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In Iraq, the director of the al-Furat hospital in Baghdad was shot dead. A roadside bomb went off in Basra, killing a policeman, and two Sudanese drivers who work with U.S. forces were taken hostage.BBC NewsA gunman opened fire on a minibus filled with people working for a Kuwaiti company, killing one and wounding three, and a garbage-truck suicide bomb killed three people and injured more than twenty.BBC NewsThirty-nine dead bodies were found west and south of Baghdad; some had been beheaded, and others had been handcuffed before they were shot. Many were members of the Iraqi Interior Ministry’s specially trained rapid-response team. Washington PostA suicide bomber killed forty-seven at a Shiite funeral in Mosul.ABC News“We are all waiting for death,” said an Iraqi soldier, “like the moon waiting for sunset.”Washington PostIn Beirut, at least five hundred thousand rallied to show their support for Syria;Lebanese then came out to rally against Syria,New York Timesand two hundred rallied against Syria in Minneapolis.Star TribuneAccording to a confidential government report, the American aviation system was still vulnerable to terrorist attacks,New York Timesand President George W. Bush reaffirmed his vow to fix Social Security. “You will get your checks,” he said.WhiteHouse.govThe President nominated John Bolton, a man who strongly dislikes multinational institutions, to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.New York TimesHe also nominated Karen Hughes as Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy; her job will be to improve the image of the United States abroad.MSNBCTwenty U.S. federal agencies, including the Defense Department and the Census Bureau, were found to have prepared hundreds of video news releases favorable to the government, many of which were inserted into local television news broadcasts without attribution.New York TimesThe world held China in ever-higher esteem.People’s Daily OnlineAn Oregon high-school teacher was under investigation for licking the bleeding wounds of his students,The Register-Guardand ninety Danish master bakers were working to improve the flavor of communion wafers.The Copenhagen PostThe pope relinquished most of his Easter duties.Scotsman.comNASA considered ending the mission of Voyager 1, which is thirteen light-hours from the sun,Space Dailyand a new service, Talktoaliens.com, allowed people to send messages directly into space via telephone for $3.99 a minute.New ScientistThe United Nations gave up trying to stop human cloning.New Scientist
Paul Schaefer, a former member of the Luftwaffe who emigrated to Chile, founded a cult, provided torture facilities for Pinochet, and molested many children, was captured in Argentina.Inter-press Service News AgencyIn Atlanta, a defendant on trial for rape grabbed a deputy’s gun and went on a shooting spree, wounding the deputy and killing the judge presiding over his case, a court reporter, and a different deputy. He stole several vehiclesNew York Times and took a woman hostage. The woman won his trust, made him pancakes, and turned him in.CNNOnline gamers were outsourcing the hard parts of video-game playing to Romania.The GuardianAn Arizona ice-cream-truck driver who raped and impregnated a nine-year-old girl was sentenced to life in prison,KPHOas was a twelve-year-old British boy who raped his special-needs teacher.The GuardianIt was revealed that the United States had held children as young as eleven years old at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq,BBC Newsand a badly prepared snack killed twenty-seven children in the Philippines.ABC13The mayor of Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico, ordered the entire 1,100-member Nezahualcoyotl police force to read one book a month and to control its cholesterol.The GuardianA New York judge dismissed a lawsuit brought against Monsanto, Dow Chemical, and several other chemical companies on behalf of 4 million Vietnamese who were poisoned by the 80 million liters of Agent Orange sprayed during the Vietnam War. The judge said that there was no clear link between Agent Orange and the illnesses of the Vietnamese plaintiffs, even though the U.S. government currently pays compensation to ten thousand U.S. veterans of the Vietnam War impaired by Agent Orange.VOAIt was likely that half a billion people had malaria.BBC NewsRussian forces assassinated Aslan Maskhadov, the elected, internationally recognized leader of the Chechen movement,Christian Science Monitorand Gary Kasparov decided to retire.BBC NewsThe president of Malawi refused to sleep in his palace because it is haunted with evil ghosts,BBC Newsand South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, addressing a Tennessee celebration honoring Abraham Lincoln, said that South Carolina did not “do Lincoln Day Dinners” because “it takes awhile to get over things.”KnoxNews.com
In India, several hundred people reenacted Gandhi’s 1930 twenty-four-day march to the Arabian Sea to make salt. Nearly half of India’s cabinet marched, although many returned to their hotels after walking a short distance.BBC NewsA Georgia man was arrested for setting up a methamphetamine lab in a Kmart bathroom,News4Jax.comand a New Jersey man was arrested for a string of burglaries. “He defecated in at least four residences,” said a prosecutor. “When he was taken into custody, he also defecated, and that was in his pants.”The TrentonianPandabreeding season began. In Atlanta, zookeepers were watching Lun Lun the panda for signs of ovulation; when she is ready to mate they will reintroduce her to Yang Yang.APA plume of smoke thousands of feet tall spewed from Mount St. Helens,Chicago Sun-Timesand an Idaho teenager was in trouble for frostingbrownies with his semen.Sun-Sentinel.comBubba, the 22-pound lobster caught off the Nantucket shore, died, most likely from stress,Toronto Starand a rubbery, plaque-like substance was removed from Bill Clinton.New York TimesPrince Charles visited New Zealand, where he was met by a woman with the words “GET YOUR COLONIAL SHAME OFF MY BREASTS” written across her bare chest. The Prince smiled. Seattle PIThe state of Washington declared a drought,Reutersand a falling tree crushed the legs of Edgar Killen, a MississippiBaptist minister and Ku Klux Klansman currently facing trial for the 1964 murder of three civil rights workers.ReutersA study showed that African-American men die at nearly twice the rate of white men of a similar age.Detroit Free PressOther studies showed that thousands might die of the avian flu in New Zealand,Canada.comthe Pentagon was not to blame for the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib,Reutersand soap and water are effective in cleaning your hands.Scotsman.comThe United States announced plans to reduce the number of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay by freeing some and sending others to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Yemen,The Guardianand the Army was testing a new environmentally friendly, hydrogen-powered vehicle called The Aggressor.National DefenseHumans could still beat robots at arm wrestling.Scientific AmericanA woman’s head was found in a bowling bag in New Jersey,New York Timesa San Diego woman died when her building was fumigated to kill termites,CNNand Dan Rather left the CBS Evening News. “Courage,” he said.CTV
More from Paul Ford:
Discussed in this essay:
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert. Henry Holt. 352 pages. $28.
The extinction symbol is a spare graphic that began to appear on London walls and sidewalks a couple of years ago. It has since become popular enough as an emblem of protest that people display it at environmental rallies. Others tattoo it on their arms. The symbol consists of two triangles inscribed within a circle, like so:
â€śThe triangles represent an hourglass; the circle represents Earth; the symbol as a whole represents, according to a popular Twitter feed devoted to its dissemination (@extinctsymbol, 19.2K followers), â€śthe rapidly accelerating collapse of global biodiversityâ€ťÂ â€” what scientists refer to alternately as the Holocene extinction, the Anthropocene extinction, and (with somewhat more circumspection) the sixth mass extinction.
Ratio of husbands who say they fell in love with their spouse at first sight to wives who say this:
Mathematicians announced the discovery of the perfect method of cutting a cake.
Indian prime-ministerial contender Narendra Modi, who advertises his bachelorhood as a mark of his incorruptibility, confessed to having a wife.
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Scienceâ€™s crisis of faith