany, arrived late after being delayed by protestors, one of whom died after he chained himself to the tracks and was run over.BBC News At the beginning of the week, Iran was working hard to convert 37 metric tons of milled yellowcake uranium into enough uranium hexaflouride for five nuclear weapons,Jane’s but later in the week, it promised to stop.Globe and MailEgypt rejected claims that it had secret nuclear ambitions.AP The Christian-dominated government of the Ivory Coast continued to battle a Muslim insurgency.CBN News President Laurent Gbagbo accused France, which has 4,000 peacekeeping troops in the region, of favoring the rebels, andBBC News anti-French feeling among southern Ivorians ran high. “I want a Frenchman. I want to eat a Frenchman,” said one protestor.CBN News Astronomers took a closer look at Uranus, and found it stormy, with “vigorous convective activity in the southern hemisphere”; they described the rings around Uranus as “a layer of chunks.”New ScientistTelevision was banned in Afghanistan.WJLA
A North Carolina doctor gave women orgasms by running electric wires directly into their spines,ABC News a 29-year old Connecticut woman accused her eight-year-old boyfriend of being too controlling, andConnecticut Post Online scientists discovered three new species of sea squirt.CNN The presidential race was still undecided in New Mexico.ReutersJohn Kerry, the junior senator from Massachusetts, told reporters, “Fifty-four plus million Americans voted for health care, they voted for energy independence, they voted for unity in America, they voted for stem-cell research, they voted for protecting Social Security.” The Daily StarTennessee took steps to eliminate its public health programs, andState of TennesseeBush moved forward with his plan to privatize Social Security.USA Today Scientists noted that Arctic warming could make it easier to find oil.Reuters It was also observed that global warming is good for squid.ABC News Shell Oil opened the first hydrogen refueling station in North America.Guardian Centrist Democrats launched “Third Way,” an advocacy group that they hope will create a “moderate majority.”Washington PostJerry Falwell announced the Faith and Values Coalition, a revival of the failed Moral Majority. The new group will fight against abortion, homosexual rights, and Democrats.ABC News When asked to discuss Bush’s obligations to evangelical Christians, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said, “This President is someone who is committed to getting things done.”White House The President spoke to Muslim leaders at an Iftar dinner to celebrate the end of Ramadan. “We will always protect the most basic human freedom,” he said, “the freedom to worship the almighty God without any fear.”VOA NewsPresident Bush refused to return the phone calls of Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, opting instead to meet with former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar. FTBush also met with Tony Blair, White House who is threatened with impeachment at home. They discussed the Middle East.The Independent The White House ordered the CIA to purge all agents who were disloyal to the president.Newsday In Japan, young women were being raped by the men with whom they’d hoped to commit suicide.The Japan Times Iris Chang, author of The Rape of Nanking, killed herself, andChicago Tribune researchers at Carnegie Mellon announced a remote-controlled wireless pillow that sends hugs.The New York TimesChicago’s parks division announced plans to track its employees with GPS monitors, like animals, andChicago Sun TimesNASCAR officials decided that race cars can be emblazoned with liquor ads.APWu-Tang Clan co-founder Russell Jones, also known as O.D.B., Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Dirt McGirt, and Big Baby Jesus, died at age 35.ABC News All around the world, dogs were doing yoga.Animal Planet
More from Paul Ford:
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