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Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that she will run for President in 2008, and Barack Hussein Obama released a video on the Internet announcing that he has formed a presidential exploratory committee. It was reported that Obama had concealed that he was raised as a Muslim and had attended a madrassah as a child.BBCWashington PostSeventy Iraqis died and 170 were injured when two bombs exploded at a university in Baghdad.CNNThe United Nations announced that 34,452 civilians were killed in Iraq last year, a number nearly three times higher than previous estimates by the Iraqi interior ministry.BBC“I think,” said President George W. Bush, “the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude.”ITV.comSex-changing chemicals were discovered in Washington, D.C.‘s Potomac River.BBCIt appeared that at least six children around the world had died copying the execution of Saddam Hussein,.Reuters via CNNand two of Saddam Hussein’s top aides, Barzan al-Tikriti and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, were hanged; the force of hanging decapitated al-Tikriti.BBCConnecticut was fighting with Texas over which state invented the hamburger. “We are even the birthplace of George Bush, who wants people to think he’s from Texas,” said New Haven mayor John DeStefano. “The hamburger is as much a New Haven original as President Bush.”AP via CNNScientists in London were working on a gum that suppresses appetite and fights obesity. “Obese people like chewing,” explained a researcher.BBCnews.comCorn prices were at a 10-year high, leading to price-gouging by corn merchants. With more corn going to U.S. ethanol plants, the president of Mexico signed an accord with Mexican supermarket chains and bakers to cap tortilla prices.BBCnews.comBBCnews.comA freeze destroyed as much as 75 percent of California’scitrus crop. “We may have to do without guacamole for a while,” said a Pasadena resident. “And we may be drinking our Coronas without limes.”AP via Cnn.comZookeepers in Thailand put their male panda on a diet. “Chuang Chuang is gaining weight too fast,” said a zookeeper, “and we found Lin Hui is no longer comfortable with having sex with him.”AZcentral.com
An Israeli couple won the right to artificially inseminate a volunteer with sperm they had harvested from their son after his death in 2002. “It’s a dream come true,” said their lawyer, Irit Rosenblum.BBCnews.comIn England, Louise Brown, the world’s first test-tube baby, gave birth to a naturally conceived child,AP via Cnn.comand in the United States a boy was born from an embryo rescued from a fertility clinic flooded during Hurricane Katrina.BBCnews.comResearchers found that the majority of women in the United States are living without a spouse,NY Timesand women in Canada were joining professional pillow-fighting leagues.ReutersFemale tsunami survivors in India were selling their kidneys,BBCnews.comand an Illinois man rode a stationary bike for 85 hours, setting a new world record.AP via ESPN.comEuropeans were traveling to Bulgaria to purchase Boza beer, which allegedly increases bust size. “I’ve bought a case for my wife to try out,” said one Romanian man. “I really hope I see an improvement.”All Headline NewsStarbucks announced plans to convert to using only growth-hormone-free dairy products.Cnn moneyThe coffee chain was challenged by a Chinese state TV personality, who claimed that its presence in Beijing’s Forbidden City “trampled over Chinese culture.”BBCSix Honduran men were crushed to death by giant bags of coffee beans.BBCnews.com
In New York City, a Madison Avenue antiques dealer was suing, for one million dollars, a group of homeless people who had taken up residence outside his business.NY TimesThe bodies of four homeless men were found stuffed in manholes in Indiana,AP via CNNand United States/South Korea trade talks came to a halt after the Koreans refused to accept shipments of U.S. beef that contained bone fragments.International Herald TribuneA German breeder was selling giant rabbits to North Korea in the hope of relieving famine.ReutersAfter a teacher at a nearby school complained, a Florida Hooters removed a sign from the front of the restaurant that read “plagiarism saves time.”Local6.comArmenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, who wrote extensively about the Armenian genocide, was shot dead outside his office in Istanbul,BBCnews.comand columnist Art Buchwald died at the age of 81.BBCThe United Arab Emirates beat out the United States to become the world’s most wasteful country,AP via Lexington Herald-Leaderand McDonald’s opened its first drive-thru window in China.AP via BreitbartStorms killed 65 people in the United States and 43 people in Europe,BBCnews.comBBCnews.comand a trojan “Storm Worm” virus attacked thousands of computers around the world.ReutersExperts warned that Lake Chad, Africa’s third largest body of water, could become a pond within two decades,BBCdrought was driving tens of thousands of snakes into Australian cities,BBCand members of the Bulletin of the AtomicScientists moved the hands on their “doomsday clock” two minutes closer to midnight.BBCnews.com
More from Chantal Clarke:
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.”