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The New York Times finally published an account of reporter Judith Miller’s involvement in the Valerie Plame Wilson case. At issue in the case is a notebook in which Miller had written the name “Valerie Flame”; Miller said she could not recall the source of the name, even though she had used the same notebook to interview I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Dick Cheney’s chief of staff. “We have everything to be proud of,” said Miller. It was reported that both Libby and Karl Rove would probably resign if indicted,The New York TimesTimeand Lynne Cheney said that her husband Dick will not run for president in 2008.ReutersEighteen police officers were killed in an ambush in southern Afghanistan,BBC Newsand a suicide car bomber killed 30 people in Talafar, Iraq; another suicide bomber killed seven people in western Baghdad.BBC NewsPresident George W. Bush visited a home-building project in Louisiana and spent a few minutes pounding nails into a sheet of plywood.LA TimesBush also held, via satellite, a public meeting with soldiers in Tikrit, Iraq. The White House denied the event was scripted, though video footage was released showing a Defense Department official coaching the soldiers before the interview, and one of the soldiers was later revealed to be a public-affairs officer.The Village VoiceAPThe White HouseTens of thousands of African Americans rallied in Washington, D.C., to mark the tenth anniversary of the Million Man March. Louis Farrakhan charged America “with criminal neglect” but did not repeat his allegations that the New Orleans levees had been blown up by bombs.BBC NewsA poll found that President Bush’s job approval rating among African Americans was 2 percent, plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.Bush popularity keeps droppingSixty percent of Iraq’s 15.5 million voters turned out to vote in a referendum on the proposed Iraqi constitution. Three Iraqi soldiers were killed carrying ballot boxes, and five U.S. soldiers were killed by a bomb in Ramadi; the United States retaliated by bombing two villages and claimed that 70 militants had been killed; eyewitnesses said 39 of those killed were civilians.BBC NewsThe GuardianDanish soldiers in Iraq and Kosovo were being issued soothing pillows that chirp like birds.Reuters
Avian flu arrived in Romania and Turkey. In response, Bulgaria refused entry to a flock of 20 circus doves that had been performing in Turkey.BBC NewsReutersDr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that a pandemic was on its way. “It’s not a matter of when or if,” he said.ReutersSwiss scientists discovered that the prions that cause mad cow disease and scrapie can be passed through cow urine,Medical News Todayand Belgian police issued a warning to whoever stole 440 pounds of leeks that the leeks were probably toxic.ReutersGerhard Schroeder announced that he would quit the German government,ReutersBa Jin died,The Guardianand a nine-year-old boy swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco.News.com.auAn overaffectionate English baboon licked all of the hair off her son’s head.BBC NewsA Chinese man was killed and eaten by the six black bears he was raising for their bile,News.com.auand Chineseporridge was increasingly popular in the San Francisco area.SFGate.comA Chechen warlord took credit for coordinating attacks on the Russian city of Nalchik, claiming that 41 militants and 140 Russian troops were killed in the attack. Russia said that 94 militants, 33 Russian troops, and 12 civilians were killed in the attack.ABC NewsIn Florida one Walgreens employee stabbed another during an argument over who would be first to microwave her soup.APA Pennsylvania woman was arrested for trying to steal her pregnant neighbor’s unborn baby with a razor knife,Times OnlineDenmark’s Crown Princess Mary gave birth to a son,Reutersand Prince was told he should undergo hip-replacement surgery to repair the damage done from years of performing in high heels.Herald SunPolice in Moldova were looking for a man who robs banks by hypnotizing the tellers.News.com.auA CIA manager known only as “Jose” was named to oversee the entire U.S. spy community,APand Harold Pinter won the Nobel Prize for Literature.Reuters
More details emerged in the case of the New Zealand financier arrested in Australia for bestiality with rabbits. Police said that when they arrested the man he had scratches on his hands and face; the man’s lawyer said he molested the rabbits under the influence of methamphetamine. The head of the Australian Companion Rabbit Society pointed out that prostitutes were once called “bunnies.”The AdvertiserA Wisconsin man was arrested for putting an electric dog collar on his eight-year-old stepdaughter and zapping her for not eating fast enough,WorldNetDaily.comand a Maine woman admitted to drowning her boyfriend’s dachshund Dewey in a bathtub with the help of a friend. “Erin,” said an assistant county attorney, “was very, very jealous of Dewey.”Yahoo NewsAn eight-year-old St. Louis boy was killed in a hail of gunfire as he attempted to catch a praying mantis with a jar.APAn Australiantortoise named Harriet was nearing her 175th birthday. The tortoise was originally collected from the Galapagos Islands, and misidentified as a male, by Charles Darwin.News.com.auFour Amish children in Minnesota were diagnosed with polio,AParchaeologists in China discovered a 4,000-year-old bowl of noodles,BBC Newsand a study by scientists at the University of Saskatchewan found that injecting rats with THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, stimulated the growth of new brain cells.CTV.ca
More from Paul Ford:
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”