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Responding to rocket attacks on Ashkelon, once the largest seaport of Canaan, Israel sent tanks, troops, and fighter jets to northern Gaza. Fifty-four Palestiniansâ??eight of them children and sixteen of them militantsâ??and two Israeli soldiers died in one day of fighting; Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said that the Palestinians were risking a “shoah,” the Hebrew word for “big disaster.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas described Israeli raids as “more than a holocaust” and, as the number of Palestinian dead rose to about 100, suspended contact with Israel.BBC NewsWikipediaBBC NewsBBC NewsThe U.S. Navy fired missiles into southern Somalia, targeting what the Pentagon called a “known Al Qaedaterrorist,”New York Timesand a man who calls himself “Osama bin London” was convicted of running terrorist training camps in England.Washington PostAn earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale struck England and Wales, with its epicenter in Market Rasen; the event caused one couple, Rob Wilkinson, 19, and Charlotte Green, 17, to momentarily think that their lovemaking was special. “Did the earth,” Rob reportedly asked, “just move for you, darling?”The SunStorms killed eight people across Europe; gusts blew one elderly man into the path of a lorry.AFPA Virginia task force identified hardcore child pornography on 20,000 computers across the state,FairFax Timesand a report found that one in 100 American adults was in prison or jail.New York Times
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made his first state visit to Iraq and assailed the Bush Administration. “They will have to accept the facts in the area,” he said. “The Iraqi people do not like the Americans.”The HinduNew York TimesWhite House aide Timothy Goeglein, a liaison to conservatives and Christian groups, was found to have plagiarized 20 of the 38 columns he wrote for the Fort Wayne, Indiana, News-Sentinel,APand a Belgian woman now living in Massachusetts apologized for fabricating her memoir, Misha: A Memoir of the Holocaust Years; researchers examining her story discovered that she is not Jewish and that she was not, as a child, adopted by a pack of wolves that accompanied her across Europe as she searched for her parents.CNN.comQuestions arose as to whether John McCain, born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936, was a “natural-born citizen” and thus constitutionally eligible for the presidency. McCain held a casual barbecue for the press, cooking Costco ribs on a low heat with a dry rub of equal parts salt, pepper, and garlic powder. For dessert the press ate brownies and cookies.New York TimesThe Washinton PostWilliam F. Buckley Jr. and didgeridoo master Alan Dargin died.The Post ChronicleThe Sydney Morning HeraldBritish researchers hypothesized that a form of spongiform encephalopathyâ??akin to mad cow disease and transmitted by cannibalismâ??killed off the Neanderthals,Space.comDiscovery.comand Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer, speaking before Congress following the recall of 143 million pounds of beef packed at the Westland/Hallmark plant in Chino, California, refused to support an outright ban on processing “downer” cows for food, even though such cows are by definition too weak or sick to stand.Washington PostThe World Health Organization announced that virtually untreatable drug-resistant tuberculosis could now be found in 45 countries with a half-million new cases each year, and that the highest rate of infection was in Baku, Azerbaijan.World Health Organization
Prince Harry of Wales, once photographed dressed as a Nazi, was called home after press accounts revealed that he was serving as a BritishArmy forward air controller in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. “We ask God to enable our beloved brothers in Taliban to seize this priceless booty,” wrote user Sweeping Army on an Internet jihadist message board, “because nothing would break the heart of his grandmother [more] than if she lost him. My dear brothers in Allah, carry on provoking to kidnap this precious infidel.”The GuardianAllison, a sea turtle missing three limbs who lives at a Texas turtle sanctuary, was to be fitted with a prosthetic flipper. “The problem,” explained a curator for the sanctuary, “is she doesn’t swim very well.” PhysOrg.comThe United Technologies Corporation bid $3 billion for voting-machine manufacturer Diebold.New York TimesNASA announced that it would fire thousands of contractors; the space agency also found itself unable to explain the mysterious force that has caused five different probes to accelerate or decelerate unpredictably as they flew around the earth.ITWire.comJapanese scientists studying the path of space debris over the last four billion years postulated an undiscovered “Planet X,” between 30 and 70 percent the size of Earth, at the edges of the solar system,Yahoo! Newsand two teams of physicists, one in Calgary and the other in Tokyo, successfully stored nothing within a gas, in the form of squeezed vacuum composed of uncertainty. They then retrieved the nothing.Science Magazine
More from Paul Ford:
Damages sought, in a defamation suit, by a Chicago landlord from a tenant who complained about mold via Twitter:
The British House of Lords voted to limit the right of parents to spank their children.
The Mall of America hired its first black Santa, a real estate company valued Mr. and Mrs. Clausâ€™s North Pole home at $656,957, and it was reported that the price of the gifts from â€śTwelve Days of Christmasâ€ť went up by more than $200 in 2016, to $34,363.49.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of oneâ€™s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many timesâ€”in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."