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At 20 points along the Gaza Strip’s southern border, Hamas operatives detonated explosives to topple an Israeli-built fence, allowing as many as 200,000 Palestiniansâ??13 percent of the territory’s populationâ??to cross into Egypt and shop. The Gazans purchased camels, candy, cement, chairs, cheese, cigarettes, computers, cows, doughnuts, gasoline, generators, goats, mattresses, medicine, motorcycles, pistols, potato chips, sheep, snack cakes, soap, and televisions. Supplies at Egyptian shops dwindled, prices spiked, and fistfights ensued. Several Gazan women married Egyptians, and the Israel Defense Force patrolled its southern border for would-be suicide bombers and hostage takers.New York TimesJerusalem PostAFPDublin IndependentSeif al-Islam Qaddafi, the 36-year-old son of Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Qaddafi was linked to attacks that killed 38 Iraqis, wounded 225, and destroyed 50 buildings in a Mosul slum. The London School of Economics graduate, known in Libya as “the Engineer” for his reputation as a reformer and an advocate of human rights, allegedly funds the Seifaddin Regiment, which is allied with Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. APStanching rumors circulating in a widely forwarded email that he is a radical Muslim, Senator Barack Obama repeatedly professed his faith in an “awesome” Christian God and defeated former President Bill Clinton’s wife in the South Carolina Democratic primary.Boston GlobeNew York TimesSenator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts endorsed Obama, and Fred Thompson and Dennis Kucinich withdrew from the presidential race.New York TimesSacramento BeeIndonesian dictator Suharto, Archbishop Christodoulos of the Greek Orthodox Church, Mormon church president Gordon B. Hinckley, and actor Heath Ledger died.New York TimesNew York TimesNew York TimesNew York Times
Jerome Kerviel, a 31-year-old arbitrager for the French bank Societe Generale recalled by many of his acquaintances as a mediocrity, was arrested in Paris for allegedly losing $7 billion of his employer’s capital in fraudulent stock bets. Experts linked the bank’s unwinding of Kerviel’s trades to last week’s precipitous drop in world markets. “Wouldn’t it be embarrassing,” asked Barry L. Ritholtz, chief of the investment firm FusionIQ, “if the Fed had to make one of the biggest emergency rate cuts ever because of some rogue trader?” New York TimesNew York TimesLeaders gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, attempted to dispel a global mood of pessimism. “People have to keep in mind, throughout history we have always had cycles,” said JPMorgan CEO James Dimon. “Corporation,” said PepsiCo chief Indra K. Nooyi, “has soul.” “The good news about our world today,” said former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, “is that idealism is the new realism and the reason for that is the interconnectedness.”CNNBritish Conservative MP Hugh Walpole delivered a speech in Parliament against the creation of a permanent president of the European Council, a position said to be coveted by Blair. Such a consolidation of power, he said, would make it difficult for national governments to restrain dictates from Brussels “even if the European Commission proposed the slaughter of the first-born.”Parliament
Eleven Luo children and eight Luo adults in Naivasha, Kenya, were incinerated when a mob of Kikuyus chased them into a house and burned it down. The number of revenge killings following Kenya’s recent elections had reached 750, mostly by means of burning, arrows, and machetes. Local radio programs were blamed for perpetuating the violence through dehumanizing metaphors: Kalenjins call Kikuyus “mongooses”; Kikuyus call Luos “beasts of the west”; and Luos refer to the election of President Mwai Kibaki, a Kikuyu, as “the leadership of the baboons.” New York TimesRelief WebTestifying before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia, Milton Blayee, a.k.a. General Butt Naked, confessed to war crimes that he and his Butt Naked Battalion often committed in the nude. The born-again Christian evangelist apologized for “the killing of an innocent child and plugging out the heart which was divided into pieces for us to eat. More than 20,000 people fell victim. They were killed.”TelegraphSelectmen in Brattleboro, Vermont, passed a measure allowing town residents to vote to indict President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for war crimes, Rutland Heraldand Paul Wolfowitz rejoined the Bush Administration as an adviser on arms control.Boston GlobeOmar Osama bin Laden, son of Osama bin Laden, announced that he is organizing a multi-month horse race across North Africa to promote peace. CNNCanadian police Tasered a man who was attempting to scalp himself in the bathroom of an Ottawa-bound bus, Ottawa Sunand authorities arrested a 16-year-old Louisiana male for plotting to hijack a Southwest Airlines plane.CNNDwarf thieves had infested Swedish buses,AnanovaLithuania was pondering changing its name,Reutersand a plot by retired TurkishArmy officers to kill Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk was foiled. New York TimesPolice in Malda, India, were battling avian flu by conducting a poultry massacre. “We have planned to collect ‘backyard chickens’ from the houses in the evening and kill all of them late at night,” said the district’s deputy director of animal-resources development, N. K. Shit.The HinduGeorge Piro, the FBI field agent who interrogated Saddam Hussein, recalled his last meeting with the Iraqi dictator, when the two smoked cigars and Saddam kissed Piro on the cheek three times. “It made me feel,” he said, “somewhat awkward.”CBS News
More from Christian Lorentzen:
i. stand with israel
I listen to a lot of conservative talk radio. Confident masculine voices telling me the enemy is everywhere and victory is near â€” I often find it affirming: thereâ€™s a reason I donâ€™t think that way. Last spring, many right-wing commentators made much of a Bloomberg poll that asked Americans, â€śAre you more sympathetic to Netanyahu or Obama?â€ť Republicans picked the Israeli prime minister over their own president, 67 to 16 percent. There was a lot of affected shock that things had come to this. Rush Limbaugh said of Netanyahu that he wished â€śwe had this kind of forceful moral, ethical clarity leading our own countryâ€ť; Mark Levin described him as â€śthe leader of the free world.â€ť For a few days there I yelled quite a bit in my car.
The one conservative radio show I do find myself enjoying is hosted by Dennis Prager. At the Thanksgiving dinner of American radio personalities (Limbaugh is your jittery brother-in-law, Michael Savage is your racist uncle, Hugh Hewitt is Hugh Hewitt) Dennis Prager is the turkey-carving patriarch trying to keep the conversation moderately high-minded. While Prager obviously doesnâ€™t like liberals â€” â€śThe gaps between the left and right on almost every issue that matters are in fact unbridgeable,â€ť he has said â€” he often invites them onto his show for debate, which is rare among right-wing hosts. Yet his gently exasperated take on the Obamaâ€“Netanyahu matchup was among the least charitable: â€śThose who do not confront evil resent those who do.â€ť
Average number of Americans who are injured by chain saws each year:
A farmer in Kenya bit a python who tried to eat him.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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â€śMatt 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. 'Iâ€™m glad everyoneâ€™s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supportsÂ my lifestyle.'â€ť