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Riots over blasphemous cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad broke out in India, Indonesia, Kashmir, Palestine, Thailand, the autonomous Somali region of Puntland, and Afghanistanâ??where 11 demonstrators were killed, at least 4 of them by NATO troops. A Taliban commander offered 100 kilograms of gold to anyone who killed those responsible for the cartoons. Other anti-Muhammad-cartoon protests were held in London and Philadelphia. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan called on newspapers to stop re-publishing the drawings, and U.S. President George W. Bush condemned the riots but also criticized publishers. “With freedom,” said the President, “comes the responsibility to be thoughtful about others.” An Iranian newspaper announced that it would publish cartoons mocking the Holocaust. Flemming Rose, the Danish newspaper editor who published the original caricatures of Muhammad, said that he’d like to re-publish the Holocaust cartoons and was subsequently put on leave by his boss. Danes were increasingly concerned that their country would be singled out for terrorist attacks. “We make fun of everything here,” said a carpenter in Copenhagen. “One shouldn’t take it so seriously.”Arab NewsAl JazeeraBBC NewsChannel 4ReviewJournal.comCBC NewsAl JazeeraABC News OnlineBloomberg NewsItalian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said that he was “the Jesus Christ of Italian politics.” “I sacrifice myself,” he said, “for everyone.”BBC NewsIn Iraq 11 people died in attacks, 8 people were killed by a suicide bomber, and Saddam Hussein was forced to return to court. “This is not a court,” he said, “this is a game.”AP via Yahoo! NewsAFP via Yahoo! NewsIran, said security analysts, will be ready to retaliate with commando squads, global terrorist attacks, and long-range Shahab 3 missiles if its nuclear facilities are attacked.The Boston GlobeBeaches closed in Australia when sharks went into a feeding frenzy,The Courier Mailand Peter Benchley died.AP via the New York Times
Author Michael Crichton received a journalism award from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists for his novel State of Fear, which criticizes the theory of global warming. “It is fiction,” said a spokesman for the petroleum geologists, “but it has the absolute ring of truth.”The New York TimesFormer FEMA director Michael Brown told a Senate committee that the White House knew about the flooding of New Orleans immediately after the the levees were breached, even though President Bush has said he didn’t know about the flooding until the following day.ABC AMSenator Trent Lott (R., Miss.), represented by anti-tobacco lawyer Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, was suing his insurance company after it refused to pay for the loss of his home during Hurricane Katrina.The Sun HeraldRobert Grenier, director of the CIA counter-terrorism center, was fired for opposing “excessive” interrogation techniques like waterboarding. Grenier, said an intelligence official, was “not quite as aggressive as he might have been.”Times OnlinePaul Pillar, the CIA’s former national intelligence officer for the Middle East, published an article claiming that the Bush Administration had “cherry-picked” intelligence to justify the war in Iraq. “Intelligence was misused publicly,” he wrote, “to justify decisions already made.”Democracy Now!Court documents from the I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby case revealed that Libby claimed he was acting with the approval of his superiors when he leaked information from classified intelligence reports to the press. The White House refused to comment on the allegations,AP via Yahoo! Newsalthough U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney did shoot and severely injure a fellow hunter while hunting quail at a friend’s 50,000-acre Texas ranch.The New York TimesKarl Rove was threatening to cut off White House support for Republican Senate Judiciary members who criticize the Bush Administration’swarrantless-wiretapping program. “It’s hardball,” said a Republican aide, “all the way.”Democracy Now!U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said that the wiretapping was legal and necessary. “The short answer,” he said when asked why the Administration did not seek Congressional approval for the program, “is that we didn’t think we needed to. Quite frankly.”Democracy Now!Jimmy Carter said that warrantless wiretapping was “disgraceful and illegal.”Democracy Now!The Bush Administration was drawing up plans to sell 300,000 acres of public land, valued at over $1 billion, in the next decade. The sale is intended to replace the funding for rural schools and roads that was cut from the Administration’s 2007 budget.The Houston Chronicle
Despite White House claims that President Bush could not remember meeting lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Abramoff said that he had met the President almost a dozen times and that they had shared personal jokes. Abramoff’s claim was at least partially substantiated when a 2001 photo was published showing Bush meeting with Abramoff client Raul Garza, also known as Makateonenodua (“Black buffalo”), the then-chairman of the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas. In the photo Garza, who was later indicted for embezzling over $300,000 from the Kickapoo, is shaking the president’s hand while Abramoff stands in the background, smiling.TimePresident Bush announced that in 2002 the White House helped prevent a September 11-style attack on the “Liberty” Tower in Los Angeles. The White House later said that the target was actually the Library Tower, now the US Bank Tower. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said that he only learned the details of the attack from Bush’s announcement.Bloomberg NewsIn New Mexico a V.A. nurse who wrote a letter criticizing the Bush Administration to her local newspaper was under investigation for sedition. Editor & PublisherA Florida man named Frank Feldmann broke into a lighthouse and tied himself to its lightning rod in order to raise awareness for children. Police had difficulty communicating with Feldmann due to heavy winds and his tiger costume.Local6.comAn Arizona State University student was arrested for masturbating in a school library. “To be honest,” he explained, “the Internet connection at my dorm isn’t good enough.”Web DevilVietnam was refusing to allow people to register website names that contained the word “buoi,” which, depending on tonal intonation, could mean either “penis” or “grapefruit,” or the word “lon,” which could mean either “vagina” or “pig.”Reuters via Yahoo! NewsFormer Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland was released from prison.The New York TimesIn New Zealand the organizers of a vintage-car exposition hired 40 karate experts to defend the cars from parrots.CNewsThe U.S. Air Force, under pressure from evangelical Christians, changed its religious tolerance guidelines to allow for religious intolerance,AP via Forbesand in Manchester, England, the BBC was planning an Easter tribute in which Jesus Christ will sing “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division before joining Judas in a duet of “Blue Monday” by New Order. Later, as Roman soldiers flay him, Jesus will sing “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” by The Smiths. The GuardianDoctors in Israel said that Ariel Sharon was unlikely to wake up.Haaretz
More from Paul Ford:
Chances that a Soviet woman’s first pregnancy will end in abortion:
Peaceful fungus-farming ants are sometimes protected against nomadic raider ants by sedentary invader ants.
In San Antonio, a 150-pound pet tortoise knocked over a lamp, igniting a mattress fire that spread to a neighborâ€™s home.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of oneâ€™s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many timesâ€”in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."