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The Sri Lankan government declared an end to their 26-year war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or Tamil Tigers, after a final battle in which Tiger leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran was killed along with hundreds of other rebel fighters. More than 70,000 people died in the course of the conflict. “This battle has reached its bitter end,” said a rebel spokesman. “We have decided to silence our guns.” Observers questioned the methods of Sri Lanka’s military, and foreign ministers of European Union nations said they were “appalled” by reports of high civilian death counts. A spokesman for the U.N.’s refugee agency estimated that 65,000 civilians had been displaced by the conflict in recent days.New York TimesU.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi accused the CIA of lying to her during briefings on interrogation techniques in 2002, and claimed that her briefers expressly denied the use of waterboarding and that she first learned of its use several months later from a congressional aide. Pelosi’s deputy, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he had “no idea” whether Pelosi’s charges were accurate. “It’s outrageous that a member of Congress should call a terror-fighter a liar,” said Republican Senator Kit Bond, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “It seems the playbook is ‘blame terror-fighters.’”ABC NewsFormer Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura, who was waterboarded as part of his Navy SEAL training, spoke out against the practice. “I’ll put it to you this way,” Ventura said. “You give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney, and one hour, and I’ll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.”Huffington PostPresident Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame despite protests from Catholics. “Let us work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions,” Obama said. “Let’s provide care and support for women who do carry their children to term.” As he spoke, a plane flew over campus towing a banner that depicted the feet of an aborted fetus.New York TimesTwo Yellowstone National Park concession workers were fired for peeing into Old Faithful.MSNBC
With massive support from the rural poor, the Indian National Congress party obtained enough seats to ensure a majority in India’s parliament. Party leader Sonia Gandhi, whose husband, Rajiv, was assassinated by Tamil Tigers in 1991, is believed to be paving the way for her 38-year-old son Rahul to become prime minister; Rahul Gandhi, said party leader Prithviraj Chavan, could become prime minister “whenever he wished.”New York TimesA candidate for the newly formed Canadian Sex Party received 2 percent of the vote in the Vancouver Point Grey riding,The Registerand pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi went on trial in Burma, charged with breaking the terms of her house arrest because an American man, unbeknownst to her, swam across a lake to spend a night at her house.New York TimesAn armed gang disguised as federal police freed more than 50 convicts from a prison in northern Mexico.BBC NewsA man in London was given a suspended sentence after he was arrested for soliciting a prostitute to take his 14-year-old son’s virginity,Reutersand a Taiwanese man was indicted for stabbing a friend; the man had become angry after watching a DVD called Affairs with Others’ Wives that turned out to feature his wife having sex with his friend.MSNAidan Clifford, named as half of Ireland’s Most Romantic Couple by Irish Wedding Journal, was stripped of his title after being convicted of following women in his car while masturbating. Clifford’s solicitor blamed a stressful lifestyle for the behavior, saying his client had been “working himself to the bone.”The Register
An assistant principal at a New York City public school became the fifth American to die from the recent outbreak of swine flu,New York Timesand a mother in Texas punched her 5-year-old child’s teacher after the teacher admitted to shaking the child.New York TimesScientists in France reported that early humans ate Neanderthals.Live ScienceArkansas state Senator Kim Hendron apologized for calling New York Senator Chuck Schumer “that Jew” at a county Republican meeting. “I was attempting to explain that, unlike Senator Schumer, I believe in traditional values, like we used to see on The Andy Griffith Show,” explained Hendron. “I made the mistake of referring to Senator Schumer as ‘that Jew’ and I should not have put it that way, as this took away from what I was trying to say.”Talking Points MemoVenetia Phair, nee Burney, who as an 11-year-old girl in 1930 named the newly discovered planet Pluto, died at age 90. “In the year 4,000 A.D., when Pluto is hollowed out and millions of people are living inside,” said an amateur astronomer, “the name of Venetia Burney may be the only thing that Great Britain is remembered for.”New York Times
More from Christopher Beha:
Commentary — May 22, 2015, 1:10 pm
Jonathan Chait’s flawed attack on David Bromwich’s critique of Barack Obama’s presidency
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average number of new microwave food products introduced every day In 1987:
Cocaine addicts prefer $500 in cash now to $1,000 worth of cocaine later.
Scientists in the Galápagos Islands credited an endangered giant tortoise named Diego with saving his species by fathering more than 800 offspring.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”