Weekly Review — October 14, 2003, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Israel raided the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip and left 1,240 Palestinians homeless after demolishing up to 120 houses; Israeli officials said they had destroyed three tunnels used to smuggle weapons from Egypt. Eight Palestinians were killed in the operation, including two children.Associated PressAhmed Qurei, the new Palestinian prime minister, threatened to resign after Yasir Arafat refused to give him control over the Palestinian security forces.New York TimesTensions were beginning to surface publicly between Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, over the creation of Rice’s Iraq Stability Group, which will oversee the chaos in Iraq. Rumsfeld was irritated that he was not told about the new group, and there were rumors, which the White House denied, that Rumsfeld has fallen out of the president’s favor.New York TimesPresident Bush gave a speech before a military crowd in New Hampshire and said that the situation in Iraq is “a lot better than you probably think.” On that day in Iraq, a car bomb attack killed eight policemen, a Spanish diplomat was assassinated, and a U.S. soldier was murdered.Washington PostCongress was working to cut “gold plated” items from the administration’s request for the reconstruction of Iraq; among the items at issue were 40 new $50,000 garbage trucks and $9 million for a new postal zone system.New York TimesThe FBI doubled the number of agents assigned to investigate the White House,New York Timesand President Bush decided to get tough on Cuba.New York TimesChile’s congress was debating whether to give workers the legal right to take a siesta.UndernewsFighting was heavy in Afghanistan.New York TimesPat Robertson said that the State Department should be blown up with a nuclear bomb.ReutersFour white Texans were arrested for beating a retardedblack man unconscious,New York Timesand Rush Limbaugh, who was forced to resign from ESPN after he made unkind comments about a black football player, admitted to being a drugaddict.New York TimesAustralian researchers found that the brain really does experience pain when your heart is breaking.Discovery Channel

Federal prosecutors indicted Greenpeace, under an obscure 1872 law designed to prevent “sailor mongers” from preying on returning seamen, for authorizing a protest in which two activists boarded a cargo ship and unfurled a banner. “Never before,” said the director of Greenpeace USA, “has our government criminally prosecuted an entire organization for the free speech activities of its supporters.”New York TimesRussia’s man in Chechnya won an overwhelming victory in the presidential election.New York TimesPresident Vladimir Putin rejected any comparisons between his regime and the Soviet Union: “To talk about a return to the Soviet times in connection with [Russian security officials] would be like talking about the times of McCarthy, referring to the ministry of homeland security in the United States.”New York TimesAn FBI bug was found in the Philadelphia mayor’s office.New York TimesTransparency International released its annual corruption survey; Bangladesh was rated most corrupt, just beating out Nigeria and Haiti. Finland, Iceland, and Denmark were the least corrupt.Associated PressA bomb killed six people in Bogot, Colombia.New York TimesSenator Judd Gregg’s wife, Cathy, was abducted by robbers at knifepoint from her home in McLean, Virginia, but was soon released.New York TimesA man in Pennsylvania charged with killing five people escaped from jail by climbing 60 feet down a rope made from bedsheets.New York TimesInternational aid workers continued to flee Iraq.New York Times

A Princeton graduate student was in trouble for pointing out on his website that the copy-protection software on a new music CD could be defeated simply by pressing the shift key when one inserts the disc. SunnComm Technologies Inc. claimed that the student had violated criminal provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and threatened to sue him.ForbesShirin Ebadi, an Iranian lawyer and human rights activist, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.Washington PostA Muslim girl in Oklahoma was suspended from school after she refused to take off her head scarf.CNNAmerican soldiers bulldozed ancient groves of date, orange, and lemon trees in central Iraq because, the soldiers said, the farmers know who is in the resistance but refuse to tell.IndependentA shoplifter in Amsterdam was kicked to death by supermarket employees.Scotsman.comA lightning bolt killed 20 pregnant cows in Florida.Associated PressWesley Clark said he believes that humans will someday exceed the speed of light.Wired NewsArnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California and told his son that being governor will be a lot like making a movie.New York TimesSting was made a commander of the British Empire, and Roger Moore, a former James Bond, was made a knight.St. Petersburg TimesA new French organization called Villages of Lyric or Burlesque Names met for the first time; the members include the villages of Beaufou (Beautiful Mad), Saligos (Filthy Pig), and Cocumont (Cuckold Hill).Agence France-PresseThe United States and Vietnam agreed to open direct commercial flights between the countries for the first time since the Vietnam War.New York TimesLadybird Johnson had a bad fall.New York TimesPhysicists were arguing over whether the universe is shaped like a soccer ball.New York TimesJapan was investigating an orgy in China involving 400 Japanese tourists and 500 Chinese prostitutes.ReutersA penis-snatcher was beaten to death in Gambia,Reutersand a monkey moved a robot with its mind.The Public Library of Science

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Discussed in this essay:

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert. Henry Holt. 352 pages. $28.

The extinction symbol is a spare graphic that began to appear on London walls and sidewalks a couple of years ago. It has since become popular enough as an emblem of protest that people display it at environmental rallies. Others tattoo it on their arms. The symbol consists of two triangles inscribed within a circle, like so:

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“Now may be the unlikeliest time for us to grow a conscience about how our rapacity is endangering other species, since we’re now aware of how frightfully our rapacity is endangering us.”
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