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President George W. Bush called for $145 billion in tax cuts, describing the measures as a “shot in the arm” for the U.S. economy, which caused stock values to plunge in Australia, Tokyo, Hong Kong, China, and across Europe. “There’s something approaching panic in the market,” said an analyst with Bank of America. “The short-term risks,” explained Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, “are to the downside.”BBC NewsNew York TimesBBC NewsResearchers found that foreigners invested $414 billion in American companies in 2007, up 90 percent from 2006. “This is a vote of confidence in the American economy,” said Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert M. Kimmitt. “Do we want the communists to own the banks, or the terrorists?” asked financial commentator Jim Cramer. “I’ll take any of it.”New York TimesNew York TimesJohn McCain won the South Carolina Republican primary, Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton won in the Nevada caucuses,CNN.comand the Supreme Court decided that Texas could exclude Dennis Kucinich’s name from the ballots in the Democratic primary because Kucinich refused to take a party loyalty oath.AP via Google NewsBritish researchers determined that children universally dislike clowns, finding them “unknowable,”Reuters via Yahoo! Newsand a German merchant ship set sail for Venezuela partially powered by a fuel-saving kite.Reuters via IHT
It emerged that the ongoing riots that followed the Kenyan presidential election, in which at least 650 people were killed, had been partially planned; leaflets calling for ethnic killings had been distributed prior to the election, and village elders had encouraged young Kalenjin men (allied with the defeated Raila Odinga) to hunt Kikuyus (allied with victor Mwai Kibaki) with bows and arrows. “We attack people, we burn their homes, and then we take their animals,” said a Kalenjin man. “The community raised the money for the gasoline.”New York TimesNew York TimesNew York TimesA babysitter in Honolulu threw a toddler off an overpass into busy traffic,The Honolulu Advertiserand parents in Australia were suing an embryo-testing clinic for allowing their child to carry a cancer gene.The Daily TelegraphResearchers in San Diego announced that they had clonedhuman embryos from skin cells,New York Timesthe FDA determined that cloned animals are acceptable food,BBC Newsand Hungarianscientists created a computer program that, based on its analysis of 6,000 barks from 14 Hungarian sheepdogs, can exceed human capability in accurately classifying sheepdog barks.Science DailyThe thoughts of a monkey in North Carolina controlled the actions of a robot in Japan.Information Week
The lone power plant operating in Hamas-controlled Gaza was shut down for lack of fuel. “At least 800,000 people,” said official Derar Abu Sissi, “are now in darkness.”BBC NewsChess master Bobby Fischer died in Iceland,New York Timesa man in Las Vegas was arrested for killing his girlfriend by driving a six-inch stake into her head,Fox 5 Newsand a Winchester, Virginia, man was arrested for burning an 11-year-old girl with a Hot Pocket sandwich.NBC4.comA New York City construction worker was suing a hospital for treating his head injury by knocking him out and giving him an unwanted rectal exam,AP via SFGate.comand the ACLU filed a brief in support of Senator Larry Craig (R., Idaho), arguing that people who engage in sex acts in public bathrooms have an expectation of privacy.ABC 7 NewsScientists funded by mobile-phone companies found that if the phones are used before bedtime their radiation can reduce sleep and cause headaches and confusion; the Mobile Manufacturers Forum insisted that the “results were inconclusive.”The IndependentIt was observed that Tahina spectabilis, a giant palm tree of Madagascar, commits suicide when it flowers at the end of its century-long lifespan,BBC Newsand New York researchers using carbon nanotubes created the darkest material known to history.BBC NewsScientists in Chicago found that lonely people are more likely to assign human qualities to their pets and to believe in God,Science Dailyand Louis de Cazenave of the Fifth Senegalese Rifles, one of the last two French veterans of World War I, died at age 110. “War,” he explained in 2005, “is something absurd, useless, that nothing can justify.” BBC News
More from Paul Ford:
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average duration of a Japanese prime minister’s tenure since August 1993, in months:
Brain shrinkage has no effect on cognition.
An Indianapolis fertility doctor was accused of using his own sperm to artificially inseminate patients, and a Delaware man pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing his former psychiatrist.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”