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With the assistance of the Federal Reserve, JPMorgan Chase acquired its rival Bear Stearns for $236.2 million, or $2 a share, about 1 percent of the bank’s value two weeks ago. Bear Stearns Chairman Jimmy Cayne competed in the North American Bridge Championship in Detroit as the buyout transpired, winning fourth in IMP-scoring pairs.ReutersNorth American Bridge ChampionshipsABCThe dollar fell to record lows against the euro,BBCand former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said the current financial crisis was the worst since World War II.FTNearly two hundred Eliot Spitzer-related domain names were registered in the wake of the resignation of the New York Governor, including idontswallowbutispitzer.org; kristenspitzer.com; and, optimistically, spitzersextape.com.DailyBullThe United States marked the five-year anniversary of the war in Iraq, with the total cost of the war, currently estimated to be in excess of $650 billion, expected to rise to $2 trillion over the next five years.NYTVice President Dick Cheney visited Baghdad, as did a U.S. congressional delegation that included presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain, who, earlier in the week, admitted to fears that Al Qaeda or another extremist group might increase their attacks in Iraq in an attempt to hurt his chances in the U.S. election.CNNTPMIn New York City, a 19-story crane toppled over, killing seven people and crushing a townhouse.YahooNews
An explosion at an arms depot in Gerdec, described as “Albania’s Hiroshima” and an “Apocalyptic tragedy,” killed fifteen people and destroyed more than three hundred homes.AFPTibet’s exiled government said that hundreds of Tibetans had died in clashes with the Chinese government in Lhasa, while China put the number of dead at thirteen.AFPThe Hindu News UpdateChina dismissed as “downright nonsense” the Dalai Lama’s claim that China has enacted a “rule of terror” as well as “cultural genocide” in Tibet.BloombergIsrael and Germany vowed to strengthen political, cultural, economic, and social relations between the two countries,BBCand Israel was preparing the largest emergency exercise in its history in response to escalating tensions with Syria and to Iran’s bid to obtain nuclear weapons. Sirens will wail throughout the country as mass evacuations from “hit zones” and mock chemical and biological attacks are performed as drills.Jerusalem PostThe United Nations Environment Program released data showing that the rate at which the world’s glaciers are melting has doubled in the past seven years. “There are many canaries emerging in the climate change coal mine,” said a UNEP spokesman. “The glaciers are perhaps among those making the most noise and it is absolutely essential that everyone sits up and takes notice.”BBCAn investigation measuring contaminants in drinking water found a vast array of pharmaceuticalsâ??including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers, and sex hormonesâ??in the water supply of at least 41 million Americans,AP via YahooNewsand authorities in Kansas were considering whether to introduce charges in the case of a woman alleged to have sat on her boyfriend’s toilet for two years. Ness County Sheriff Bryan Whipple said that the woman’s skin had grown around the seat, explaining, “We pried the toilet seat off with a pry bar and the seat went with her to the hospital. She was not glued. She was not tied. She was just physically stuck by her body . . . It is hard to imagine. I still have a hard time imagining it myself.”YahooNews
The Vatican released a list of seven “social” sins, meant to complement the existing seven cardinal vices. They include drug abuse, littering, genetic tampering, excessive wealth, and creating poverty–specifically, “contributing to the widening divide between rich and poor.”BloombergPerrier-Jouet announced it would sell the world’s most expensive champagne, priced at 4,166 euros, or $6,485, per bottle. Spokesman Olivier Cavil said sales would be limited to 100 members of the “super-rich” global elite accustomed to “ultimate luxury.”BreitbartHeather Mills was awarded $50 million in her divorce settlement with estranged husband Sir Paul McCartney.BBCA British fan of Scarlett Johansson will pay $2,030 per minute to go on a date with the actress to the U.S. premiere of her new film “He’s Just Not That Into You,” with proceeds going to the charity Oxfam.BBCIt was reported that the richest man in Great Britain, the Duke of Westminster, was a client of the same high-end prostitution agency as Eliot Spitzer. The Duke allegedly haggled over pricing, requested sex without a condom, and bored prostitute Zana Brazdek with conversation “about the Army, going to Afghanistan, and bin Laden.” DailyNewsFacing limited supplies of rice, the Philippine government announced plans to ask fast-food outlets to reduce portion sizes of the national staple,Stuff.co.nzand in Egypt, President Mubarak ordered the army to increase the production and distribution of bread, after shortages caused violence in poor neighborhoods, resulting in several deaths.BBCConcerned about ever-fatter animals, zookeepers across the U.S. were initiating diet programs for their charges, putting gorillas on a Weight Watchers-based point system and offering polar bears sugar-free Jell-O.AP via GoogleNewsNewt Gingrich announced that his favorite guilty snack is a Slim-a-Bear ice cream,NYTand Angelina Jolie fed her biological child a bag of Cheetos. USWeeklyIn Uttar Pradesh, India, a baby girl born with two faces was being worshipped as a reincarnated god.Fox
More from Gemma Sieff:
Number of free condoms handed out by the Brazilian government in advance of Carnival this year:
The best way to measure happiness is simply to ask people how happy they are.
Following three weeks of clashes between protesters and government forces that killed at least 17 people, Venezuelan president NicolĂˇs Maduro announced a two-day extension of Carnival. â€śHappiness will conquer the embittered,â€ť he said during an appearance at a recreation center.
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â€śAmerican politics has often been an arena for angry minds.â€ť