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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:
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Average speed of Heinz ketchup, from the mouth of an upended bottle, in miles per year:
After studying the fall of 64,000 individual raindrops, scientists found that some small raindrops fall faster than they ought to.
The Playboy mansion in California was bought by the heir to the Twinkie fortune, and a New Mexico man set fire to his apartment to protest his neighbors’ loud lovemaking.
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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.'”