Weekly Review — December 25, 2001, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

India recalled its ambassador to Pakistan and threatened to go to war if Pakistan did not stop sponsoring terrorist groups such as Jaish-e-Muhammad, which attacked India’s parliament building last week. Pakistan denied involvement in the attack, but a captured member of the group admitted that the Pakistani Army donated the weapons and that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency provided logistical support. Hamid Karzai, a Pashtun militia chief, was sworn in as the interim leader of Afghanistan. “Let us be good to each other,” he said. “And be compassionate and share our grief. Let us forget the sad past.” American warplanes attacked a convoy of trucks that reportedly was carrying Afghan tribal elders to Karzai’s inauguration; 65 people were killed. There was a coup attempt in Haiti, and Argentina’s president resigned. Santa Claus shot a woman in the face in Săo Paulo, Brazil, and two car bombs exploded outside police headquarters in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Passengers subdued a large man who bit an American Airlines stewardess on a flight from Paris to Miami when she tried to stop him from igniting his shoe, which contained a makeshift bomb made from C-4 plastic explosive. Israel’s army said it would reprimand several soldiers who recently set a booby trap at Khan Yunis in Gaza; the bomb, in what was termed an “operational mishap,” blew up and killed five young boys, all cousins, as they walked to school. Rear Admiral John D. Stufflebeem said that looking for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan was like “searching for fleas on a dog.”

Tyson Foods, America’s largest meat processor, was indicted for conspiring to smuggle Mexicans into the country to work in its plants. Former president Bill Clinton was worried that his legacy, particularly his “centrist” policies on education, crime, health care, and welfare, was receiving insufficient recognition. Homelessness was at record levels in many cities; experts pointed to a convergence of causes, which included the recession and mandatory expiration of welfare benefits. The World Bank said that rebuilding Afghanistan would cost $10 billion; the Bush Administration said that somebody else would have to pay that bill. The murder rate was up in most big American cities. A butcher in Dresden, Germany, confessed to killing and cutting up his girlfriend, who was found in small pieces scattered around town. Israeli officials decided not to let Yasir Arafat attend Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem. Sixty thousand Germans spent the night in a 90-mile traffic jam; roughly the same number of adult Hong Kong residents wet their beds because of job troubles.

It was revealed that a Minnesota flight instructor repeatedly called the F.B.I. last summer to warn that Zacarias Moussaoui, the first person indicted in the September 11 investigation, might be planning to use a 747 loaded with fuel as a bomb. The attorney for John Walker, the young American Talib captured in Afghanistan, demanded without success to see his client, who has been held for over two weeks. “I said that U.S. citizens will not go into military tribunals,” President Bush said when asked about Walker. “And so we’ll make the determination whether or not he stays within the military system or comes through the civil justice system, the same system in America.” Former president George Bush suggested “a unique penalty” for Walker: “Make him leave his hair the way it is and his face as dirty as it is and let him go wandering around this country and see what kind of sympathy he would get.” The Salvation Army said it would fight to stay in Moscow after a city court upheld a ruling that defined the charity as a “paramilitary organization” that was out to destroy the Russian state. The French ambassador to Britain was accused of referring to “that shitty little country Israel” as the main source of the current international security crisis. Bush Administration officials told reporters that they tried as hard as they could to blame Iraq for the recent anthrax attacks but the evidence kept pointing back to America. Saddam Hussein published another novel. The death sentence of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther, was thrown out after twenty years. A police officer in Lima, Peru, accidentally shot off his partner’s penis. Prince Harry of England, accompanied by Tiggy Pettifer, the royal nanny, bought a pair of feathery thong underwear. A Russian man was eaten by a bear. Scientists discovered a new kind of squid. Genetically modified mice were secreting malaria vaccine in their milk.

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I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

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