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A suicide bomber in Iraq killed over one hundred people as they stood waiting to join the Iraqi National Guard,New York Timesimesand four American soldiers and thirteen Iraqis were killed in other incidents.Khaleej TimesRichard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pointed out that insurgencies tend to last from seven to twelve years,Reutersand the U.S. military increased its bonuses to encourage reenlistment.USA TodayAmerican forces opened negotiations with Iraqi insurgents.TimeCanada declared that the U.S. must get permission before launching missiles over Canadian airspace,Canada. comand Pakistani soldiers were ordered to shoot at U.S.troops who enter Pakistan without permission.HindustanTimes.comAn earthquake in southeast Iran killed six hundred people,ReliefWeband the Iranian military was preparing for an attack by the United States.SFGateIn the U.K., Bournemouth University announced that it has developed two artificial mass graves, each containing about thirty fake skeletons, to be used to train Iraqiwar-crimes investigators.GuardianBhutan banned public smoking,BBC Newsthe president of Togo stepped down,USA Todayand Tom Ridge joined the board of Home Depot.MarketWatch
The Anglican Communion was nearing a schism.BBC NewsThe attorney general of Kansas demanded that clinics in his state turn over the medical records of girls who have received abortions and women who have had late-term abortions.CNNDennis Rader, an active Lutheran and a Cub Scout leader in Wichita, Kansas, confessed to six killings as the BTK (“bind, torture, and kill”) serial killer, wanted for thirty-one years.An Illinois court ruled that a man could sue his ex-lover for using his sperm, acquired via oral sex, to impregnate herself,Chicago Sun-Timesand Britain’s Labour party was forced to drop Christine Wheatley as a candidate for Parliament after it was revealed she had once worked as a prostitute in Paris. “It was usually only three minutes,” said Wheatley.TelegraphThe pope underwent a tracheotomy,BBC Newsand the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case challenging the Alabama law that makes it a crimeâ??punishable by a year in jail and a $10,000 fineâ??to sell vibrators, dildos, anal beads, and artificial vaginas.ReutersUNICEF reported that 180 million children aged five to seventeen are forced into the “worst forms” of labor, including the sex and slave trades.HindustanTimes.comProgressive rock was making a comeback.New York TimesimesNASAscientists resurrected bacteria that had been frozen for 32,000 years,New York TimesimesRussia agreed to sell nuclear fuel to Iran,LA Timesand at a summit in Bratislava, Vladimir Putin accused George W. Bush of firing Dan Rather.Washington PostA Swiss court lifted the ban on using “Bin Ladin” as a brand name. The name is registered to Osama bin Laden’s half-brother.CANOEIsrael planned to build 6,391 new homes for settlers in the West BankReutersand refused to hand over security control of the West Bank to Palestinians.CTV.caWest Banksettlers were given stickers to prove their residency, so that they might drive more quickly through checkpoints,Ha’aretzand a suicide bomber killed five in Tel Aviv. Israel blamed Syria, which hosts Islamic Jihad, for the attack. Syria handed over Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hasan al-Tikriti, Saddam Hussein’s half-brother, to Iraqi authorities,Economistand the pro-Syrian government of Lebanon dissolved itself.ABC NewsGovernor Arnold Schwarzenegger said he had no regrets about his past steroid use,Sports Illustratedand a New Hampshirecrematorium was found to be throwing pacemakers and metallic hips into a dumpster.7 News Boston
Maoists killed fifteen in Nepal, Times of Indiaand Nepalese soldiers killed dozens of Maoists .ReutersThe financial records of 1.2 million federal employees were stolen from or lost by the Bank of America; Senator Pat Leahy’s credit-card number was among the missing.BBC NewsHalle Berry received a “Razzie” award for the worst actress of 2004 for her role in the film “Catwoman.” “I want to thank Warner Brothers for casting me in this piece of shit,” she said. George W. Bush won the worst actor award for his role in “Fahrenheit 9/11,”Reutersand a poll found that 57 percent of parents would not like their children to grow up to be president.Chicago Sun-TimesUSA Next, a group with ties to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, attacked the AARP for its position against Social Security reform,Newsweekand Arthur Shawcross, a cannibalserial killer, was writing a cookbook.New CriminologistCanadianscientists announced that they could treat depression by electronically stimulating the brain.Scotsman.comSenatorJohn McCain called for permanent U.S. military bases in Afghanistan, The Guardianwhere one woman dies of a pregnancy-related illness every thirty minutes.ArabNews.comQueen Elizabeth announced that she would not attend the wedding ceremony of her son, Charles, and Camilla Parker Bowles, but insisted this was not a snub; New York TimesimesPrinceCharles complained that the British had “tortured” him over his relationship with Parker Bowles.News.com.auAtrocities continued in Darfur, BBC NewsSomalia denounced plans to deploy foreign peacekeepers, BBC Newsand Eritrea was facing a major food crisis.BBC NewsAn Orangeburg, New York, man beat his toddler daughter to death for refusing a peanut-butter sandwich, The WGAL Channeland in Edinburgh, Scotland, a blind man bit his guide dog.The Scotsman
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