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Russians in nine time zones rallied to demand a revote of their country’s December 4 parliamentary elections, in which the ruling United Russia party won a slim majority. Russiaâ??s only independent election-monitoring group logged more than 5,000 fraud allegations, while videos posted to YouTube showed stuffed ballot boxes, voting booths supplied with erasable ink, and buses taking people to vote at multiple locations. “If someone writes the phrase â??party of swindlers and thievesâ?? on a blog,” tweeted Russian president Dmitri Medvedev, “he is just a fuckface.” As many as 50,000 people protested in Bolotnaya Square across the Moskva River from the Kremlin, despite the deployment of thousands of troops in Moscow, and in Beijing two Russian foreign-exchange students accepted the Confucius Peace Prize on behalf of Vladimir Putin, who was selected over the Chinese Panchen Lama and the father of hybrid rice. The award citation praised Putin for crushing antigovernment forces in Chechnya, where voter turnout in the parliamentary elections was a reported 99.5 percent, with 99.5 percent in favor of United Russia.BBCWashington PostCNNBBCFrance 24AFP via Daily NationThe GuardianShanghaiistWashington PostRia NovstiThe Moscow Times British prime minister David Cameron vetoed a proposed amendment to the European Union treaty that would have imposed stricter fiscal discipline on member countries, citing concern for Londonâ??s financial-services industry. The other 26 E.U. nations indicated that they would push ahead with the treaty. “A Britain which leaves the E.U. will be considered to be irrelevant by Washington,” said Cameronâ??s coalition partner and deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, “and will be considered a pygmy in the world.”AFP via Vancouver SunIn Malaysia, a tourist was gored to death by a pygmy elephant.ABC
A U.S. surveillance drone crashed in Iran. Iranian military officials claimed to have brought down the plane by hacking into its control system, though an American analyst said the craft most likely crashed on its own, because “that’s what drones do.” Parliamentarian Parviz Sorouri said Iran would reverse-engineer the drone, and that any recovered data would be used to file a lawsuit against the United States.CNNAPA new Sunni terrorist group took credit for a bombing that killed at least 55 Shia worshippers at a Kabul shrine, citing as justification such “criminal behavior” as the flying of Shia banners in Sunni areas. BBCAP via Washington PostIn the second attack by a gunman at Virginia Tech in four years, Radford University student Ross Ashley shot and killed a police officer, then shot and killed himself. “Iâ??m kind of surprised,” said Ashleyâ??s former roommate. “Iâ??m also not kind of surprised.”Collegiate Times Collegiate Times Florida state lawmakers had panic buttons installed on their cell phones two months after passing a law allowing concealed firearms to be carried in every part of the state capitol except the legislative chambers and committee rooms.St. Petersburg Times In suburban San Francisco, an “unforeseen bounce” on the set of the television show “Mythbusters” sent a cannonball through the front door and back wall of a house, across six lanes of traffic, across the roof of a second house, and through the window of a minivan, where it came to rest on the floor.AP via Washington PostWashington PostTensions rose between North Korea and South Korea following a proposal by a South Korean church group to place Christmas lights on a watchtower along the DMZ. “The enemy warmongers,” stated the North Korean governmentâ??s Uriminzokkiri website, “should be aware that they should be held responsible entirely for any unexpected consequences that may be caused by their scheme.”AFP
The Obama Administration announced that it would begin using foreign aid to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights worldwide, and Nigeriaâ??s House of Representatives took up a bill banning marriage and public displays of affection between gays. “We are black people,” said parliamentary spokesman Zakari Mohammed. “We are not white.”CBSThe White HouseAFPRepublican presidential candidate Rick Perry appeared in an ad criticizing gay rights while dressed in a jacket nearly identical to the one worn by Heath Ledger in “Brokeback Mountain,” and a Michigan music teacher was reprimanded for changing the “Deck the Halls” lyric “Don we now our gay apparel” to “Don we now our bright apparel.”Yahoo!ABC 30For the second time this year, firefighters in Obion County, Tennessee, watched a home burn to the ground after its owner failed to pay a $75 service fee.WPSD-TV via Yahoo!A DeSoto Parish woman became the second Louisianan to be killed by a brain-eating amoeba after infecting herself while rinsing her sinuses with a Neti pot.Fox 8A Bolivian teenager was reported to have committed suicide by piranha.Daily MailReagan, a yellow Labrador from Iowa, saved kittens Skipper and Tipper from dying in a Meow Mix bag.WHO-TVScientists blamed climate change for a rise in polar-bear cannibalism.BBCArcticA severe butter shortage struck Norway, owing partly to a high-fat diet craze. “Real Norwegian butter!” read an ad placed by one profiteer. “Almost unused!”Reuters via Yahoo!The LocalPolice in North Carolina arrested Lauretta Cheek for administering an illegal butt-implant injection; a woman in New Jersey was charged with manslaughter for killing a man by injecting his penis with silicone; and Michigan and Wisconsin argued over which state was shaped more like a mitten. “We understand their mitten envy,” said a spokesman from Travel Michigan. “Itâ??s not our fault,” said a Wisconsinite from Neenah, “that their thumb is smaller.”Daily MailRadar OnlineKalamazoo Gazette via mlive.comAP via CBS
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.
Ratio of the amount J. P. Morgan paid a man to fight in his place in the Civil War to what he spent on cigars in 1863:
The Food and Drug Administration asked restaurants to help Americans eat less.
Pope Francis announced that nuns could use social media, and a priest flew a hot-air balloon around the world.
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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