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Pat Robertson called for the United States to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; Robertson then lied about calling for the assassination (“‘take him out’,” he said, “can be a number of things”), and finally apologized. Chavez said that Venezuela would take legal action against Robertson.The New York TimesBBC NewsA man was arrested in Tallahassee, Florida, after threatening to blow up Governor Jeb Bush.The Tampa TribuneA New York man was recognized as having the world’s longest eyebrow hair at 3.78 inches,MyWayand a judge in Missouri decided a new statewide ban on semi-nude lap dances was unconstitutional.APScientists in Britain and the United States confirmed that chimpanzees have a culture.BBC NewsConnecticut filed a lawsuit that argues that the Bush Administration’sNo Child Left Behind Law is illegal because state and local funds are required to follow the law. “Give up the unfunded mandates,” said Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, “or give us the money.”APHunters with rifles shot bullfrogs in France,News.com.auand south Florida’siguana problem was growing more severe. “It was like Jurassic Park in my toilet,” said a Pompano Beach woman.UPIThe world bog snorkeling championship was held in Wales.BBC News
Europe, previously burning, was flooding. Floods killed 33 people in Romania, and parts of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria, and Poland were under water.BBC NewsAn accidental pepper-spray discharge at a Utah hotel sent 51 people to the hospital.USA TodayA member of the American Library Association sued the Justice Department regarding an FBI demand for library records. The identity of the plaintiff, the records sought, and most other details regarding the case were unavailable because of the USA Patriot Act.The Washington PostSupreme Court nominee John Roberts was revealed to be a strict grammarian.The New York TimesThailand‘s Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was trying to find out which member of his cabinet had received penis enlargement surgery; the member refused to expose himself.ABC NewsThe FDA was working out a plan to regulate medicinal maggots and leeches, both of which it has classified as “devices.” “The primary mode of action for maggots,” said a representative from a medicinal maggot firm, “is chewing.”The New York TimesWashington authorities took an orphaned duck named Gooey away from the woman who had raised it from a duckling and dressed it in duck diapers. “If you don’t give me the duck,” said a wildlife agent, “I’m going to arrest you.” The woman refused to hand over the duck, which was eventually pulled from her arms.APA German man was arrested for scratching penis drawings on up to 330 vehicles,Reutersand a Springfield Township, Ohio, postal worker was caught putting urine in the post office coffeepot.The New York TimesIn Brooklyn, New York, a recurring hip-hop party night called “Kill Whitie,” marketed to white people, was under criticism as racist. Fans of the party, which offers free admission to anyone with a bucket of fried chicken, defended the event as “funny.”MSNBCSuge Knight was shot in the leg.GlobeAndMail.comA CaliforniaArmy veteran and resident of the United States for 51 years was upset with J.P. Morgan Chase for repeatedly getting his name wrong in their credit-card database, misspelling “Sami Habbas” as “Palestinian Bomber.”ABC NewsIn Israel, many of the settlers who were forced out of Gaza had moved to the West Bank. “We feel very welcome here,” said a settler.The New York Times
Hurricane Katrina killed 11 people in Florida, and more than a million homes and businesses lost power. Katrina then crossed over the Gulf of Mexico and went ashore east of New Orleans, becoming a Category 5 storm along the way. “PERSONS . . . PETS . . . AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS,” said the National Weather Service, “WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK . . . WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.” The hurricane eventually weakened to a tropical storm; winds tore off parts of the roof of the Superdome, where thousands of poor people sought shelter, and at least 55 people were killed in Mississippi.APThe Roanoke TimesOil prices reached $70.80 a barrel.The New York TimesMany Iraqis were hoping to be selected for a new reality television show, called “Labor and Materials,” in which a construction crew shows up unannounced and rebuilds a family’s bombed-out home. Three thousand people have applied in Baghdad alone.Christian Science MonitorGunfighting in Baghdad killed at least 17 people,BBC Newsand police in the Iraqi town of Kut found 36 handcuffed bodies in a shallow river.BBC NewsA draft of the Iraqi constitution was completed, with a referendum scheduled for October. Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa called the charter “a recipe for chaos.”BBC NewsThe Pentagon called for 1,500 more troops to be sent to Iraq for the referendum,Bloombergand Brigitte Bardot called on fishermen to stop using live puppies and kittens as shark bait.AFPAZCentral.comDonald Rumsfeld compared the supporters of the anti-war movement to the supporters of Joseph Stalin.Democracy Now!President George W. Bush defended his policy in Iraq against the criticism of anti-war protesters like Cindy Sheehan. “Democracy is unfolding,” he said. “We cannot tolerate the status quo.” Bush, whose 36 percent approval rating is lower than Richard Nixon’s during Watergate, spoke in praise of the war while visiting Donnelly, Idaho, which has a population of 130, as 200 anti-war protesters rallied outside. Bush also promoted his plan for a prescription drug benefit for Medicare while visiting a golf resort in El Mirage, Arizona.CNNDemocracy Now!The GuardianPeople were looking for the source of a mysterious, recurring screaming in Liberty, Ohio.ChannelCincinnati.com
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 â€śhallwayâ€ť must have a nautical name. Why didnâ€™t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet heâ€™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 theyâ€™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 donâ€™t belong to, that doesnâ€™t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isnâ€™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 â€” because ocean life pays better than money! â€” 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 â€śfurtive movementsâ€ť:
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