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It's a big world out there, and a funny one, too

Rarely has one year seen as many monumental events as 2011 — Japan's earthquake and tsunami, revolutions sweeping the Arab world, the killing of Osama Bin Laden and the pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq after nearly nine years of war. So here are a few things you might have missed amid all the tumult on the foreign scene:

Quote of the Year

"When asked if they would like to have sex with me, 30 percent of the women said 'yes' while the other 70 percent replied, 'What, again?' ''

Silvio Berlusconi, 75, former Italian prime minister and notorious womanizer.

He's got Sylvio beat

"I once married 10 women in one year.''

Ziona Chana, a 66-year-old man in India with 39 wives and 94 children.

Not the dental care?

"If there's one thing I would like to import from Britain to France, it's the pubs.''

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.

This pub grub bites

A 26-year-old woman had part of her ear bitten off by another woman after trying to break up a pub fight in Greater Manchester, police said.

More cheap imports

Up to 20 million tons of Japanese tsunami debris could arrive on Hawaii's shores by early 2013 and reach the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington in 2014, according to estimates by University of Hawaii scientists.

Such a shiny iron fist

In a glowing profile of Syria's glamorous first lady, Asma Assad, Vogue magazine called Syria "the safest country in the Mideast'' and described the "democratic'' way in which the Assads ran their household. Less than a month later, protests erupted against the authoritarian Assad regime, and more than 5,000 people reportedly have been killed to date.

Quote of the Year II

"This was supposed to be a small family affair.''

Prince William, at his April wedding to Kate Middleton, attended by 1,900 guests and watched by a global TV audience of 300 million.

Figuratively speaking

"We welcome death. Martyrdom is a million times better.''

Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, vowing in June never to surrender to rebel fighters. When caught hiding in a drain pipe in October, Gadhafi unsuccessfully begged for his life.

Alive, but still in Libya

A Libyan terrorist convicted in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet that killed 270 was released by Scottish authorities on humanitarian grounds in 2009 after doctors said he had cancer and would be dead in three months. Almost three years later, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi is still alive.

No givebacks allowed

"I think I swapped Sylvester Stallone's mother for David Beckham.''

Former News of the World reporter Paul McMullan telling an inquiry into Britain's hacking scandal how reporters traded celebrities' phone numbers.

In sickness and in...

"Get on, imbecile. All my life I've had to put up with your screw-ups.''

The wife of deposed Tunisian dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali as he hesitated to board a plane to exile.

Details, details

Match the GOP presidential candidate with the foreign policy gaffe. (Answers below)

1. Former Godfather's Pizza executive Herman Cain

2. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann

3. Texas Gov. Rick Perry

A. Reacting to Britain's plan to close its embassy in Iran, "That's exactly what I would do. We wouldn't have an embassy in Iran.''

B. "Juarez is reported to be the most dangerous city in America.''

C. "When they ask me who is president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki stan-stan, I'm going to say, 'You know, I don't know. Do you know?'

Answers: 1-C, 2-A, 3-B

It's a big world out there, and a funny one, too 12/30/11 [Last modified: Friday, December 30, 2011 8:03pm]

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