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In Hillah, Iraq, a man promising work lured day-laborers into a minivan, then blew it up, killing 22 people. “The ground was covered with the remains of people and blood,” said a laborer, “and survivors ran in all directions.” Thirty people were killed in attacks in Mosul, Baquba, and Baghdad, four American security contractors and an Austrian were kidnapped in Basra, and a deputy health minister was kidnapped in Baghdad. “Where is the government?” yelled a woman in Mashtal, after multiple bombs killed 11 civilians. “Women and children were killed. God is great, God is great.” ABC NewsSenator John McCain said that American troops in Iraq were “fighting and dying for a failed policy”; Henry Kissinger said that he didn’t believe a military victory in Iraq is possible;The New York Timesand Army Specialist James Barker admitted that he had raped a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and helped murder her family in March 2006.BBC NewsTony Blair told Al Jazeera that western intervention in Iraq had been “pretty much of a disaster,”Times Onlineand 40 firefighters in the United Kingdom carried out a two-hour rescue operation to bring a sheep down from a ledge.Sky NewsSyria’s foreign minister visited Iraq to discuss renewing diplomatic relations between the two nations,Al Jazeeraand a researcher in Germany claimed that the swords of Damascus, which were made from a type of steel known as wootz, have a microstructure of carbon nanotubes.NatureEconomistMilton Friedman diedThe New York Timesand the price of oil stabilized;BBC Newsfootball coach Bo Schembechler died and Ohio State beat Michigan 42-39.ESPNThe New York Times
Forests were expanding in Spain, Ukraine, Vietnam, and China.Times OnlineA sea lion in San Francisco bit 14 people,SFGate.comand, despite the best efforts of Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi, Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland was elected House Majority Leader over RepresentativeJohn Murtha.ReutersSenator Trent Lott was elected Minority Whip,The Washington Postand a study found that people with viciousdogs, like pit bulls, have more criminal convictions than people who own nice dogs, like beagles and collies.ReutersIt was reported that a Braziliancat named Mimi had mated with a dog and birthed hybrid kitten-pups,Reutersand Tom Cruise married Katie Holmes in a Scientology ceremony in Italy.Canada.comActor Michael Richards, who played Kramer on the TV show Seinfeld, was videotaped repeatedly screaming a racial epithet at a heckler,MSNBCand the city council of Greenleaf, Idaho, passed an ordinance that makes it mandatory for most residents to own a gun so that the town will be able to protect itself from refugees from natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.MSNBCParents in Illinois were lodging complaints against an elementary school library for carrying And Tango Makes Three, a children’s book based on a true story about gay male penguins.CBS 3In response to widespread public criticism, Rupert Murdoch announced that he would not publish If I Did It, a book by O. J. Simpson in which the former football star describes how he carried out the 1994 killings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.The New York TimesTimes OnlineA British man testified that he picked up his ten-month-old niece by the ankles and smashed her to death because there was within him a “beast that shows his ugly head every now and then.” The beast, he said, told him to make her feel “a little bit of pain.”BBC News
Across the United States, violent fights broke out among people waiting in line to buy a Playstation 3, even though reviewers said that the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii were better gaming consoles.MSNBCEngadgetThe New York TimesThere was a fistula epidemic in Congo; doctors said this was because after gang-raping women, men were shoving sticks, pipes, or gun barrels into their victims’ vaginas.MSNBCFloods in the Horn of Africa had affected 1.8 million people; in Somalia crocodiles that washed into villages killed at least nine people.BBC NewsSome women in Japan were reportedly experiencing constant orgasms; their condition, known as persistent sexual arousal syndrome, or PSAS, is colloquially known as iku iku byo, or “cum cum disease.”MAINICHI DAILY NEWSDeep-fried American flags were removed from an art exhibit in Tennessee,CNN.comand a Danishartist named Kristian von Hornsleth was giving animals to Ugandan villagers who agreed to take his name. “Africans adopting European names for giftsâ??that’s nothing new,” said George Sabadu Hornsleth, who received a pig. “We’ve been doing that since colonial times. Why do you think I’m called George?”Yahoo! NewsPresident George W. Bush visited Vietnam and avoided all contact with regular Vietnamese citizens. “The president has been doing a lot of waving,” said National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley, “and getting a lot of waving and smiles.”The New York TimesDemocraticRepresentative Charles Rangel called for the reinstatement of the draft.Boston.com
More from Paul Ford:
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word â€śhallwayâ€ť must have a nautical name. Why didnâ€™t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet heâ€™d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands theyâ€™d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you donâ€™t belong to, that doesnâ€™t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isnâ€™t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members â€” because ocean life pays better than money! â€” who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Number of people stopped and frisked by the NYPD in 2011 for â€śfurtive movementsâ€ť:
The faces of Lego people were growing angrier.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature