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Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf said that the country will hold parliamentary elections in January but refused to give a date for ending his emergency decree or stepping down as head of the military. Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was placed under house arrest when she tried to attend a political rally. President George W. Bush said that General Musharraf has been an “indispensable ally.”NY TimesBBCnews.comBurma’s military junta permitted pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for 12 of the past 18 years, to meet with her party.BBCnews.comAt an Ibero-American summit in Chile, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called Spain’s former prime minister a fascist, adding, “fascists are not human. A snake is more human.” “Why don’t you shut up?” asked the king of Spain.BBCnews.comThe Senate approved Michael Mukasey as U.S. Attorney General even though he refused to condemn waterboarding.BBCnews.comCongress overrode President Bush‘s veto for the first time, on a water bill that earmarked money for the Everglades and the Gulf Coast,Breitbart.comand half of New Orleans streetcars were still broken.CNN.comCongress cheered a speech by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. “You just heard a Ronald Reagan speech from a president of France,” said a Republican senator from Kentucky.NY TimesOne full year remained before the U.S. presidential election. Ron Paul raised $4.2 million in 24 hours; Mitt Romney said that children were better off with dead straight rather than living gay parents; and Ben Cohen, the co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s, denied that there were plans for a John Edwards flavor of ice cream, but said that a hypothetical Edwards ice cream would not be a “very fluffy flavor” and suggested it be called “Captain Courageous Crunch.”CBNNews.comRocky Mountain NewsReal Clear PoliticsIt was reported that more American troops were killed in 2007 than in any year since the start of the Iraq war,CNN.comand at least 75 people, including 59 children, were killed in Afghanistan’s deadliest suicide bombing since the fall of the Taliban.Guardian unlimited
Wrestler Mary Lillian Ellison, known as the Fabulous Moolah, died at 84, as did writer and wife-stabber Norman Mailer.NY TimesBBCnews.comMembers of the Writers Guild of America went on strike to demand a share in the profits from new forms of media, television networks hired “loyalty consulting firms” to figure out how to lure back viewers,variety.comand a North Carolina researcher found that female spadefoot toads will mate with other species of toad in order to increase the survival rate of their tadpoles.BBCnews.comCanadian scientists discovered that women are more likely to swing their hips seductively when they are at their least fertile,Times Onlineand researchers in Pittsburgh found that women with big hips and small waists had smarter children.New ScientistObesity was found to cause cancer in women,BBCnews.comand researchers announced that ten years after a woman stops taking birth-control pills her heightened risk of cervical cancer returns to normal.BBCnews.comTed Klaudt, a former Republican South Dakota state legislator, was convicted of raping his teenage foster daughters. Klaudt convinced the girls that he was a licensed gynecologist and massaged their breasts (“to get the fibroids out”) and vaginas regularly to ascertain their capability for egg donation.YahoonewsA London woman, who says she only called herself the “Lyrical Terrorist” because “it sounded cool,” was convicted under the UK Terrorism Act for posting poems on the Internet praising Osama bin Laden and for owning terrorist manuals. “You have been in many respects,” said the judge, “a complete enigma to me.”BBCnews.comVoters in Great Britain decided that their most ridiculous law was one that makes it illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament.BBCnews.com
Italian police discovered the Mafia’s Ten Commandments. “Always being available for Cosa Nostra is a duty,” reads number five, “even if your wife’s about to give birth.”BBCnews.comCompanies in Florida were forbidding their employees to smoke, even in private. “If you are an alcoholic and we have the right to fire you, we will do so,” said the president of Westgate Resorts. “And if you are obese and there is a way for us not to hire you or to fire you, we will do that, too.”Local6.comDesperate to protect themselves from crime, many South Africans were attending martial arts classes taught by Bruce Lee’s top student, Grandmaster Richard Bustillo. “I was born in 1975 and Bruce died in 1973,” said one pupil. “He was a Chinese guy but maybe he came back as an African?”BBCnews.comNigeria was suing American tobacco companies for promoting underage smoking,BBCnews.comand California was suing the federal government for preventing it from reducing car pollution.BBCnews.comSoon after “Aqua Dots,” a China-made bead toy aimed at children four and older, was named Australia’s toy of the year, 4.2 million units were recalled because chemicals in the tiny beads, when metabolized, turn into the date-rape drug GHB.CNN.comEight-year-old twins from Ohio were nationally recognized for inventing wedgie-proof underpants,Breitbart.comand doctors performed a 40-hour operation to remove four limbs from an eight-limbed Indian girl, who is believed by some to be an incarnation of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi.Telegraph.co.uk
More from Chantal Clarke:
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 Californiaâs 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 âinvasive,â âexotic,â âalienâ â 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 âindigenously Californianâ elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a âhome without its mother.â 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 âworldâs biggest selfies,â and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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âShelby 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.â