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In Iraq a car bomb killed 16 people and wounded 90, 14 bodies were found stacked in a hole, 5 U.S. troops were killed, and Saddam Hussein was boycotting his own trial.CNN.comProfessor Philippe Sands of University College, London, said he had seen a secret memo that details a January 2003 meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush. According to Sands’ account of the memo, Blair offered Bush full British support for an invasion of Iraq regardless of whether U.N. inspectors found evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Bush also told Blair that he was thinking of having U-2 reconnaissance planes painted with U.N. colors and then flown over Iraq in order to provoke Saddam Hussein into firing upon the planes.The GuardianThe IAEA voted to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council because of Iran’s nuclear program; Venezuela, Cuba, and Syria voted against the measure. Prior to the vote, Egypt proposed to make the Middle East a nuclear-free zone, but that proposal was rejected by the United States because it would interfere with Israel’s weapons program.BBC NewsFormer Marine Platoon Sergeant Jim Massey said that the United States was funneling depleted uranium to Iraq through Ireland.UTVPresident Bush gave the State of the Union address and asked Congress to pass laws outlawing human/animal hybrids.The White HouseDuring the address activist Cindy Sheehan was handcuffed and thrown out of the House chamber for wearing a T-shirt that read “2245 Dead: How Many More?” and Beverly Young, the wife of Representative Bill Young (R., Fla.), was told to leave because she was wearing a T-shirt that read “Support the Troops: Defending Our Freedom.” Young later held up his wife’s shirt on the House floor and said, “shame, shame.”ABC NewsBush also announced during his speech that America is “addicted to oil” and vowed to replace “more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.” Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said that this promise was not meant to be taken literally. “This,” he said, “was purely an example.”The White HouseKnight RidderExxonMobil announced that it had a $36.1 billion profit in 2005, more than any company in any year ever, then announced that its profits were actually moderate. Royal Dutch Shell also reported record profits.The Seattle TimesBBC NewsU.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld compared Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Adolf Hitler because both Chavez and Hitler were elected legally and then “consolidated power.” He also pointed out that Chavez has “a lot of oil money.”MSNBCTelesur, the Latin AmericanTV network backed by the Venezuelan government, announced that it would collaborate with the Middle Eastern TV network Al Jazeera.BBC News
The Bush Administration submitted a $2.77 trillion budget to Congress calling for a 7 percent increase in Pentagon spending and a $36 billion cut to the growth of Medicare spending. The Administration is expected to ask for an additional $120 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.The New York TimesVladimir Putin said that Russia has missiles that zigzag.CNN.comItalian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi performed a love ballad on Rome radio. “You are chocolate and coffee,” he sang. “The samba that you have within you comes to me as I come to you.”The ScotsmanA study found that the mineral content of meat and milk has dropped over the last 60 years due to intensive farming. The average rump steak, for instance, has only 45 percent as much iron as it did in 1940.The Guardian via Common Dreams.A librarian in Newton, Massachusetts, was being criticized for asking FBI agents to produce a warrant before they impounded library computers. “Getting a warrant,” said U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, “is very time-consuming.”The Boston GlobeIn Detroit the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. The Department of Homeland Security monitored the event using holograms. CNET News.comBefore the game, Detroit presented Steelers running back Jerome “The Bus” Bettis with a key to the city; he is the first person to receive the key since it was given to Saddam Hussein.JournalNow.comNew York City police officers were suing the New York Police Department for videotaping them during a rally. “That’s Big Brother watching you,” said an officer.The New York TimesThe Boston Globe was in trouble for accidentally delivering bundles of newspapers wrapped with 215,000 credit-card numbers.ReutersCoretta Scott King,MSNBCBetty Friedan,The Washington Postand “Grandpa” Al Lewis died.Newsday.comAbout 1,300 people drowned when an Egyptianferry, the al-Salam Boccaccio ’98, sank in the Red Sea,BBC Newsand the number of people who have been forced to flee their homes due to violence in South Darfur reached 70,000.AllAfrica.com
Israel bombed Lebanon.ReutersThe war in Iraq was costing the United States $100,000 a minute,The Hartford CourantSamuel Alito was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice,CNN.comand John Kerry was blogging.The Boston GlobeTwenty-three people, 12 of them convicted Al Qaeda terrorists, escaped via a tunnel from a prison in Yemen. One of the escapees, Jamal Ahmed Badawi, had been sentenced to death for organizing the October 2000 attack on the destroyer U.S.S. Cole.CNN.comGenetic tests found that 30 percent of African Americans have white male ancestors.USA TodayA man ate 173 chicken wings in Philadelphia,AP via Yahoo! Newsa former postal worker shot and killed six people at a mail-processing center in Goleta, California,CNN.comand Russia was facing a vodka shortage.CNN.comRepresentative John Boehner (R., Ohio), who belongs to a male-only golf club, whose political-action committee took money from Jack Abramoff but did not return it after Abramoff was indicted, and who in 1995 handed out checks from tobacco-company lobbyists on the House floor, was elected via instant runoff voting to replace Tom DeLay as House Majority Leader. The Republican Party, said Boehner, “must act swiftly to restore the trust between Congress and the American people.” Boehner also said that he had “a very open relationship with lobbyists in town.” “We are,” said Representative Michael Oxley (R., Ohio), “somewhat tilting at windmills.” The New York TimesBloomberg.comThe Nation via Yahoo! NewsSign On San DiegoDonald Rumsfeld gave a speech to the National Press Club and said that “counter-surveillance” of U.S. civilians is a “perfectly understandable thing.” “In short,” he explained, “it’s no big deal.” During the speech, Rumsfeld was heckled by activist Heather Hurwitz. “You are torturing people,” yelled Hurwitz. “You are a war criminal.” “Well,” said Rumsfeld, “we’ll count her as undecided.”News.com.auDemocracy NowRiots erupted over newspaper cartoons, printed first in Denmark and subsequently throughout Europe, that caricatured the prophet Muhammad. Demonstrators rallied in Syria, where they attacked the Danish and Norwegian embassies, and in Lebanon, where they set the Danish embassy on fire. “They should have respected our religion,” said a Lebanese protester. Iran recalled its ambassador from Denmark, and protesters outside the United Nations in New York City chanted, “shame, shame.”BBC NewsNewsdayThe Joint Chiefs of Staff complained to the Washington Post about a cartoon that showed Donald Rumsfeld telling an armless and legless soldier: “I am listing your condition as battle-hardened.” “Using the likeness of a service member who has lost his arms and legs in war as the central theme of a cartoon,” wrote the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “is beyond tasteless.”The WashingtonianAt least 7,600 U.S. soldiers had been severely wounded serving in Iraq. “I can drink beer out of my leg,” said Matthew Braddock, a 25-year-old National Guardsman who lost his left foot and nine inches of his left leg to a mine in northern Iraq. “How many people can do that?”Time
More from Paul Ford:
Number of countries in which a citizen can be penalized for not voting:
The earth had become twice as dusty during the past century.
A man sued Pennsylvania state police who detained him for 29 days when they mistook his homemade soap for cocaine.
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â€śShelby 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.â€ť