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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:
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 andÂ the friction between violence and beauty
Number of free condoms handed out by the Brazilian government in advance of Carnival this year:
The best way to measure happiness is simply to ask people how happy they are.
Following three weeks of clashes between protesters and government forces that killed at least 17 people, Venezuelan president NicolĂˇs Maduro announced a two-day extension of Carnival. â€śHappiness will conquer the embittered,â€ť he said during an appearance at a recreation center.
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â€śAmerican politics has often been an arena for angry minds.â€ť