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A 7.9-magnitude earthquake centered in Sichuan Province, China, left 50,000 dead and 5,000,000 homeless. Outside Beichuan Middle School, where 1,000 students and teachers died, parents waited for the bodies of their children to be pulled from the rubble, lighting a single firecracker each time a body was found. A married couple lay under their workers’ dormitory for 28 hours, their limbs crushed and entwined. “I tried bending my neck against the wall to kill myself,” said the husband after being rescued. Three minutes of silence and three days of mourning were observed throughout the nation, and the Olympic Torch relay was suspended. “Other people who know their relatives have died can call this a memorial day or a funeral,” said a farmer named Wang Hongchen, who wandered the ruins shouting his son’s name, “but not me yet.” Predictions of a powerful new earthquake sent tens of thousands of Chengdu residents rushing to the streets in panic.Telegraph.co.ukNytimes.comNytimes.comReuters via NYTimes.comA three-day period of mourning was also declared for 130,000 dead or missing victims of the cyclone in Myanmar, where the country’s military junta, under protest by the United Nations, continued to turn away much foreign aid.The New York TimesAs oil prices reached $127 a barrel, President George W. Bush pleaded with Saudi Arabia to increase pumping, but was rebuffed; he also told Middle Eastern leaders that their economies would not be successful until they gave women equal opportunities. “This is a matter of morality,” he said, “and basic math.”The New York TimesA 19-year-old college freshman was elected mayor of Muskogee, Oklahoma. “Right now I’m between girlfriends,” said John Tyler Hammons, who is president of both the Young Republicans and the Young Democrats at his university. “I’m looking to fill that position.”MSNBC.comCherie Blair revealed that her husband, ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, had announced her miscarriage to the press in order to deter speculation about an early invasion of Iraq,.Telegraph.co.ukand perennial U.S. presidential candidate Alan Keyes declared that he represents, “in political terms, the abortion. You’re invited in, but they kill you.”Wonkette.com
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers said that Karl Rove had a week to appear before the committee. “Someoneâ??s got to kick his ass,” said Conyers.Politico.comHouse Republicans began using a new slogan, “the change you deserve,” which turned out to be the slogan of the antidepressant Effexor.FoxNews.comThe California Supreme Court struck down a state ban on same-sex marriage, surprising legal experts because six of the seven judges are Republican,.CNN.comand the Vatican’s chief astronomer said that it’s not a contradiction of faith to believe in aliens and that we may have intelligent, God-created “extraterrestrial brothers.”BBCnews.comMorehouse College in Atlanta named its first white valedictorian. “I support him and his mission to be successful in life,” said a junior. “I just kind of wish he had done it at a different institution.”CNN.comThe invasion of tasteless Chinese truffles threatened the primacy of the European Perigord black truffle,BBCnews.comand billions of hairy, reddish-brown “crazy Rasberry ants” (named for a local exterminator) were swarming through the greater Houston area. “They have nowhere to go, just running crazy wild,” said one resident. “You know what it’s like to sit down on the commode with crazy ants running everywhere?” Chron.comU.S. Air Force pilots were testing the Advanced Mission Extender Device, the result of a $5 million program to replace unhygienic “piddle packs” with a system that converts urine into a gel.CNN.comLos Angeles was considering whether to turn its raw sewage into drinking water.The New York Times
Robert Rauschenberg died at the age of 82,The New York Timesand the former head of UCLA’s cadaver program was indicted for selling over $1 million in body parts.CNN.comNatascha Kampusch, who prior to the recent emergence of the Josef Fritzl case was the most famous Austrian to have been imprisoned in a cellar sex dungeon, felt compelled to buy her once-captor’s house so that it wouldn’t be torn down or vandalized.Guardian.co.ukThe Pentagon announced that it will build a permanent 40-acre detention complex in Afghanistan to replace crumbling Bagram prison. “This place,” explained a military official regarding Bagram, “was not made to keep people there indefinitely.”The New York TimesCurators at the Museum of Modern Art pulled the incubator plug on a tiny coat made of living mouse stem cells after it grew too fast,The New York Timesand scientists at Cornell University created the first genetically modified human embryo.Russia TodayAt an NRA convention in Kentucky, Mike Huckabee made a joke after hearing a noise off-stage. “That was Barack Obama,” he said. “Somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor.”The HillA poem written by Obama in 1981 was discovered and republished:
Under water grottos, caverns
Filled with apes
That eat figs
Stepping on the figs
That the apes
Eat, they crunch
The apes howl, bare
Their fangs, dance,
Tumble in the
Musty, wet pelts
Glistening in the blue.The New York Times
More from Chantal Clarke:
For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing â€” for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now â€” for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco â€” well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations â€” half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime ministerâ€™s lair â€” became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.
One Friday evening, the refugeesâ€™ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: â€śWe donâ€™t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!â€ť The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.
Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as â€śa nation of oppressors and exploiters.â€ť
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â€śHe could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein â€” literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.â€ť