Just recent news items

In a furtive ceremony held two days ahead of schedule in order to pre-empt violence, the United States transferred “sovereignty” to Iraq. About 140,000 American troops remained in the country, with no mechanism in place between the two countries to govern the troops, and 150 Americans stayed on in Iraqi ministries as advisers. [New York Times] Of the 2,300 construction projects promised by coalition forces, fewer than 140 were underway at the time of the transfer of power. Observing that “a state of war is not a blank check for the president,” the Supreme Court ruled that both foreign prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay and so-called enemy combatants held in the United States can use the American legal system to challenge their detention. Four American soldiers were charged with fatally pushing an Iraqi off a bridge in January for breaking a curfew. President Bush’s approval rating fell to its lowest point, 42 percent. [New York Times]

More than 2,100 Florida residents were found to be wrongly included on a list of ineligible voters. [Miami Herald] Nine members of the House of Representatives asked the United Nations to monitor the November elections.

The FDA approved the use of blood-sucking leeches for medicinal purposes.

A good source of anti-coagulants, or so I’ve heard

The Cassini spacecraft orbited Saturn and transmitted the first pictures of the icy rings circling the planet, and [New York Times] the Hubble Space Telescope discovered a hundred new planets orbiting stars in the Milky Way. [BBC]

Jeez I remember not so long ago we didn’t have any proof of other planets.

Experts warned that witches’ broom disease and frosty pod disease could devastate chocolate supplies in coming years

The only words in that sentence that made sense to me were ‘chocolate’ and ‘years’

Female rice farmers in Nepal were plowing their fields in the nude to please the rain god. [Associated Press]

Well, I’m off – I’ve got a rain god outfit to start sewing, but fast!