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In Iraq an Islamic militant group claimed that it had kidnapped two U.S. soldiers, 23-year-old Kristian Menchaca and 25-year-old Thomas L. Tucker. The Army sent 8,000 Iraqi and U.S. troops, supported by fighter jets and drones, to search for the missing soldiers,The New York Timesand the Pentagon announced the 2,500th American death in Iraq. “It’s a number,” said White House press secretary Tony Snow.Toronto StarIraqi prosecutors called for Saddam Hussein to be sentenced to death,Daily Mailand President George W. Bush visited Iraq because he wanted to “look at Prime Minister Maliki in the eyes.”The New York TimesIt was reported that a man named Abu Hamza Al Muhajer would take over for Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi, the assassinated leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. “He has left behind lions,” said Al Muhajer of Al Zarqawi, “that have been trained in his den.”Middle East TimesThe House passed a resolution that rejected “cutting and running” from Iraq,Los Angeles Timesand PennsylvaniaRepresentative John P. Murtha criticized Karl Rove for “sitting in his air-conditioned office on his big, fat backside saying, ‘Stay the course.’”The New York TimesIt was revealed that in 2003 the Bush Administration refused an offer by Iran to end Iranian support of Palestinianterror organizations and recognize Israel in exchange for an end to sanctions and permission to peacefully develop its nuclear program.The Jerusalem PostPresident Bush approved new legislation that allows the FCC to fine broadcasters up to $325,000 for each indecency,SFGate.comand Marine Corporal Joshua Belile apologized for appearing in “Hadji Girl,” an Internet-distributedvideo in which he plays guitar and jokes about killing an Iraqi family. “They should have known,” he sang, “they were fuckin’ with a Marine.”The Mercury NewsFormer Army First Lieutenant William Calley was said to wander at night through Benning, Georgia, haunted by his memories of the My Lai massacre.The Kansas City StarAt least 52 United States agencies were mining data about U.S. citizens, searching for criminals, terrorists, and potential military recruits,The Washington Postand the United States added the secret phone number for its Homeland Security hotline to the federal Do Not Call Registry. “Every time that phone rings,” said Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner, “it’s telemarketers.”USA TodayAnalysts said that $2 trillion in wealth had been lost on the global stock market over the last month.ReutersRome was troubled by seagulls and lice.Wanted in RomeWanted in Rome
At the World Cup in Germany over 400 people were arrested for violence and drunkenness related to the Germany-Poland soccer match (which Germany won 1-0).BBC NewsIn Thailand a man killed two soccer fans because he was annoyed by their cheering.USA TodayBaboons in Saudi Arabia ruined a picnic.Arab NewsIn Rangamati, Bangladesh, villagers fled in boats after their town was destroyed by rampaging elephants,Reuters via MSNBCand in Thiruvananthapuram, India, the recently captured rogue elephant Master Killer died in a cage.The HinduGayEpiscopalian bishop Gene Robinson said that he is “not an abomination before God,”BBC Newsand scientists found that African-American adults hear better than white adults.All Headline NewsVandals were emptying the water tanks that volunteers place in the Arizona desert; the volunteers maintain the tanks so that illegal immigrants from Mexico do not die from dehydration when crossing into the United States.KVOA TucsonArchaeologists said that ancient Mexicans wore decorative dentures made from wolves’ teeth,AP via MSNBCand Nestlé announced that it would buy weight loss firm Jenny Craig.The New York TimesBird flu was discovered in Prince Edward Island,GlobeAndMail.comand the Lakeland, Florida, Englishswan population, which is descended from swans given to the city by the Queen of England in 1957, was being eaten by alligators at three times the normal rate.NewsNet5.comPaul McCartney turned 64.The New York Times
A mine in Sri Lanka blew up a bus, killing 58 people,Reutersa minivan in Kandahar, Afghanistan, was bombed, killing ten people,CNewsand at least six people died during anti-government riots in Conakry, Guinea.CNN.comPrince Victor Emmanuel, the son of Italy’s last king, was arrested for allegedly helping guests at a casino to procure prostitutes,BBC Newsand bBananarustlers were on the loose in Australia.Times OnlineThe Israeli military absolved itself of responsibility for the deaths of seven members of the picnicking Ghalia family from explosions on a beach in Gaza. An Israeli committee admitted that Israeli forces fired six shells on and around the beach, but found that a mine planted by Hamas (or possibly a buried shell) had, by coincidence, exploded and killed the family at around the same time as the shelling. A former Pentagon battlefield analyst said that the shrapnel and craters he found at the scene of the explosion were consistent with shelling by Israelis, as were the wounds suffered by survivors.The GuardianIt was reported that for two years China has deployed a fleet of Golden Champion “death vans” to allow rural communities to carry out lethal injections.USA Today via AOLKazakhstan launched a satellite into orbit.BBC NewsPresident Bush designated 140,000 square miles encompassing several Hawaiian islands as a national monument and marine sanctuary.BBC NewsScientists found that the sea level in the Arctic Ocean was dropping, even as global sea levels rise.BBC NewsItalianscientists said that they had developed a technique for isolating potent sperm.PhysOrg.comNorway began to build a guarded, fenced-in concrete bunker intended to store three million seeds,BBC Newsand a Norwegianhen laid an egg twice normal size, then was killed to stop her suffering.Aftenposten
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