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Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called for the United States to increase its propaganda efforts in the Middle East,BBC Newsas riots over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad continued around the world. In Nigeria 16 people were killed in rioting and 11 churches were burned; in Libya at least 10 people were killed; and in Pakistan at least 5 people were killed. In Volgograd, Russia, officials closed the city newspaper after it published a cartoon that showed Muhammad, Jesus, Moses, and Buddha watching TV together. Fifteen thousand people protested the cartoons in London. “We have to speak up,” said a Muslim demonstrator, “to prevent something like the Holocaust from happening.”CNN.comThe New York TimesCNN.comThe Arab European League website published cartoons mocking the Holocaust. One showed Adolf Hitler in bed with Anne Frank; Hitler says: “put this in your diary, Anne.”UPINew photos of the torture at Abu Ghraibprison were released,ABC News Onlineand at least 19 people died in bombings across Iraq.ReutersThe U.S. Army was worried that Abu Ghraib was becoming, according to one commander, “a graduate-level training ground for the insurgency.”International Herald TribuneU.S. President George W. Bush said that Americans should not be discouraged by slow progress in Iraq. “We’ve seen democracy change the world in the past,” he said.BBC NewsThe United States and Israel were working together to destabilize the Hamas-led government of Palestine. “It’s not possible,” countered Hamas spokesman Farhat Asaad, “for the U.S. and the world to turn its back on an elected democracy.”The New York TimesIsrael froze its $50 million monthly tax payments to Palestine,The New York Timesand sheriffs from 10 different U.S. states visited Israel to learn more about homeland-security techniques.The Washington Post
The United Nations issued a report calling on the United States to either try the approximately 500 inmates at the Guantánamo Bayprison for their crimes or release them.BBC NewsAnother person died from birdflu in Iraq. The flu was also found in poultry in Germany, France, and Egypt, and 50,000 chickens died from the disease in India.Bloomberg NewsPeople’s Daily OnlineBBC NewsChina ViewIn Guinsaugon, Philippines, at least 1,371 people were buried in a mudslide. Imelda Marcos promised to visit the region soon.ReutersTwo Homeland Security guards in Bethesda, Maryland, were in trouble after they accused a man of using an Internet terminal in a public library to view pornography. An official said the guards had “overstepped their authority” and had subsequently been given other duties.The Washington PostThe Supreme Court of Italy, considering the case of a man who forced his 14-year-old stepdaughter to perform oral sex, ruled that molesting girls who have already had sexual experience is not as bad as molesting virgins. “The real problem,” commented Mussolini’s granddaughter, “is that there are no women in the supreme court.”CNN.comA study found that unattractive people commit more crimes,The Washington Post via the San Francisco Chronicleand Australiancane toads were out of control.BBC News
People were dying of thirst in southern Somalia; some were walking up to 45 miles to find water.BBC NewsIn Harare, Zimbabwe, twenty newborn babies and fetuses were being pulled from the sewers each week.CNN.comAuthor Margaret Atwood was planning to avoid book tours by signing books via remote-controlled robot.The IndependentA man in Texas was sentenced to 30 years in prison for raping his former girlfriend, then branding her,Chron.comand a woman in Minnesota was arrested for biting off part of another woman’s nose. Police obtained a search warrant to recover the nose, which was then reattached.TwinCities.comAn Illinois man was suing his ex-wife to keep her from having their 8-year-old son circumcised.The Chicago TribuneToxoplasma parasites, found in catfeces, were causing deadly brain disease in U.S. otters,BBC Newsand researchers in Australia found that tiger feces repel wild goats.CNN.comThe U.S. Army was using a computer game called “Tactical Iraqi” to teach Marines how to interpret Iraqis’ gestures; “Tactical Pashto” and “Tactical Levantine” are in development.BBC NewsScientists in Italy found that the effects of Ecstasy on rats were intensified when the rats were made to listen to loud music,BBC Newsand NASA researchers found that the ice from glaciers in Greenland was flowing into the sea at double the rate of 10 years ago.The New York TimesA British nurse was in trouble for slapping her co-workers with a frozentrout,BBC Newsand Texasattorney Harry Whittington apologized for the trouble he caused when he was shot by Vice President Dick Cheney.Chron.com
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 Californiaâs 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 âinvasive,â âexotic,â âalienâ â 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 âindigenously Californianâ elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a âhome without its mother.â 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 âworldâs biggest selfies,â and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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âShelby 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