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President George W. Bush attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Sydney, where he gave a speech referring to APEC as OPEC and thanking Australian Prime Minister John Howard for sending Austrian troops to Iraq.AP via Yahoo NewsA B-52 bomber plane flew across the United States, mistakenly loaded with nuclear-armed missiles,BBCand “bio-warfare” chemicals found at a United Nations office in New York turned out to be cleaning supplies.BBCPolice in Germany claimed to have foiled a massive terror plot that would have targeted U.S. facilities in the country,BBCand Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for two suicide bombs that killed at least 50 people in Algeria.BBCAIDS victims were being buried alive in Papua New Guinea. “If someone comes back to the village and they have HIV/AIDS,” an Australian reporter claimed, “the people blame this on witchcraft.”BBCMuslim students in northeastern India were studying in the local graveyard to improve their test scores,Sify.comand two women accused of casting spells on a South African school were burned to death by students on the school’s football field.BBCnews.comArchbishop Desmond Tutu became the patron of South Africa’s Barbecue Day. “This,” he said, “is something that can unite us.”BBCnews.com
Frances Fragos Townsend, the top homeland security adviser to President Bush, said that a new videotape released by Osama bin Laden showed that the Al Qaeda leader was “virtually impotent.”Houston ChronicleViagra turned 15,Independent Onlinea convicted California voyeur sued police to get back his porn collection,Breitbart.comand the U.S. Justice Department said that Internet providers should be allowed to charge more for certain types of traffic such as movie and television downloads.BBCnews.comFacebook accounted for 1 percent of all Internet traffic,BBCnews.comand police were cracking down on Craigslist hookers. “Technology has worked its way into every profession,” said a Long Island detective, “including the oldest.”New York TimesA judge in England called for all U.K. residents and visitors to be placed in the national DNA database,BBCnews.comand an Alabama judge was accused of removing inmates from their cells so that he might take them to the storage closet in his office and paddle them.wkrg.comA corrupt official in China was caught plagiarizing his trial apology from another corrupt official.ReutersA routine X-ray of a Chinese woman’s body uncovered 26 sewing needles, presumably placed there during her infancy by her grandparents, who were disappointed that she was not a boy.BBCnews.comThe Friends of Jesus went to Kenya’s High Court in a bid to clear the Messiah of the blasphemy charge that resulted in his crucifixion.ReutersIsrael announced that it would grant citizenship to hundreds of refugees from Darfur,Haaretz.comand scientists blamed the recent massive honey bee die-offs on an Israeli virus.New York TimesThe Pope demanded more respect for Sundays.BBCnews.com
Spokesmen for Larry Craig said that the senator, caught flirting in a men’s room, would resign, then that he wouldn’t, and then that he would. His former chief of staff claimed that Craig had been planning to quit anyway.CNN.comRepresentative Jim Sensenbrenner (R., Wis.), heir to the Kimberley-Clark fortune, won the lottery for the third time,New York Timesand all the inmates in an English prison were to be given 2 pounds spending money for good behavior during a prison-officer strike.BBCnews.comThe first Starbucks opened in Russia,.BBCand Sarajevo artists erected a 10-foot statue of a can of meat that represented food donated from abroad during the war. “That stuff was so bad,” said one retiree, “that if your cat ate it, his fur would fall off.”LA TimesEthiopian authorities planned to use strychnine-laced meat to kill tens of thousands of stray dogs in Addis Ababa before the Coptic New Year.AP via Newsvine.comNepal’s state-run airline, after experiencing technical problems with one of its planes, sacrificed two goats to appease the Hindu sky god.ReutersA San Diego woman was reportedly considering a lawsuit against Southwest Airlines after she was asked to leave one of their flights because attendants deemed her skirt and sweater too revealing.ABCnews.comTenor Luciano Pavarotti died, as did writer Madeleine L’Engle,BBCnews.comNew York Timesand scientists in Liverpool found that rock stars are twice as likely to die prematurely as ordinary people.Washington PostThe United Kingdom’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority agreed to allow the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos for research.BBCnews.comThe British government complained that the Taliban was using weapons that had been made in China,.BBCnews.comand Mattel recalled 11 more Chinese-produced lead-laced toys.RTT newsPsychiatrists announced that diagnoses of bipolar disorder in U.S. children have increased by 4,000 percent over the last 10 years.International Herald TribuneA high school student in New Hampshire asked John McCain if the senator was too old to be president. “Thanks for the question, you little jerk,” McCain replied. “You’re drafted!”AP via Yahoo News
More from Chantal Clarke:
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word â€śhallwayâ€ť must have a nautical name. Why didnâ€™t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet heâ€™d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands theyâ€™d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you donâ€™t belong to, that doesnâ€™t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isnâ€™t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members â€” because ocean life pays better than money! â€” who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Number of people stopped and frisked by the NYPD in 2011 for â€śfurtive movementsâ€ť:
The faces of Lego people were growing angrier.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature