Weekly Review — February 17, 2004, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Christian martyr, 1855]

Republican operatives were looking high and low for anyone who could remember serving in the National Guard with President George W. Bush between May 1972 and May 1973; one group of Vietnam veterans was offering a $1,000 reward for proof that the president met his military obligations.New York TimesWhite House officials tried unsuccessfully to wriggle out of a promise Bush made on national television to release his entire military file, though they continued to insist that the president has nothing to hide.Washington Post, USA TodayA dental chart from 1973 suggested that the future president had been neglecting his teeth; anotherNew York Timesdocument revealed that Bush suffered from a hemorrhoid when he applied to the National Guard.New York TimesA former Texas National Guard officer charged that in 1997 he overheard a superior and a Bush adviser discussing ways to “cleanse” Bush’s file to remove embarrassing information. The officer said he later saw papers with Bush’s name on them in a garbage can.USA Today, New York TimesOne hundred twenty-five people died in various attacks in Iraq.New York TimesDefense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that he did not recall British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s prewar claim that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes. “I don’t remember the statement being made, to be perfectly honest.” The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Richard Myers, didn’t remember it either.Sydney Morning HeraldA new poll found that most Americans believe that President Bush lied or knowingly exaggerated evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. The poll also showed Senator John Kerry beating the president by nine percentage points.Washington PostBill O’Reilly of Fox News apologized on national television for his uncritical support of the Bush Administration’s claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. “I was wrong,” he said. “I am not pleased about it at all and I think all Americans should be concerned about this.”San Diego Union-TribuneThe chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers said that the outsourcing of American jobs to other countries is “a good thing” that is “probably a plus for the economy in the long run.”New York TimesFour Nigerians were charged with stealing a 13-year-old boy’s eyes to use in an invisibility potion.The AgeAn elderly Florida man robbed a bank to pay for his wife’s medical bills.Ananova

Attorney General John Ashcroft defended issuing subpoenas for abortion records and said that the records were necessary to find out whether doctors who have sued to overturn the ban on so-called partial-birth abortions are telling the truth when they say they have performed the procedure out of medical necessity.New York TimesSouth Africa’s health minister, who has repeatedly expressed doubts that HIV causes AIDS, said that a diet with lots of garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice would help fight the disease.New York TimesPeople in Jakarta were watching out for the kolor ijo, or green underpants monster, that has been attacking people and raping women.News.com.auThree pharmacists were fired in Denton, Texas, for refusing to fill a prescription for emergency contraception.New York TimesChinese officials cancelled the opening of the Vagina Monologues in Shanghai.New York TimesPolice chiefs from around the country were trying to defeat a Senate bill that would give gunmakers and dealers immunity from lawsuits.New York TimesSupreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia defended his duck-hunting trip with Dick Cheney and said he did not plan to recuse himself from a case involving the Vice President’s shadowy energy task force.Associated PressFrench prosecutors were investigating $11.4 million in bank transfers to accounts controlled by Yasir Arafat’s wife, and theNew York Timesfamily of Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qureia was accused of supplying concrete for Israel’s West Bank Wall.TelegraphU.S. officials said that the president might support Israel’s new plan to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip and that some of the inhabitants of the prison camps in Guantnamo Bay, Cuba, might never get out.New York TimesFlorida’s state department decreed that touch-screen votes need not be included in manual recounts of elections, and aAssociated Pressgrand-jury investigation was under way in Texas into a political action committee controlled by House speaker Tom DeLay.New York TimesIn Finland, a sausage heir was fined $216,000 for speeding.Reuters

South Korean scientists created 30 human clone embryos and harvested embryonic stem cells from one of them; the stem cells were then injected into mice, where they formed cartilage, muscle, bone, and other tissues.New ScientistAn FDA advisory panel recommended widespread testing for mad cow disease, saying that absent such testing there is no way to assess the risk of transmission from meat, drugs, vaccines, cosmetics, or dietary supplements.New York TimesThe United States Department of Agriculture concluded its investigation into the mad cow outbreak.New York TimesBird flu continued to spread in Asia; some Thai fighting cocks were found to be infected, and a clouded leopard died of the disease in a zoo near Bangkok.ReutersSeveral farms in Delaware and Maryland were under quarantine because of a bird-flu outbreak, and aAssociated Pressdifferent strain of the virus showed up in Pennsylvania.ForbesPluto was crushed to death by a parade float near Splash Mountain in Disneyworld.News4Jax.comThe British Medical Association reported that smoking increases the risk of impotence, infertility, cervical cancer, miscarriage, stillbirth, sudden infant death syndrome, low birth weight, placental complications, and cleft palate.New ScientistThe U.S. infant-mortality rate was up, and aNew York Timestwo-headed baby died after doctors removed its “parasitic head.”New ScientistScientists created a new kind of mouse by moving mitochondrial DNA from one species into another, and fatUniversity of Rochester Medical Centerrats lost weight after they were given a gene-therapy shot.New ScientistSouth Korea cracked down on lewd candy and cakes, and itAgence France-Pressewas discovered that people are quite good at avoiding feelings of regret.American Psychological Society

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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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Percentage of Americans who say they would not enjoy spending time with their own clone:

70

Astronomers recorded the most powerful pulse of radiation ever observed; the radiation was emitted from a pulsar 12,000 light-years from Earth and was “capable of totally vaporising and ionising all known materials, shredding them into hot plasma.”

Alberta dentist Michael Zuk, the owner of a molar that belonged to John Lennon, revealed that he hoped to clone a new Lennon and raise him as a son. “Hopefully keep him away from drugs,” said Zuk, “but, you know, guitar lessons wouldn’t hurt.”

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