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At least 140 people were killed in Iraq during fighting that broke out after the Al Askari mosque, a Shiiteshrine in Samarra, was bombed. Sunni leaders said that 184 mosques had been attacked in the fighting, and a daytime curfew was in effect in Baghdad. “If there is a civil war in this country,” said Iraqi Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi, “it will never end.”Democracy Now!ReutersIn Saudi Arabia, Al Qaeda attempted to bomb the Abqaiq oil facility but was thwarted. Two guards died in the attack.BBC NewsNineMSNPresident George W. Bush threatened to veto any congressional measure that slowed the acquisition of between six and 22 U.S. seaports by Dubai Ports World, a United Arab Emirates-controlled firm. Critics of the acquisition pointed out that the United Arab Emirates was home to two of the September 11 hijackers and was one of few countries to recognize the Taliban. Dubai Ports World subsequently agreed to a 45-day review of the deal, which will provide the Bush Administration with more time to promote the takeover.NewsdayWorldNetDailyReutersHuffington Post via Yahoo! NewsU.S. conservative groups were planning to propose bills or initiatives outlawing gay marriage in 16 states,The Sydney Morning Heraldand a Bavarian village was flooded with over a foot of pigmanure.BBC NewsPhilippines President Gloria Arroyo declared emergency rule after an attempted coup by several politicians, military officers, and a former nun.ReutersUganda held its first multiparty elections in 25 years. Yoweri Museveni, who has been president since 1986, was re-elected. Riots followed.Times OnlineReutersDon Knotts died.The New York PostThe mayor of London was suspended for four weeks with full pay for saying to a Jewish journalist: “You are just like a concentration-camp guard.” BBC NewsScottish police said there were 6,000 sex slaves in Scotland.DailyRecord.co.uk
In Moscow the roof of a market collapsed, killing at least 56 people,BBC Newsand in Bangladesh 50 people died in a fire at a textile mill.BBC NewsIn Brazil paintings by Picasso, Dali, Matisse, and Monet were stolen during Carnival.BBC NewsA hospital in Queens, New York, was investigating how a baby that died soon after birth was sent to a laundry service,Newsday.comand four New York City-area residents were indicted for removing body parts from corpses (including Alistair Cooke’s corpse, which was partially deboned) and reselling the body parts to hospitals.The Washington PostOfficials in Malden, Massachusetts, were uncertain what to do about a city-hall bathroom after a gaywebsite said the bathroom was a good spot for cruising.Boston HeraldIn Raleigh, North Carolina, seven paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division were in trouble for appearing in a sex video on a gay-themed website,AP via Yahoo! Newsand the Australian Army was looking for a man who wears an army uniform and exposes himself to underwear salespeople. “I thought it was one of my mates having a joke on me,” said a salesman. “We call him ‘Donkey Dong.â??”News.com.auSudanese villagers forced a man to marry a goat after he was found having sex with it; the man also was required to pay the goat’s owner 15,000 Sudanese dinars as dowry.BBC News
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals criticized a teacher in Rosamond, California, for castrating a live pig in front of a high school group; a school superintendent countered that animal castration is an important skill for students to learn.LA Daily NewsIn Scotland a man was sentenced to nine years in jail for raping his 14-year-old stepdaughter while she lay unconscious and near death after falling down the stairs; the girl died soon after.BBC NewsThe South Dakota Senate passed a bill that outlaws nearly all abortions; victims of incest or rape are not exempt from the proposed ban. “I’m convinced,” said a state representative, “that the timing is right for this.”The New York TimesIn Iowa a sex offender refused to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet because he belongs to a church that believes electricity can cause people to disobey God.UPIBritish scientists said that DNA found at crime scenes could be used to predict the surname of a criminal.BBC NewsPaleontologists announced that they had discovered the 164-million-year-old fossil remains of a beaver-like animal that lived with dinosaurs.ABCThe Pope named 15 cardinals.RTE.ieIndia, seeking to contain an outbreak of bird flu, sealed off a town and 19 surrounding villages.BBC NewsScientists found that new infectious diseases were emerging at a faster rate than they had in the past. “These are good times,” said a scientist, “for pathogens to be invading the human population.”BBC NewsThe human population reached 6.5 billion.Census.gov
More from Paul Ford:
Years ago, I lived in Montana, a land of purple sunsets, clear streams, and snowflakes the size of silver dollars drifting through the cold air. There were no speed limits and you could legally drive drunk. My small apartment in Missoula had little privacy. In order to write, I rented an off-season fishing cabin on Rock Creek, a one-room place with a bed and a bureau. I lacked the budget for a desk. My idea was to remove a sliding door from a closet in my apartment and place it over a couple of hastily cobbled-together sawhorses.
Average number of bacteria living in a pound of U.S. mud:
Canadian doctors saved a baby from drowning in his own drool by using Botox on his salivary glands.
A black bear named Pedals, famous for walking upright on his hind legs through Rockaway Township, New Jersey, was reported killed by a hunter, and a hiker in California was attacked after he interrupted two bears mating. It was a â€śpretty good bear attack,â€ť said the local police chief.
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"She never thanked me, never looked at meâ€”melted away into the miserable night, in the strangest manner I ever saw. I have seen many strange things, but not one that has left a deeper impression on my memory than the dull impassive way in which that worn-out heap of misery took that piece of money, and was lost."