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The United Nations warned that 2.5 million people will die of hunger in Niger if the country does not receive foreign food aid immediately. President Mamadou Tandja responded that “the people of Niger look well-fed.”AlertNetBBC NewsMauritania, Burkina Faso, and Mali were also facing major food shortages.BBC NewsA study found that the worldwide percentage of land stricken by drought has doubled within the last 30 years.Vail DailyThe Space Shuttle Discovery landed safely in California.BBC NewsIran decided to start producing enriched uranium,Reutersand the Environmental Protection Agency was working on ways to limit the radioactivity of the planned Yucca Mountain, Nevada, nuclear-waste dump for the next 1 million years.FOX NewsWildfires were burning all across Europe.BBC NewsClimate Ark/APIn the south of France, fire-fighting helicopters woke an eighty-one-year-old man from his nap; the man opened fire on the aircraft with a rifle and, when police came to arrest him, he beat them with saucepans.BBC NewsJeanine F. Pirro, the wife of Republican fund-raiser and convicted tax evader Albert J. Pirro, Jr., announced that she would run against New YorkSenatorHillary Clinton in 2006.NewsdayPresident George W. Bush approved a $286.4 billion transportation bill containing 6,371 separate projects,KansasCity.comand 39 people in China died after eating contaminated pork.Reuters
A suicide car bombing in Baghdad killed 4 people,BBC Newsand the mayor of Baghdad was ousted by Shiite militants.BBC NewsIn Jerusalem the biblical Pool of Siloam, where Jesus cured a blind man, was discovered by sewer workers.Post-Gazette.comThousands of Israelis rallied against the Gaza pullout in Tel Aviv. “God will hear us,” a rabbi told the crowd. A few days later, Israel began its withdrawal from Gaza, lowering a road barrier at the Kissufim Crossing as 200 people looked on. The barrier didn’t work, so Israeli authorities finally rigged it shut with some wire.BBC NewsAPPresident Mahmoud Abbas announced that the Palestinian general election will be delayed until January 2006,BBC Newsand Palestinian authorities forced hundreds of volunteers to stop making a 2,460-foot sandwich.ReutersThe U.S. Army fired four-star General Kevin Byrnes, head of the Army Training and Doctrine Command, for adultery.Chicago TribuneCream puffs with 560 calories and 47 grams of fat were selling briskly at the WisconsinState Fair.AZCentral.comPfizer patented a drug that cures premature female orgasm.All Headline NewsTwelve headless kangaroos were discovered on a golf course near Melbourne, Australia.Sky NewsIn Brazil thieves tunneled 656 feet into a bank in order to steal up to $65 million,BBC Newsand police in New Hampshire found 10 stolen Segway scooters in a garage; apparently the thieves had been unable to sell them.TheWMURChannel.com
In Baghdad, U.S. troops were being killed or maimed by a sniper they had nicknamed “Juba.”The GuardianA British puppeteer was ordered to stop using a Saddam Husseinpuppet as the sausage-stealing villain in his Punch and Judy show,BBC Newsand an Air Force colonel in Denver, Colorado, was in trouble for vandalizing cars that sported pro-Bush bumper stickers.APApproximately 2,000 dolphins gathered off the coast of Wales, but no one knew why.BBC NewsA study found that 1 in 25 fathers was unknowingly raising another man’s child, a situation referred to as “paternal discrepancy,” LATimes.comand a Chinese artist was criticized for grafting the head of a human fetus onto a bird’s body. “I thought putting them together like this,” he said, “was a way for them to have another life.”Chinese Artist Defends Fetus ArtworkWomen in Sudan were committing adultery so that they could be arrested and thus obtain a divorce; Sudanese men are often resistant to divorce because it requires them to return a bride’s dowry. “He wasn’t caring for me,” said Ding Maker, an imprisoned woman whose dowry was 90 cows. “I don’t mind staying here.”Washington PostA Florida man was cited for painting “die you miserable bitch” on the side of his house; the words were directed at his seventy-three-year-old neighbor, who has cancer.The St. Petersburg TimesA South Korean man played video games for 50 straight hours, then died,Reutersa man in Australia was charged with bestiality with a rabbit,Ronald Reagan’s grave.World Net Daily
More from Paul Ford:
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Number of people stopped and frisked by the NYPD in 2011 for “furtive movements”:
The faces of Lego people were growing angrier.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature