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Two suicide car bombs blew up in central Baghdad, killing fifteen and injuring thirty.BBC NewsA bomb in Kirkuk killed twelve Iraqi guards,Al Jazeeraan American contractor was kidnapped north of Baghdad,BBC Newsand Marla Ruzicka, an activist from California who made it her mission to count the number of civilian casualties in Iraq, was killed in Baghdad by a suicide bomber.GuardianThe Iraqi army intervened to end a widely publicized hostage crisis in al-Madain, south of Baghdad, but found no hostages.ReutersIn the United States, Eric Rudolph, a Christianterrorist, pleaded guilty to several bombings, including those at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, an abortion-clinic bombing in 1998, and an attack on a gay nightclub in 1997.BBC NewsPrompted by the credit-card industry, which made $30 billion in profits last year, the House approved new legislation that will make it much harder for families to declare personal bankruptcy.American Progress ActionNew York PostFewer than half of all Californians approved of the job Arnold Schwarzenegger was doing as governor,Guardianand zoo officials in Johannesburg, South Africa, were pressuring one of their chimps to stop smoking.ReutersThe president of Brazil visited Senegal, where he apologized for Brazil’s role in the slave trade.BBC NewsAs pilgrims washed away their sins in India’s sacred Narmada River, a dam was opened upstream, releasing a wall of water that drowned fifty-two people.ABC NewsCatholic cardinals convened a conclave,ABC Newsand a Christian radio talk-show host was fired for questioning whether the dead pope would go to heaven.Local6.comOne-foot-tall talking Jesus, David, Mary, and Moses dolls will be sold in June.Messengers of FaithThe United Nations released a video game called “Food Force” that lets players pretend they are feeding the starving,BBC Newsand the International Monetary Fund announced that sub-Saharan Africa’seconomy had grown 5 percent last year, with inflation at its lowest in twenty-five years.BBC NewsThe Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 420 points; pharmaceutical stocks, however, continued to rise.APA study found that executions by lethal injection carried out in the United States did not meet veterinary standards. BBC NewsThe European Union decided to admit Bulgaria and Romania in 2007.BBC NewsBosnia was exporting snails.BBC News
IN THE NEWS
A mountain of an issue (Lexington Herald-Leader). Profile of Erik Reece, author of “Death of a Mountain: Radical Strip Mining and the Leveling of Appalachia” in the April Harper’s Magazine.
E. E. Cummings Scholar Is Accused of Plagiarism (New York Times). Harper’s Magazine Contributing Editor Wyatt Mason takes on Christopher Sawyer-LauĂ§anno’s new biography of e. e. cummings in the May Harper’s Magazineâ??and finds Sawyer-LauĂ§anno guilty of plagiarism. (See also: Boston Herald, Guardian)
Bashing the Rich, Then Celebrating at a Hub of Commerce (New York Times). All about The American Ruling Class, a new documentary film written by Harper’s Magazine Editor Lewis H. Lapham.
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The Governor of Wisconsin announced that he opposed cathunting.The Charlotte ObserverResearchers found that parents tend to take better care of their better-looking children.EurekAlert!American and Japanese scientists proclaimed clonedcattle safe to eat,BBC Newsa Danish study found no link between cell phones and brain tumors,InformationWeekand scientists at Yale University used lasers to control headless fruit flies.ABC OnlineBritain stopped importing United Statescorn after discovering that the United States had been sending banned, genetically modified corn to the U.K. for the past four years,The Independentand brewer Anheuser-Busch, America’s number one buyer of rice, announced that it will no longer buy rice from Missouri if that state allows genetically modified rice to be grown within its borders.CNN.comA new species of titi monkey, golden-crowned with a white-tipped tail, was discovered in Bolivia; it will be known as the GoldenPalace.com monkey.CNewsScientists used infrared technology to read lost works by Sophocles, Euripides, and Hesiod,The Independentand a London grandmother coldcocked a burglar with a garden gnome.CNN.comA scientist cataloged 395 different species of bacteria in the lower intestines of three healthy humans,EurekAlert!and entomologists named three newly discovered species of slime-mold beetle after George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld.USA TodaySupreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia refused to answer when asked if he sodomized his wife Maureen.New York PostHungary was planning to let prostitutes solicit in shopping malls,Daily Timesand Jenna Bush, the president’s daughter, got on all fours and did the “butt dance.”New York Post
Samples of the deadly Asianflu were accidentally mailed out to 3,700 labs worldwide. Several samples were missing.ReutersA garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh, killing at least one hundred people;Reuterssix died when an election rally in Togo turned violent;BBC Newsand Indonesian children, traumatized by last December’s tsunami, were talking about their feelings with puppets.BBC NewsResearchers found that keeping pigs cool helps them grow fatter.Netherlands Organization for Scientific ResearchU.S. marshals arrested more than 10,000 people on outstanding warrants, nearly half of them for minor drug offenses,KRT Wireand the $90 million Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum opened in Springfield, Illinois. It features special effects created by Stan Winston Studios–which did the effects for Jurassic Park–and a life-sized model of Navy Secretary Gideon Welles with a terrible toupee.LATimes.comOne hundred thirty-seven million people were overweight in China,Medical News Todayand America’s 7 million vending machines were being visited by 100 million people a day.Medical News TodayAfter returning to Afghanistan from the United States, where he underwent heart surgery, an Afghan toddler died.BBC NewsIn Wales, a drunken man stood before an open window, dropped his trousers, and cried out, “who wants some of this?” before he fell from the window, impaled himself on a railing, and died,Daily Recordand a Vermont teenager was accused of breaking into a tomb and beheading a corpse. He apparently wanted to use the skull as a bong.The Barre-Montpelier Times Argus
More from Paul Ford:
Damages sought, in a defamation suit, by a Chicago landlord from a tenant who complained about mold via Twitter:
The British House of Lords voted to limit the right of parents to spank their children.
The Mall of America hired its first black Santa, a real estate company valued Mr. and Mrs. Clausâ€™s North Pole home at $656,957, and it was reported that the price of the gifts from â€śTwelve Days of Christmasâ€ť went up by more than $200 in 2016, to $34,363.49.
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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."