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Mahmoud Abbas went before the United Nations General Assembly in support of Palestineâ??s bid for UN membership, saying his was a “defenseless people, armed only with their dreams, courage, hope, and slogans.” “Yeah,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his UN address. “Hopes, dreams, and 10,000 missiles.” Abbas returned to cheering crowds in Ramallah, though some Palestinians were skeptical of his quest. “We are not against a peaceful solution, but we donâ??t believe it,” said one West Bank resident.BBCUnited NationsUnited NationsNY Times
In what it called an expression of Islamic mercy, Iran released a pair of American hikers detained in the country for two years. In exchange, it received $1 million in bail money, posted by Oman.LA Times
After decades of contentious litigation that saw seven of nine eyewitnesses recant their testimony, Troy Davis was executed in Georgia. “The question is not whether you can avoid errors,” said a former prosecutor about Davisâ??s case. “The only realistic question in an adult mind is which set of errors youâ??re going to accept.”NY TimesTimeNY Times
As the Occupy Wall Street protest in New Yorkâ??s Zuccotti Park entered its second week, police used Tasers and pepper spray to control the crowd, corralling some activists behind orange netting and taking others away in handcuffs. Brookfield Office Properties, which owns the park, sent men in suits to pass out fliers laying out rules against tarps and sleeping bags, prompting the protesters to chant “Donâ??t take the papers” then accuse the men of littering when they left the leaflets on park benches and tables.ABC NewsNew York Magazine Daily IntelWSJThe Nation
Neutrinos blasted from Switzerland arrived in Italy sixty billionths of a second earlier than expected, apparently outpacing the speed of photons and threatening to upend Einsteinâ??s theory of relativity. Physicists advised caution. “The constancy of the speed of light essentially underpins our understanding of space and time and causality,” said Oxford Universityâ??s head of particle theory. “If we do not have causality, we are buggered.”ScienceGuardianBBC
At a Republican presidential debate on Thursday, Michele Bachmann pledged to sign the “mother of all repeal bills” to abolish the Department of Education, and Rick Santorum called President Barack Obama “the new King George III.”NY Times
In honor of Pope Benedict XVIâ??s controversial visit to Germany, a Berlin beermaker brewed an organic pilsner and “ensouled” it by playing Gregorian chants from a boom box on the eve of the new moon.Spiegel OnlineSpiegel Online
Government officials announced the seizure in New Yorkâ??s Chinatown of 6,000 units of illegally imported pesticides, including vials of a Chinese rat poison, labeled “The cat be unemployed,” that contained the powerful anticoagulant brodifacoum in concentrations sixty times the legal limit. Some of the chemicals, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, smelled “like cookies or other objects that would attract the human touch.”NY Times
The Department of Justice admitted it had paid too much for muffins, the Pentagon struggled to meet the “huge gaseous helium requirements” of its blimps, an Arkansan archivist discovered a moon rock among Bill Clintonâ??s gubernatorial papers, and Chinese panda breeders noticed that Atlanta-born Mei Lan, previously thought to be a female, had testes. “If it wasnâ??t a giant panda,” said Zoo Atlantaâ??s mammal curator, “this just would have been a paperwork change.”ReutersWiredReutersAtlanta Journal-Constitution
In Fife, Scotland, the presence of a single red squirrel threatened to scuttle a new housing development. “One red squirrel should not stand in the way of mankindâ??s march of progress,” said a councillor.Scotsman
Authorities in Edinburgh revealed that a violin case, a potato peeler, and a quill pen had been used this year as weapons on city streets, and in Somalia, the Islamist militant group al-Shabab handed out grenades and Kalashnikovs as prizes in a childrenâ??s trivia game.ScotsmanNY Times
An American car club broke a world record by parading fifty-one hearses in Hell, Michigan.Detroit Free Press
Citing evidence of a “live fast and die young” mentality among cephalopods, marine biologists reported that deep-sea squid shoot packets of sperm indiscriminately at members of both sexes. “In the deep, dark habitat where O. deletron lives,” wrote the scientists, “potential mates are few and far between.”GuardianBiology Letters
In California, researchers implicated bottlenose dolphins in a recent rash of porpoise killings, but couldnâ??t determine whether the mammals were venting sexual frustration or merely practicing infanticide. “We call them â??porpitrators,â??” said cetologist Thomas Jefferson.San Francisco Chronicle
More from Anthony Lydgate:
Weekly Review — February 25, 2014, 8:00 am
Upheaval in Ukraine, yobbery in the United Kingdom, and a historic douche in the United States
Weekly Review — January 14, 2014, 8:00 am
A Pakistani ninth-grader sacrifices himself to save his classmates, Chris Christie saves himself, and Cormac McCarthyâ€™s ex-wife chooses an unconventional holsterÂ
Weekly Review — August 27, 2013, 8:00 am
A poison-gas attack in Syria, a verdict in the ManningÂ trial, and wing-walker Flame Brewer
Estimated acres of forest Henry David Thoreau burned down in 1844 trying to cook fish he had caught for dinner:
The bombardier beetle, which can fire liquid at its enemies from its rear end at up to 300 squirts per second, was being scrutinized in the hope of building a better airplane engine.
London Fire Brigade investigators blamed a building fire in South London on a bird that carried a lit cigarette to its rooftop nest. â€śSmokers,â€ť said neighborhood baker Richard Scroggs. â€śWhat can you say?â€ť
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â€śAmerican politics has often been an arena for angry minds.â€ť