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Thousands of U.S. Marine reserves were involuntarily recalled to active duty to offset a lack of volunteers for the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.CNNPresident George W. Bush admitted that the Iraq war was “straining the psyche of our country,”Washington Postand Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice refused to categorize the fighting in Iraq as a civil war, citing instead “sectarian differences.”Washington PostThree Kurdish women testified against Saddam Hussein in his chemical-weapons genocide trial, describing a “sweet, mysterious smell” that blinded them, killed their relatives, and forced them to hide in caves.New York TimesA senior U.S. general said it was a “policy of the central government in Iran” to destabilize Iraq.San Jose Mercury NewsPresident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking at the opening ceremony for a power plant that could be used to manufacture nuclear weapons, said his country was “not a threat to anybody, even the Zionist regime which is a definite enemy.”BBCA poll found that Americans were becoming increasingly effective at distinguishing between the war in Iraq and the war on terror.New York TimesSenator Joseph Lieberman compared the Iraq and the Spanish civil wars, saying both were a “harbinger” of worse conflict,New York Timesand the Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence said banks that handle money for Iran and North Korea were the same as those that accepted Nazi assets.Associated Press via Yahoo NewsThe Israeli Foreign Ministry rejected the idea that its conduct in the war with Lebanon was “outside international norms or international legality concerning the rules of war,”New York Timesand Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez said “Israel is doing the same thing as Hitler.”CNNThe Holy Jihad Brigades, a Palestinian militant group, justified the kidnapping of two Fox News journalists by saying that “the powers of evil are united in waging wars against Islam and their people.”New York TimesSyrian President Bashar Assad called the deployment of international troops along the Syria-Lebanon border a “hostile” act.Los Angeles TimesFrench president Jacques Chirac said that sending 15,000 United Nations troops to Lebanon was “excessive,”International Herald Tribune.and Israel said it would gladly welcome peacekeepers from Muslim nations.New York TimesEighteen prisoners used “fiery chili peppers” to escape from the Pematang Siantar Penitentiary in North Sumatra, Indonesia,.Reutersand in East Timor, gangs armed with machetes and stones fought in the streets of Dili, the capital, killing thirteen people. Washington PostThe International Rescue Committee announced that more than 200 women were sexually assaulted in refugee camps last month in Darfur.ReutersIn Kenya, U.S. SenatorBarack Obama agreed to be tested for HIV,ABC Newsand President Bushcautioned against placing too much importance on the upcoming one-year anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.San Jose Mercury News
A Northwest Airlines flight out of Amsterdam landed twenty minutes after takeoff when several passengers were observed exchanging cell phones and unbuckling their seat belts.New York TimesA college student from Connecticut was found with a stick of dynamite in his luggage at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston,KNX1070 Radio via Google Newsand at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, Mardin Amin, 29, of Skokie, Illinois, was arrested after telling security agents that the penis pump in his backpack was a bomb.ForbesFlight attendants on Sichuan Airlines will now be required to learn kung fu.China DailyThe mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, announced his intention to make his city the “toughest place on illegal immigrants in America.” Washington PostF.D.A. representative Dr. Janet Woodcock said that selling the Plan B contraceptive over the counter would transform it into an “urban legend” that would tempt adolescents to create “sex-based cults.”New York TimesKatherine Harris, a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Florida, told a Baptist newspaper that “if you’re not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin.”Washington PostA new survey concluded that half of all evangelical Christian men are addicted to pornography.ChristiaNetPaul Weisman, a researcher at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said that scientists were “anally pursuing” a new designation for Pluto,Universe ‘too fascinating’and Advanced Cell Technology, an American biotech company, successfully created embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos.Financial TimesAustralian scientists announced plans to issue oral contraceptives to kangaroos.BBCExisting home sales hit a two-year low,Forbesand Microsoft filed suit against two “typosquatter” companies under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, which prevents companies from exploiting suggestively similar domain names.The RegisterVenezuelan customs officials confiscated twenty U.S. diplomatic mail bags containing airplane ejector seats, explosive charges, and 180 pounds of chicken.New York Times
Chinese law enforcement officials cracked down on striptease performances at funerals in Jiangsu province, arresting five and setting up a hotline where people could report “funeral misdeeds.”Reuters via Yahoo NewsIn Diss, England, Gwen Dorling, 102, enjoyed the services of a stripper for her birthday,BBCand Edward Rondthaler, 100, of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, attributed his longevity to cold showers.CNN“Super-sized” yellowjacket nests were infesting southern states,Montgomery Adviserand in Coushatta, Louisiana, nine black students were sent to the back of a school bus to make room for white children.The Shrevport Times via Drudge ReportIn Sorrento, Florida, a sixty-year-old man was accused of biting a six-year-old boy’s genitals after the child refused to stop touching himself,Local6.comand an English woman capable of climaxing forty times per day was convicted of benefit fraud.The Times of LondonYoung people were loitering in the nude in parking lots in Brattleboro, Vermont.Boston.com
More from Theodore Ross:
Number of free condoms handed out by the Brazilian government in advance of Carnival this year:
The best way to measure happiness is simply to ask people how happy they are.
Following three weeks of clashes between protesters and government forces that killed at least 17 people, Venezuelan president NicolĂˇs Maduro announced a two-day extension of Carnival. â€śHappiness will conquer the embittered,â€ť he said during an appearance at a recreation center.
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â€śAmerican politics has often been an arena for angry minds.â€ť