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Barack Obama began his week-long foreign tour in Afghanistan, where he met with President Hamid Karzai, and continued on to Iraq. There, he flew in a helicopter to the Green Zone with General David Petraeus. Before he left the United States, he was asked what he would say to foreign leaders. “I’m more interested in listening,” Obama replied, “than doing a lot of talking.”CNNNew York TimesPoliticoBBCJohn McCain went to a Yankees game and took a drive in a golf cart with former President George H. W. Bush. CBSSenator Joe Lieberman argued that the success of the “surge” policy made the Iraq visit possible. “If Barack Obama’s policy on Iraq had been implemented,” he said, “Barack Obama couldn’t go to Iraq today.” Talking Points MemoLieberman also said that, if asked, he would speak for McCain at the Republican National Convention,Politicoand Hillary Clinton unveiled a new hairdo with the part shifted to the right.Washington PostA White House employee accidentally emailed hundreds of reporters a news item headlined “Iraqi PM backs Obama troop exit plan”; the story detailed how Prime Minister Nouri Maliki had said in an interview that the Obama proposal to withdraw troops from Iraq in sixteen months was “the right timeframe.”ABC NewsPresident George W. Bush announced that he would now agree to a withdrawal inside “a general time horizon,” rescinded a 1990 ban on offshore drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf that had been imposed by his father, and tried to give a little Kentucky girl named Emily, who had played in the White House T-ball game, a presidential baseball. The child ran away crying. AP via Yahoo! NewsWashington PostWashington Post
The U.S. Census Bureau announced that the 2010 census will not count the estimated 780,000 same-sex marriages that will have by then taken place in California and Massachusetts,LA Timesand Kay Ryan was named poet laureate of the United States. “I might take it upon myself,” she said, “to prevent all bad poetry from being published.”Washington PostCongress passed a bill that named the portion of U.S. Route 20A that leads to the Buffalo Bills stadium “Timothy J. Russert Highway,”Washington Postand Republican Senator Orrin Hatch announced that his ballad “Headed Home,” written in tribute to his longtime friend Senator Edward Kennedy, who has a malignant tumor in his brain, will be performed at the Democratic National Convention. “The words ‘headed home,’” said Hatch, “mean he is headed home to the Senate.” Washington PostDozens of revelers at the Aquamarine Open Air Festival near Moscow were left partially blind after a laser light show burned their retinas,Reutersand members of Finland’s Theater Totti debuted the world’s first opera for the deaf. Performers conveyed the mood and tone of the nineteenth-century opera “The Hunt of King Charles” using sign language and body language, facial expressions, and two musicians. “I was afraid it would be a pitiful imitation of opera by the hearing,” said Kaisa Alanne, the director of the Finnish Association of the Deaf, “but, oh, how wrong I was! It is as if a new form of art was born.”National Post
A tanker truck on its way to Sugar Land, Texas, overturned, spilling onto the highway more than 5,000 gallons of what a city spokeswoman described as “healthy, all-natural molasses,”Yahoo Newsand after hundreds of formulations, scientists at Argentina’s Center for Research and Development in Food Cytotechnology arrived at a prototype for a juicy, lean hamburger patty by removing the beef fat and replacing it with a combination of soybean byproducts and seafood oils. Washington PostInBev, the Belgian beer company that makes Stella Artois, completed its purchase of Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion. “We were betrayed,” said American brewery employee Dave Liszewski. “The good Lord was sold out for 30 pieces of silver. We were sold out for $70 a share.”New York TimesPotential First Lady Cindy Hensley McCain, chair of the massive Anheuser-Busch distributor Hensley & Co., said that she became a licensed pilot because “in Arizona, the only way to get around the state is by small private plane.”Huffington PostA toad in Australia ate a three-foot-long snake,.Mail OnlinePope Benedict XVI spoke to a crowd of more than 400,000 people about the evils of materialism,New York Timesand “Easterbunny,” a red, methane-covered dwarf planet orbiting the sun beyond Neptune, was designated as the third plutoid in our solar system and rechristened “Makemake.”New York Times
More from Claire Gutierrez:
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Rank of Detroit among major U.S. cities whose residents give the largest portion of their income to charity:
A South Dakota researcher concluded that only scant blood spatter results when chain saws are used to dismember pigs.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature