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Federal agents in Missouri found two kidnapped adolescent boys in the apartment of Michael Devlin, a 41-year-old pizzeria manager. “I still feel like I’m in a dream, only this time it’s a good dream, not the nightmare I’ve had to live for the past four-and-a-half years,” said the mother of one of the boys. New York TimesThe Bush Administration announced plans to increase U.S. forces in Iraq by 20,000 troops,New York TimesAmericans in Erbil arrested six Iranians working at a diplomatic office, New York Timesand Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D., Del.) asserted that the authority Congress granted the Bush Administration to invade Iraq did not extend to invading Iran or Syria. “I just want to set that marker,” he said.SlateU.S. air strikes in Somalia killed seven people. Somali officials believed the dead included Al Qaeda operative Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, reputed mastermind of the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, but U.S. officials said they were still chasing him.Yahoo! NewsCBS NewsIn the Persian Gulf, the USS Newport News, an American nuclear submarine, collided with the Mogamigawa, a Japaneseoil tanker.Boston GlobeVladimir Putin threatened to cut Russia’soil production,Business Weekand in Venezuela, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and President Hugo ChĂˇvez embraced. “Welcome, fighter for just causes,” ChĂˇvez said. New York TimesEhud Barak announced that he is seeking leadership of the Israeli Labor Party, which was trailing Benjamin Netanyahuâ??s Likud Party in polls, Ha’aretzReutersand Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Israeli calls for a temporary Palestinian state.New York TimesMengistu Haile Mariam, the former dictator of Ethiopia who now lives comfortably in Zimbabwe, was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment on genocide charges.New York TimesMercenaries in Iraq lost their immunity from war crimes prosecution, Boston GlobeMuslim villagers in Bihar, India, were changing their sonsâ?? names to “Saddam Hussein,.”BBCand a new video emerged that showed Hussein’s corpse with a gaping circular neck wound.Washington PostA rocket-propelled grenade struck the U.S. Embassy in Athens,New York TimesHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi banned smoking in the Speaker’s Parlor of the Capitol,Washington Postand President George W. Bush cried.Yahoo! News
Shahwar Matin Siraj, a 24-year-old clerk at an Islamic bookstore in Brooklyn, was sentenced to 30 years in jail for discussing phony plans to bomb a subway station with a police informant; Sirajâ??s father, mother, and sister, all asylum-seekers, were arrested for deportation to their native Pakistan.WNBCIn Illinois, Derrick Shareef, a 22-year-old Muslim convert who was arrested last month after trading two stereo speakers to a federal agent for a pistol and four nonfunctioning grenades that he planned to set off at a local mall, pleaded not guilty to attempting to use weapons of mass destruction. Saulkvalley.comOn a radio program for federal employees and contractors, a Department of Defense official listed the names of law firms whose lawyers have represented detainees at GuantĂˇnamo Bay. “Quite honestly,” he said, “when corporate CEOs see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those CEOs are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms, and I think that is going to have major play in the next few weeks. And we want to watch that play out.”Washington PostSealand, a sovereign country declared 40 years ago on a derelict anti-aircraft platform in the North Sea, was for sale, Yahoo! NewsDavid Beckham signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy,New York TimesRobert Anton Wilson died, New Fnord Timesand an astronomer speculated that the last space probe to Mars failed to find life on the planet because it was looking for the wrong kind of life.CNN
Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D., Conn.) announced his candidacy for president,Houston Chronicleand Senator Barack Obama was featured shirtless in People Magazine’s Beach Babes issue. “It’s embarrassing,” Obama said. Washington PostCal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame; Mark McGwire and Jim Rice were not.Boston HeraldDan Gulley Jr., an Alabama septuagenarian, turned himself in to police after shooting his friend David Brooks Jr. twice in the stomach during a quarrel about the height of deceased soul singer James Brown,Breitbartand former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney attended a gun show. “As a boy, I worked on a ranch in Idaho and shotrabbits with a single shot .22 rifle,” Romney said. “After a while my cousin said, ‘You’re not very good at that. Try using this semiautomatic.’”NewsMaxUnder the influence of truth drugs, an Indian butler accused of serial murder, necrophilia, and cannibalism told police that the first time he tried to eat one of his victim’s organs (the liver of a four-year-old girl), it made him vomit. BreitbartSenatorHillary Clinton said that “we want to be able to continue to export democracy, but we want to deliver it in digestible packages.”The New YorkerCapsaicin, a substance in jalapeĂ±o peppers, was said by scientists to thwart cancer by attacking mitochondria in cancer cells, triggering cell death.BBCMembers of the Baker’s Dozen, an all-male Yalea cappella group recuperating from injuries they suffered when a gang of prep school students attacked them on New Year’s Eve, were asked by police to return to San Francisco to identify their assailants. “The kids are scared shitless,” said a father of one of the singers.San Francisco ChronicleA California woman died from water intoxication after a water-drinking contest, L.A. Timesdepressed American zoo animals were taking Prozac,L.A. Timesand poor Zimbabweans were happily eating dogfood.Institute for war and peace reporting
More from Christian Lorentzen:
Discussed in this essay:
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert. Henry Holt. 352 pages. $28.
The extinction symbol is a spare graphic that began to appear on London walls and sidewalks a couple of years ago. It has since become popular enough as an emblem of protest that people display it at environmental rallies. Others tattoo it on their arms. The symbol consists of two triangles inscribed within a circle, like so:
â€śThe triangles represent an hourglass; the circle represents Earth; the symbol as a whole represents, according to a popular Twitter feed devoted to its dissemination (@extinctsymbol, 19.2K followers), â€śthe rapidly accelerating collapse of global biodiversityâ€ťÂ â€” what scientists refer to alternately as the Holocene extinction, the Anthropocene extinction, and (with somewhat more circumspection) the sixth mass extinction.
Ratio of husbands who say they fell in love with their spouse at first sight to wives who say this:
Mathematicians announced the discovery of the perfect method of cutting a cake.
Indian prime-ministerial contender Narendra Modi, who advertises his bachelorhood as a mark of his incorruptibility, confessed to having a wife.
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Scienceâ€™s crisis of faith