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After seven years of litigation, more than 10,000 firefighters, police officers, and other workers who sued New York City over health damages they suffered during the September 11 recovery efforts approved a settlement worth at least $625 million, with individual payouts ranging from $3,250 to $1.8 million, depending on the severity of the illness.New York TimesSalvatore Giunta, an army sergeant who ran into enemy fire to aid fellow soldiers during an ambush in Afghanistan in 2007, became the first living service member to receive the Medal of Honor since Vietnam. The honor was questioned by Bryan Fischer, a conservative columnist, who lamented that the famed prize has been “feminized” by celebrating acts of rescue instead of fighting: “When are we going to start awarding the Medal of Honor once again for soldiers who kill people and break things, so our families can sleep safely at night?”ReutersWashington PostPolitics DailyPresident Obama announced plans for U.S. combat troops to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014, though NATO representatives predicted the country would still be facing “eye-watering” levels of violence, and Target, a dog rescued from Afghanistan after she alerted troops to a suicide bomber and saved dozens of soldiers, was accidentally euthanized at an Arizona shelter.AP via MSNBCThe GuardianCNNIn Inspire, its online magazine, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula declared its commitment to a strategy “of a thousand cuts,” in which it would continue to force the U.S. to spend billions of dollars to guard against inexpensive, small-scale attacks such as the mailing of parcel bombs from Yemen to America last month. “It is such a good bargain for us to spread fear amongst the enemy and keep him on his toes in exchange of a few months of work and a few thousand bucks.”ReutersAhmed Khalfan Ghailani, the first former Guantanamo Bay detainee to be tried in a civilian court, was acquitted of all but one of 280 charges of conspiracy and murder in the 1998 terrorist bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Tanzania.New York Times
A Chinese woman was seized by police on her wedding day and sentenced to a year in a labor camp for retweeting a post that mocked Chinese protesters who smashed Japanese products during a recent demonstration, and in Egypt, Abdel Kareem Nabil, a 26-year-old blogger, was released after serving four years in prison on charges of insulting Islam.ReutersCNNReutersPope Benedict XVI conceded that in exceptional circumstances, such as when a male prostitute is infected with HIV, condom use can be acceptable. Reuters via Yahoo NewsU.S. Roman Catholic bishops held an emergency workshop to train clerics to perform exorcisms.ReutersBill Clinton filmed a cameo for the movie “The Hangover 2,” and scientists warned that wild tigers, of which only 3,200 remain, could become extinct in a dozen years if protective measures were not taken.The Baltimore SunReutersAP via MSNBCNorth Korea revealed a new, sophisticated nuclear facility capable of enriching uranium to a visiting American scientist, and an international team of physicists announced that for the first time they were able to trap antimatter, 38 anti-hydrogen atoms, for one-tenth of a second.AP via Fox NewsAPAlaska Senator Lisa Murkowski won re-election, becoming the first write-in candidate to win a Senate seat since Strom Thurmond’s victory in 1954.Washington PostNancy Pelosi was elected House minority leader, pointing out that incoming Speaker of the House Representative John Boehner “is known to cry.”The GuardianCBS NewsFox NewsBritish scientists discovered that, like gangsters running a protection racket, drongo birds in the Kalahari Desert act as lookouts for other birds in order to steal a cut of their food catch. Instead of keeping a low profile, though, drongos advertise their presence by issuing a call known as a “twank” every 4 or 5 seconds.Science DailySarah Palin’s 16-year-old daughter, Willow, admonished a Facebook friend who criticized her mother’s new reality show: “Haha your so gay. What I’ve seen pictures of, your disgusting . . . stfu. Your such a faggot.”TMZMark Twain’s 760-page autobiography was released 100 years after his death, per his instructions, and immediately became a bestseller.New York Times
A British gamer who took out a mortgage in 2005 to buy virtual real estate in Entropia, a massive multiplayer game, sold his make-believe nightclub for $635,000, and Oxford University researchers discovered that the game Tetris can help prevent the flashbacks associated with the onset of post-traumatic stress disorder, calling it a “cognitive vaccine” if played soon after exposure to trauma.The Daily MailLos Angeles TimesIn Haiti, relief workers were seeking donations of soap to curb the current outbreak of cholera; a bar of soap costs about 50 cents, but because most Haitians live on less than $1.25 a day, they often choose to buy food instead. ReutersWashington PostFor only the second time, the U.S. government approved a test on human subjects of a treatment using embryonic stem cells, in this case to combat a disease that causes vision loss. AP via Yahoo NewsNearly 2,000 fetuses were found at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok, where they were buried in plastic bags after having been illegally aborted over the past year, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reflected that the best age for girls to get married is between 16 and 18.MSNBCReutersA Minnesota couple were asking visitors to their website to vote on whether they should keep or abort the wife’s fetus; 80 percent of the 75,000 respondents wanted Alisha Arnold to give birth to the 17-week-old male fetus she calls “Wiggles.”Reuters via Los Angeles Times
More from Margaret Cordi:
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.
Estimated temperature of Hell, according to two Spanish physicists ‘ interpretation of the Bible:
The ecosystems around Chernobyl, Ukraine, are now healthier than they were before the nuclear disaster, though radiation levels are still too high for human habitation.
A TSA agent in Seattle was arrested for taking up-skirt photos of women in the airport, a Maryland police officer was arrested for taking up-skirt photos of an off-duty colleague, and the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that taking up-skirt photos is legal in the state.
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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