Tuesday, July 20, 2004


The United Nations continued to issue warnings about the
ongoing genocide in Sudan, where Arab militias, known as
Janjaweed, have been slaughtering and raping black farmers
in Darfur; more than one million people have fled their
homes and hundreds of thousands of refugees could soon die
of cholera and other diseases. A court in southern Darfur
sentenced ten Janjaweed fighters to have their left hands
and right feet amputated; the Sudanese ambassador in London
denied that his government was supporting the militias.
Yasir Arafat rejected the resignation of Prime Minister
Ahmed Qureia, and the Palestinian National Security Council
declared a state of emergency after militants seized several
security officials and four French charity workers. The Al
Aqsa Martyrs Brigades assassinated an Israeli judge. A Sunni
cleric in Ramadi declared a holy war on American forces.
Iraqi militants killed the governor of Mosul in an ambush,
and Iraq's justice minister narrowly escaped when a suicide
car bomber attacked a convoy in Baghdad. An audit of the
Coalition Provisional Authority found that American
officials did not know how much oil Iraq was producing or
how oil revenues were being spent, and Philippine forces
were withdrawn from the country in response to the
kidnapping of a truck driver. The Bush Administration was
not pleased. Mike Ditka, the former coach of the Chicago
Bears football team, said that he might make a run for the
Senate, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California
called his Democratic opponents "girlie men."

The United Nations estimated that southern Africa will have
50 million AIDS orphans by 2010, and the World Bank reported
that only 700,000 orphans receive support from AIDS
resources. Mexico's attorney general was implanted with
computer chips that broadcast his location and his identity;
security experts said that publicly revealing the existence
of the location chip was unwise, since kidnappers could
simply remove the chip. Canadian patients were complaining
about the quality of government-grown pot. Charges were
dismissed against a Texas woman who holds "Tupperware-type"
parties for housewives interested in buying dildos. Martha
Stewart was sentenced to five months in prison, and
Condoleezza Rice said that there was no plan to cancel the
November presidential elections. Graduate students at the
University of North Carolina discovered that 75 percent of
the fish sold as red snapper was some other kind of fish. A
first draft of the dog genome was released. Senator John
Kerry promised to double the number of American spies.

The Los Alamos National Laboratory suspended all classified
research after it was discovered that two computer disks had
been lost. The inspector general of the USDA said that the
agency's mad-cow surveillance system is weak, that the
testing is not random, that it fails to require rendering
plants to participate, and that it is based on flawed,
unscientific assumptions. A runaway cement truck killed 17
guests at a wedding party in Java, Indonesia. Researchers
found that east Asians are not naturally nearsighted. A
large survey by the British Ministry of Health of male Gulf
War veterans found that they suffer significant fertility
problems. A mule reportedly gave birth in Bhutan. The Senate
killed a proposal for a constitutional amendment banning gay
marriage, and Boston Scientific Corporation recalled 85,000
drug-coated heart stents. Public-health experts said that 40
percent of the residents of Los Angeles County get no more
than 10 minutes of exercise per week. Researchers in
Montreal found that people who go blind as infants have
better pitch than sighted people. Pacific Gas & Electric
revealed that it lost three segments of a used nuclear fuel
rod. Britain's Science Museum was thinking about using
visitors' excrement to cut down on its electricity bills. A
study found that children who watch two hours of TV a night
risk becoming fat smokers with high cholesterol. Some drug
companies were thinking about banning people who respond to
placebos from clinical trials. A plague of locusts was
massing in Africa. Scientists said that they could estimate
how many years a woman has left before the onset of
menopause by using a technique called transvaginal
sonography. In Florida, a man was accused of beating his
girlfriend with a pet alligator. A British man was jailed
for shooting off his testicles.

--Roger D. Hodge

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