Weekly Review — March 9, 2004, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Saluting the Town, March 1854]

Former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide accused the United States of overthrowing him in a coup. “I was forced to leave,” he said. “Agents were telling me that if I don’t leave they would start shooting and killing in a matter of time.”Associated PressState Department officials claimed that the U.S. had simply declined to protect Haiti’sdemocratically elected president from the advancing rebel mob.New York TimesAristide called for a restoration of democracy and for peaceful resistance against the foreign occupiers.GuardianTwo hundred seventy-one Shiite worshipers were killed in simultaneous bombing attacks on mosques in Baghdad and Karbala; international telephone service was knocked out on the same day by a rocket attack.Associated PressBaghdad’ssewage continued to flow untreated into the Tigris River, and theNew York TimesIraqi Governing Council signed an interim constitution; Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani denounced the new constitution and again called for direct elections.BloombergViolent protests continued in Venezuela, whereAssociated PressPresident Hugo Chávez called George W. Bush an asshole, and theNew Zealand HeraldNational Electoral Council declared that Chávez opponents had failed to gather enough valid signatures to trigger a recall election.New York TimesA video store was blown up in Afghanistan.New York TimesFrench lawmakers passed a ban on Islamic headscarves, andAssociated PressRussian religious leaders refused to permit Roman Catholics to attend a conference on religious tolerance.New York Times

China issued a report condemning the United States for its human-rights violations and its “military aggression around the world.”Associated PressIraqis were demanding to know the whereabouts and condition of more than 10,000 men and boys (ages 11 to 75) who are being detained by American forces.New York TimesNigeria was looking for ways to “decongest” its death-row facilities, andAgence France-PresseCalifornia’s supreme court ruled that a Catholic charity must cover birth control in its employee health coverage.New York TimesHomosexuals continued to get married around the country, andAssociated PressGovernor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was named as the new executive editor of Muscle and Fitness and Flex magazines, said it was fine with him if voters want to change the law to permit gaymarriage.New York TimesA new study found that angry men are more likely to drop dead of stroke.Associated PressA self-described “pressure-group with a terrorist character” was threatening to bomb Frenchtrains unless it receives a $5 million ransom; French investigators speculated that the group has anarchist or left-wing or right-wing tendencies.New York TimesAttorney General John Ashcroft was hospitalized with gallstone pancreatitis.CNNPresident Bush was criticized for exploitingSeptember 11 in his new campaign advertisements, which employ paid actors instead of real firemen, andLos Angeles Times, NewsweekJose Padilla, the American citizen who was seized in Chicago in June 2002 and declared an enemy combatant, met with his lawyers for the very first time.ReutersAstronomers at the Chandra X-ray Observatory found evidence of a new class of black holes.NASA

Senator John Kerry eliminated his remaining competition for the Democratic presidential nomination, andGuardianMcDonald’s began phasing out its popular “Supersize” order of french fries.Associated PressNASA scientists announced that Mars was once wet enough to support life.Associated PressMartha Stewart revealed that she was “distressed” to have been convicted for lying about an improper stock trade that saved her about $45,000. Stewart’s television show was withdrawn by WCBS, and there was speculation that her company might not be able to survive its association with a convicted felon.New York TimesBernard Ebbers, the former CEO of WorldCom, pleaded not guilty to carrying out the largest accounting fraud in American history, andNew York TimesAlan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, suggested cutting Social Security and Medicare to help pay for President Bush’s massive tax cuts for the rich.New York TimesThe inspector general of the USDA opened a criminal investigation into whether the Washington State mad cow was falsely listed as a downer; the man who killed the cow, the man who took the cow to slaughter, and the owner of the slaughterhouse have all said that the cow was able to walk. A spokeswoman for the agency said that she could not “fathom” the notion that a high-ranking USDA official could have ordered the falsification, though she did not deny the charge but simply repeated that she could not “fathom” it.New York TimesAvian flu was found on two more U.S. farms.Associated PressAn Israeli fashion designer staged a photo shoot along the West Bank wall near Jerusalem; several young models were photographed while posing under Arabic graffiti that read: “I AM A BIG DONKEY.”International Herald TribunePfizer Global Pharmaceuticals announced that Viagra doesn’t work on women.BBC

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I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

Photograph (detail) by Karine Laval

Age at death last March of the sturgeon Nikita, Khrushchev’s gift to Norway, after an accidental immersion in salt water:

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