Weekly Review — June 15, 2004, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Caught in the Web, 1860]
Caught in the Web.

Evidence continued to emerge that high-level officials in the Bush Administration approved the torture of prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere; althoughThe HillAttorney General John Ashcroft denied that the president authorized the use of torture on suspected terrorists, he refused to give Congress several memorandums by Justice Department lawyers laying out ways that interrogators could evade anti-torture laws.New York TimesSuch documents were being leaked, however; in one report on interrogation methods, administration lawyers argued last year that President Bush is not bound by laws and treaties that ban torture; the report concluded that “in order to respect the president’s inherent constitutional authority to manage a military campaign . . . (the prohibition against torture) must be construed as inapplicable to interrogations undertaken pursuant to his commander-in-chief authority.” The report further argued that the president has the “inherent” authority to set aside laws and that consequently his subordinates could not be prosecuted for violating anti-torture laws.Wall Street Journal“Look, I’m going to say it one more time,” said President Bush when asked at the G-8 Summit whether torture is ever justified; “The instructions went out to our people to adhere to law. That ought to comfort you.”Associated PressIt was reported that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez personally approved the torture of inmates at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and that he ordered guards to hide at least one prisoner from the Red Cross.Washington Post, US NewsFormer CIA officials said that the new prime minister of Iraq, Iyad Allawi, was involved with a CIA-funded terrorist group in Iraq in the early 1990s; the group apparently carried out a bombing campaign, blowing up a movie theater and possibly a school bus.New York TimesIn Alaska, a college radio DJ was fired for celebrating Ronald Reagan’s death on the air, and newAssociated Pressresearch found that people are often unable to remember traumatic events.New Scientist

The United Nations Security Council voted to support the transfer of Iraqi “sovereignty” to the new interim government; the resolution did not make reference to the interim constitution, however; this omission upset the Kurds, whose autonomy is guaranteed in that document, and they threatened to withdraw from the new Iraqi state if necessary.New York TimesA series of car bombs killed people in several Iraqi cities.ReutersThe Shiite militia loyal to Moktada al-Sadr, who reportedly plans to establish a political party, took over a police station in Najaf.New York TimesIraqi militants attacked oil pipelines near Kirkuk.New York TimesAn American military contractor was shot dead in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and anNew York TimesAmerican engineer was kidnapped.BloombergThere were reports of a Libyan plot to assassinate the Saudi royal family.New York TimesZimbabwe announced that it will eliminate private ownership of land, and aBaltimore Suntourist committed suicide by jumping out of a helicopter over the Grand Canyon.Associated PressScientists said that the “dirty bomb” plan attributed to Jose Padilla would not have worked; “it’s the equivalent,” said one physicist, “of blowing up lead.”Associated PressBrigitte Bardot was convicted of inciting racial hatred,Associated PressMongolians were ordered to adopt surnames,The AustralianPresident George W. Bush unveiled Bill Clinton’s presidential portrait, andAssociated PressGeorge Herbert Walker Bushjumped out of an airplane.New York Times

Officials from the Bosnian Serb republic admitted that its military took part in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, in which more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered and dumped into mass graves. CNNBritain’s Labour Party suffered huge losses in local elections and came in third behind the Tories and the Liberal Democrats.New York TimesCongo announced that it had put down a coup attempt by members of the presidential guard.New York TimesA surgeon from South Carolina proposed denying care to lawyers involved in medical-malpractice cases.Associated PressAlcohol abuse was up in the U.S., suicideAssociated Press was up in Japan, and officialsNew York Timesin North Dakota were searching for 27,000 missing pelicans.New York TimesReproductive scientists in Chicago created a line of mutant human stem cells, andNew ScientistChinese paleontologists found a perfect pterosaur in a fossil egg.Nature.comScientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory found a new method of exciting light emission from nanocrystal quantum dots.Los Alamos National LaboratoryNew photographs of Saturn’s moon Phoebe, which were taken by the Cassini space probe, suggested that the moon might be a captured comet.New ScientistAn astronomer in Virginia reconstructed the sound of the Big Bang and discovered that it sounded at first like a “majestic” major third chord and then changed to a “sadder” minor third.New ScientistRay Charles died.New York TimesScientists found that people with higher social status live longer, andNew Scientistthat women are more likely to have sex when they’re fertile.New Scientist

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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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