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Eighty-six corpses–most shot, some strangled–were found around Baghdad over a 30-hour period. CNN“We are losing each day as an average 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more,” said Iyad Allawi, the former interim prime minister of Iraq. “If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is.”BBC NewsDonald Rumsfeld denied that Iraq was in a civil war.CNNThe United States launched Operation Swarmer against the Iraqi insurgency. While the operation was described as the largest air assault since the beginning of the Iraq war, there were no airstrikes and no leading insurgents were captured.TimeA videotape emerged purporting to show that in November of 2005 Marines in Haditha, seeking revenge for the deaths of their comrades, killed 15 unarmed Iraqis, including seven women and three children. “I watched them shoot my grandfather,” said an eyewitness, “first in the chest and then in the head. Then they killed my granny.” The Marines promised to investigate.TimeIt was revealed that in 2004 a U.S. Special Operations unit imprisoned Iraqis in Hussein-era torture chambers, then used them as targets in paintball games. “The reality is,” said a Pentagon official, “there were no rules there.” Posters around the detention area read NO BLOOD, NO FOUL.The New York TimesThe judge in the Saddam Hussein trial closed the trial to the public after Hussein spoke against Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence. “You will live,” Hussein told Iraqis, “in darkness and rivers of blood for no reason.” ABC NewsIn France between 260,000 and 500,000 students demonstrated and vandalized buildings and cars to protest a new employment law that makes it easier for young workers to be fired.Democracy NowEighty thousand people mourned Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade,ABC Newsand several thousand people around the world protested on the third anniversary of the Iraq war.ABC NewsIt was reported that the U.S. military is less likely to discharge homosexuals than it was in the past. “They are under enormous pressure,” explained a legal analyst, “to retain people.”The Boston GlobeIn the Netherlands organizers were planning to encourage tolerance by holding a soccer game matching homosexuals against Muslims. Gay Muslims, said organizers, will be able to choose which team they will join.Seattle PI
The Israeli army attacked a Palestinian jail to seize six militants,BBC Newsand doctors planned to move Ariel Sharon to a long-term care facility.AP via Sign On San DiegoIn California authorities were fitting gang members with GPS anklets,Reutersand the U.S. Navy said that it had killed a pirate off the coast of Somalia.BBC NewsA man named Allen Abney, who went AWOL from the Marines in 1968 before his unit was sent to Vietnam, was arrested for desertion and placed in a Marine jail when he tried to cross into Idaho from Canada. He was released a week later.The Globe and MailA government study found that FEMA had wasted millions of dollars in the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort; among other things the organization was accused of spending $3 million for 4,000 beds that were never used and awarding hundreds of contracts without competitive bidding.Democracy NowGoogle was ordered to provide selected search data to the federal government,BBC Newsand 46 percent of Americans polled said President George W. Bush should be censured over the NSA warrantless-wiretapping program.Democracy NowSenator Russ Feingold (D., Wis.) proposed a resolution to censure the President.USA TodayA federal appeals court ruled that Tennessee may issue “Choose Life” license plates.AP via First Amendment Center
UNESCO met to discuss how to preserve world heritage sites, like the Tower of London and the Great Barrier Reef, from the effects of global warming; the United States said that the organization had no brief to discuss an unproven theory.BBC NewsPresident Bush nominated Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne, who raised $86,000 from the timber, mining, and energy industries during his last campaign, to oversee the Department of the Interior.Democracy NowJapanesescientists extracted sweet-smelling vanillin from cow dung.The New Zealand HeraldIn New Mexico a Mescalero Apache family was suing the producers of the Steven Spielberg-produced TV show “Into the West” for cutting the hair of eight-year-old actress Christina Ponce. Mescalero tradition forbids cutting a girl’s hair before she reaches puberty; the filmmakers trimmed Ponce because they were short of Indian boys.BBC NewsIn Texas, where wildfires have burned 3.5 million acres of land since December,AP via Yahoo! NewsMiss Deaf Texas was struck and killed by a train. “They sounded the horn,” said a police detective, “and got no response.”Seattle PIIn Chicago a man named Jakub Fik, upset with his girlfriend, was arrested for smashing car windows; he also cut off his penis and threw it at police officers.Chicago Sun TimesA 38-year-old Californiaclown kidnapped the 14-year-old girl who is carrying his child,NBC San Diegoand at least 2.5 million American children were taking antipsychotic drugs.MSNBC
More from Paul Ford:
Chances that a deep breath inhaled today will contain a molecule from Julius Caesar’s dying breath:
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences, by John Allen Paulos, Hill and Wang (N.Y.C.)
The earth once had three moons; the two lost moons may have crashed into the surviving moon, or been sucked into the sun, or flung out of the solar system to drift through deep space.
In Florida, an 87-year-old World War II veteran flying touch-and-go drills in a Cessna collided with an airborne skydiver. “There was a ‘woof’ sound,” said a witness, “like falling on your face into your pillow.”
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“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”