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President George W. Bush unveiled a $3.1 trillion spending package that would increase military funding while protecting tax cuts,Bush Unveils $3.1 Trillion Spending Planand Wal-Mart announced an economic “stimulus plan” that offers steep discounts on thousands of items, including a five-pound bag of Tyson frozen chicken wings ($8.88) and two Hillshire Farms Cocktail Smokies or Ropes ($5).Wal-Mart &lq;Stimulus&rq; Pkg: Will Doritos Rescue The Economy?Mississippi lawmakers introduced a bill that would make it illegal for restaurants in the state to serve obese people,Mississippi Legislature Introduces Bill that Would Ban Restaurants from Serving the Obeseand an unidentified robber killed five women in a Chicago-area branch of the plus-sized clothing store Lane Bryant.Five women dead in Tinley Park clothing store shootingA camping-goods website was selling a cheeseburger in a can.Cheeseburger in a Can is Both the Best and Worst Thing I’ve Ever SeenPolice in India uncovered a kidney-napping ring that preyed upon impoverished laborers, farmers, and rickshaw drivers. “I had no idea about kidney transplants,” said Shakeel Ahmed, a laborer from Uttar Pradesh state. “I knew that these people meant to do evil to me. When I woke up, a doctor said I would be shot if I ever told anyone what happened.”Kidney Thefts Shock IndiaAn unidentified donor gave $130 million to Bangladesh to repair cyclone damage, Donor gives $130 million to Bangladeshand hungry Haitians were eating cookies made of mud. Poor Haitians resort to eating dirt
Abu Laith al Libi, alleged to be a high-ranking Libyan member of Al Qaeda, was killed in a missile strike in Pakistan.Top Al Qaeda Leader KilledAn Indonesian housewife became the 103rd person to die from bird flu in that country,Indonesia’s bird flu toll rises to 103and an Iowa outbreak of the rare lung disease histoplasmosis, a fungal infection often spread by bird or bat droppings, was traced back to a November 29 2007 American Lung Association event at the governor’s mansion.Health investigators link lung illness to Terrace HillTwo earthquakes killed 30 people in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo,Death toll from Rwanda, Congo quakes hits 30thousands of Chadians fleeing skirmishes in the capital N’Djamena sought refuge in Cameroon, Thousands flee Chad as fighting ragesand UN peacekeepers in the disputed African territory of Western Sahara were reprimanded for defacing ancient rock paintings on Devil Mountain.Peacekeepers ‘deface ancient art’Remnants of a 7,000-year-old city were found in Egypt’s Fayyum oasis. Ruins of 7,000-year-old city found in Egypt oasisEgypt and India were afflicted with limited Internet service,Internet Limping Back to Normalcyand power failures in South Africa closed mines and shopping centers for several days.Power Failures Outrage South AfricaIn China, where hundreds of thousands of people traveling for the Lunar New Year remained stranded by winter storms, a woman was trampled to death in a stampede to board a train.Storm-hit China calls for ‘faith’Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, signalling six more weeks of winter,Pennsylvania groundhog sees six more winter weeksand John Edwards pulled out of the presidential race, saying he would step aside “so that history can blaze its path.”Edwards quits race but refuses to reveal preferred candidateCalifornia Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed Republican candidate John McCain, while Schwarzenegger’s wife, Maria Shriver, the niece of John F. Kennedy, endorsed Barack Obama.McCain Wins Schwarzenegger Nod Maria Shriver endorses Obama
The Pentagon said that nine Iraqi civilians had been killed in a strike intended for militants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.U.S. Says It Accidentally Killed 9 Iraqi CiviliansWest Virginia was considering a bill that would require gym classes to teach middle-schoolers how to handle a gun.US state weighing gun lessons for schoolchildrenIn Pennsylvania a woman locked her ten-year-old grandson in a dog crate and threatened to bury him alive in the backyard after he disclosed that he had been spiking his family’s drinks with lamp oil and household cleaner, Boy put in dog cage after spiking drinksand in Britain retail chain Woolworths withdrew from sale a bed for six-year-old girls called the Lolita Midsleeper Combi after receiving complaints from parents. “We had to look it up on Wikipedia,” said a store spokesman. “But we certainly know who she is now.”Shop pulls &lq;Lolita&rq; bed for young girlsIt was reported that a sedentary lifestyle speeds aging,Sedentary life ‘speeds up ageing’and new pictures of Mercury revealed the elderly planet’s spider-shaped birthmark, shrinkage, wrinkles, and scars.Mercury Is Shrinking, VolcanicThe New York Giants beat the New England Patriots to win Superbowl XLII, while the NFL refused to allow churches to show the game on big-screen televisions.Eli, monster defense power Giants to shocking Super Bowl victoryNFL Pulls Plug On Big-Screen Church Parties For Super BowlSeventeen Russian tourists visiting a spa in the Caucasus were hospitalized after a nurse accidentally administered hydrogen-peroxide enemas,Unhealthy enemas put tourists in hospitaland a Japanese urologist noted an increase in “vaginal ejaculation disorder, or an inability to ejaculate inside the vagina,” among Japanese men, crediting it to “incredible progress made in masturbation goods.”Wanton women cry that men jerk their shot and miss the real targetBritish scientists announced that it would soon be possible to convert female bone marrow into viable sperm cells, hastening the obsolescence of men.Death of the father: British scientists discover how to turn women’s bone marrow into sperm
More from Gemma Sieff:
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 California’s 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 “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — 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 “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” 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 “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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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.”