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The Continuing Crisis

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Widower Charlie Bonn Kemp, 77, of Vero Beach, Fla., took especially hard the loss of his wife, Lee, in 2006 because she was unquestionably the love of his life even though the couple stopped having sex even before they got married in 1978, according to a June St. Petersburg Times profile. Lee had been Charlie's gay lover for 26 years, until revealing in 1978 that he could no longer resist the urge to become a woman, and especially a housewife. Such was their attachment that, following Lee's full sex change, she and Charlie decided to take advantage of Lee's new status and legally marry and continue their devotion, even though Charlie remained sexually attracted only to men.

Kenya, in addition to the usual problems of a developing African nation (poverty, tribal frictions), has recently endured the rise in power of the Mungiki, which is a secret society that is (according to a June New York Times dispatch) "part Sicilian Mafia, part Chicago street gang, with a little of the occult sprinkled in." Police say the members aim to destabilize the country in the midst of the current political campaign by devil-worshipping acts of violence (skinning heads, drinking human blood from jerrycans). A district commissioner in Nairobi said the Mungiki had threatened her with genital mutilation. The gang originated in the 1990s much as organized crime in the U.S. did, by taking over such urban enterprises as bus transit and garbage collection.

Latest in Brain Science: French neurologists writing recently in the journal The Lancet described their surprise in finding, via brain scans, that a normally functioning 44-year-old man had a brain "more than 50 percent to 75 percent" smaller than average, consisting of little more than a thin sheet of brain material surrounding a large fluid buildup. (The man is employed as a French government bureaucrat.)

Researchers at the University of Calgary said in July that female mice in their study were not only sexually aroused by whiffs of male mouse pheromones but that the scent apparently made the females' brains grow larger.

Northbrook, Ill., husband Arthur Friedman persuaded his wife that after 10 years' marriage, they should become mate-swapping swingers, which he thought would enhance their relationship. His wife, reluctant at first, began to participate and eventually fell in love with another swinging husband, an event that precipitated the Friedmans' breakup, reported the Chicago Sun-Times. Friedman, with an inadequate appreciation of irony, sued the husband under Illinois' alienation-of-affection law, and in June, a jury actually found in his favor, for $4,802.87. However, the soon-to-be-divorced Mrs. Friedman said she felt humiliated by the implication that she had been "worth" just $480 a year.

Lithuania's Ombudsman for Children, visiting Ireland in June to investigate complaints of mistreatment of her countrymen, told reporters that many of the estimated 30,000 Lithuanian children in Irish Republic schools felt unsafe and that violence was common. In one Irish town, she said, "Lithuanian children are beaten only because they are more beautiful than Irish ones," and in general, she said, Lithuanians are disliked because we dress well instead of looking the part of poor immigrants.

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