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The Conservative Party won a plurality of seats in Canada’s federal election, making Stephen Harper Canada’s next prime minister.CBC.caThe Islamic group Hamas won 76 of 132 parliamentary seats in Palestine’s parliamentary elections, unseating the Fatah party. U.S. President George W. Bush, whose administration supported open democratic elections in Palestine, said that the United States would not negotiate with Hamas until the organization renounced its chartered goal of destroyingIsrael,BBC Newsand U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced that the United States would cut off aid to Palestine if Hamas assumed power without changing its policies. “I’ve asked why nobody saw it coming,” said Rice, even though publications like The Guardian and the The New York Times had, since at least 2003, published regular reports on the increasing popularity of Hamas in Palestine. “It does say something about us not having a good enough pulse.” CNN.comThe New York TimesGawker.comThe GuardianSenator Joseph Biden (D., Del.) said Hamas would have to change its stripes.The Los Angeles TimesIn Iraq, the United States was negotiating with Sunniinsurgents.Newsweek via MSNBCA new judge took over the Saddam Hussein trial and had Hussein and co-defendant Barzan Ibrahim removed from the courtroom after Hussein began shouting and Ibrahim called the court “a bastard.”The Washington PostHussein also Saddam Hussein said through a lawyer that he wanted to sue President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair for authorizing the use of weapons of mass destruction, such as white phosphorus, in Iraq.The Washington PostU.S. auditors found that of $120 million in Iraqioil revenue allocated to fund reconstruction $97 million had gone missing. The Los Angeles TimesEleven people died in a bombing at an Iraqi sweets shop, and at least 17 people died in other attacks. Four Christian churches were bombed.Reuters AlertNetAP via ForbesABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt were severely injured in an explosion in Taji,ABC Newsand a teenage girl in northern Iraq was reported to have died of bird flu.ReutersIn Gary, Indiana, an Iraq war veteran killed a 79-year-old man when the man refused to give him money for crack.IndyStar.comMarine James Blake Miller, whose face became emblematic of the Iraq war after he was photographed smoking a cigarette during the November 2004 attack on Fallujah, was at home in Kentucky, where he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and had cut back to a pack and a half a day.SFGate.comHalliburton announced that 2005 was its best year ever.SignOnSanDiego.com
The White House refused to release photographs of President Bush with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, despite requests from Senate and HouseRepublicans,Reutersand a Senate committee investigating the government response to Hurricane Katrina criticized the Bush Administration for ignoring the findings of a hurricane-preparedness exercise called “Hurricane Pam,” which had warned that New Orleans would be flooded. “It is apparent that a more appropriate name for Pam should have been ‘Cassandra,’” said Senator Susan Collins (R., Maine). USA TodayVenezuelan President Hugo Chavez vowed to jail anyone who spies for the United States,BBC Newsand Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi promised not to have sex until elections were held on April 9.AP via ForbesThe UPN and WB television networks were slated to merge, AP via Yahoo! NewsDisney announced it would buy Pixar,E! Online via Yahoo! Newsand Google agreed to censor its Chinese search results to please the Chinese government.BBC NewsWith support from the ACLU, a boy in New Jersey won the right to wear a skirt to school; the boy wears the skirt to protest the school’s policy banning shorts.AP via Yahoo! NewsA grandfather in Florida died of a heart attack after all seven of his grandchildren were killed in an automobile accident,News Channel 5and a starving woman in Kangundo, Kenya, placed a curse on God as she hit a cooking pot with a stick, then died in her sleep. Reuters via MSNBCIn southern Poland, 66 people were crushed to death when an exhibition hall collapsed during an international pigeon fanciers’ fair.The New York Times
James E. Hansen, a director at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said that NASA had ordered its public-affairs staff to review and possibly censor his upcoming speeches and papers after he called for reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions.The New York TimesMassachusetts Junior SenatorJohn Kerry, in Switzerland for the Davos economic forum, called for a filibuster to stop the nomination of Samuel Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court.The Salt Lake TribuneRepresentative Marty Meehan’s staff was caught removing unfavorable facts about Meehan from his Wikipedia entry; in the past the entire House has been banned from editing Wikipedia due to rampant abuse of the online public encyclopedia’s editing policies by House staffers.LowellSun.comIt was revealed that SenatorBill Frist’sAIDS charity had paid almost a half-million dollars in consulting fees to Frist’s political friends,CBS Newsand it was reported that one quarter of the Bush Administration’s $15 billion in AIDS-fighting money had been given to religious groups.AP via Yahoo! NewsPresident Bush said that he had not yet seen the film “Brokeback Mountain.”NBC13.comFrench police realized that they had spent the last two years trying to identify a female murder victim–whose skeleton was found during a low tide in Plouezoc’h–who actually died in the 15th century. “We reckon it was pirates,” said a policeman.AFP via Yahoo! NewsU.S. murderers were learning how to cover their tracks by watching television crime shows.AP via Yahoo! NewsAuthorities in Mexico City arrested a woman named Juana Barraza, a 48-year-old former wrestler who is thought to be the serial killer known as Mataviejitas, or “the Killer of Little Old Ladies,” and who may be responsible for strangling up to 30 of them.BBC NewsHawaiians were attempting to have the humuhumunukunukuapuaa (HOO-moo-HOO-moo- NOO-koo-NOO-koo- AH-poo-AH-ah) appointed as Hawaii’s state fish on a permanent basis after its five-year term expired. “It kind of looks like a pig and it squawks and everything,” said a humuhumunukunukuapuaa advocate.ABC NewsA substitute teacher in Santa Cruz, California, was sentenced to a year in jail for filming young boys licking whipped cream off each other’s toes. “I used very poor judgment,” said the teacher.The Mercury NewsMozart turned 250,CTV.cathe FBI was spying on vegans in Georgia,11Alive.comand several women in Missouri were sick with infections after receiving tattoos from a door-to-door tattoo salesman.TheKansasCityChannel.comA firecracker explosion killed 16 people during a New Year celebration in China,Reutersand the year of the dog began.The Star Online
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