Weekly Review — June 5, 2001, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Crown Prince Dipendra of Nepal reportedly shot and killed most of the royal family, including his mother, Queen Aiswarya, and his father, King Birendra Bir Birkram Shah Dev (who as king was thought to be an incarnation of Vishnu, the Hindu god). Prince Dipendra then shot himself through the temple; he was crowned king as he lay unconscious in a hospital, and promptly died. Prince Gyanendra, his uncle, ascended to the throne and claimed that the royal deaths were the result of the “accidental firing of an automatic weapon.” Riots ensued. Indonesia continued to disintegrate; parliament voted 365-4 to begin hearings to impeach President Abdurrahman Wadid a few days after the attorney general absolved him of corruption charges; great mobs of his supporters ran amok. President Ange-Flix Patasse of the Central African Republic put down a coup attempt. Idriss Dby was reelected president of Chad and promptly arrested the other six candidates. President George W. Bush frowned and shook hands with Al Gore at a funeral. Alejandro Toledo was elected president of Peru; 13 percent of the voters cast blank ballots, possibly to protest rumors that Toledo once used cocaine in an orgy with five hookers. Senator John McCain, a Republican, spent the weekend with Senator Tom Daschle, a Democrat; rumors of McCain’s imminent defection were denied. Chen Shui-bian, president of Taiwan, visited Texas and received a nice gift from Rep. Tom DeLay: a new pair of eel-skin boots, embossed with the president’s initials as well as the Texas and American flags, intertwined. China’s official news agency reported that 3 million Chinese drink their own urine every day. Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban decreed that foreign women may no longer drive cars because such driving is “against Afghan traditions” and has a “negative impact” on Afghan society. Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people in the Oklahoma City bombing, decided to ask for a stay of execution; his lawyer said that “the most important thing in his life is to help bring integrity to the criminal justice system.” In Israel, a Palestiniansuicide bomber blew himself up on a crowded sidewalk outside a beachside nightclub frequented by teenagers, killing at least 20 and wounding almost 100. Arms, legs, bits of flesh and bone, were scattered all over the sidewalk.

France’sparliament passed a law that permits the government to ban religious groups that it considers “sects,” but backed away from plans to outlaw “mental manipulation.” Colombian police arrested three young women who were accused of smearing a narcotic on their breasts and standing seductively by the roadside until men were induced to stop and lick their breasts, whereupon the men lost their wits and surrendered their wallets and car keys. A beaver attacked a Finnish hiker and sunk its long yellow teeth into the man’s neck. In Austria, a flasher was caught by police after he caught his penis in his zipper and was unable to flee. An Indian man, diagnosed with a hernia after suffering unexplained pains for years, turned out to have a fully developed female reproductive system: fallopian tubes, ovaries, and a uterus. The warden of the Washington, D.C., city jail and three other officers were fired after some children who were touring the jail were strip-searched by prison guards. Billy Barnes, an eight-year-old Canadian boy who was suspended from school for pointing a chicken finger at another child and saying “Bang,” was declared innocent by his local school board.

Nkosi Johnson, a twelve-year-old South African boy, died of AIDS; Nkosi once managed to shame President Thabo Mbeki into walking out of an AIDS conference after he pleaded with the government to give AZT to pregnant mothers, a course of treatment that might have prevented his own infection. Two French scientists said they had detected 35 times the normal amount of arsenic in some of Napoleon’s hair. President Bush’s twin daughters were in trouble with the law after they tried to order drinks at Chuy’s, a restaurant in Austin, Texas; Jenna, the bad twin, even tried to use a fake I.D. A nominee to be an agriculture bureaucrat was in trouble for making an ill-considered remark linking economic success to race. The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service said it would expedite visa applications for a mere $1,000 rush fee. Race riots broke out in Oldham, England; firebombs were thrown, cars were burned. Hugo Chvez, the president of Venezuela, said that he was still considering declaring a state of emergency, which would allow him to rule by decree, in order to fight poverty. New Yorkpolice, acting on a tip, entered an apartment and found a bathtub filled with bloody water and a severed head under the sink; two men were arrested for killing and cutting up the victim with a hacksaw so they could get his apartment. The suspects threw the victim’s hands out the window when police knocked on the door. Swedish biologist Susanne Wiigh-Masak developed a process that quickly recycles a human corpse into roughly 65 pounds of fertilizer. Some brown bears started a wildfire in Alaska. In Canada, a black bear killed a man. The Vatican wheeled out the body of Pope John XXIII, dead since 1963, in a fancy new coffin; he was wearing a lace tunic, a red velvet cape, and an ermine-trimmed hat.

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Ashley arrived for her prenatal appointment at Black Hills Obstetrics and Gynecology, in Rapid City, South Dakota, wearing a black zip-up hoodie and Converse sneakers.1 To explain her absence from work that morning — a Tuesday in April 2015 — she had told a co-worker that she was having “female issues.” She was twenty-five years old and eight weeks pregnant. She had been separated from her husband, with whom she had a five-year-old son, for the better part of a year. The guy who’d gotten her pregnant was someone she’d met at the gym, and he’d made it abundantly clear that he wanted nothing more to do with her. Ashley found herself hoping that the doctor would discover some kind of fetal defect, so that her decision would be easier. She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. “Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.”

In the exam room, she perched on the table with her feet crossed at the ankles, her blond hair brushing the back of her pink hospital gown. “I don’t know what’s available for me here,” she told her doctor, Katherine Degen, who sat facing her on a stool. “I figured nothing.”

 Some names and identifying details have been changed. 

“Big, fat zero, unfortunately,” Degen said, making a 0 with her fingers. The last doctor who provided abortions in Rapid City retired in 1986, three years before Ashley was born.

The baby was due in November, when Ashley, who was a nurse, hoped to be enrolled in a graduate program to become a nurse practitioner. Getting pregnant as a teenager had forced her to put that dream on hold, but she had thought that she was finally ready; she had even submitted her application shortly before the March 15 deadline. For the first time in her adult life, Ashley felt as if her plans were coming together. Then she missed her period.

It would be too difficult to attend school as a single mother of two, Ashley knew. She had made an appointment for three weeks from now at the nearest abortion clinic, in Billings, Montana, 318 miles away. But just a week and a half ago, her husband had said he wanted to get back together and offered to raise the child as his own. Was it a sign that she was meant to continue the pregnancy? As a rule, Ashley approached her problems with resolve. She was capable and tough; she liked shooting guns and lifting weights. She kept track of her stats and checked off her goals as she achieved them one by one. Yet the dilemma before her had shaken her confidence. She leaned back and turned to watch the ultrasound screen. The black-and-white image danced. A sharp, fast thumping emerged from the machine. As Degen removed the wand, Ashley wiped the corner of her eye.

Photograph (detail) by Brian Frank
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A Window To The World·

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Ashley arrived for her prenatal appointment at Black Hills Obstetrics and Gynecology, in Rapid City, South Dakota, wearing a black zip-up hoodie and Converse sneakers.1 To explain her absence from work that morning — a Tuesday in April 2015 — she had told a co-worker that she was having “female issues.” She was twenty-five years old and eight weeks pregnant. She had been separated from her husband, with whom she had a five-year-old son, for the better part of a year. The guy who’d gotten her pregnant was someone she’d met at the gym, and he’d made it abundantly clear that he wanted nothing more to do with her. Ashley found herself hoping that the doctor would discover some kind of fetal defect, so that her decision would be easier. She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. “Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.”

In the exam room, she perched on the table with her feet crossed at the ankles, her blond hair brushing the back of her pink hospital gown. “I don’t know what’s available for me here,” she told her doctor, Katherine Degen, who sat facing her on a stool. “I figured nothing.”

 Some names and identifying details have been changed. 

“Big, fat zero, unfortunately,” Degen said, making a 0 with her fingers. The last doctor who provided abortions in Rapid City retired in 1986, three years before Ashley was born.

The baby was due in November, when Ashley, who was a nurse, hoped to be enrolled in a graduate program to become a nurse practitioner. Getting pregnant as a teenager had forced her to put that dream on hold, but she had thought that she was finally ready; she had even submitted her application shortly before the March 15 deadline. For the first time in her adult life, Ashley felt as if her plans were coming together. Then she missed her period.

It would be too difficult to attend school as a single mother of two, Ashley knew. She had made an appointment for three weeks from now at the nearest abortion clinic, in Billings, Montana, 318 miles away. But just a week and a half ago, her husband had said he wanted to get back together and offered to raise the child as his own. Was it a sign that she was meant to continue the pregnancy? As a rule, Ashley approached her problems with resolve. She was capable and tough; she liked shooting guns and lifting weights. She kept track of her stats and checked off her goals as she achieved them one by one. Yet the dilemma before her had shaken her confidence. She leaned back and turned to watch the ultrasound screen. The black-and-white image danced. A sharp, fast thumping emerged from the machine. As Degen removed the wand, Ashley wiped the corner of her eye.

Artwork by Imre Kinszki © Imre Kinszki Estate
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The Lords of Lambeau·

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Ashley arrived for her prenatal appointment at Black Hills Obstetrics and Gynecology, in Rapid City, South Dakota, wearing a black zip-up hoodie and Converse sneakers.1 To explain her absence from work that morning — a Tuesday in April 2015 — she had told a co-worker that she was having “female issues.” She was twenty-five years old and eight weeks pregnant. She had been separated from her husband, with whom she had a five-year-old son, for the better part of a year. The guy who’d gotten her pregnant was someone she’d met at the gym, and he’d made it abundantly clear that he wanted nothing more to do with her. Ashley found herself hoping that the doctor would discover some kind of fetal defect, so that her decision would be easier. She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. “Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.”

In the exam room, she perched on the table with her feet crossed at the ankles, her blond hair brushing the back of her pink hospital gown. “I don’t know what’s available for me here,” she told her doctor, Katherine Degen, who sat facing her on a stool. “I figured nothing.”

 Some names and identifying details have been changed. 

“Big, fat zero, unfortunately,” Degen said, making a 0 with her fingers. The last doctor who provided abortions in Rapid City retired in 1986, three years before Ashley was born.

The baby was due in November, when Ashley, who was a nurse, hoped to be enrolled in a graduate program to become a nurse practitioner. Getting pregnant as a teenager had forced her to put that dream on hold, but she had thought that she was finally ready; she had even submitted her application shortly before the March 15 deadline. For the first time in her adult life, Ashley felt as if her plans were coming together. Then she missed her period.

It would be too difficult to attend school as a single mother of two, Ashley knew. She had made an appointment for three weeks from now at the nearest abortion clinic, in Billings, Montana, 318 miles away. But just a week and a half ago, her husband had said he wanted to get back together and offered to raise the child as his own. Was it a sign that she was meant to continue the pregnancy? As a rule, Ashley approached her problems with resolve. She was capable and tough; she liked shooting guns and lifting weights. She kept track of her stats and checked off her goals as she achieved them one by one. Yet the dilemma before her had shaken her confidence. She leaned back and turned to watch the ultrasound screen. The black-and-white image danced. A sharp, fast thumping emerged from the machine. As Degen removed the wand, Ashley wiped the corner of her eye.

Photograph (detail) by Balazs Gardi
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"She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. 'Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.'"
Photograph (detail) by Lara Shipley

Price of ten pencils made from “recycled twigs,” from the Nature Company:

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In Colombia, U.N. delegates sent to serve as impartial observers of the peace process aimed at ending the half-century-long war between the FARC and the Colombian government were chastised after they were filmed dancing and getting drunk with FARC fighters at a New Year’s Eve party.

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