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Tunisia commemorated the first anniversary of the Arab Springâ??and of the ousting of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Aliâ??by pardoning 9,000 prisoners and commuting 122 death sentences. BBCMyanmar released 651 political prisoners, leading the U.S. State Department to move toward restoring full diplomatic relations with the country for the first time in 21 years.New York TimesNobel Peace laureate Mohammed ElBaradei ended his bid for the Egyptian presidency, citing his countryâ??s military autocracy as an insurmountable obstacle to legitimate elections. “The regime did not fall yet,” he said.Wall Street JournalHundreds of Saudis gathered to protest the killing of a young Shiite man by security forces, and Iranâ??s Revolutionary Court sentenced to death Amir Hekmati, an American citizen accused of spying for the CIA, who claims to have been visiting his grandmothers. The following day, an Iranian nuclear scientist was killed by a magnetic bomb that was attached to his car while he was stuck in traffic in Tehran. Iran blamed the United States, the United Kingdom, and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the assassination. “[Our] response will be a tormenting one,” said General Masoud Jazayeri, “for supporters of state terrorism.”New York TimesAtlanticNational PostNPRIn Caracas, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad joked with Venezuelan president Hugo ChĂˇvez about firing an atomic bomb on Washington. “The fuel of that bomb,” said Ahmadinejad, “is love.”ReutersNew York Daily NewsAn Iranian medical journal published a study of a 21-year-old who developed a permanent erection after having the phrase “Good luck with your journeys” tattooed on his penis. “Based on our unique case,” wrote the studyâ??s authors, “we discourage penile tattooing.” ABC
Mitt Romney won the New Hampshire Republican primary. Jon Huntsman, who placed third, behind Ron Paul, withdrew from the race and endorsed Romney. Washington TimesBoston GlobeNewt Gingrich visited Georgetown, South Carolina, to highlight steelworker layoffs that he said were the result of corporate takeovers brokered by the investment firm Romney co-founded, and Romney gave an estimated $50 from his wallet to Ruth Williams, who had followed his campaign bus to the airport. “God didnâ??t tell me to go to nobody else,” said Williams. “He told me to pray for Romney.”Los Angeles TimesABCWarren Buffett offered to match any voluntary contribution made by a Republican congressperson to reduce the national debt. “Iâ??ll even go three-for-one with McConnell,” said Buffett of the Senate minority leader.San Francisco ChronicleStandard and Poorâ??s downgraded the credit ratings of nine of the seventeen countries in the Eurozone, and piracy was found to be an important driver of the Somali economy. “A military crack-down,” wrote British economist Anja Shortland, “would deprive one of the worldâ??s poorest nations of an important source of income.”ReutersCNNChatham HouseResearchers determined that Friday the 13th is a good day for the stock market, that nicotine patches reduce memory loss in nonsmokers, that being the victim of discrimination is harmful to oneâ??s health, that casual marijuana use is not, and that human immune-system cells have some control over their own destinies.ABC NewsNPRScience DailyScientific AmericanScience DailyA species of horsefly native to Queensland, Australia, was named Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae, after the singer BeyoncĂ©. “It was the unique dense golden hairs on the flyâ??s abdomen that led me to name this fly,” said entomologist Bryan Lessard, who noted that the BeyoncĂ© is the “all-time diva of flies.”ScienceDaily
At least six people were killed and 64 injured when the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia capsized off the coast of Tuscany. Hundreds of passengers jumped into the water and swam to a nearby island; at least a dozen others remain missing. Captain Francesco Schettino was indicted for manslaughter after authorities came to suspect that he had steered too close to the island in an attempt at showmanship, then fled the sinking ship five hours before the passengers were evacuated.Los Angeles TimesReutersThe U.S. military began an investigation into a video that portrays four Marines urinating on the corpses of suspected Taliban insurgents, and a California man was taken into custody after pouring the cleaning agent Goof Off into his wifeâ??s bowl of Rice Krispies.BBCLos Angeles TimesTelevision chef Paula Deen, creator of the glazed-doughnut hamburger, was revealed to have type 2 diabetes, the manufacturer of the Twinkie filed for bankruptcy protection, and a Los Angeles sheriffâ??s deputy was charged with attempting to smuggle heroin into a courthouse jail via a bean-and-cheese burrito.The DailyNew York TimesLos Angeles TimesA $3.5 million security barrier erected in Halifax harbor to protect Canadian naval vessels from terrorism was dismantled after being rendered ineffective by mussels and kelp.CBCThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that for the first time since 1965, homicide is not among the 15 leading causes of death in the United States.Washington PostParents staged a protest outside a Georgia elementary school that gave third graders a cross-curricular homework assignment integrating the concept of slavery into math problems. “If Frederick got two beatings per day,” read one question, “how many beatings did he get in 1 week?”Atlanta Journal-Constitution
More from Justin Stone:
Years of consideration preceding the inclusion of the word “phat” in Random House’s 1996 Compact Unabridged Dictionary:
Scientists created crash helmets that stink when cracked and fruit flies to whom blue light smells delicious.
In Belize, a construction company bulldozed a 2,300-year-old Mayan temple to make road fill.
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â€śThis is the heart of the magic factory, the place where medicine is infused with the miracles of science, and Iâ€™ve come to see how itâ€™s done.â€ť