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Israelis and Palestinians were doing their best to slaughter one another in a vigorous exchange of revenge attacks; Israel’s defense minister ordered security forces to “use everything they have” to destroy Hamas; Hamas responded in kind and released a statement calling on “all military cells to act immediately and act like an earthquake to blow up the Zionist entity and tear it to pieces.”GuardianAriel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, ridiculed Palestinian leaders as “crybabies” and said that Abu Mazen, the new prime minister, was “a chick without feathers.”Independent, GuardianIraqi civilians continued to die in what Lt. Gen. David McKiernan called “a cycle of action, reaction and counter-action”; among those who were killed by mistake was a family of shepherds and a family that was trying to put out fires in their wheat field that were set by American flares.GuardianThe American soldiers looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were running out of places to look. “It doesn’t appear there are any more targets at this time,” said Lt. Col. Keith Harrington. “We’re hanging around with no missions in the foreseeable future.”Washington PostPresident Bush was still “absolutely convinced” that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.New York TimesFrank Luntz, the Republican pollster, said that it doesn’t matter whether WMD are found, “because the rationale for the war changed. Americans like a good picture. And one photograph of an Iraqichild kissing a U.S. soldier is more powerful than two months of debate on the floor of Congress.”Washington PostCBS News sent an interview request to Pfc. Jessica Lynch, the American P.O.W. whose dramatic rescue in Iraq turned out to be largely simulated, that included “ideas” from CBS Entertainment, MTV, and Simon & Schuster; some news critics found the combination of news and entertainment offers “troubling.”New York TimesEgypt banned the new Matrix movie.CBCPresident Bush was photographed falling off a Segway scooter in his parents’ driveway.Reuters
The U.N.Security Council voted to extend by one year the exemption for American peacekeepers who commit war crimes.Associated PressDonald Rumsfeld threatened to move NATO’s headquarters out of Brussels because of Belgium’s law that permits lawsuits for war crimes committed anywhere in the world.Daily TelegraphAn Iraqi shepherd filed a $200 million lawsuit against Donald Rumsfeld for the deaths of 17 family members and 200 sheep.Agence France-PresseIn Pennsylvania, a fifth-grade boy killed himself in a school bathroom after several friends refused to go along with his plans to attack the school with three rifles, two shotguns, and two pistols.Associated PressBritish scientists were developing “smart” airline seats that will detect potential terrorists by measuring airline passengers’ anxiety levels.New ScientistPeople named “David Nelson” were still having a hard time traveling by air because the name appears on the federal antiterrorism “no-fly” list.Associated PressA bomb was found on an Italian airliner.New York TimesPolice in Saudi Arabia said they had prevented a terrorist attack when they raided a booby-trapped apartment in Mecca; five militants and two police officers died in the shootout.NewsdayAn Egyptian woman drowned herself shortly after giving birth to her second daughter because her husband, who has fathered daughters with three different wives, threatened to kill her if she gave him another daughter.Associated PressA Coca-Cola employee was reportedly fired for drinking Pepsi on the job.Reuters
New genetic research on the AIDS virus suggested that its viral parent was produced by the mixing of two monkey viruses that infected chimpanzees about a million years ago.The chimps probably caught the viruses from eating the flesh of monkeys; humans, many scientists believe, first contracted HIV from eating chimps.New ScientistScientists said they had discovered some 160,000-year-old human skulls in Ethiopia.Science DailyConAgra Foods Poultry recalled 129,000 pounds of chicken because it contains glass.Associated PressMaine’s legislature passed a bill guaranteeing universal health coverage to all state residents.New York TimesEvolutionary theorists suggested that early humans lost their hair in order to fight parasites.New ScientistMonkeypox victims were being quarantined and pet prairie dogs were banned, as was the importation of African rodents.Associated PressAn Australian company was planning to harvest tissue from aborted fetuses to be exported for experiments.Daily TelegraphGregory Peck died.Daily TelegraphNASA sent a spaceship to Mars.New ScientistBritain’s honorary astronomer royal estimated the odds of an apocalypse to be 50 percent, up from 20 percent 100 years ago.ReutersA genetically modifiedfish that glows in the dark went on sale in Taiwan.ObserverAsthma patients descended on Hyderabad, India, in order to swallow live fish that were stuffed with an herbal paste.ABC.net.auCannibalism was on the rise in North Korea.Daily Telegraph
More from Roger D. Hodge:
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.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
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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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”