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Stocks on Wall Street and other exchanges throughout the world dropped as brokerage Merrill Lynch was bought by Bank of America, insurance giant AIG sought tens of billions of dollars in government loans, and investment bank Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy.The New York TimesJohn McCain and Barack Obama suspended political advertising and appeared together at the World Trade Center site to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the September 11 attacks,The New York Timesand former Massachusetts governor Jane Swift, chair of the Palin Truth Squad, demanded that Obama apologize for saying that McCain’s promise to change Washington amounted to putting “lipstick on a pig” and insisted that the pig was Sarah Palin. “As far as I know,” said Swift, “she’s the only one of the four… who wears lipstick.”Washington PostJoe Biden made public the last ten years of his tax returns, showing that his average annual income was $244,000, of which less than half of one percent went to charity, and suggested to a group in New Hampshire that Hillary Clinton “might have been a better pick” to run with Obama.Tax Prof BlogThe TelegraphReporters discovered that the Alaskan governor’s official jet, which Palin claimed to have sold on eBay, was in fact removed from the site and sold, at a loss, to one of Palin’s campaign contributors;The IndependentMcCain announced that “Innovators” who raised more than $250,000 during the primary season were eligible to become “Super Innovators” if they raised an additional $250,000 for the general election;The New York Timesand Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was forced to apologize after his Conservative party posted a video on its website showing an animated puffin defecating on Liberal leader Stephane Dion. The Canadian Press
Thousands of people remained trapped without food, water, or electricity on Texas’s Galveston Island in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike,The New York Timesand at least 25 people were killed and another 140 injured when a Metrolink commuter train crashed head-on into a freight train in the San Fernando Valley.Los Angeles TimesNinety-one-year-old Morton Sobell, who served almost two decades in Alcatraz and other federal prisons on espionage charges, publicly admitted for the first time that he had spied for the Soviets. He implicated his codefendant Julius Rosenberg but insisted that Ethel Rosenberg, who was executed along with her husband, was never actively involved in espionage. “She knew what he was doing,” Sobell said, “but what was she guilty of? Of being Julius’s wife.”The New York TimesAn Italian prosecutor sought to charge actress Sabrina Guzzanti with “offending the honor of the sacred and inviolable person” of Pope Benedict XVI; Guzzanti had suggested that “within 20 years the Pope will be where he ought to be–in Hell, tormented by great big gaydevils, and very active ones, not passive ones.”The Times of LondonKim Jong-Il’s absence from a ceremony celebrating the 60th anniversary of North Korean independence intensified speculation that the leader may have suffered a serious stroke in recent weeks.The New York TimesAustralian authorities were in search of a boy filmed punching and kicking a stunned kangaroo.BBC
American officials confirmed that in July President Bush gave secret permission to American Special Operations forces to perform ground attacks against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Pakistan without the approval of the Pakistani government. “Orders,” said one official, “have been issued.”The New York TimesThe Interior Department’s inspector general released multiple reports describing a “culture of ethical failure” at the Department’s Minerals Management Service, which collects about $10 billion each year in royalties from offshore drilling in government waters; a program director at the Department admitted to having sex with and buying cocaine from subordinates.The New York TimesAuthor David Foster Wallace committed suicide,.Los Angeles Timesand the Large Hadron Collider commenced operations, firing a beam of protons through a 17-mile-long tunnel that runs under the Franco-Swiss border. “I thought, ‘Oh, wow,’” said an engineer. “‘It actually worked!’” National Geographic NewsCharles Darwin received a formal apology from the Church of England for its initial rejection of his theory of evolution 150 years after the publication of “On the Origin of Species.”The TelegraphPolice in Fresno apprehended a man for breaking into a house, rubbing cooking spices on the body of one sleeping resident, and assaulting another resident with a sausage. The Fresno BeeResearchers in England determined that women are up to 50 percent more likely than men to experience nightmares,BBCand scientists at the Norwegian Polar Institute were surprised to find the partial remains of a polar bear in the stomach of a Greenland shark. “There is,” said a researcher, “far easier prey to be found.”The Scotsman
More from Christopher Beha:
From the Vault — February 7, 2014, 3:15 pm
Is it worth carrying on with the Olympic Games?
Six Questions — May 24, 2013, 8:00 am
Anna Badkhen on life in rural Afghanistan and the friction between violence and beauty
Average number of sitcom laughs an American hears during a prime-time season:
Nielsen Media Research (N.Y.C.)/Jim Drake, Night Court (Tarzana, Calif.)/Harper's research
Czech and German deer still do not cross the Iron Curtain.
British economists correlated the happiness of a country’s population with its genetic resemblance to Danes.
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”