Weekly Review — September 24, 2002, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

President George W. Bush challenged the United Nations to prove that it is “a force for good and peace” and not “an ineffective debating society”; he said that America must overthrow Saddam Hussein because “it’s time for us to secure the peace”; and he demanded that Congress give him unlimited power to make war. Iraq agreed to readmit United Nations weapons inspectors without conditions, but the White House denounced the offer as a stalling tactic and insisted that inspections would never work anyway. The Pentagon presented the President with detailed invasion plans, and Saudi Arabia agreed to allow American forces to attack Iraq from bases there but only if the United Nations blesses the war. Congressional Democrats explained that they were reluctant to oppose the war with Iraq because of the November election. The six Arab men from Lackawanna, New York, who were accused of being a secret Al Qaeda cell were charged with “providing material support” to terrorists under the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective death Penalty Act, which a federal judge recently declared “unconstitutional on its face.” The government admitted it had no evidence of any specific crime that the men were planning to commit, though prosecutors alluded to “catastrophes of biblical proportion.” Almost 15 million people in southern Africa are in danger of starving, the head of the World Food Program said, and Ethiopia announced that it was running out of food. McDonald’s recalled 100,000 “bobble head dolls” because they contain hazardous amounts of lead. The New England Journal of Medicine published a study concluding that an overly clean household environment can lead to allergies and asthma in children. Rats were said to be overrunning the mansions of Beverly Hills. Guidelines for vaccinating the entire population of the United States for smallpox in five days were sent to state health commissioners. The fourth annual East Coast Bigfoot Conference and Expo was held in Pennsylvania. The World Sheepdog Trials in Bala, Wales, were disrupted by a low-flying military jet. A magpie stole and ate a 73-year-old Dutchman’s artificial toe.

A bomb, apparently set by Jewish terrorists, exploded in a Palestinian elementary school shortly before recess, injuring several children. A suicide bomber killed an Israeli soldier, and another blew up a bus in Tel Aviv, killing five. “I ran outside and saw a heart still moving on the sidewalk,” one witness said. “A few meters away were the lungs.” An Israeli tank killed a 10-year-old Palestinian boy in Ramallah who was playing outside after curfew. Israeli soldiers destroyed all but one building in Yasir Arafat’s compound in the West Bank and put up a barbed-wire fence around the ruins; Arafat refused to leave his building even after the Israelis cut off his water and removed his air conditioners. British and Australian researchers found that suicide rates increase under right-wing governments. Turkey’s government banned the country’s most popular politician from the November election because he was convicted three years ago of reading a poem that was judged to be an incitement to religious hatred. The novelist Michael Houellebecq went on trial in France for saying that Islam is “the most stupid religion.” Christians at New Life Ministries in Loudon, Tennessee, tried to resurrect a 15-year-old girl who died of untreated bone cancer. A white-spotted bamboo shark gave birth to three baby sharks in Detroit even though she hasn’t been near a male shark in six years. Astronomers found evidence of water in the atmospheres of distant planets, and scientists in Switzerland created antimatter antiatoms of cold antihydrogen.

Germany’s justice minister was in hot water for saying that “Bush wants to divert attention from his domestic problems. It’s a classic tactic. It’s one that Hitler also used.” She later denied that she had compared Bush to Hitler but did say that their methods were similar. German chancellor Gerhard Schröder was reelected. France released Maurice Papon, who was imprisoned for deporting Jews to the Nazi death camps, because he is old and sick. The Bush Administration finally agreed to support an independent investigation into the intelligence failures leading up to September 11 after a congressional investigation continued to turn up embarrassing details such as the 1998 warning, ignored by the CIA, that terrorists wanted to fly planes into the World Trade Center. Russia reported that its population had dropped by 505,900 people so far this year. A scientist from the City of Hope in California created genetically engineered flies that turn gay when it gets hot. A federal appeals court said that the military can prohibit the sale of pornography on military bases. The Pentagon revealed that 800 American soldiers are stationed in east Africa. A translation of recently discovered Mayan carvings telling the story of a catastrophic war between two great powers was completed. Sonia Gandhi visited Kashmir wearing a bullet-proof vest. Moyer Packing, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, recalled 203,600 pounds of beef tainted with E. coli bacteria that was sold throughout the northeastern United States. Hundreds of people, mostly schoolchildren, were sickened and dozens died in Tangshan, China, from eating food from a snack-bar that had been laced with rat poison by a competitor. It was reported that many U.S. airports are not using their expensive new baggage-screening machines because they are inconvenient to operate. Pundits continued to reassure readers that the Constitution of the United States of America is not, in fact, a suicide pact. Researchers at Duke University discovered a gene that gives sheep large beautiful bottoms. Astronomers discovered a new type of black hole.

Share
Single Page

More from Roger D. Hodge:

From the October 2010 issue

Speak, Money

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $34.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

May 2014

50,000 Life Coaches Can’t Be Wrong

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Quinoa Quarrel

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

You Had to Be There

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Study in Sherlock

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
“In Thunupa’s footsteps grew a miraculous plant that could withstand drought, cold, and even salt, and still produce a nutritious grain.”
Photograph by Lisa M. Hamilton
Article
A Study in Sherlock·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“It is central to the pleasure of the Sherlock Holmes stories that they invite play, and that they were never meant to be taken seriously.”
Illustration by Frederic Dorr Steele
Post
My Top 5 Metal Albums and Their Poetic Counterparts·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“1. Death, The Sound of Perseverance (Nuclear Blast, 1998)”
Photograph (detail) by Peter Beste
Article
Found Money·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I have spent my entire adult existence in a recession. Like most people I talk to, I assume the forces that control the market are at best random and at worst rigged. The auction shows only confirm that suspicion.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
Post
The School of Permanent RevoluciĂłn·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The University of Venezuela has provided a consistent counterweight to governmental authority, but it has also reliably produced the elite of whatever group replaced the status quo.”
Photograph © Daniel Lansberg-Rodríguez

Percentage of non-Christian Americans who say they believe in the resurrection of Christ:

52

A newly translated Coptic text alleged Judas’ kiss to have been necessitated by Jesus’ ability to shape-shift.

Russia reportedly dropped a series of math texts from a list of recommended curricular books because its illustrations featured too many non-Russian characters. “Gnomes, Snow White,” said a Russian education expert, “these are representatives of a foreign-language culture.”

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

The Accidental Universe

By

Science’s crisis of faith

Subscribe Today