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Mail bombs sent from Yemen and addressed to a Chicago synagogue were intercepted by law enforcement officials in Britain and Dubai acting on a last minute tip, by way of Saudi intelligence, from Jaber al-Faifi, a “repentant” Al Qaeda operative and former Guantanamo Bay detainee. The bombs, which appear to have been intended to explode mid-air in transatlantic cargo flights, had already been on four planes, two of them carrying passengers, before they were discovered.New York TimesYemeni officials detained engineering student Hanan al-Samawi, whose name and cell phone number were found on one of the packages, but released her when a shipping agent confirmed that a different woman had used al-Samawi’s name when signing the shipping manifest.Christian Science MonitorAmerican officials believed that the bombs were made by top Al Qaeda in Yemen bombmaker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, the likely maker of last year’s underwear bomb, and said they did not know how many more explosives were in transit. “We’re trying to get a better handle on what else may be out there,” said deputy national security adviser John Brennan. “We’re trying to understand better what we may be facing.”Washington PostAs Iraqi forces stormed a church in Baghdad, gunmen holding hostages there set off two suicide vests filled with ball bearings, killing 58 and wounding 75 more. “It’s a horrible scene,” said Iraqi police officer Hussain Nahidh. “Many people went to the hospitals without legs and hands.” Iraqi defense minister Abdul-Kader Jassem al-Obeidi called it “a successful operation with a minimum of casualties.” The militant group Islamic State of Iraq called the church “the dirty den of idolatry” and promised further attacks against Iraqi Christians.New York TimesA Nebraska man was arrested for waterboarding his girlfriend.The Smoking Gun
The most expensive midterm election in the country’s history neared an end with both parties expecting Republicans to regain control of the House and contend for control of the Senate.New York TimesAmong the vulnerable Democratic incumbents was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, whose opponent, Sharron Angle, campaigned in Las Vegas with Jon Voight.PoliticoPresident Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and OhioRepresentative John Boehner, who is expected to become the new Speaker of the House, all campaigned in Ohio. “Remember when Ronald Reagan was president?” Boehner asked. “We had Bob Hope. We had Johnny Cash. Think about where we are today. We have got President Obama. But we have no hope and we have no cash.” New York TimesPresident Obama declined to endorse Frank Caprio, the Democratic candidate for governor in Rhode Island, who is running against former Republican senator and Obama supporter Lincoln Chafee. Caprio replied that Obama could “shove it.”LA TimesVince McMahon, the head of World Wrestling Entertainment and the husband of Connecticut Senate candidate Linda McMahon, challenged the state’s policy that bans on election paraphernalia near polling places could extend to WWE t-shirts.New Haven RegisterA volunteer for Rand Paul’s Kentucky Senate campaign stomped on the neck of a liberal protester,New York Timesa 23-year-old Rochester man was arrested and charged with planning to kill former President George W. Bush,CNNand Comedy Central’s “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” drew an estimated 215,000 to the Mall in Washington.CBS NewsKennedy Administration advisor and speechwriter Ted Sorensen died.Washington Post
The thirty-three recently rescued Chilean miners played a soccer match against their rescuers and were welcomed at the national palace by President Sebastian Pinera.Yahoo NewsPinera apologized for writing “Deutschland über alles” in the guest book of German President Christian Wulff while on a visit to thank Germany for its help in the rescue efforts.Der SpiegelA pastor in South Africa declared that Jesus was HIV positive, BBC Newsand police in the Maldives promised to investigate after a video surfaced of a British couple participating in what they seem to have believed was a marriage-vow renewal ceremony. “You fornicate and make a lot of children,” the officiant was really saying, in a local language that the couple did not understand. “You drink and you eat pork. Most of the children that you have are marked with spots and blemishes. These children that you have are bastards.”BBC News
More from Christopher Beha:
Commentary — May 22, 2015, 1:10 pm
Jonathan Chait’s flawed attack on David Bromwich’s critique of Barack Obama’s presidency
Chances that a Soviet woman’s first pregnancy will end in abortion:
Peaceful fungus-farming ants are sometimes protected against nomadic raider ants by sedentary invader ants.
In San Antonio, a 150-pound pet tortoise knocked over a lamp, igniting a mattress fire that spread to a neighborâ€™s home.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of oneâ€™s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many timesâ€”in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."