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It was Lent.The Arizona RepublicDeep Throat was dying,Miami Heraldand the creator of Dolly the sheep was granted a license to clone humans.ReutersA NASA study found that 2004 was the fourth-warmest year on record, andThe New York Timesa report showed that, between April and September 2001, the Federal Aviation Administration received fifty-two reports about Al Qaeda’s plans to hijack airplanes.Washington PostScientists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told of being forced to cover up their findings regarding risks to endangered species. Forty-two percent said they feared retaliation if they told the truth.Union of Concerned ScientistsKarl Rove was promoted.AZ CentralCondoleezza Rice visited Paris, andGuardianDonald Rumsfeld visited Iraq, whereNews24election results were announced. Several parties gained seats in the newly created Iraqi parliament, including the United Iraqi Alliance, the Kurdistan Alliance, the Iraqi List, “Iraqis,” the Turkmen Iraqi Front, National Independent Elites and Cadres Party, the Communist Party, the Islamic Kurdish Society, the Islamic Labor Movement in Iraq, the National Democratic Alliance, National Rafidain List, and the Reconciliation and Liberation Entity.The New York TimesAlberto Gonzales was sworn in as attorney general, andThe New York Timesit was discovered that George W. Bush reads newspapers, likes his iPod, and recycles.LA TimesLaura Bush fired the White House chef, andIHTNorth Korea decided to ramp up its nuclear program in response to threats from the U.S.CNN.comSaudi Arabia denied that it was shopping for nuclear weapons.Dailytimes.com.pk
Wal-Mart announced plans to close a store in Canada after the store’s workers unionized;The Streetin a separate case, the company agreed to pay $135,540 in fines for breaking child-labor laws.ABC NewsHewlett-Packard fired CEO Carly Fiorina,The New York TimesVerizon agreed to buy MCI, andThe New York TimesHoward Dean was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee.BBC NewsChimpanzees were found to have a sense of justice, andScientific Americansecret documents showed that Cambridge University, among other institutions, has neglected and tortured monkeys in its laboratories. The monkeys screamed in fear and anger and tried to escape from their boxes.GuardianThe pope endorsed suffering.APThe last witness to the miraculous appearance of the Virgin Mary at Fatima died, andThe Daily Telegrapha Canadian clinic planned to offer prescription heroin.APThe Supreme Court of California decided to allow mentally retardeddeath-rowprisoners to appeal their cases.LA TimesA four-year-old Michigan boy snuck out of the house and drove his mother’s car to a video store, andCNN.comNASA decided to scrap the Hubble space telescope.New ScientistThe Commerce Department announced that the U.S. had a $672 billion trade deficit in 2004.BBC NewsA New York City man died of a new drug-resistant and extremely virulent strain of HIV that causes AIDS in only twenty months.CNN.comMahmoud Abbas and Ariel Sharon shook hands across a table and declared a truce between Israel and Palestine.BBC NewsThe Queen of Denmark sued Missy Elliott for infringing on her crest,SFGatePrince Charles was engaged to Camilla Parker Bowles, andNY Postconservatives began considering Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty for the 2008 presidency.ABC News
Congress was once more casting its eye towards the oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.Washington PostThe Bush Administration continued to promote its plan to gut Social Security, andABC Newsactor Tom Sizemore tried to cheat on a drug test by using a fake penis to pass urine.SFGateA Swedish woman found a “medium-sized” penis in a bottle of ketchup. “I will never buy this brand again,” she said.Mail and Guardian OnlineZimbabwean women’s track-and-field star Samukeliso Sithole turned out to be male. Sithole, who owns several beasts, claims that his penis has grown in only recently.AllAfrica.comThe government of Uganda was concerned about a production of the play “The Vagina Monologues.” “The author of the film is a known lesbian who lives with another woman,” said James Nsaba Buturo, the minister for information. “She worships the female sexual organ, seeing it as her god.”All AfricaAlan Keyes disowned his daughter and threw her out of his house because she is a lesbian.Washington PostIt was discovered that the United States has been sending unmanned drones to spy on Iran’snuclear facilities since April 2004.Chicago TribuneUnited Statesimmigration authorities were evaluating a program that uses unmanned drones to patrol the border of Arizona and Mexico, andUSA TodayIsrael unveiled a tiny new drone that can be launched from a canister.Jerusalem PostIsrael has also developed a bomb that stinks for five years.Al JazeeraAnti-Semitism was on the rise in London; there were complaints of arson, beatings, and the mailing of a snuffbox filled with excrement.The IndependentIn Afghanistan, a French soldier committed suicide, andNews.com.auat the Best Buy in the Hudson Valley Mall in Kingston, New York, a man ran amok with an AK-47, injuring an Army recruiter.ABC NewsArthur Miller died, andThe New York Timesone out of six British secondary-school students identified Winston Churchill as an insurance salesman.The SunA Kansas woman left mute by a 1984 head injury began to speak again. “Okay,” she said, “okay.”KansasCity.comGeneral Motors was spending more for health care than for steel, andKalamazoo Gazettea study showed that lobsters probably don’t feel pain when boiled.Capital News 9
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 “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’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 they’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 don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’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 — because ocean life pays better than money! — 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 “furtive movements”:
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