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Iraqis took to the streets after the national soccer team beat Saudi Arabia 1?0 in the Asian Cup championship. At least four people were killed by “happy fire” in the midst of what were reported to be the largest spontaneous celebrations in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. “Sport brings us together while the heads of everything in Baghdad can’t bring us together for five years,” said one reveler. “If the Iraqi football team ruled us, peace would spread in our home.” Each member of the Lions of the Two Rivers will receive $10,000 from the government, but a decision about whether to allot players their own 400-square-meter plots of land has been put off until September.New York TimesNew York TimesReuters via Yahoo! NewsRussian President Vladimir Putin accused Britain of “colonial thinking” for demanding the extradition of Andrei Lugovoi, who is suspected of murdering former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko,Telegraphand Bulgarian medics who allegedly infected 426 Libyan children with HIV were pardoned and released by their home government. AP via Yahoo! NewsSerbians awaiting a U.N. Security Council decision on Kosovar independence told reporters they no longer cared whether Serbia retained the disputed province. “Kosovo means absolutely nothing to me; I have never been there and I never will go there,” said 38-year-old anthropologist Jelena Simovic. “I am fed up with Kosovo. I just want to live normally.”AP via International Herald TribuneA spokesman said that special international envoy Tony Blair would spend his first official trip to Israel, dubbed “Mission Impossible,” in “listening mode,”Reuters via Yahoo! Newsand an Israeli study concluding that hummus stimulates serotonin production bolstered sentiment that eating the popular chickpea dip could help Israelis and Palestinians reconcile.Christian Science Monitor
YouTube and CNN co-hosted a debate for the Democratic presidential candidates at The Citadel in South Carolina. After a YouTuber asked the candidates to say something they liked and something they disliked about the candidate to their left, John Edwards said that he approved of Hillary Clinton’s record of national service, but perhaps not her salmon-colored jacket. Additional questions came from a Viking, a five-year-old, a snowman, and a man in a chicken costume.CNNPresidential hopeful Mitt Romney described Hillary Clinton’s economic plan as “out with Adam Smith and in with Karl Marx”Associated Pressand letters written by Senator Clinton during her undergraduate years at Wellesley College were made public. One described her childhood sense of being the only person in the universe. “I’d play out in the patch of sunlight that broke the density of the elms in front of our house,” wrote the 19-year-old Clinton, “and pretend there were heavenly movie cameras watching my every move.”New York TimesA Washington, D.C.,newspaper ranked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi number four on a list of the “50 Most Beautiful People on Capitol Hill.” Other honorees included congressional aides, a Washington Redskins cheerleader, and a police officer.The HillDick Cheney’s biographer revealed that the vice president once considered his future post a “cruddy job.”Reuters via Yahoo! News
President George W. Bush delivered a speech intended as a “surge of facts” to refute claims that Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is not connected to Osama bin Laden,New York Timesand Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified that no one in the Bush Administration had voiced objections to the NSA’s wiretapping program. FBI director Robert Mueller testified that the surveillance program was “much discussed” by other officials, and Senate Judiciary chair Patrick Leahy of Vermont sent Mr. Gonzales a transcript of his testimony and asked him to “mark any changes you wish to make to correct, clarify or supplement your answers so that, consistent with your oath, they are the whole truth.”New York TimesThe publisher of Weekly World News announced that the publication would end its 28-year print run next month, Reuters via Yahoo! Newsand a men-versus-machinepoker match showed humans to be the superior bluffers.New York TimesLaw-enforcement agents issued decks of playing cards featuring missing-persons cases to Florida convicts,AP via Yahoo! Newsa prisoner in Ft. Lauderdale was convicted of indecent exposure for masturbating in his cell,The Smoking Gunand Wisconsin inmates brawled over Woody Allen’s marriage to Sun Yi Previn.Milwaukee Journal SentinelIngmar Bergmandied.The New York TimesTwo Wisconsinites who had locked a seven-year-old boy in his room while they watched a Green Bay Packers game were each sentenced to several months in jail. The couple claimed to have left the boy peanut butter and jelly, bread, and a bucket for a toilet. “What do you do?” the defense attorney asked the judge. “Maybe this coming football season,” he continued, “lock them in a room with a bucket and make them watch Bears games.”AP via Yahoo! NewsA blonde woman wearing only stilettos and a gold bracelet bought a pack of cigarettes at a German gas station before climbing back into the passenger seat of a waiting Ferrari.Reuters via Yahoo! NewsA 70-year-old British grandmother was convicted in the honor killing of her son’s estranged wife,Reuters via Yahoo! Newsand a Rhode Island cat was reported to have received a wall plaque for his “compassionate hospice care” in predicting the deaths of two dozen residents of a nursing home. According to staff members, when Oscar curls up next to someone, that patient has less than four hours to live.AP via Yahoo! NewsIndonesian lawmakers discussed implanting microchip tracking devices in HIV patients,Breitbartand scientists said that obesity can spread like a virus among friends.New York TimesFast-growing supermassive black holes fed like piranhas on cosmic gases,Space.com via Yahoo! Newsa panel found that NASA had allowed astronauts to fly drunk,BBC Newsand a crew member at the International Space Station tossed half a ton of garbage into orbit. “Jettison!” cried the astronaut. “Our spaceship earth is a beautiful place.”AP via Yahoo! News
More from Miriam Markowitz:
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
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 tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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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.”