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No victory like a hollow one. The UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling for a U.S.-led international force in Iraq. Sounds good -- until France, Germany, Russia and Pakistan said they wouldn't contribute anything in terms of money or troops. Despite the unanimous vote for the resolution, UN diplomats remain concerned about the timeline to transfer power back to Iraq and the end of the American occupation. To pass the resolution, the U.S. conceded to a few things. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan now has a larger role in writing a new constitution for Iraq. Also, the resolution (and with it, UN support) will expire upon the installation of a new Iraqi government. This is tentatively scheduled for the end of 2004. It remains to be seen if President Bush will be ready to leave by then. He seems to like it over there. Or at least likes putting soldiers there for no discernible reason.




God's T-shirt says: I HATE NY. Ten people died, and dozens were injured when a Staten Island Ferryboat crashed into a pier Wednesday afternoon. The ship's assistant captain, who was piloting the boat, fled the scene and attempted suicide at his home in Staten Island. He called 911 after slitting his wrists and shooting himself in the head with a pellet gun. He remains hospitalized. Authorities are investigating the possibility that the pilot blacked out and fell onto the throttle. The ferry, which carries commuters from Staten Island to Manhattan, is also popular with tourists. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident, but said a final report could take up to a year to complete.




Orbiting the earth is so 40 years ago. China joined the mid-20th Century this week by successfully launching its first manned aircraft into space. Astronaut Yang Liwei spent 21 hours in orbit before Shenzou Five landed safely in Inner Mongolia, which is apparently a real place. The head of China's manned space program called Liwei a "space hero," clearly cooler than a gravity-bound Earth hero. China's astro-agenda consists of spacewalks, docking two spacecraft and the long-term development of a space lab. China's neighbors are concerned about the implications of its space capabilities, as its program is military in nature. The Bush Administration publicly praised China's achievements, but some officials see China's launch as another step towards superpowerdom.




It's not just for uppity Mac users anymore. Apple Inc. released iTunes for Windows on Thursday, opening the doors for those outside the geek/nerd contingent. Songs purchased from the iTunes store cost 99 cents to download and can be stored on an iPod or similar device, or burned onto a CD. iTunes is legal because Apple struck a deal with all five major record labels, bringing downloaded music out of the closeted college dormitory and into the less cramped legal mainstream. After iTunes' initial success six months ago, several imitators offered a similar service to Windows users, so it remains to be seen if Windows people will turn to Apple. The Black Table continues to sneer at Apple for no good reason, considering the company offers far superior products and consistently alters the technological landscape.




Everyone will just pretend they watched it. Showtime is producing a TV movie about disgraced New York Times reporter Jayson Blair. The script will be based largely on articles by Newsweek reporter Seth Mnookin. (Mnookin took a leave of absence to write a book about Blair's collapse.) The Black Table plans to watch while snacking on a big bowl of schadenfreude.



Aileen Gallagher, author of three children's books, (and another one, about muckraking, on the way!) writes Weekly Rundown every Friday.