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The Pentagon announced that civilian casualties in Iraq had increased recently by more than fifty percent, and death squads were said to be torturing and killing as many as 1,800 people per month.New York TimesAt least 200 Iraqis were killed in bombings, rocket attacks, and shootings, as were 19 American and British soldiers.CNNNPRU.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales visited Iraq to encourage “the rule of law,” andicasualties.orgNPRReutersReutersReutersSapa-AP via Independent OnlineReutersReutersAP via Houston ChronicleU.S. Secretary of DefenseDonald Rumsfeld quoted Georges Clemenceau, who said, “War is a series of catastrophes that results in a victory.”Washington PostIran ignored a U.N. Security Council deadline for suspending its uranium-enrichment activities,UPIand Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad challenged U.S. President George Bush to a televised debate.ReutersU.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan denounced Israel’s use of cluster bombs,International Herald TribuneIsraeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert refused to lift a seven-week-old blockade on Lebanon,.New York Timesand Israeli troops were being attacked by Lebanese wildlife.UPIPlans were underway to save the Dead Sea.UPIPresident Bush, visiting hurricane-damaged New Orleans, spoke optimistically of the rebuilding effort. “There will be a momentum, momentum will be gathered,” said Bush. “Houses will begat jobs, jobs will begat houses.”New York TimesMarine biologists said that manatees are not stupid so much as unmotivated.New York Times
Forty-nine people died when a commercial jet attempted to take off from the wrong runway at an airport in Lexington, Kentucky.AP via Boston HeraldTropical Storm Ernesto killed at least six people and four seals in the United States,.Washington Postand around 125 people in Ethiopia died from an outbreak of acute watery diarrhea.Seacoast OnlineReutersAmerican heavy-metal band Fecal Corpse were denied entry to Canada,Toronto Sunand children in Dublin saw a clown crushed to death.APWarren Steed Jeffs, who reportedly has 80 wives and 250 children and serves as the leader of a polygamist Mormon sect, was arrested in Nevada on suspicion of arranging marriages between underage girls and older men. AP via New York TimesResearchers warned that countries with unnaturally high male-to-female population ratios, such as China and India, could foster violence, organized crime, and terrorism.ReutersMontanaSenator Conrad Burns said that terrorists “drive taxi cabs in the daytime and kill by night,”AP via Breitbartand Miss England, an Uzbek-born Muslim, declared that stereotyping leads to terror. Daily MailTony Blair was seen sporting a new tea mug. “You’re a man who’s in charge,” reads the mug. “Others follow your lead.” BBCIt was reported that the average British woman spends two and a half years on her hair during her lifetime.Daily MailA British professor announced that five-year-old girls were worried about their weight,AFP via Breitbartand a study revealed that the brains of nuns “flicker” in the presence of God. Daily MailSwiss hikers were warned not to hug cows.Independent OnlineA woman in Hohhot, China, crashed her car into another vehicle while allowing her dog to drive,Guardianand Danish researchers reported that pollutants may shrink the genitals of polar bears, foxes, and whales.local6.comForty Australianseals were killed in a drive-by shooting.The AustralianSteve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, died after a stingray stabbed him in the heart.NEWS.co.au
Police broke up a ring of badger-baiting gangs in Scotland.Sundaymail.co.ukAfghanistan’sopium production was expected to increase by 59 percent this year, making the country the source of 92 percent of the world’s supply,BBCand Taiwanese apartment-dwellers were upset to discover that their water supply contained the corpse of a 27-year-old drug addict named Kuo.China PostIn a courtroom in Duluth, Minnesota, a cocaine trafficker ate his own feces;Duluth News Tribunea vigilante mob in North Carolina beat and killed the wrong man;AP via CNNand SAT scores in the United States showed the largest decline in 31 years.New York TimesFemale condoms were becoming more popular in South Africa,Mail & GuardianAustralianbrothels were offering clients discounts based on their gasoline bills,Reuters via Yahoo!and in Russia a participant in a sex-dollriver-raftingrace was disqualified for sexually abusing his rafting apparatus. “I think,” said the man’s friend, “it was an expression of his great desire to win.”MOSNEWS.COMIn the Indian state of Bihar, high-caste landowners were raping and gouging out the eyes of low-caste residents.India eNewsHindustan TimesA 10-pound, 20-inch-tall, 14-year-old Nepalese boy claimed to be the world’s smallest adult.AP via Boston GlobeJapanese physicists were preparing to create a “baby universe,” with its own laws of physics, by cutting off a piece of our own.Sentido.tvIndiandoctors were attempting to treat a girl who weeps tears of stone.Times of India
More from Rafil Kroll-Zaidi:
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
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 naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby 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.”