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Charges of a rigged presidential election triggered violence along tribal lines in Kenya, leading to more than 700 deaths and the displacement of 250,000 Kenyans. Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who lost the election to incumbent Mwai Kibaki, said that his first cousin Barack Obama had called him twice to express his concern, “despite being in the middle of the very busy New Hampshire primary.”AFP.comTelegraph.co.ukObama and Mike Huckabee were the surprise winners of the Iowacaucuses. “None of this worries me,” said Rudy Giuliani, who came in sixth place in the Republican caucus. “September 11, there were times I was worried.”NYDailyNews.comJohn McCain and a tearful Hillary Clinton won the New Hampshire primaries.NYTimes.com“You look at me, September 11,” said Giuliani when asked if he would ever cry in public, “there were times in which it was impossible not to feel the emotion.” NYDailyNews.com G.O.P. candidate Vermin Supreme picked up 41 votes in the New Hampshire primary, and Dennis Kucinich demanded and was granted a recount.New Hampshire Public RadioNBC11.comVisiting the Middle East, President George W. Bush urged Gulf state leaders to join him in confronting Iran, “before it’s too late.” BBCnews.comBush, guarded by ten thousand policemen in Jerusalem, told Condoleezza Rice that the United States should have bombed Auschwitz, and was flown by helicopter to Bethlehem so that he could pass through a tiny Door of Humility and pray at the traditionally venerated birthplace of Jesus Christ.BBCnews.comYahoonewsReuters via Haaretz.com
The American Dialect Society voted “subprime” the word of the year,CNN.comand Merrill Lynch reported that the United States had already entered a recession.BBCnews.comFor the first time since the 1800s the average Briton was earning more than the average American, even though the pound was at an all-time low against the euro.Reuters UKStarbucks fired its CEO and announced that it would start to open fewer than its usual six stores per day.BBCnews.comHouston ChronicleThe World Bank said that the prosperity of China and other emerging markets would help soften the coming global economic downturn,BBCnews.comand Pat Robertson predicted that China will convert to Christianity. “God’s going to give us China,” he said. “China will be the largest Christian nation on earth.”Huffington PostThe Chinese government expelled more than five hundred people from the Communist Party for violating the country’s one-child policy, Washington PostSouth Asia was suffering from severe food shortages,BBCnews.comand the Australian government refused to provide compensation to Aborigines (who until 1967 were governed under flora and fauna laws) who were stolen from their parents as children.Reuters UKKeepers at the Nuremberg Zoo, under criticism for allegedly allowing polar bear mothers to eat and abandon their young, announced that they would hand-rear an at-risk cub but also made clear that they do not want a repeat of the Berlin Zoo’s Knut-mania.BBCnews.comBenazir Bhutto’s 19-year-old son, Bilawal, asked the media to leave him alone after he was made head of his mother’s party, and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf blamed Bhutto for her own assassination. “For standing up outside the car, I think it was she to blame alone,” he said. “Nobody else.”BBCnews.comBBCnews.comSir Edmund Hillary, who in 1953 became the first person to climb Mount Everest, along with Tenzing Norgay, died at age 88.NYTimes.com
A victim of Hurricane Katrina was suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for $3,000,000,000,000,000 after the Corps admitted that it had done a poor job designing the broken New Orleans levees.Click2Houston.comThe Museum of Bogota in Colombia opened an exhibit dedicated to laziness,BBCnews.comand scientists in Houston discovered a vaccine that makes cocaine no fun.Houston ChronicleIt was revealed that a single trader seeking bragging rights caused oil to reach a record high of $100 a barrel,BBCnews.comand Tata Motors unveiled a $2,500 automobile in India, a potential market of 1.1 billion people.AFP.comA U.S. study found that biofuels could be produced from a fast-growing grass and would emit up to 94 percent less carbon dioxide than gasoline,BBCnews.coma British artist exhibited 55 “beautiful and delicate” canvases of his ejaculate sprinkled with carbon dust,Islington Gazetteand French customs officials seized 224,000 fake anti-impotence pills.ReutersForty-seven U.S. senators were fighting for the return of guns to national parks and wildlife refuges. Associated PressSoldiers were being sent to Afghanistan wearing high-tech helmets that gather data on how bomb blasts impact their brains,USAToday.comand it was revealed that Blackwater dropped riot-control gas on U.S. soldiers in Iraq in 2005. “This,” said Army Captain Kincy Clark, “was decidedly uncool.”NYTimes.comScientists from the American Astronomical Society attended their annual meeting and agreed that the universe is bizarre and violent. “This is the glory of the universe,” said the association’s president. “What is odd and what is normal is changing.”Associated Press
More from Chantal Clarke:
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
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 naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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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.”