Weekly Review — March 23, 2004, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Christian martyr, 1855]

Israel assassinated Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of Hamas; Sheikh Yassin, an elderly, partially blind quadriplegic, was hit in his wheelchair with a missile as he left a mosque in Gaza City.New York TimesThe Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade apologized for murdering a Palestinian college student who was jogging in East Jerusalem; the killers thought he was a Jew.New York TimesThe Pentagon dropped charges against Capt. James Yee, a former chaplain at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, who was accused of being a Muslim spy.Straights TimesThe British government was fighting in court for the right to charge people who have been wrongly convicted of crimes for the cost of keeping them in jail.Sunday HeraldRichard Clarke, the former head of counterterrorism under Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton, published a book in which he claims that George W. Bush has done a “terrible job” fighting terrorism. Clarke says that prior to September 11, Bush ignored warnings about the threat from Al Qaeda and that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in the days just after the attacks, wanted to bomb Iraq rather than Afghanistan because Iraq had better bombing targets. Clarke charges that the president made it very clear that he wanted to find a connection between September 11 and Saddam Hussein even though there was no evidence of such a link.CBS NewsThe president of Poland acknowledged publicly that the United States “deceived us about the weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq. “We were taken for a ride,” he said.Agence France-PresseA car bomb destroyed the Mount Lebanon Hotel in Baghdad, killing at least 27 people, and millionsNew York Times of protesters filled streets around the world to mark the first anniversary of the invasion.ReutersSaddam Hussein was said to be enjoying his interrogations.CNN

A United Nations official said that Sudan now has the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, and he compared the government’s program of ethnic cleansing, systematic rape, and murder to the Rwandangenocide.BBCUnrest continued in Haiti, and theNewsdayinterim prime minister Gérard Latortue said he was sorry. “I would like to apologize for all the other governments,” he said. “Please forgive me for everything that was done to you.”New York TimesThere was heavy fighting in Nepal and the government claimed to have killed hundreds of rebels.Associated PressEthnic violence broke out in Kosovo again as Albanians drove Serbs from their homes.ReutersThe president and vice president of Taiwan were both shot and wounded the day before elections; the opposition called for a recount and accused the president of staging his own shooting to win sympathy votes.New York TimesPakistan was designated a “major non-NATO ally” by the Bush Administration;ReutersIndia was somewhat offended, and itNew York Timeswas revealed that the United States has resumed a program designed to predict the effects of nuclear fallout.New York TimesPennsylvania lawmakers were considering a bill that would reward state contractors for using American workers.New York TimesA 17-year-old boy in Nebraska was caught outside his high school with a rifle and 20 homemade bombs.USA Today

The Congressional Budget Office published calculations showing that the federal budget deficit is largely a result of President Bush’stax cuts and spending increases; the agency estimated that only 6 percent of the deficit was the result of economic weakness.New York TimesThe Pentagon was withholding a $300 million payment for Halliburton until auditors make sure that the government was not overcharged.Agence France-PresseThe Bush Administration’sMedicare cover-up continued to unravel, and theNew York Timespresident of the World Bank was splattered with green paint by antiglobalization protesters.ReutersSeveral officials at the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that the administration has refused to perform scientific studies to determine the effects of its new mercury emissions policy, a policy that was largely written by the industries responsible for most mercury pollution.Seattle TimesThe U.S. Army and DuPont were hoping to dispose of 1,200 tons of VX nerve gas by mixing it with sodium hydroxide and hot water and then dumping it into the Delaware River.Philadelphia InquirerThe atmospheric carbon dioxide level appeared to be rising faster than usual, scientists said.Associated PressA county in Tennessee was trying to rid itself of homosexuals, and theAssociated PressMethodist Church put a minister on trial for openly carrying on a lesbian relationship; a jury found her not guilty of violating the church’s teachings, because the teachings are vague.New York TimesVirgin Atlantic Airways decided not to install urinals shaped like a woman’s open lips at a first-class lounge at New York’s JFK Airport.ABC.com.auApehunters in Africa have contracted simian foamy virus, a study found.MSNBCEnvironmentalists said that the Sumatran tiger is nearly extinct, and itNew York Timeswas reported that New York developer Donald Trump has filed an application to trademark the phrase “You’re fired.”The Smoking GunAn Afghan soldier was caught having sex with a donkey.News.com.au

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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.

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