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Mitt Romney won the first stage of the Republican leadership race, beating Rick Santorum by eight votes, 30,015 to 30,007, in the Iowa caucus. “This has been a great victory for him,” said Romney of Santorum. Michele Bachmann, who had claimed she would stay in the race regardless of the Iowa results, suspended her campaign after receiving 5 percent of the vote.CBSThe 2008 Republican nominee, John McCain, endorsed Romney. “I am confident, with the leadership and the backing of the American people, President Obama will turn this country around,” said McCain. “President Romney,” he then corrected himself. “President Romney. President Romney.” During a speech to New Hampshire business leaders, Romney said “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. You know, if someone doesnâ??t give me the good service I need.” NBCAP on YouTubeBloomberg BusinessweekConcord MonitorHuffington PostNew York Times blogsThe U.S. Labor Department revealed that unemployment had fallen in December to 8.5 percent, the lowest level in almost three years, and President Barack Obama made the first recess appointments during a break of fewer than three days since 1949, nominating three people to the National Labor Relations Board and five-time “Jeopardy!” champion Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “I hope that the Senate has the backbone to say, â??You will withdraw these nominations or we are doing nothing,â??” said Santorum. ReutersAtlanticBloombergNew York TimesBloombergMalaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was acquitted of sodomy after a two-year trial. “Thank God justice has prevailed,” said Anwar, who, if found guilty of having sex with a former aide, would have faced 20 years in prison. “To be honest, I am a little surprised.”BBC
Officials in Pibor, South Sudan, claimed that 3,141 people had been killed, that 1,293 children had been abducted, and that 375,186 cows had been stolen during an attack by members of the Lou Nuer ethnic group. Asked why only 800 troops were sent to defend Pibor even though it had been clear for two weeks that as many as 8,000 Lou Nuer fighters were marching on the town, South Sudanese army colonel Philip Aguer said, “Itâ??s a long story.”New York TimesAt least 90 people were killed across Iraq in seven attacks targeting Shiites. BBCNew York TimesAP via Washington PostThe U.S. Army was preparing for the withdrawal from Afghanistan of tens of thousands of vehicles worth $30 billion, including a fleet of custom-made Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, each weighing more than ten tons, taller than a single-story dwelling, and prone to rolling over. “We arenâ??t very good at predicting future wars,” said a senior military official in Kabul, “[but] Iâ??m sure we will use them for something.” GuardianCiting human-rights abuses uncovered by a domestic commission, Afghan president Hamid Karzai demanded that the United States relinquish control of the prison at Bagram Air Base; the commissionâ??s deputy chief later acknowledged that most of the violations were on the Afghan side of the prison. New York TimesNew York TimesThree days after Iran warned an American aircraft carrier that it would employ the “full force” of the Iranian military if the ship tried to re-enter the Persian Gulf, the carrierâ??s battle group freed 13 Iranian hostages from Somali pirates who had attacked them near where the carrier was floating. “These might be the dumbest pirates ever,” said Rear Admiral Craig S. Faller. “I donâ??t have skills,” said pirate Mohammed Mahmoud.New York TimesFive radical Jewish settlers were charged with organizing a raid on an Israeli army base in the West Bank, and “Shara’a Simsim,” the Palestinian version of “Sesame Street,” was cancelled following the withdrawal of $200 million in funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development.New York TimesGuardian
Jay-Z and BeyoncĂ© named their newborn daughter Blue Ivy Carter, and a man named Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop was arrested in Madison, Wisconsin.Washington Post blogsThe Cap TimesJakadrien Turner, 14, who was deported to Colombia after being arrested in Houston for theft and giving police the name of a 21-year-old Colombian woman, was returned to the United States.BBCJamaican president Portia Simpson Miller announced plans for Jamaica to become a republic. “Sheâ??s a beautiful lady,” said Miller of Queen Elizabeth II. “But I think time come.” GuardianAge-related cognitive decline was found to begin as early as 45, and sexual satisfaction in women was found to increase with age even as desire diminishes.Psychiatric AlertScience Daily A Colorado woman was charged with criminal mischief after punching and sliding down a $30 million painting by Abstract Expressionist Clyfford Still, then urinating on herself. “It doesnâ??t appear she urinated on the painting or that the urine damaged it,” said a spokeswoman with the Denver district attorneyâ??s office, “so sheâ??s not being charged with that.”Denver PostTheoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking celebrated his seventieth birthday, confessing that he spent most of the day thinking about women. “They are,” he said, “a complete mystery.”Guardian
More from Emily Stokes:
Conversation — October 24, 2013, 8:00 am
Richard Rodriguez on the essay as biography of an idea, the relationship between gay menâs liberation and womenâs liberation, and the writerly impulse to give away secrets
Six Questions — October 7, 2013, 8:00 am
Dame Margaret Drabble on the essayistic voice in fiction and North London anthropology
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the collegeâs founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institutionâs mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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âShelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.â