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Cyclone Nargis tore off roofs, shredded trees, overturned cars, and killed more than 10,000 people in Myanmar.Local 6Tens of thousands of Somalis rioted in Mogadishu over the high cost of food,CNNPresident Bush pledged $770 million in international food aid,BBCand an inmate awaiting trial for murder sued an Arkansas county jail for underfeeding him after he shed 105 pounds from his 413-pound frame. “About an hour after each meal,” he stated in a complaint, “my stomach starts to hurt and growl [and] I feel hungry again. We are literally being starved to death.”CBSThe sister-in-law of Josef Fritzl, the Austrian electrician accused of locking his daughter in a basement dungeon for 24 years and fathering seven children with her, told the Associated Press that Fritzl hadn’t had sex with his wife in many years: “I believe it was because my sister had been getting bigger,” she said. “He never liked fat women.”AP via GooglePolice in Germany discovered the bodies of three dead babies stored in a freezer in the cellar of a family home, after two of the family’s older children went rummaging for a frozen pizza,CNNand a former Mr Gay UK charged with murder was accused of carving up, dicing, cooking, and eating his victim’s leg.BBCTelegraph UKPhilipp Freiherr von Boeselager, believed to be the last surviving member of the circle of plotters who attempted to kill Adolf Hitler with a briefcase bomb, died at the age of 90.CNN
A Japanese government employee was found to have viewed online pornography at work more than 780,000 times in nine months,BBCand an Ecuadorian politician proposed that a woman’s right to sexual pleasure be made part of the country’s new constitution.BBCWestern Australia’s Liberal Party leader, Troy Buswell, admitted to having sniffed the chair of a female staffer in 2005.The AustralianAt a town-hall meeting in Iowa, Baptist minister Marty Parrish asked Republican presidential nominee John McCain whether it was true that he had called his wife, Cindy, a “cunt” in 1992. “You know,” McCain replied, “that’s the great thing about town-hall meetings, sir, but we really don’t, there’s people here who don’t respect that kind of language. So I’ll move on.” Parrish was then escorted from the meeting by the Secret Service and local police. The Huffington PostIn western Indiana, the president of the Sheet Metal Workers’ Union attributed his support for Hillary Clinton to her “testicular fortitude” in facing problems like NAFTA.CBSAfter Hillary Clinton proposed that she and Barack Obama compete in a Lincoln-Douglas-style debate, Fox News broadcast an image of Abraham Lincoln facing off against ex-slave Frederick Douglass instead of 1860 Democratic presidential nominee Stephen A. Douglas.The AtlanticA filly named Eight Belles, Hillary Clinton’s pick, came in second in the Kentucky Derby, while victory went to the agile colt Big Brown; after losing, Eight Belles broke both front ankles and was promptly euthanized.The IndependentABCSpeaking to North CarolinaDemocrats,Clinton promised, “If Senator Obama is the nominee, you better believe I’ll work my heart out for him.”CBS
An Italian police officer shot herself in the head outside a stadium during a second-division soccer match,Sports IllustratedBrazilian football star Ronaldo picked up and was blackmailed by three transvestite prostitutes,.BBCand an eight-year-old boy in Arizona died after a goal post fell on him during a soccer game.Fox NewsAn Illinois newspaper carrier rescued an elderly woman whose leg had been pinned for four days under the dead body of her obese 77-year-old husband.Fox NewsSeven hundred and fifty thousand people made reservations to visit the exhumed corpse of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. Padre Pio, who exhibited the stigmata, and who once wrestled with the devil, died in 1968.News DailyScientists reported that echolocating bats cry out loud to detect their prey, emitting sounds louder than those at a rock concert,PlosoneScience Dailywhile spiders “talk” to potential mates using a type of light not visible to the human eye.BBCAlbert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who invented LSD and credited it with allowing him to see “the wonder of creation, the magnificence of nature and of the animal and plant kingdom,” died in his hilltop home at the age of 102.The New York Times
More from Gemma Sieff:
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
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 naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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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.”