Weekly Review — August 7, 2001, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Two hundred couples were selected by an Italian embryologist to take part in a human cloning project; the human clones will be made using a technique similar to that which produced Dolly the sheep. The United States House of Representatives voted to ban human cloning for both reproduction and medical research; the measure also prohibits the sale of treatments derived from such procedures. Some British and Indianscientists claimed that they had positively identified alien bacteria entering Earth’s upper atmosphere from space, which would tend, they said, to confirm the Panspermia theory of life’s origin. Hundreds of pounds of such bacteria, they estimated, are falling to earth every day. An 1859 first edition of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was returned to a Boston public library eighty years after it was due. Divers recovered most of the 190-million-year-old dinosaur footprints that a group of Boy Scouts pried up and threw into a lake. China decided it was time to start screening donated blood for HIV. Many people in Thailand were still drinking their own urine. In Bangkok, a complete set of male genitalia was found inside a garbage can. A single snake, which reportedly can be seen only by women and which disappears after striking, was being blamed for killing seven women in Kano, Nigeria. The American Bar Association was thinking about revising its ethics rules so that lawyers would no longer be bound to keep their clients’ secrets but would be permitted to have sex with them. Canada’s very cool medicalmarijuanalaw went into effect.

First Lady Laura Bush went on CNN and scolded the news media for violating the privacy of her twin 19-year-old daughters, who have repeatedly made the news for violating liquor laws. Mrs. Bush also denied that she smokes cigarettes. President Bush told the National Urban League that education is important. “An equal society,” he said, “begins with an equally excellent schools.” Chris Morris, a British comic, tricked several politicians and celebrities into saying absurd things on television about the Internet and pedophilia. “Using an area of the Internet the size of Ireland,” a Labour member of parliament said, “pedophiles can make your keyboard release toxic vapors that can make you more suggestible.” North Carolina’s governor said he would sign a bill outlawing the execution of retarded people. Al Goregrew a beard.Prince Charles was knocked out when he fell off a horse while playing polo. Vice President Dick Cheney was still refusing demands by the General Accounting Office to turn over records concerning the White House energy plan. Cheney’s aide, Mary Matalin, formerly a television personality, said the energy task force had nothing to hide but would continue to hide it anyway. Texas began deregulating its market in electricity; prices immediately shot from $45 per megawatt hour to $1,000. A couple in New York was trying to sell naming rights to their newborn baby boy to a corporation for $500,000.

The Southern AfricaCatholic Bishops Conference condemned the use of condoms to prevent AIDS because using rubbers is sinful and dangerous. Weavers in India were using condoms to speed up the process of weaving silk saris: “It is the fine quality lubricant on the condom,” said one weaver, “that does the wonder trick of speeding up the spin of the bobbin while preventing frequent snapping of the yarn.” Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s anti-cockfighting bill was approved. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani of New York announced a crackdown on the improper honking of horns. Palestinian worshipers hurled their shoes at Israelipolice outside Al Aksa mosque on the Temple Mount; others threw stones at Jews worshipping at the Western Wall. An Israelideath squad assassinated two Hamas leaders along with six others, including two young boys (seven-year-old Bilal Abu Khader and his five-year-old brother, Ashraf) who happened to be walking by when the missiles exploded. “Today is a day of one of our most important successes,” said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. In Yugoslavia, Serbs were still digging up mass graves. In Valhalla, New York, a six-year-old boy died after a metal oxygen tank that was accidentally left in the room during an MRI test became magnetized and hurtled through the air at 30 feet per second, crushing his skull. After two weeks of flying lessons, a Pizza Hut employee took off in an airplane from the Florida Keys on his first solo flight and ended up in Cuba, where he suffered a “hard landing” and was hospitalized. Germanbeer consumption was down to 1.4 billion gallons during the first half of this year. Water consumption was up, however, which probably upset executives at Coca-Cola. The coordinator of a New Mexico drunk-driving prevention program was arrested for driving drunk as she left a drunk-driving awareness picnic. Wildfires were burning in Wyoming. A family of dwarves won 11 medals in the World Dwarf Games. Nigeria announced a new $100 million space program. The general in charge of the United States Air Force said that he favored “weaponizing” space. Thousands of corn husks fell from the sky in Kansas.

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He made them groom and feed the half-dozen horses used to transport the raw bricks to the furnace. Like the horses, the children were beaten with whips.
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The new docudrama The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX) isn’t really about Orenthal James Simpson. It’s about the trials that ran alongside his — those informal, unboundaried, court-of-public-opinion trials in which evidence was heard for and against the murder victims, the defense and the prosecution, the judge, the jury, and the Los Angeles Police Department, to say nothing of white and black America. History has freed us from suspense about Simpson’s verdict, so that the man himself (played here by Cuba Gooding Jr.) is less the tragic hero he seemed in the mid-Nineties than a curiously minor character. He comes to the center of our attention only once, in Episode 2, at the end of the lengthy Ford Bronco chase scene — which in real life was followed by a surreal cavalcade of police cars and media helicopters, as well as an estimated 95 million live viewers — when Simpson repeatedly, and with apparent sincerity, apologizes for taking up so much of so many people’s time. It is an uncannily ordinary moment of social decorum, a sort of could-you-please-pass-the-salt gesture on a sinking Titanic, in which Simpson briefly becomes more than just an archetype.

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