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In Afghanistan, a 38-year-old U.S. Army staff sergeant assigned to support Green Beret village-stabilization operations turned himself in after killing sixteen villagers, nine of them children, in the middle of the night, then setting fire to eleven of the corpses, including those of four girls under the age of six. “He came to my uncle’s home, he was running after women, he was tearing their dresses, insulting them,” said a 15-year-old boy who reported being shot in the leg. “He killed my uncle and killed our servant and killed my grandma. He shot dead my uncle’s son, his daughter.” Hundreds of Afghans protested the murders outside Camp Belambay, Afghanistan’s lower house of parliament issued a statement saying Afghans had “run out of patience” with foreign forces, and President Hamid Karzai called the attacks “unforgivable.” Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich reiterated his call for Karzai to apologize for attacks on U.S. soldiers following the burning of Korans outside a NATO base last month. “It’s got to be a two-way street,” said Gingrich. NATO admitted that some of its officials had revealed personal information to foreign spies who friended them with a fake Facebook account for NATO’s most senior commander. Three of Osama bin Laden’s widows were charged with illegally entering and residing in Pakistan, where the justice ministry objected to a bill raising the age of criminal responsibility to 12, arguing that the hot climate, poverty, and spicy food made Pakistani children mature faster. Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko addressed an accusation by Germany’s foreign minister that he was “Europe’s last dictator.” “Better to be a dictator than gay,” said Lukashenko. In Iraq, officials and human rights groups estimated that 58 young people identified as “emo” have been killed in recent weeks. An Iraqi police officer said police were urging clerics to help them prevent violence against “the emo or the vampires or Satan worshippers.” “The emo of today,” said a Kurdish lawmaker, “could be any person tomorrow.”
Voting results in ten states on Super Tuesday failed to establish a clear frontrunner for the Republican presidential candidacy. Mitt Romney won in Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, Ohio, Vermont, and Virginia, while Rick Santorum won in North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. After winning his home state of Georgia, Gingrich compared himself to a tortoise fighting “lots of bunny rabbits” as his supporters waved “Newt-a-Mania” banners. A Tipp City, Ohio, woman interrupted a Santorum campaign event at a hamburger restaurant with an offer to make a cash donation. “Donate to Romney!” the woman yelled, then handed Santorum two $20 bills. “He needs our money!” At a Southern Methodist University conference on the influence of first ladies, Barbara Bush called the 2012 presidential campaign the worst she’d ever seen. “The rest of the world is looking at us these days,” she remarked, “and saying, ‘What are you doing?’” The grounds outside a Maryland courthouse were evacuated after a deputy spotted a suspicious-looking coconut, and residents of the English town of Saltburn-by-the-Sea theorized that an Olympics-themed scarf found tied to a local pier was the work of the Saltburn Yarnbomber, a “guerrilla knitter” also presumed responsible for The Secret Cardigan and A Ripping Yarn, a pair of knitted books left outside the Saltburn library earlier this year. “It’s a classic whodunit,” said a local reporter of the knitter’s identity. “Personally, I think it’s a group of people,” he added. “One person couldn’t do all that knitting on their own.”
A fox in Orpington, England, cornered a man and stole his garlic loaf. “If a fox is jumping at your shopping bag,” said a British wildlife expert, “the best thing to use is a water pistol.” Godzilla, a wild turkey, was reportedly stalking a woman in Commerce Township, Michigan. “Every time I eat turkey I smile,” she told reporters. “I’d like to do that to him.” An Anchorage funeral-home owner known as the “Mushing Mortician” performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to save one of his huskies during the Iditarod sled-dog race. Twin sisters Patricia and Joan Miller, who appeared on the television show The Hoffman Hayride in the 1950s, were reported to have died within hours of each other in South Lake Tahoe, California, and the Canadian province of Alberta revealed that two girls born there in 2011 were named “Unique.” Two humanoid robots pole-danced to beats from a DJ robot with a megaphone-shaped head at a technology fair in Germany. Restaurateurs in Austria proposed changing the names of “gypsy schnitzel” and “Moor’s shirt” on Austrian menus to “cutlet with pepper sauce” and “chocolate dessert with cream.” An eBay bidder backed out of an agreement to pay a Nebraska woman $8,100 for a three-year-old Chicken McNugget resembling George Washington. Pat Robertson confirmed his support for the legalization of marijuana, suggesting it was something Jesus would have endorsed. “I don’t think he was a teetotaler,” said Robertson. Barack Obama’s one-time Indonesian nanny, Evie, who was born as a boy named Turdi, was found again living as a man in Jakarta, having endured years of discrimination. “Now when people call me scum,” she said, “I can just say, ‘But I was the nanny for the president of the United States!’”
More from Ryann Liebenthal:
Weekly Review — May 19, 2015, 8:00 am
An Amtrak train derails, a Bangladeshi blogger is hacked to death, and an African-American boy who was maced at an anti–police-brutality protest is grateful he wasn’t shot
Weekly Review — February 17, 2015, 8:00 am
A Muslim family is killed over a parking space in North Carolina, Netflix launches in Cuba, and an Indian woman who is 95 percent genetically male gives birth to twins
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
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 tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby 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.”