Weekly Review — March 16, 2004, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Tempest, December 1878]

Ten bombs blew up four commuter trains in Madrid during the morning rush hour on March 11, killing 200 people and wounding about 1,500. The Spanish government initially blamed Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, the Basque separatist group, but aNew York Times videotape soon emerged in which Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack . “This is an answer to your cooperation with the Bush criminals and their allies,” the tape said. Three days later, Spanish voters, who overwhelmingly opposed their government’s support of the Iraq war, turned out the ruling Popular Party in favor of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party, which pledged to bring Spanish troops home from Iraq.Associated PressSeven American soldiers were killed in Iraq over the weekend; officials said that the Iraqi resistance has begun using more sophisticated tactics.Globe and MailPakistan tested a new long-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.New York TimesThe United States released five British citizens from the camps in Guantnamo Bay, Cuba. Britain held the men for less than a day before releasing them.New York TimesOne of the men charged that he was tortured physically and psychologically. “After a while, we stopped asking for human rights,” he said. “We wanted animal rights.”BBCTwo suicide bombers killed eight people in Ashdod, Israel.Associated PressCIA director George Tenet revealed that he has privately corrected Dick Cheney several times after the vice president publicly “misconstrued” intelligence.New York TimesThe Pentagon was still paying $340,000 a month to the Iraqi National Congress, the exile group that provided much of the discredited intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq, andNew York TimesPresident George W. Bush said that he would try to find time to answer all the questions of the federal commission investigating the September 11 attacks.New York TimesCriminal investigations of Halliburton for its war profiteering in Iraq were ongoing; the company has acknowledged that mistakes were made.Associated PressChina amended its constitution to say that “the state respects and preserves human rights.” Another amendment declared that “private property obtained legally shall not be violated.”Boston Globe, Cybercast NewsSaudi Arabia established its first nongovernmental human-rights group, and aNew York TimesGeorgia woman was arrested for trying to pass a fake $1 million bill at a Wal-Mart.Associated Press

Congressional Republicans were beginning to show signs of resistance to President Bush’s spendthrift policies. “We have been out of control for the last three years,” said Senator Trent Lott. “We kind of got a little carried away.”New York TimesIt was revealed that the Bush Administration threatened to fire the government’s chief Medicare actuary if he told Congress that the Medicare bill, which was passed in November by 5 votes, would cost more than $500 billion over 10 years, rather than the $395 billion the administration was claiming publicly.Knight-RidderCongress was investigating videos produced by the White House for local television news programs in which paid actors impersonate reporters and give flattering accounts of the new Medicare law.San Francisco ChronicleWhite House officials denied that the president was responsible for the record budget deficit.New York TimesIt was estimated that unfunded federal mandates will cost states more than $29 billion this year.Associated PressUCLA apologized for selling off body parts of people who donated their bodies to science.MSNBCIt was reported that the Army has been buying surplus cadavers and blowing them up in land-mine experiments.Times-PicayuneA new study of former child soldiers in Uganda found that 6 percent had seen a family member killed, 2 percent had killed a family member, and 27 percent had been obliged to drink their own urine.Sunday Monitor, LancetScientists were trying to develop artificial blood.New Scientist

The Union of Concerned Scientists reported that more than two thirds of conventional crops have been polluted with genetically modified material. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Biotechnology Industry Association said the report was unsurprising, and theIndependentGreat Britain approved the commercial cultivation of genetically modified maize.New ScientistCommission for Environmental Cooperation warned Mexico that its genetically precious native corn varieties are threatened by pollution from genetically modified corn.New York TimesThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that obesity was killing almost as many people as tobacco; poor diet and sloth were responsible for 400,000 deaths in 2000, or 16.6 percent of everyone who died; tobacco killed 435,000 people, or 18.1 percent.New York TimesThe British Nutrition Foundation reported that McDonald’s new Caesar salad with Chicken Premiere contains 18.4 grams of fat, whereas a cheeseburger contains only 11.5 grams.CNNThe House of Representatives passed the so-called cheeseburger bill, which if made law would grant immunity from lawsuits to restaurants, especially fast-food chains, that serve unhealthy food.New York TimesLuciano Pavarotti gave his last staged performance.Associated PressA study found that teenagers who vow to remain virgins were almost as likely to catch a venereal disease as normal teens.GuardianIn Penticton, British Columbia, a man cut off his penis and testicles and ran through the street naked, trailing blood, screaming, “Repent, repent, fornicators.”Calgary SunSwiss Re, the world’s second largest reinsurance company, warned that the costs of climate change could be $150 billion a year before long, with insurers facing $30-40 billion in annual claims. “There is a danger,” the company said in a report, “that human intervention will accelerate and intensify natural climate changes to such a point that it will become impossible to adapt our socio-economic system in time.”ReutersIt was reported that the permafrost is disappearing from the bogs of subarctic Sweden because of climate changes, resulting in large emissions of methane, which as a greenhouse gas is 25 times worse than carbon dioxide.Geophysical Research LettersHundreds of elk in Wyoming were dying of a strange disease.New York TimesThe stock market was down,Associated PressSwitzerland moved to legalize absinthe, andNews24.comPresident Vladimir Putin of Russia was reelected.Associated PressBritishchildren found a three-headed frog with six legs.BBC

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 $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

January 2015

Come With Us if You Want to Live

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Body Politic

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Problem of Pain Management

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Game On

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Love Crimes

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Body Politic·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“‘He wrote all these love poems, but he was a son of a bitch,’ said a reporter from a wire service.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
Article
Love Crimes·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If a man rapes a woman, she might be forced to marry him, because in Afghanistan sex before marriage is dishonorable.”
Photographs © Andrew Quilty/Oculi/Agence VU
Article
Game On·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union had posed a truly existential threat.”
Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Come With Us if You Want to Live·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I was startled that all these negative ideologies could be condensed so easily into a positive worldview.”
Illustration by Darrel Rees
Article
Christmas in Prison·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Just so you motherfuckers know, I’ll be spending Christmas with my family, eating a good meal, and you’ll all be here, right where you belong.”
Photographer unknown. Artwork courtesy Alyse Emdur

Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:

36,000

A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.

Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”

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

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today