After almost fifty years as leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro said yesterday that he plans to step down from his post as president. The Cuban Parliament will gather this weekend to pick a successor, with the favorite being his brother Raul Castro. While the response in Cuba was subdued, the news brought great joy to two groups: Miami residents and CIA operatives, who’ve spent decades trying to depose Castro. The assassination attempts might have failed, but their wait-until-the-bastard-dies strategy seems close to paying off.

Can we buy the Cigars yet?

Rating: eight out of 10.

WikI-Wild Wild web

On Friday, a federal judge ordered the shutdown of Wikileaks.org, a website that encouraged users to post documents showing corporate or government wrongdoing. The judge made the decision after someone posted a document showing that the Cayman Islands-based Julius Baer Bank helps customers evade taxes. Wait, really? The ultimate decision in the case will be an important test of First Amendment rights on the Internet, but I wish the leak in question were a little juicier. The site might as well have revealed the shocking fact that fat kids love cake.

Rating: seven out of 10.

Imitating an icon… nude

Actress Lindsay Lohan posed nude for next week’s issue of New York magazine, recreating Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe’s last photo shoot before her death in 1962. Lohan, who has gone to rehab multiple times in the last year after arrests for drunken driving and cocaine possession, seems a suitable surrogate for Monroe, who – Oh, that’s right. I don’t care.

Rating: one out of 10.

Total recall

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recalled 143 million pounds of beef Sunday after an undercover tape from California’s Westland/Hallmark meat company surfaced showing cows being pushed by forklifts or dragged by chains because they were unable to walk. While safety concerns were minimal, government officials decided the failure of the ranchers to report the sick cows justified the recall. Wait, the beef wasn’t tainted? Something’s not quite right. Oh, it must be time for a barbecue at the USDA!

Rating: three out of 10.

Balkans Further balkanized

The disputed region of Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on Sunday, making it the seventh nation sliced jigsaw-style from the boundaries of the former Yugoslavia. Kosovo must now try to gain recognition from the United Nations, which could be a little tricky. With all these little Balkan nations going out and declaring independence all the time, the U.N needs to make sure this isn’t just a ploy for attention.

Rating: four out of 10.

Spring break 08: Africa

Mary Sue Coleman and a delegation of University officials are headed to South Africa and Ghana this week to build ties with African universities and meet with leading figures in African politics and higher education. Coleman’s trip will take a fascinating turn in Ghana when she encounters a group of children wearing hats and shirts that say “Michigan Football: 2006 Rose Bowl Champions.”

Rating: five out of 10.

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