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In a videoconference with Hong Kong investors, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said that America might sink into recession by year’s end; a frenzied worldwide sell-off ensued. The Shanghai Composite lost 8.8 percent of its value in a day, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 3.3 percent, its worst drop since September 17, 2001. “Alan Greenspan really needs to sit down,” said one economist, “and be quiet.” Others marveled at the ability of “the Maestro” to cause upheavals even in retirement; Greenspan later held another videoconference, for which he charges fees of $150,000, and said that a recession was “not probable.” New York Times APNPRMarkets continued to decline,New York Timesand a tornado ravaged Alabama.New York TimesA suicide bomber attacked Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, killing twenty Afghans, a South Korean, and two Americans but missing his prime target, Vice President Dick Cheney, who has taken to speaking in the first person on the condition of anonymity. “I’ve seen some reporting,” said the “senior administration official” of his meeting with Pakistani authorities, “that says, â??Cheney went in to beat up on them, threaten them.’ That’s not the way I work.”New York TimesSan Jose Mercury NewsThe Bush Administration announced it would reverse its policy of the last several years and discuss stabilizing Iraq with high-level diplomats from Syria and Iran, which it was blaming for manufacturing a cache of roadside bombs found in Hilla, Iraq, inside a fake boulder made of polyurethane. The later discovery of a makeshift weapons factory indicated that insurgents were making their own weapons,New York TimesNew York Timesand disclosures about North Korea’splutonium bomb suggested that U.S. intelligence about other countries’ weapons programs is frequently wrong.New York TimesSheikh Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah told an interviewer he believed the United States had embarked on a secret plan to break up Iraq,Lebanon, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, before doing the same to the Arab nations of northern Africa. “Israel will be the most important and the strongest state in a region that has been partitioned into ethnic and confessional states that are in agreement with each other,” he said. “This is the new Middle East.” New YorkerThe State Department was fighting terror by posting comments on Arabic blogs,PR Watchthe Defense Department selected a winner in its nuclear warhead design competition,New York Timesand Switzerland accidentally invaded Liechtenstein.BBC
Jurists in The Hague ruled that a genocide occurred when Bosnian Serbs massacred Bosnian Muslims at Srebrinca in 1995. Serbia, said the court, was responsible for not preventing the genocideâ??but not directly responsible for the genocide itselfâ??and is thus absolved of any obligation to pay reparations. New York TimesEthnic Albanian Ramush Haradinaj, a former bouncer who became prime minister of Kosovo, awaited trial for cleansing Serbs.Washington PostSenator Joe Biden (D., Del.) boasted that as president he would pull U.S. troops out of Iraq and send them to “take out the janjaweed” in Darfur, which he mistakenly placed in Somalia, not Sudan, where visiting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad signed a cooperative agreement on the environment and said, “Zionists are the true manifestation of Satan.”PrezVidDeutsche Presse-AgenturAfter the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court filed charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity against Sudanese officials, Sudan’s Minister of the Interior said that any party who tried to enforce the charges would be beheaded.AllAfrica.comSudan Times“Perfect hair” was among the potential liabilities outlined in a PowerPoint document leaked from Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. The former Massachusetts governor, according to the document, intends to avoid being called “Slick Dancing Mitt” or “Flip-Flopper” and will instead promote himself as “the anti-Kerry,” a “get-it-done CEO” who hates France and possesses “intelligence,” unlike President Bush.Boston GlobeAn Indiannumerologist forecast that Hillary Clinton would win the 2008 election because her birth number is eight; he claimed he had also correctly predicted Princess Diana’s death, Bush’s election, and that America would lose the Iraq war. Asian TribuneOn The Late Show with David Letterman, Senator John McCain confirmed that he is running for president. Candidly discussing the war in Iraq, he said, “We’ve wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American lives.” In response to Democrats who scolded him for using the word “wasted,” McCain replied, “I should have used the word ‘sacrificed’.”CNNOutgoing Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan advised blacks to stay out of the military,New York Timesand the New York City Council banned the word “nigger.” BBCArthur M. Schlesinger Jr., author of The Vital Center, died,New York Timesand the New Republic, a 93-year-old independent American liberal weekly, was sold to a Canadianmedia conglomerate that will publish it half as often.New York ObserverFifty million honeybees vanished.New York Times
The United States projected that it would emit 19 percent more greenhouse gases in 2020 than it did in 2000,New York Timesand pollution was cited as the reason that the Dutch are now taller than Americans. Daily Kent StaterDelivering Lenten meditations at the Vatican, Cardinal Giacomo Biffi warned Pope Benedict of an Antichrist who would come as “a pacifist, ecologist, and ecumenist” to rally the “masses” to destroy the Christian faith. Times, UKA woman in Naples found a live World War II-era hand grenade in a bag of potatoes,BBCand mothers in Rome were leaving unwanted babies at a hospital booth that resembles an ATM.New York TimesA television documentary reported that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, the couple had a son named Judah, and the three were buried together with Mary and Joseph in Israel.New York TimesJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the 200,000 women staffing the Japanese military’s World War II brothels had not been coerced into service; surviving comfort women countered that they had been raped en masse and demanded compensation. The AustralianVladimir Putin installed Ramzan Kadyrov, a 30-year-old reputed warlord and torturer, as president of Chechnya.Moscow TimesFemale koalas in Australia were ignoring males in favor of five-bear lesbian orgies,The AdvocateAnn Coulter called former Senator John Edwards a faggot, Fox Newsand social scientists found that Americans born after 1982 have succumbed to an epidemic of pathological narcissism.Christian Science Monitor
More from Christian Lorentzen:
Estimated number of people who watched a live Webcast of a hair transplant last fall:
A man in Japan was arrested for stealing a prospective employerâ€™s wallet during a job interview, and a court in Germany ruled that it is safe for a woman with breast implants to be a police officer.
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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."