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Imprisoned Chinese lawyer and human rights activist Chen Guangcheng escaped house arrest in Shandong Province and fled to Beijing, where he was reportedly being harbored at the American Embassy on the eve of an official visit by secretary of state Hillary Clinton. Chen, who is known for exposing forced abortions and sterilizations in rural China, had remained in bed for weeks in order to convince guards of his frailty, then scaled the wall surrounding his home in Dongshigu. “He’s blind,” said dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, “so the night to him is nothing.” Several of Chen’s accomplices, including a woman who drove him the 300 miles to the capital, have since disappeared. “It’s hard to call this a victory if everyone involved in his escape ends up detained, arrested and imprisoned,” said a researcher from Human Rights Watch. Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, was convicted by an international tribunal in The Hague of aiding and abetting crimes against humanity—including murder, sexual enslavement, and the conscription of child soldiers—in conjunction with his support for the rebel Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone. “He once told Sierra Leoneans that we are going to taste the bitterness of war, so Charles Taylor should taste the bitterness of the law,” said one survivor of an RUF campaign. “They could jail him for 100 years,” said another, “and it wouldn’t make a difference.” Pakistan deported Osama bin Laden’s three widows and 11 of his children and grandchildren to Saudi Arabia, the United States agreed to transfer 9,000 Marines out of Okinawa, and Mitt Romney won five more Republican primaries, leaving him 297 delegates shy of the total he needs to win the party’s presidential nomination. “I can say with confidence and gratitude,” said Romney in New Hampshire, “that you have given me a great honor and solemn responsibility.”
Tens of thousands of people gathered in Oslo’s Youngstorget Square to heckle Anders Behring Breivik by singing “Children of the Rainbow,” a Norwegian translation of Pete Seeger’s “Rainbow Race,” which Breivik had cited as an example of cultural Marxism in recent court testimony about the massacre he carried out last summer on Utøya Island. The Supreme Command of the North Korean People’s Army threatened to “reduce all ratlike groups … to ashes in three or four minutes, or in much shorter time”; the Dalai Lama said he loved George W. Bush as a human being; and Vice President Joe Biden touted President Barack Obama’s robust foreign policy to a crowd of New York University students. “This guy’s got a backbone like a ramrod,” said Biden. “For real. For real.” William Lawlis Pace, a former cemetery custodian who lived for 94 and a half years with a bullet in his head, died at the age of 103, and officials in Old Lyme, Connecticut, hunted a goose with an arrow through its cheek. Officials in New York cracked down on stagnant birdbath water and the illegal trade in black-bear gallbladders. “We have some people come in to buy 20 galls or more, and obviously they’re a dealer,” said an upstate taxidermist. “We also have Ma and Pa come up, and they’ll buy two galls. That’s obviously for their own consumption.” A fishery commissioner in Michigan mailed two pounds of frozen Lake Huron lamprey to the English city of Gloucester, where, pursuant to medieval tradition, the eel-like parasite will be stewed in vinegar, cinnamon, and its own blood, baked into an ornately decorated tall crust, and presented to Queen Elizabeth II in honor of her Diamond Jubilee. Conservationists pointed out that the lamprey, which is considered invasive in the Great Lakes region, is a protected species in Gloucester’s River Severn. “It would be like us making a pie,” said the Michigan commissioner, “out of piping plover.”
Scientists determined that zebrafish are more sociable when given mescaline, that male spotted bowerbirds who groom their bush tomatoes have more sex, and that pig mucus can be used to enhance the antiviral properties of commercial genital lubricants. The National Endowment for the Arts earmarked $40,000 for the development of a video game based on Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, an Idaho man was arrested for turning an assault rifle on his neighbor and demanding that he moonwalk, and officials in Kyrgyzstan snuffed the country’s Eternal Flame because of an unpaid gas bill. Astrophysicists found that slow-moving giant snowballs punch glittering holes through Saturn’s outermost ring, and that the Sombrero Galaxy has both a disk and a bulge. Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who is serving 14 years in federal prison, was nearing the end of a three-month stint washing dishes, after which he expected to teach other inmates about literature or Greek mythology. “He knows a great deal about Shakespeare,” said one of Blagojevich’s friends. Donald Trump flew to Scotland to testify against the construction of an offshore wind farm. “I’m an expert in tourism. I have won many, many awards,” said Trump. “You’re a liar!” shouted a protester. “You destroy people’s lives in Aberdeenshire!” Investigators in the Scottish village of Heck determined that an otter was likely responsible for a rash of koi thefts, and British designers lamented the rising popularity of high-end fashion that is marketed to kids but poorly suited to their bodies. “Children have big tummies,” said one clothier, “and stand in funny ways.” 
More from Anthony Lydgate:
Weekly Review — April 8, 2014, 8:00 am
Afghanistan votes, the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of wealthy political donors, and China standardizes its pets
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average duration of a Japanese prime minister’s tenure since August 1993, in months:
Brain shrinkage has no effect on cognition.
An Indianapolis fertility doctor was accused of using his own sperm to artificially inseminate patients, and a Delaware man pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing his former psychiatrist.
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“Matt 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. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”