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Abdullah Abdullah, presidential challenger to Hamid Karzai, announced that he was quitting the runoff election. In a choked-up voice he cited concerns about increased violence in Afghanistan and outrage at the fraudulent election process. The election was cancelled and Karzai was declared president. More U.S. troops died in Afghanistan in October than in any month since that war began eight years ago. A suicide bombing by Taliban militants killed six U.N. staff, and Major General Mike Flynn, director of intelligence for General Stanley McChrystal’s headquarters in Kabul, warned that the number of insurgents in Afghanistan (many of whom were from other countries) was now between 19,000 and 27,000, a ten-fold increase since 2004. “I wouldn’t say it’s out of control right now,” Flynn explained, “but this is a California wildfire and we’re having to bring in firemen from New York.”New York TimesWashington PostAssociated PressAirforce TimesPresident Barack Obama caved to pressure from Congress and military contractors and passed a $680,000,000,000 defense bill. Obama also hosted a Halloween event at the White House, where he distributed M&Ms and dried fruit but did not wear a costume. First Lady Michelle Obama appeared as Cat Woman, dressed in a leopard-print top, fuzzy ears, and black eye shadow. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice dressed up as Goofy. Washington PostBreitbart
The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that the economy grew at a rate of 3.5 percent in the last quarter. The stimulus package was credited with much of the growth, but, because many provisions of the package will soon expire, economists believe that national growth has peaked.Associated PressNewspaper circulation in the United States declined to its lowest level in 70 years;Washington Postthe Government Accountability Office warned that a swine-flu pandemic could cause the Internet to crash as sick workers and children overwhelm local networks by using the Web from home;Washington Postand the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit against the Yes Men for their recent parody press conference, citing “trademark infringement, unfair competition, and false advertising.”Mother JonesTwitter closed the accounts of 33 ConnecticutRepublicans who had registered under the names of Democratic state representatives and posted tweets that state Republican chairman Chris Healy described as “satire.” “I’m not quite sure what the issue is,” said Healy of Twitter’s decision, “other than that the Democrats were successful in stopping free speech.”Hartford AdvocateCalifornia Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a letter vetoing a bill sponsored by San Francisco assemblyman Tom Ammiano (who recently told the governor to “kiss my gay ass”) in which “Fuck You” appeared as an acrostic. San Francisco ChronicleInterstate 680 in California was closed after a pedestrian was repeatedly struck by passing cars, scattering pieces of the victim’s body on all the lanes.CBS5Scientists found that bad driving is genetic.CNN
Paul Ford of Bristol, England, was sentenced to prison after he admitted killing his partner, saying he struck her “hundreds and hundreds and hundreds” of time in the face with a lump hammer.Evening PostTwo burglars were arrested in Iowa after police spotted their getaway car and found the suspects inside with their face-masks scribbled on in black permanent marker; a would-be thief was laughed away by staff and patrons when he rushed into a Polish bank shouting, “This is a stick up!” and brandishing a spoon; and a burglar who during his trial rubbed his own excrement on his attorney’s hair and face, and flung his feces at jurors was sentenced to 31 years in prison and ordered to pay $129 to replace one juror’s briefcase.AnanovaAnanova10NewsTwo coyotes mauled to death a 19-year-old Canadian folk singer while she was hiking,The Starand a 112-year-old Somali man took a 17-year-old as his sixth bride.BBCAn 11-pound lobster named Larry, born around 1939, was on sale for $275 at a New York restaurant,Bloombergand the annual New Zealand “rabbit throw” contest, in which children compete to see how far they can toss dead rabbits, was banned.Metro.ukSwedish scientists learned that when male bedbugs, which are gender-blind, attempt gay bedbug sex, the victims release a pheromone that tells the aggressors to back off.WiredParents and teachers in the Guangdong province of China were upset by a new sculpture in a city park of an eight-inch girl with giant 16-foot breasts. “The little girls were scared and cried loudly,” said one kindergarten teacher, “asking me if they would grow those huge things.”AnanovaScientists at the Guangdong Entomological Institute discovered that the female short-nosed fruit-bat routinely provides her partner with oral sex during intercourse, making the bat the only adult animal besides humans to engage in such behavior. “We were also surprised at how often it occurred… It was difficult to provide some hypotheses for the function of the fellatio behavior,” said short-nosed-fruit-bat researcher Libiao Zhang. “We held many meetings to discuss the functions.”Live ScienceFake snow blanketed Beijing.Times of India
More from Claire Gutierrez:
Chances that a deep breath inhaled today will contain a molecule from Julius Caesar’s dying breath:
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences, by John Allen Paulos, Hill and Wang (N.Y.C.)
The earth once had three moons; the two lost moons may have crashed into the surviving moon, or been sucked into the sun, or flung out of the solar system to drift through deep space.
In Florida, an 87-year-old World War II veteran flying touch-and-go drills in a Cessna collided with an airborne skydiver. “There was a ‘woof’ sound,” said a witness, “like falling on your face into your pillow.”
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“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”