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In Iraq, armed men believed to be working for the Ministry of Defense kidnapped an Iranian diplomat, a car bomb killed at least 33 policemen, a political officer affiliated with the Mahdi Army was assassinated, and in Sadr City, Baghdad’s largest Shiite slum, conditions were much improved following the input of $41 million in reconstruction funds.NY TimesCNNNY TimesNY TimesA mistrial was declared in the court-martial of Lieutenant Ehren K. Watada, the first American military officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq,.NY Times and Vivelacanadaand Secretary of Defense Robert Gates dismissed Vladimir Putin’s criticisms of U.S. foreign policy as the “blunt speaking” habits of “old spies.”MSNBCIndonesia, the worldwide leader in avian flu, reportedly entered negotiations to sell the deadly virus to an American vaccine company.NY TimesFrench Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy publicly advocated “an excess of caricatures” depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad. ReutersZimbabwe outlawed inflation,NY Timesand Nigerian rebel leader Major General Tamuno announced that an upcoming offensive dubbed “Operation Black Locust” would “take lives,” “destroy lives,” and “crumble the economy.”CNNPro-Taliban militants in northern Pakistan killed two suspected U.S. collaborators,BBC Newsand in Israel, the streets of Old Jerusalem “ran slick with pulped oranges and tomatoes” as Palestinian protesters and Israeli police officers battled one another.The AustralianAl Gore accused the Bush Administration of paying bribes to scientists willing to dispute global warming,CNNa spokesperson for the Chinese government said the West bore an “unshirkable responsibility” for climate change,Financial Timesand just 13 percent of Republican congressmen believed humans caused global warming.National Journal via Drudge ReportUnusually cold weather in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, forced some local residents to wear socks.Christian Science Monitor
In a scenario that psychiatry professor Michael Stone called “unique in the annals of female crime,” U.S. astronaut Lisa Nowak was arrested after she drove 900 miles to attempt to kidnap a woman she believed was romantically involved with a male space colleague. Dr. Keith Ablow, another psychiatrist, theorized that Nowak, who when taken into custody was wearing a diaper and was in possession of a BB gun, pepper spray, garbage bags, and rubber tubing, may very well have “unresolved issues.”NY TimesMSNBCMSNBC and ABC NewsReverend Ted Haggard declared himself “completely heterosexual,”NY Timesand Rudy Giuliani officially declared his candidacy for the presidency of the United States.CNN Donatella Versace told Hillary Clinton to stop wearing pants.ReutersIn Washington state, proponents of same-sexmarriage pursued legislation that would annul all connubial unions still barren after three years,Washington Newsand Austrian federalpolice uncovered a child pornography ring involving 2,360 suspects in more than 77 countries.BBC NewsA “fascist climate” settled over parts of Italy as soccer fans were banned from local stadiums.BBC NewsKeith Urban, a country singer, sued Keith Urban, a painter, after the latter Urban registered the Internet domain name keithurban.com “with the intent of producing confusion.”Playfuls.com A New York state senator was considering legislation to fine anyone caught crossing the street while listening to an iPod,Reutersa Philadelphia city councilman proposed the adoption of rubber sidewalks,iwon newsand U.S. Representative Joe Baca denied calling a congressional colleague a “whore.”Raw StorySinkholes were endangering the nation’s roads.NY TimesA study conducted at the University of Chicago found that 14 percent of American doctors thought it was morally acceptable to lie to their patients about treatment options.Daily TelegraphIn Texas, elementary school children were increasingly becoming addicted to “cheese,” a potentially lethal combination of heroin and Tylenol PM. “Any child anywhere can afford a hit of cheese,” said a detective. “It’s just horrific.”ABC NewsA BritishMuslim high school was under criticism for using textbooks that depicted Jews as apes and Christians as pigs and predicted that all non-believers would be condemned to hellfire.This LondonRemote-controlled “zombie computers” attacked three of the world’s largest Internet servers,Boing Boingand Arthur Sulzberger, publisher of the New York Times, said he wasn’t sure if the paper would still be printed in five years. “And you know what?” Sulzberger added. “I don’t care.”Haaretz
In Los Angeles, the Canoga Park Alabama was named the city’s most dangerous street gang, Los Angeles Timesand a 40-pound boar married a 24-pound sow in Ilan, Taiwan. “They will live happily ever after,” said Hsu Wen-chuan, owner of the two swine.Mail and GuardianNearly invisible meteors may have been detected in the skies above Winston-Salem, North Carolina.wxii12.comOrganized dog fighting was increasingly popular throughout central Russia. Stanislav Mikhailov, president of the All-Russian Association of RussianVolkodavs (“wolf-killers”) said, “Only people who have not seen it, and do not understand it, dislike this.” NY TimesBurqini-clad female lifeguards were patrolling the public beaches of Sydney, Australia.Mathaba News NetworkCatholic League president William Donohue railed against “incendiary,” “inflammatory,” and “scurrilous” bloggers,CNNand “farcical, saucy, and somewhat tragic, man-breasts” were deemed ideal “fodder” for the British tabloid media.Times onlineCongressman Gary Ackerman insisted that it would take little more than a “platoon of lesbians” to chase the U.S. military out of Baghdad,.Thinkprogress via Nerve.comand biological anthropologists speculated that male chimps living in communal “free love” simian societies attempt to control the sexuality of their female partners by beating them.Science NowAnna Nicole Smith dropped dead on the floor of a casino hotel in Hollywood, Florida.The online wire
More from Theodore Ross:
Flor Arely SĂˇnchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San JuliĂˇn region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases â€” first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didnâ€™t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average amount of time a child spends in Santa Claus’s lap at Macy’s (in seconds):
Beer does not cause beer bellies.
Following the arrest of at least 10 clowns in Kentucky and Alabama, Tennesseans were warned that clowns could be â€śpredatorsâ€ť and Pennsylvanians were advised not to interact with what one police chief described as â€śknuckleheads with clown-like clothes on.â€ť
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â€śMatt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'Iâ€™m glad everyoneâ€™s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supportsÂ my lifestyle.'â€ť