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An audit by the inspector general of the United States Justice Department charged that the FBI has engaged in “serious misuse” of the USA Patriot Act to collect the confidential phone, bank, and credit records of U.S. citizens without first obtaining a search warrant.CNN.comThe scandal surrounding the firing of eight federal prosecutors continued to unfold as it became clearer from congressional testimony that the attorneys had resisted political pressure from the White House to subordinate law enforcement priorities to partisan politics. Karl Rove admitted that he had passed along complaints from the New MexicoRepublican Party chairman about U.S. Attorney David Iglesias to Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, who had referred to the scandal as an “overblown personnel matter.” One day there will be a new attorney general,” said Senator Arlen Specter. “Maybe sooner rather than later.”Baltimore SunScooter Libby was found guilty of obstruction of justice and perjury in the Valerie Plame investigation; jury member Denis Collins suggested that Libby might have been a fall guy. “Whereâ??s Rove?” he asked.BBCnews.comKevin Kiley, the three-star general in charge of all Army medical facilities, testified to his lack of responsibility for the Walter Reed hospital scandal, stating, “I command by commanding through my commanders and trusting them to execute the mission.”Washington PostWhen accused of stealing lingerie from a shop, a Irish man told a court that his elf alter ego may have been to blame,BBCnews.comand a woman in Boston was suing Planned Parenthood and two doctors for childrearing costs after finding out she was still pregnant following an abortion.Boston GlobeGovernor Haley Barbour was expected to sign a passed state congressional bill that would ban abortions in Mississippi if Roe v. Wade were overturned.Commercial appealA Pennsylvania mother pled guilty to swinging her infant son like a bat to hit her boyfriend,AP via CNN.comand after stabbing his wife multiple times a Connecticut man gave the knife to his son and said, “Now you stab mommy.”AP via CNN.comA study claimed that girls shown videos of women suffering from eating disorders became more likely to view these women as “very pretty” and thought it would be “nice to look like” them,Reutersand low-dose estrogen and progesterone birth control pills were reported to reduce ovarian cancer risk.ReutersNewt Gingrich admitted that he was carrying on an extramarital affair while pursuing the impeachment of Bill Clinton but maintained that his behavior was “not related to what happened.”Reuters
A man in Serbia pierced former President Slobodan Milosevic’s grave with a wooden pole to ensure he would not rise from the dead;Townhall.coma Swiss court was prosecuting a Turkish politician for Armenian “genocide denial”;BBCnews.comand the chestnut tree in Amsterdam that comforted Anne Frank during her time in hiding was to be cut down.BBCnews.comThe United Nations reported that 2 million Iraqis, including the judge who sentenced Saddam Hussein to death, have fled their country since the war began; according to the State Department, the United States has accepted 500 of those refugees.CNN.comAl JazeeraCNN.comHouse Democrats proposed legislation that would mandate an Iraq withdrawal no later than August 2008,Reutersand the Navy was researching an electromagnetic beam that would penetrate walls and cause people to fall over and vomit.Wired.comA human rights group in Israel accused the country’s army of using Palestinians, including an 11-year-old girl, as human shields,BBCnews.comand the Israeli ambassador to El Salvador was recalled after police found him in the embassy, drunk and naked except for bondage gear, with a rubber ball stuffed in his mouth.BBCnews.comA BBC World Service poll of twenty-seven countries suggested that a majority of people believe Israel and Iran have a “mainly negative” influence in the world. Canada and Japan were the most positively viewed countries.BBCnews.comCitizens in France were complaining about their government’s decision to build a branch of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi;BBCnews.comHalliburton announced it was moving its headquarters to Dubai;BBCnews.comand Vice President Dick Cheney, 66, was being treated for a blood clot in his leg.BBCnews.com
Postmodernist sociologist and philosopher Jean Baudrillard died in Paris at age 77,BBCnews.comCaptain America was killed by a sniper on the steps of the New York City federal courthouse,Houston Chronicleand a man in England who had demonstrated against cartoons of the prophet Muhammad was found guilty of soliciting murder.BBCnews.comA prisoner in Paraguay was freed after nineteen years of being held without trial,Reutersand alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and thirteen other GuantĂˇnamo inmates were facing hearings to decide whether they were enemy combatants and could face trial.BBCnews.comThe Swedish authorities were seeking the power to spy on any email or phone call into or out of the country,BBCnews.comand in France a new law made it a crimeâ??punishable by up to five years in prisonâ??for anyone who is not a professional journalist to film real-world violence and put the images on the Internet.AP via CNN.comFor the first time in more than fifty years, talks aimed at normalizing U.S.-North Korea relations were taking place,BBCnews.comand President Bush was touring Central and South America. At a news conference in Brazil he said, “My trip is to explain as clearly as I can that our nation is generous and compassionate.”AP via CNN.comHugo ChĂˇvez, president of Venezuela, was also on tour. Speaking to a crowd in Uruguay he said, “The little imperial gentleman from the north must be across the river by now. Let’s send him a big shout: ‘Gringo go home!’”BBCnews.comMicrosoft attacked Google, saying that its book-scanning service “violates copyright,”BBCnews.comand China accused the United States of trampling on Iraqâ??s sovereignty and violating the rights of its own citizens.Boston HeraldThe United Nations announced that Afghanistan’s yield of heroin poppies rose 25 percent last year.BBCnews.comOsama bin Laden turned fifty.Reuters via CNN.com
More from Chantal Clarke:
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.
Percentage of Americans who say they would not enjoy spending time with their own clone:
Astronomers recorded the most powerful pulse of radiation ever observed; the radiation was emitted from a pulsar 12,000 light-years from Earth and was â€ścapable of totally vaporising and ionising all known materials, shredding them into hot plasma.â€ť
Alberta dentist Michael Zuk, the owner of a molar that belonged to John Lennon, revealed that he hoped to clone a new Lennon and raise him as a son. â€śHopefully keep him away from drugs,â€ť said Zuk, â€śbut, you know, guitar lessons wouldnâ€™t hurt.â€ť
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Scienceâ€™s crisis of faith