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The developers of the proposed Islamic community center near Ground Zero–whose project continues to lack a lobbyist, engineer, architect, blueprint, and, according to their most recent disclosure, $99,981,745 of the $100 million they intend to raise–did not agree to meet with Governor David Paterson, who hopes to persuade them to build somewhere else. BloombergNYOPoliticoAs Israel prepared for the drilling of the large gas reserves discovered last year off its northern coast, the parliament of Lebanon voted to outline the country’s maritime borders.EarthTimesNYTIran celebrated the opening of its first nuclear power plant, and President Obama invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the United States for peace talks. “When they reach an impasse, and they will, the expectation will be that the president has to come in and fix these things,” said Middle East scholar Aaron David Miller. “Does he really understand what heâ??s getting himself into?”NYTUSA Today One in five Americans believed Obama to be Muslim.PewA Thai appellate court ordered the extradition of alleged weapons-trafficker, money-launderer, and sanction-flouter Viktor Bout to the United States, and the security firm formerly known as Blackwater paid the U.S. government $42 million to avoid criminal charges over hundreds of export violations.WPWSJNYTThirty-three Chilean miners who had been trapped underground for more than two weeks turned out to be alive, though engineers said they wonâ??t be rescued for at least four months.TelegraphThe body of a registered Japanese centenarian was found in her sonâ??s backpack.BBC
On the fourteenth day of deliberation, jurors found former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich guilty of lying to the FBI; on 23 counts of wire fraud, bribery, racketeering, and conspiracy to extort, they were unable to reach a verdict.NYTSeven crates of Blagojevich’s belongings were auctioned by a moving company to which he owed thousands of dollars; his life-size statue of Elvis fetched $20,500, and a neon sign of the ex-governorâ??s name went for $375. “Iâ??m going to put it next to my Nixon poster,” said the buyer of the sign. “I liked him too.”NYTChicago S-TFrench police officers delivered expulsion orders to about 100 Roma encamped northeast of Paris; each Rom had the option of being flown to Romania and given $385 for resettlement or being forcibly expelled in a month. “God will protect us,” said Ioan Lingurar, who managed to avoid an expulsion order. “Even from Sarkozy.”NYTGeneral Motors announced it would return to the stock market with an initial public offering of an estimated $110 per share; the government, which bailed out the company in exchange for 61 percent ownership, will have to sell its 304 million shares at $165 to break even.WPWSJHip-hop artist Wyclef Jean was barred from seeking the Haitian presidency, and a Californian financial worker was arrested for twice ejaculating into a female officemateâ??s water bottle.NYTNYM
Bobby Thomson, who hit the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” homerun, died, as did literary critic Frank Kermode.PPGGuardianIt was revealed that James Patterson is the highest-paid author in the world.NYTIn Laguna Beach, California, a deer bolted through two stores, got hit by a car, and fled into the ocean to die; during a bullfight in Tafalla, Spain, an 1100-pound bull leaped into the stands and injured 40 people before it was killed; and in Orlando, Florida, ten days after it got stuck, the head of Jarhead, a bear, was liberated from a plastic jar.LATNYDNGuardianNPTwo women, exploring the contents of an old trunk in a Los Angeles building, happened on the seventy-year-old remains of an infant; LAPD officers subsequently discovered a second long-dead infant.LATTwo Iowa companies recalled 400 million eggs following an outbreak of salmonella, and the Department of Defense responded to an outbreak of bedbugs in Cincinnati, where some residents had started to sleep on the street.NYTWPTimeIn southern Sudan, where nine-tenths of the population lives on less than a dollar per day, authorities unveiled a $10 billion plan to build cities in the shapes of fruits and animals.BBCDozens of people were injured during ding-dong battles in Anantnag, and a 21-year-old Washington State man dressed in a banana suit exposed himself to a woman at a Wendyâ??s and then went to Four Seasons Ranch to wave a shotgun around. “All we know is he was drinking earlier in the day,” sheriffâ??s Sgt. Randy Pieper said, “but he didn’t really have a reason for the costume.”The HinduSeattle Times
More from Justin Stone:
In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north â€” John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.
Chances that a Republican man believes that “poor people have hard lives”:
A school in South Korea was planning to deploy a robot to protect students from unwanted seductions.
Nurembergâ€™s Neues Museum filed a criminal complaint against a 91-year-old woman who completed a crossword puzzle that was in fact a $116,000 piece of avant-garde Danish art.
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â€śMatt 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. 'Iâ€™m glad everyoneâ€™s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supportsÂ my lifestyle.'â€ť