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President Barack Obama addressed the nation with the results of a security review he ordered after the failed Christmas Day underwear bombing. “We are at war against Al Qaeda,” he said, noting also that when it comes to security matters the buck stops with him. Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor of New York during the September 11 attacks, said that Obama’s response to terrorism was inadequate. “We had no domestic attacks under Bush,” said Giuliani.CNNPoliticoThe White House sought to reassure Americans that it had no intention of invading Yemen or Somalia, and also that the State of the Union address would not conflict with the season premiere of “Lost.” “I don’t foresee a scenario in which the millions of people that hope to finally get some conclusion in ‘Lost’ are preempted by the president,” said Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.New York TimesAP NewsSenator Harry Reid apologized for saying, during the 2008 presidential campaign, that Obama was a viable candidate because he was “light-skinned” and had “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” G.O.P. Chairman Michael Steele called on Reid to step down as Senate majority leader over his “anachronistic language”; Steele also called the current Republican platform “one of the best political documents thatâ??s been written in the last 25 years,” adding, “honest Injun on that.”New York TimesChicago TribuneAn effigy of Obama was hanged over a sign that celebrates Jimmy Carter in Carter’s hometown of Plains, Georgia.New York Times
Seven coalition soldiers and one embedded British journalist were killed in attacks in Afghanistan. A military spokesman said that an increasing number of such deaths were likely in the future. “We are making more contact with insurgents in places where they had sanctuary before,” he said, “and there will be more of that kind of activity.”New York TimesNorth Korea announced that it would not give up nuclear weapons until the United States signed a peace treaty bringing a formal end to the Korean War after 60 years,New York Timesand Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only confirmed survivor of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic attacks, died at the age of 93. Washington PostMuslims in Malaysia firebombed at least half a dozen churches in the wake of a court ruling that allows the nation’s Christians to refer to God as “Allah,”Asia Timesand Brit Hume encouraged Tiger Woods to convert to Christianity.Washington PostA Massachusetts man was convicted of animal cruelty for raping his roommate’s pet rabbit.Boston Herald
A parliamentary panel in Iran blamed Tehran’s prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, for the beating deaths of three protesters in a detention center last summer, but called charges that protesters were raped by guards “illusions of a mother.”New York TimesThe website of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was hacked. “Dear God, In 2009 you took my favorite singer–Michael Jackson; my favorite actress–Farrah Fawcett; my favorite actor–Patrick Swayze,” read a message on the site. “Please, please, don’t forget my favorite politician–Ahmadinejad; and my favorite dictator–Khamenei in the year 2010.”Radio Free EuropeThe Supreme Court ruled that a federal judge in California could not broadcast over YouTube a trial challenging the constitutionality of Prop 8, the California ballot initiative that banned gay marriage.San Francisco ChronicleDemocratic Senators Christopher Dodd and Byron Dorgan and Governor Bill Ritter announced that they would not seek re-election in 2010.LA TimesIt was revealed that Iris Robinson, the 60-year-old wife of Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Peter Robinson, had a months-long affair with a 19-year-old man, acquired $80,000 in loans for him, and called him “the other son I would have loved to have been a mother to.”LA TimesBritish researchers said that the G-spot does not exist.BBC News
More from Christopher Beha:
Six Questions — May 24, 2013, 8:00 am
Anna Badkhen on life in rural Afghanistan andÂ the friction between violence and beauty
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 â€śhallwayâ€ť must have a nautical name. Why didnâ€™t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet heâ€™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 theyâ€™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 donâ€™t belong to, that doesnâ€™t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isnâ€™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 â€” because ocean life pays better than money! â€” 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