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Twenty-three people were killed in bombings in Kirkuk, Iraq, and 180 bodies, some showing signs of torture, were found in Baghdad,.BBCwhere interfaith dating has become extremely difficult. “There is no hope in this country anymore for Sunnis and Shiites to fall in love,” said Husham al-Gizzy, holding his face in his hands.The New York TimesThe Washington Post“We have to embrace,” said Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, “the culture of dialogue and reconciliation.” CBS NewsThe Abu Ghraib prison was placed under Iraqi control. “I heard shouting,” said a recent visitor, “like someone had a hot iron on their body.”Telegraph.co.ukPresident George W. Bush complained that Part I, Article 3 of the Geneva Convention was too vague. “What does that mean, â??outrages upon human dignityâ???” he asked at a news conference. “That’s a statement that is wide open to interpretation.”The New York TimesFormer Texas governor Ann Richards died,CNN.comand Princeton professor Edward Felten said that he and his students had successfully hacked a Diebold voting machine.NBC 6Pope Benedict XVI apologized for the reactions to a speech that quoted Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus’s description of Islam as “evil and inhuman.”The Telegraph
Amnesty International accused Hezbollah of war crimes,The New York Timesand neo-Nazis won seats in the regional parliament in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany.Australia Herald-SunThe dwarfplanet Xena was renamed Eris, for the Greek goddess of discord, and the planet’s moon was named Dysnomia, for the spirit of lawlessness.The New York TimesAstronomers announced a new fluffy planet called HAT-P-1 that is very far away,AP via Yahoo! Newsand Russia said that it could send Madonna into space as early as 2009.Russia-InfoCentreAustralian officials suspected that ten stingrays found dead with their tails cut off had been killed to avenge television personality Steve Irwin.Irwin’s death sparks bout of stingray mutilations Carlos Lage, the vice-president of Cuba, said that the United States was a “morally decadent empire,”BBC Newsand Chicago prosecutors dropped all charges against a man who, after security guards mistook his penis pump for a bomb, was detained at O’Hare International Airport. “Humiliation aside,” said the man’s attorney, “the system worked.”MSNBCTwo years after it started, Project BioShield, the $5.6 billion Bush Administration effort to develop and stockpile medical supplies in case of biological attacks, had shown little progress. “The inept implementation of the program,” said the director of the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland, “has led the best brains and the best scientists to give up.”The New York TimesThere was a chemical spill on the International Space Station.The New York Times
In Indonesia gray mud seeping from the ground had inundated an area the size of Monaco; the chief of the hamlet of Kedungbendo met with psychics for advice. “Moses had a stick to part the sea,” explained Haji Hasan. “So, probably there is someone with powers out there who could help.”ReutersA judge in Easton, Pennsylvania, sentenced a 73-year-old woman to life in prison for beating her 84-year-old neighbor to death with a claw hammer,CNN.comand at Dawson College in Montreal a blogger named Kimveer Gill went on a shooting rampage, wounding 19 people and killing an 18-year-old woman and himself. It was later revealed that Gill had listed “crushing my enemies’ skulls” under the “likes” section of his website profile.CTV.caAn Ontario woman died after choking during the Chubby Bunny marshmallow-eating contest. “It was just an unfortunate incident that happened,” explained a fair manager.EdmontonSun.comLondon Free PressOn the advice of his witch doctor a Serbian premature ejaculator had sex with a hedgehog and had to be hospitalized for pricks.The SunFertility clinics in Britain were low on sperm.BBC NewsA Nigerian man accused of murder explained to authorities that he had actually killed a rogue goat with an axe, but the dead goat had then turned into the corpse of his brother.AP via the BuzzPatricia Kennedy Lawford died of natural causes,The New York Timesand Patricia C. Dunn, the chairwoman of Hewlett-Packard, agreed to resign in January after it was revealed that Hewlett-Packard had spied on its own board in order to stop leaks.The New York TimesScientists in India announced that they had discovered a new species of bird,The New York Timesand more polar bearsdrowned in the Arctic.Reuters via Yahoo! NewsThe United States was running out of troops to send to Iraq,.Won’t Deploy? Can’t Deploy.President Bush insisted that the search for Osama bin Laden had not slackened its pace,Reutersand police in Green Bay, Wisconsin, chased a pig around a highway for more than an hour.AP via Yahoo! NewsA British man died when he fell off a cliff while flying his kite.The Guardian
More from Paul Ford:
Price of ten pencils made from “recycled twigs,” from the Nature Company:
A loggerhead turtle in a Kobe aquarium at last achieved swimming success with her twenty-seventh set of prosthetic fins. â€śWhen her children hatch,â€ť said the aquariumâ€™s director, â€śwell, I just feel that would make all the trauma in her life worthwhile.â€ť
In Colombia, U.N. delegates sent to serve as impartial observers of the peace process aimed at ending the half-century-long war between the FARC and the Colombian government were chastised after they were filmed dancing and getting drunk with FARC fighters at a New Yearâ€™s Eve party.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of oneâ€™s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many timesâ€”in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."