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George W. Bush named national security advisor Condoleezza Rice to replace Colin Powell as secretary of state.Washington Post A few days later,Condoleezza Rice entered the hospital for minor surgery of an undisclosed nature.ReutersBush spared two Thanksgiving turkeys from death.Reuters “By virtue of an unconditional presidential pardon, they are safe from harm,” he said.White House The turkeys, named Biscuits and Gravy, were chosen by an Internet poll, beating out Patience and Fortitude.White HouseTexas prisoner Anthony Fuentes was executed.Houston Chronicle A buck was captured and euthanized after running through Chicago’s O’Hare AirportABC 7 Chicago, and a Texas website was planning to offer hunters the ability to shoot animals online.ZDNetCongress passed a $388 billion spending bill.USA Today The bill had $15.8 billion worth of “extras,” including $25,000 for the study of mariachi music and $2 million to buy back the presidential yacht, sold by Jimmy Carter in 1977.USA Today The yacht, the U.S.S. Sequoia, currently rents for $2,500 an hour.sequoiayacht.com The bill also allows hospitals and HMOs to refuse to provide abortions, andLA Times gave two committee chairmen and their assistants access to income tax returns, without regard to privacy laws. Republicans acknowledged the mistake of the latter provision, and vowed to repeal it.AP The House Republican Conference changed its rules to allow majority leader Tom DeLay to maintain his leadership role if he is indicted.Bloomberg The dollar fell sharply against the Euro.GuardianInflation roseABC News, and many credit card lenders were doubling and tripling their rates.The New York Times
There was fighting in Baghdad, Addhamiya, and Mosul, where nine Iraqi soldiers were executed.ReutersFox News It appeared that Margaret Hassan, an aid worker held hostage in Iraq, had been executed. Another hostage, Teresa Borcz Khalifa, was released after being held for three weeks.BBC A U.S. Marine was caught on videotape as he shot and killed a wounded, apparently unarmed man in a Falluja mosque.APSoldiers at Fort Lewis, Washington, were throwing chocolate pudding and lemon-lime Gatorade at each other in order to prepare for duty at Army detention centers like Guantánamo Bay. “I feel good about this mission,” said one soldier. “I get to be part of the solution.”The Olympian Web publishers were upset with the White House for denying them the right to host a Christmastime video of Barney the dog; the White House insisted that the publishers link to the video instead of hosting it themselves. Last year’s video, “Barney Reloaded,” which featured Karl Rove draped in Christmas lights, brought 24 million visitors to the White House website.News.com The Army and Air Force increased the number of mobilized National Guard and Army Reserve personnel to 182,478, andDept. Defense Senator John McCain called for up to 50,000 more troops in Iraq.AFPColin Powell visited Israel and the West Bank.BBC
Kmart and Sears mergedCNN, thieves stole a 10-ton railway bridge in Australia,News.com.au and an elderly South African woman was eaten by a shark.CNN A Yemeni FBI informant set himself on fire in front of the White HouseChicago Sun-Times, and the Clinton library opened in Little Rock, Arkansas.SFGate/AP The management of a company with offices near the library asked its employees to leave their guns at home on the day of the opening.Reuters British programmers released a game called “JFK: Reloaded,” which recreates the Grassy Knoll. “Players will discover just how hard it is to place those three bullets in exactly the same way that Oswald did,” said a spokesman for the game company.Guardian It was extremely windy in Austria and SlovakiaABC News, and strong winds killed seven in Poland.Disaster Relief Fifty-five died in an iron mine fire in the Chinese province of HebeiThe New York Times, and 54 were killed in the crash of a passenger plane in Baotou, in Inner Mongolia.BBCChina was planning to launch 100 satellites by 2020.ABC News A plague of locusts, which are kosher, swept through parts of Israel.Wired NewsLocusts also invaded CairoReuters, and Egypt decided to allow foreign belly dancers.ABC13, AP The mayor of Riyadh announced that no foreign observers would be welcome in Saudi Arabia’s municipal elections, nor would women be able to participate as voters, or candidates.Arab News The U.N. announced plans to send 7,000 peacekeeping troops to SudanGlobe and Mail, and U.S. and Afghan forces were looking for three kidnapped U.N. workers in Kabul.SFGate/AP A union representing U.N. staff registered a vote of no confidence in the U.N.’s senior management.Fox NewsUkraine elected Viktor Yanukovich as its president, although observers said the election failed to meet international standards.Reuters The World Conservation Union released a list of 15,589 endangered species, 8,323 of them plants or lichenReuters, and a tanker spilled 44,909 gallons of oil off the coast of Newfoundland.CBC NewsCholera killed 42 in NigeriaReuters, and an experimental jet flew at 6,600 miles an hour.The New York Times A new poll showed that nearly one half of the U.S. population believes that human beings did not evolve, but instead were created by God within the last 10,000 years, while only one third believe that the theory of evolution is accurate.GallupCubans were building a new Russian Orthodox churchDetroit Free Press/AP, and Catholic dioceses in America were buckling under the financial strain of sex-abuse lawsuits; dioceses in Tucson, Arizona, and Portland, Oregon, had declared bankruptcy.Chicago Sun-Times The World Toilet Summit was held in ChinaAP, and Americans were celebrating National Bible Week.HouseScientists flooded the Grand Canyon.ABC News
More from Paul Ford:
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word â€śhallwayâ€ť must have a nautical name. Why didnâ€™t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet heâ€™d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands theyâ€™d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you donâ€™t belong to, that doesnâ€™t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isnâ€™t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members â€” because ocean life pays better than money! â€” who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Number of people stopped and frisked by the NYPD in 2011 for â€śfurtive movementsâ€ť:
The faces of Lego people were growing angrier.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature