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The Buzz

Need-to-know news

Issue: "News of the Year," Jan. 2, 2010

"Evil does exist in the world. War is sometimes necessary."

-President Barack Obama upon accepting the Nobel Peace Prize Dec. 10.

"This is the harshest sentence against house-church believers in nearly a decade."

-China Aid president Bob Fu, after 36-year-old Uyghur house-church leader Alimujiang Yimiti was sentenced to 15 years in prison by Chinese officials for "suspicion of instigating separatism and providing national secrets or intelligence to overseas organizations or individuals."

"Funny, he wants to put the burden on me to stand up and be a man, but what kind of man attacks a man in a neck brace?"

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-Youth league soccer coach Chris Hester, who got into a fight with former Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss. Hester, who had neck surgery two weeks prior to the incident, coached a team of 10- to 11-year-olds that lost to the team of Pickering's son. Accounts of what happened differ, but both men face misdemeanor assault charges.

"'Dawood?' one guard shouted, saying my name in Arabic. 'Dawood?' 'I'm O.K.,' I replied in Pashto. 'I'm O.K.'"

-New York Times reporter David Rohde, recalling an exchange with his Taliban guards when two deafening explosions, which turned out to be ­missiles fired by a U.S. drone, struck the village where he was held captive. Rohde escaped in June seven months after his kidnapping, and the information he has provided about Taliban and al-Qaeda fear of drone attack in part spurred the Obama administration to step up the program.

"First and foremost I'd like to thank God. I am so blessed and without Him I wouldn't have been able to accomplish this."

-Alabama running back Mark Ingram in an emotional acceptance speech after winning the Heisman Trophy, the first ever for Alabama.

"The most important and spectacular of its kind in this century."

-Li Ding, director of the Bureau of Basic Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, on the solar eclipse that began in China July 22 and lasted more than two hours-what scientists estimate was the longest total solar eclipse in 2,000 years.


-Director of Bryan (Texas) Planned Parenthood clinic Abby Johnson, describing what she saw during the dilation and evacuation abortion of a 13-week-old unborn baby. "I saw a full profile of the baby from head to foot," she told WORLD, and in an instant it was gone. Johnson had worked eight years for Planned Parenthood but had never seen an abortion via ultrasound. She resigned Oct. 6: "I just thought, 'I can't do this anymore.'"

"A crime is a crime."

-Actress Emma Thompson, who removed her name from a petition signed by Hollywood stars calling for the release of director Roman Polanski. Outspoken against sex trafficking, Thompson agreed to end her public support of Polanski after she was confronted by Exeter University student Caitlin Hayward-Tapp, 19. Polanski, 76, was arrested in September in Switzerland for the 1977 rape of a 13-year-old in Los Angeles and in December was consigned to house arrest at his home in Zurich.

"It's unclear to me how this figure was arrived at . . . I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this."

-Wieslaw Maslowski, research associate professor in the Department of Oceanography at the Naval Postgraduate School, responding to a statement by former Vice President Al Gore at the UN summit on climate change. Gore said that "fresh" estimates by Maslowski indicated "that there is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years."

"Significant icing on the windshield"

-Voice recording from the cockpit of Continental Connection Flight 3407, which crashed Feb. 12 en route from Newark to Buffalo, killing all 50 people on board. It was the first fatal crash of a commercial airliner in the United States since 2006.

Your tax $$$

An analysis on Dec. 11 by USA Today shows that at least one sector of the job market has been thriving during the past 18 months-the one your tax dollars pay for.

The paper analyzed the 2 million federal workers tracked by the database of the Office of Personnel Management, which excludes the White House, Congress, the postal service, intelligence agencies, and uniformed military personnel. Its findings: 19 percent of federal workers make more than $100,000 per year (before overtime and bonuses), compared to 14 percent when the recession began. The average federal worker's pay is now $71,206, much higher than the average private sector worker's pay of $40,331. "There's no way to justify this to the American people," Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told the paper. "It's ridiculous."


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