Yearly Archives: 2000

Weekly Review — December 26, 2000, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Bethlehem was empty this Christmas, devoid of lights or trees or public celebrations, having been sealed off by the Israeli army.Jerusalem’sChristian churches endorsed Palestinian demands for sovereignty in East Jerusalem; they condemned Israeli violence against demonstrators and noted that an oppressed people living under a military occupation has the moral right to resist its overlords.The United Nations Security Council rejected Palestine’s request for U.N. peacekeepers; United States Ambassador Richard Holbrooke commented that “this is a resolution that will never be adopted.” The Supreme Court of Zimbabwe ordered President Robert Mugabe to come up with a viable land-reform program, declaring his …

Weekly Review — December 19, 2000, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

An international team of scientists announced that they had finished the first complete genetic sequence of a plant; Arabidopsis thaliana, or thale-cress, is related to cauliflowers and brussels sprouts and previously was a worthless weed.A new study found that marijuana slows the swimming of sperm in a test tube.The United StatesArmy was funding research aimed at allowing humans to hibernate.Experts on a National Toxicology Program panel said that estrogen should be listed as a carcinogen.Switzerland banned the sale of beef on the bone because of mad-cow concerns.Cargill Turkey Products recalled 16.7 million pounds of turkey products after it was linked …

Weekly Review — December 12, 2000, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Pentagon investigators acknowledged that American troops had massacred unarmed Korean civilians near No Gun Ri at the beginning of the Korean War, but claimed there was no evidence of direct orders from superiors to kill the Koreans, which would constitute a war crime.Former Congressman Pete McCloskey, a member of the civilian advisory panel to the investigation, pointed out that in fact one officer and nine enlisted men said they had received such orders.Many countries were trying unsuccessfully to get the United States to join the International Criminal Court; Henry Kissinger and other former U.S. government officials, who perhaps had good …

Weekly Review — December 5, 2000, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Chile’s former dictator General Augusto Pinochet was arrested, in Chile.The terms of the amnesty he negotiated upon his abdication included murder but not kidnapping, and the bodies of nineteen people who were abducted by the “Caravan of death,” a helicopter-borne death squad led by one of Pinochet’s close aides, were never found, world-historical ruthlessness giving rise to world-historical ironyâ??which then devolved into farce when an appeals court suspended the arrest order.Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, his government about to fall, called for an early election.Mary Robinson, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, recommended sending international monitors to the …

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“In Season 5 of Louie (FX), Louie is a new kind of superhero. Like Wonder Woman, the canonical superhero he most resembles, Louie’s distinctive superpower is love.”
Illustration by Demetrios Psillos
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On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.

In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.

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The Prisoner of Sex·

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“It is disappointing that parts of Purity read as though Franzen urgently wanted to telegraph a message to anyone who would defend his fiction from charges of chauvinism: ‘No, you’ve got me wrong. I really am sexist.’”
Illustration by Shonagh Rae
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“In Karachi, sometimes only the thinnest of polite fictions separates the politicians from the men who kill and extort on their behalf.”
Photograph © Asim Rafiqui/NOOR Images
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“Defining 'native' and 'invasive' in an ever-shifting natural world poses some problems. The camel, after all, is native to North America, though it went extinct here 8,000 years ago, while the sacrosanct redwood tree is invasive, having snuck in at some point in the past 65 million years.”
Photograph by Chad Ress

Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:

65

An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.

A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.

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