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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 — August 27, 2013, 8:00 am
A poison-gas attack in Syria, a verdict in the ManningÂ trial, and wing-walker Flame Brewer
Weekly Review — July 9, 2013, 8:00 am
Sexual assault amid Egyptian upheaval, adult breast-feeding in China, and the empathy of taxidermist George Dante
Weekly Review — May 7, 2013, 8:00 am
One World Trade Center gets its spire, the Gitmo hunger strike continues, and theÂ OEDÂ exploresÂ revirginize
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word â€śhallwayâ€ť must have a nautical name. Why didnâ€™t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet heâ€™d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands theyâ€™d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you donâ€™t belong to, that doesnâ€™t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isnâ€™t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members â€” because ocean life pays better than money! â€” who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Number of people stopped and frisked by the NYPD in 2011 for â€śfurtive movementsâ€ť:
The faces of Lego people were growing angrier.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature