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CIA Director Porter J. Goss claimed that the war in Iraq is making it easier for terrorist organizations to find new recruits,Washington Postand Sunni Arab tribal chiefs insisted that they be given a role in the new Iraqi government. “We made a big mistake,” said a sheik, “when we didn’t vote.”The AgeEight suicide bombings killed ninety-one people in Iraq, and United States Marines and Iraqi security forces were fighting insurgents in Ramadi, seventy-five miles west of Baghdad.The AgeNew York TimesAn Episcopal priest who fought in Vietnam, distraught over the war in Iraq, killed himself in Wenatchee, Washington,Seattle Post-Intelligencerand President George W. Bush nominated John Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, as the first director of national intelligence. Negroponte was ambassador to the U.N. from 2001-2004 and ambassador to Honduras from 1981-1985; he is alleged to have turned a blind eye to human rights abuses in Honduras and to have helped the Nicaraguan Contras find funds. Negroponte will oversee fifteen separate intelligence agencies and will deliver the daily intelligence briefing to the president.ReutersTalahassee DemocratIn Venezuela, where floods and mudslides killed thirty-seven,CNNVenezuelan President Hugo Chavez claimed that the United States had plans to kill him. “If, by the hand of the devil, those perverse plans succeed . . . forget about Venezuelan oil, Mr. Bush,” Chavez said.BBC NewsIn England, a nuclear power plant was unable to account for nearly thirty kilograms of plutonium, enough to make seven nuclear bombs; the discrepancy was said to exist only on paper.BBC NewsAriel Sharon announced plans to withdraw 8,500 settlers from Gaza and several hundred settlers from the West Bank. The Knesset ratified the plan, setting aside $870 million for resettlement, even though some Israeli parliamentarians compared the withdrawal to the deportation of Jews during the Holocaust.New York TimesNew York TimesNew York TimesIsrael freed five hundred Palestinian prisoners,New York Timesand guards were placed around the grave of Sharon’s wife, Lily, to protect it from desecration by outraged settlers.New York TimesSyria denied any role in the assassination of Rafik Hariri, former Prime Minister of Lebanon and critic of the Syrian occupation, who was killed in a Beirut bombing. The United States withdrew its ambassador to Syria, and 100,000 mourners turned out for Hariri’s funeral. CNNSyria and Iran announced that they would form a “common front” to face mutual threats, but Syria’s ambassador to the U.S. said that this had nothing to do with the United States.Daily TimesIn Egypt, a team of thirteen doctors removed a second, “parasitic” head from a baby girl,Reutersand NASA researchers studying the methane signatures of Mars found evidence of life below the Martian surface.Space.comLawrence Rawl, head of Exxon during the Valdez spill, died from Alzheimer’s,Contra Costa Timesand Texasexecuted another prisoner.CNNTwo paintings of dogs playing poker sold for $590,000.MSNBC
A study showed that 310,000 Europeansdie from air pollution each year,.The Independentand the Kyoto Protocol went into effect. The treaty, which calls for a 5.2 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2012, was ratified by 155 countries. The world’s top polluter, the United States, did not sign, citing costs.BBC NewsThe House approved a measure to limit class-action lawsuits, redirecting large lawsuits from state to federal courts, USA Todayand the Pentagon allocated $127 billion to build a robot army. Some of the robots will look and walk like humans, some will hover in the air, and some will make their own choices during battle. “The lawyers tell me there are no prohibitions against robots making life-or-death decisions,” said a representative from the U.S. Joint Forces Research Center.New York TimesIt was revealed that the Army, seeking to avoid scandal, destroyed photos of U.S. soldiers holding mock executions of hooded Afghan detainees.APChinese scientists announced the development of a new process that turns sewage water and mud into organic fertilizer and pesticide, Xinhuanetand North Korea celebrated Kim Jong Il’s sixty-third birthday. “The Americans swagger like a tiger around the world,” said North Korea’s Pyongyang Radio, “but they whimper before our Republic as the tiger does before the porcupine.” APMohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that U.S. policies on Iran and North Korea are inconsistent, and that no evidence exists to implicate Iran in the development of nuclear weapons. Washington PostTogo’s President Faure Gnassingbe promised to hold elections within sixty days; Gnassingbe took control of the presidency after the former president, his father, died in office.BBC NewsThe Ugandan army admitted that it had recruited eight hundred child soldiers who had escaped from serving in the opposition Lord’s Resistance Army.BBC NewsAvalanches in Kashmir killed over one hundred people,BBC Newsand archeologists were excavating an ancient Indian city uncovered by the December tsunami.APSix Indian students killed themselves because they were anxious over their upcoming board exams.The Times of IndiaA car bomb in Thailand killed five.BBC NewsEcuadorean President Lucio Gutierrez fired most of his country’s supreme court,BBC Newsa tanker spilled thirteen tons of oil into Tunisian waters,BBC Newsand the body of Cecilia Cubas, the kidnapped daughter of Paraguay’s ex-president, was found in an underground chamber.BBC NewsSudan refused to allow war-crimes suspects from Darfur to be tried at The Hague, insisting that they instead be tried at home in Sudan,BBC Newsand a scientist in Chicago used stem cells to grow fat tissue, which can be used in breast implants.New Scientist
Scientists were waiting for H5N1, an avian flu virus that has killed forty-one people in Thailand and Vietnam, to mutate into a form that can spread more rapidly among humans. If that happens, the flu is expected to kill tens of millions worldwide. Thailand rejected a plan to slow the spread of the flu because the plan’s executionâ??which called for the destruction of millions of possibly infected ducks and chickens and the distribution of face masksâ??would alarm the public. The IndependentThe Socialist Party won a landslide victory in Portugal,CNNand a mine explosion in Fuxin, China, killed 203.Chinese mine explosion kills 203Secret tapes made of George W. Bush between 1998 and 2000 indicated that Bush once considered John Ashcroft for Vice President and that he most likely smoked marijuana in the past.New York TimesSpeaking in Brussels, Bush called on Syria to end its occupation of Lebanon; he also said it was time for Europe and the United States to work together.The GuardianAn expert witness in the Robert Blakemurder case testified that he once crawled into a cage filled with crack-smokingmonkeys,E! Onlineand two former caretakers of Koko, the gorilla that can speak in sign language, sued for harassment. The caretakers claim they were pressured into exposing their breasts to satisfy Koko’s nipple fetish.The GuardianThe ban on fox hunting went into effect in England and Wales and was expected to be widely ignored.ReutersA poll found that Americans believe Ronald Reagan to be the greatest president in history,APand Hunter S. Thompson killed himself with a .45.The GuardianThe British Navy was actively seeking gay recruits,The GuardiandogsDogs in Australia were licking toads to get high,The World Newsand a luxury hotel was scheduled to open at Berchtesgaden.APAn eighty-year-old Australian doctor had “DO NOT RESUSCITATE” tattooed across his chest,News.com.auand in Hong Kong, the bough of a lucky “wishing tree” broke off, scratching a four-year-old boy’s head and breaking a man’s leg.New York Times
More from Paul Ford:
Chances that a Soviet woman’s first pregnancy will end in abortion:
Peaceful fungus-farming ants are sometimes protected against nomadic raider ants by sedentary invader ants.
In San Antonio, a 150-pound pet tortoise knocked over a lamp, igniting a mattress fire that spread to a neighborâ€™s home.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of oneâ€™s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many timesâ€”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."