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Volume 16, Issue 2: Cretan Times

U.S. Troop Needs Force Boy Scouts to Iraq

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday ordered about 10,000 active-duty Boy Scouts of America to prepare to ship out to Iraq in the next few months. The decision acknowledges Iraq is much more unstable and dangerous than U.S. generals had hoped earlier this year, when they planned to cut the number of troops occupying Iraq to about 115,000.

"At this point, Boy Scouts of advancement rank Tenderfoot and Second Class are exempt from service in Iraq because it's still difficult for them to carry large weapons," Rumsfeld said. "Scouts First Class and up will be eligible for the Desert Warfare merit badge which has a
Chief Scout Executive, Roy L. Williams addressed an audience of concerned Scout parents on Wednesday. He explained the Iraq call-up waspart of the BSA's Good Turn for America program. "A Scout's oath is binding, and your sons vowed `On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country.' Scouting's oath to America has always been to serve other people at all times, and now is the time for responsible fun and adventure."
The Scouts will help replace 20,000 U.S. troops being kept in Iraq for as long as three months past their one-year tours of duty. Rumsfeld declined to comment where the difference would be made up, noting that he would be holding a press conference Friday at the New York office of the Girls Scouts of America.
Rumsfeld explained that the Scouts need to leave as soon as possible so they will not miss too much school come fall.


Fed Chairman Loses Short Term

Interest RateWASHINGTON, D.C.—Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, appearing before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, noted the unusually low short-term interest rate has been "apparently misplaced." Greenspan explained he was sure he had the rate in his briefcase that morning at the coffeeshop where he is a regular.

In an exchange with Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., Greenspan said that the rate "tends to hover at floor level but must rise at some point
While many market analysts are confident the Fed will find the rate by summer, Greenspan was careful to leave himself and his central bank colleagues room for failure. Sen. Sarbanes raised the specter of the interest rate being picked up by some foreign government or teenager. Greenspan rifled through his brief case one more time. "I swear it was just here," he said.
"The rate is obviously going to show up sooner or later, but there is a lot of flexibility," said Sung Won Sohn, chief economist at Wells Fargo. Greenspan's news sent stock and bond prices tumbling Tuesday with comments that presumed a coming period of a missing interest rate.
The Fed's rate-setting Open Market Committee next meets in July, and while no discovery of the interest rate is expected, the central bank almost certainly will change its statement to reflect the loss. Greenspan promised to check the table by his bed.


9/11 Commission Blames Itself for 9/11

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Following four days of closed door deliberations, the National 9/11 Commission issued a statement Monday, concluding that if it had existed, the terrorist attack could have been avoided easily. "Just look at our commission's title," said commission chair Thomas Kean. "Knowing that date before the attack would have focused our investigation greatly."

The 10 bipartisan commissioners have attempted to elicit answers from the panel of former senior Clinton and current Bush administration officials regarding what the United States did to counter al-Qaida before the 9/11 attacks. "Our interviews have given us such a clear picture of the pre-attack situation that we alone could have avoided the attacks," said vice chair Lee Hamilton. "We bear a heavy responsibility for that, and we apologize to
After interviewing Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Richard Clarke, George Tenet, and others, the commission statement concludes, "Those poor people knew nothing. We wasted too much time on subjunctives, even though subjunctives are supposed to sidestep time."
The commission has closed its work and determined to spend its time investigating the next major terrorist attack. "We will be changing our commission name to a future date so as to be much more effective in fighting terrorism. We're all future tense this time around," said Kean. "Yeah, this time," said Hamilton. President Bush was pleased with the report but expressed quiet confusion.


Athens Officials Admit Olympic Hosting was Prank

ATHENS, GREECE—With none of the major Olympic construction completed and only months away from the start of the games, chief Athens Olympic organizer Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskaki announced at a Friday press conference, "Greeks are very funny people. We love practical jokes. And this time we tricked the whole world."

Angelopoulos-Daskaki strongly denied reports suggesting that constant napping by Greek construction workers was to blame. "No, I told you. It's a Trojan horse thing," she said. "Like surprise! No Olympics." She explained that afternoon napping was a scheduled part of the prank, as well as being a long Greek tradition.
The International Olympic Committee was quick to reply. Executive Director, Gilbert Felli said, "I just don't find that sort of joke funny. Bananas are funny. Monkeys with eye patches are funny. But pretending to host the XXVIII Olympiad 2004 is just tacky."
The Athens Organizing committee issued a public statement in which it called on the IOC to "lighten up." The statement suggests that "some country like Germany or Switzerland would be real handy with engineering" and should be ready by August.
When asked whether Athens could use existing football stadiums and pools to help resolve the crisis, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis explained, "We're actually very busy this summer. Anyway, Athens isn't really an Olympic sort of city.
The IOC is scrambling to find an alternate location. Felli concedes that the White House has been pressuring him to hold the games in Baghdad. Felli said, "There are plenty of newly opened spaces. And President Bush thinks it would be good for Baghdad morale."
The Athens Olympic Team committee announced it would boycott the games if held in Iraq. "The games don't need to leave Europe," Angelopoulos-Daskaki urged. "Just postpone the games for a few months or blend them with the Winter games in Turin 2006."
When asked about the half-finished facilities, Mayor Dora Bakoyannis explained that they would be left as is as a testimony to Greek humor. "Athens is famous for its ruins. We are good at that and happy to have them."


California Wildfires Caused by American Obesity

LOS ANGELES—Southern California's first wildfires of the season burned homes and brushland, forcing thousands of people to evacuate on Tuesday. Authorities blame the fires on the current drought and the obesity epidemic.

"People drink too many giant sodas, and that drains moisture from the atmosphere," said Claude Coleman, a regional health consultant for the U.S. government. "The fire hit an area known for its fast-food wrappers. Those things light up like Detroit on Halloween."
Others disagree. "The obesity-fire connection is much more dangerous than Big Gulps," said Forestry Department engineer Rick Greggs. "American weight pressure across the continent is forcing magma gases to the surface." Authorities conceded that three of the six fires showed evidence of magma squeeze.
For the past two decades, Americans have gained two pounds a year, every year, between the ages of 20 and 60. "This continent is about to pop its buttons," warned Greggs. Jack Pi-Sunyar, director of the Obesity Research Center concurs and has begun the nationwide campaign, "Relieve the Magma." Pi-Sunyar said in an interview, "Fat people threaten our forests and scrub brush. I'm afraid Minnesota will one day be one giant sinkhole."
Forestry officials across the nation are working on plans to solve both problems. "Put obese people on the front fire lines," said San Bernardino Fire Marshall Ben Jansen. "Our firemen generally lose between ten and twenty pounds a fire season. And they're mighty handsome by the end."


Kobe Bryant Demands Taller Jury

DENVER—In motions released Monday, Kobe Bryant's lawyers asked the judge to be prepared to supply a jury of Bryant's peers in the six-foot-five to seven foot range. Bryant is six-foot-seven.

"How else can Mr. Bryant expect a fair trial?" said Bryant attorney Pamela Mackey. "Short jurors have the natural tendency to view extra-talls as monsters. Fairness demands jurors who share Mr. Bryant's perspective and horizon."
Judge Terry Ruckriegel rejected the attorneys' motion that jurors weigh around 210 pounds and earn approximately 13 million dollars a year.
Sources reveal the judge has inquired whether the Denver Nuggets basketball team would be free since they could not overcome a twenty-six point deficit in game 5. Their highest salary, though, is Marcus Camby's at 8 million.

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