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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:
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Number of people stopped and frisked by the NYPD in 2011 for “furtive movements”:
The faces of Lego people were growing angrier.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature