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President George W. Bush said that allegations made by Amnesty International, claiming that the prison at Guantánamo Bay is a “gulag,” were absurd. Bush accused Amnesty of listening to “people that have been trained in some instances to disassemble–that means not tell the truth.” Whitehouse.govU.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said that HIV and AIDS were spreading at an accelerating rate around the world,ReutersNew Jersey was planning to try six animal-rights activists on “animal enterprise terrorism” charges,Reutersand an Australian woman was arrested for attempting to bring fifty-one tropical fish into the country hidden in her skirt.APSeveral prisoners at Guantánamo Bay said they were sold to the United States by Pakistani tribesmen who wanted a bounty. APThe Maldives decided to become a democracy,BBC Newsand Donald Rumsfeld said that he did not know how foreign suicide bombers were getting into Iraq.New York Daily NewsIt was revealed that the aviator Charles Lindbergh had seven illegitimate German children by three German mistresses.CNNSeven hundred thousand chickens expired during a power blackout in Moscow that cut off their ventilation; not long afterward the dead chickens started exploding.PravdaThousands of hungry people demonstrated in Niger.ReutersThe CIA was running its own fleet of twenty-six airplanes, owned by seven shell companies,The New York Timesand Deep Throat turned out to be a ninety-one-year-old former FBI official named W. Mark Felt.Washington Post
A fire in Watertown, South Dakota, killed thirteen thousand turkeys.Argus LeaderBerlin police, acting on a kidnapping tip, stopped a car and pulled a man from the car’s trunk; it turned out the man, wearing only a thong and collar, was a voluntary sex slave.ReutersZoo officials in Japan were worried that Futa, the red panda that became famous when it stood up on two legs, would be worn out by all of the attention. “His primary purpose here,” said an official, “is to mate.”Canada.comSaudi Arabia was considering whether women should be allowed to drive.ABC NewsIn New York City, a nine-year-old girlstabbed an eleven-year-old girl named Queen Washington to death. The girls were fighting over a pink rubber ball.New York Daily NewsA jet-skiing man was decapitated off Long Island when he ran through a boat’s anchor line,Daily Newsand a man in Narrogin, Australia, died when he fell into a meat grinder.Switzerland gave gay couples tax and inheritance rights, but will not allow them to adopt children,BBC Newsand the American Family Association called on its members to boycott Ford, saying that the auto-maker promotes the homosexual lifestyle. They suspended the boycott a few days later.Detroit Free PressScientists found that a single “switch gene” determined whether a fruit fly turned out gay or not.The IndependentAn Illinois man burned down his house in order to clear it of crackheads,Chicago Sun-Timesand a woman in Pennsylvania offered her newborn baby’s clothes as a billboard for advertising. “Everyone looks at babies,” she said.CNNRalph Nader called for the impeachment of George W. Bush based on reports of the Bush Administration “fixing” the intelligence over Iraq. John Kerry wondered why the intelligence-fixing, which came to light in a leaked British memo, has received so little attention in the United States. “Is there a way for this to break through,” he asked, “ever?”Boston.comAl Jazeera A young colobus monkey escaped from the Belfast Zoo after having an an argument with his dad. ReutersFive Buddhist monks in Nong Khai, Thailand, were defrocked for brawling with other monks from a rival temple. “When an ordinary person is given a middle-finger sign he will be mad; so am I,” said monk Boonlert Boonpan.Reuters
In Spain, a quarter of a million people protested against the government’s plan to negotiate with Basque separatists,Reutersand in Beirut, a bomb killed Samir Kassir, a Lebanese journalist who opposed the Syrian occupation. Hundreds of people attended his funeral.ReutersA bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan, killed twenty people,The New Zealand Heraldand unidentified men attacked two villages in Ivory Coast, killing at least forty-one people.ReutersA group of men in the Philippines, naked save for head scarves and caps, protested cuts in education funding.ABS-CBNLatvia ratified the European Union Constitution.China DailyA grizzly bear killed a woman near a golf course in Canada.CBC NewsStanislaw Dziwisz, the longtime aide and confidant of Pope John Paul II, revealed that he had refused to obey the dead pope’s request that all his papers be burned.The IndependentHaim Yavin, one of the founders of Israel’s state television channel and the country’s most respected news presenter, broadcast a documentary showing Israel’s occupation of Palestine as brutal. “I cannot really do anything to relieve this misery,” he said, “other than document it.”BBC NewsTwo Israeli soldiers said that they were ordered to take part in revenge killings of Palestinians. “It doesn’t matter,” one of the soldiers said he was told. “They took six of ours, and we are going to take six of theirs.” His unit went on to kill three Palestinians in an ambush. “And we acted flawlessly,” said the soldier. “We performed superbly.”BBC NewsIsrael released three hundred ninety-eight Palestinian prisoners,Haaretz.comand announced that it would build twenty-two more homes in the West Bank.BBC NewsMahmoud Abbas postponed Palestinian elections until an unspecified date.Haaretz.comThe Supreme Court made it impossible to obtain medical marijuana.Bloomberg.comA care worker at a Japanese mental home was arrested for unleashing feral dogs to keep patients in their rooms,Mainichi Daily Newsand the British children’s home Strawberry Field, which inspired the Beatles song “Strawberry Fields Forever,” closed.ReutersA British man, happily married for eighty years, was asked for the secret to marital bliss. “‘Yes, dear’,” he explained.Mail & GuardianSeventy-four false killer whales (which are less aggressive than true killer whales, but, like true killer whales, are not whales but dolphins) beached themselves in Australia. One thousand five hundred volunteers worked to return seventy-three of the whales to the sea; one whale died. A volunteer described the whales as “very heavy.”BBC NewsNews.com.auScientists began work on a complete, molecule-level computer simulation of the human brain. The project will take at least ten years.New Scientist
More from Paul Ford:
Chances that a deep breath inhaled today will contain a molecule from Julius Caesar’s dying breath:
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences, by John Allen Paulos, Hill and Wang (N.Y.C.)
The earth once had three moons; the two lost moons may have crashed into the surviving moon, or been sucked into the sun, or flung out of the solar system to drift through deep space.
In Florida, an 87-year-old World War II veteran flying touch-and-go drills in a Cessna collided with an airborne skydiver. âThere was a âwoofâ sound,â said a witness, âlike falling on your face into your pillow.â
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âAmerican politics has often been an arena for angry minds.â