Weekly Review — July 27, 2004, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Twisted Creature, 1875]

The 9/11 commission released its report and catalogued the many failures of intelligence and law enforcement that permitted Al Qaeda to carry out the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; the commission concluded that “we are not safe.”New York TimesRepublicans were trying to blame it all on Bill Clinton.New York TimesFrench authorities evacuated the Eiffel Tower but failed to find a bomb.New York TimesLinda Ronstadt was booed off the stage at the Aladdin casino in Las Vegas after she dedicated “Desperado” to Michael Moore; the casino’s management removed Ronstadt from the building and refused to let her return to her hotel room.BBCA homeland-security officer was in big trouble for beating up a Chinese tourist.Associated PressPeople for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released a videotape of workers in a chicken factory stomping on live chickens and throwing them against a wall; the undercover investigator who documented the abuse said that he saw hundreds of cruel acts, including squeezing birds till they explode.New York TimesDemocrats said they were planning to be “positive” at their convention in Boston.NewsdayIraqi militants continued to abduct foreign workers and threatened to cut off their heads unless their employers leave Iraq. “We have warned all the countries, companies, businessmen, and truck drivers,” said one statement given to reporters, “that those who deal with American cowboy occupiers will be targeted by the fires of the mujahedeen.”New York TimesAn Egyptian diplomat was kidnapped.TelegraphSaudi authorities found the severed head of an American hostage.The AgeThe Dow Jones industrial average fell below 10,000.Washington Post

Europe and the United States both continued to threaten Sudan with economic sanctions unless it stops the genocide in Darfur, where government-sponsored Arab militias have been slaughtering and raping black farmers.ReutersA woman in South Africaaccidentally put a 100-year-old gold coin into a Cape Town parking meter.ReutersThe president of Malawi asked parliament to move out of its new building so that he could live there.ReutersCounty commissioners in Jefferson County, Texas, voted to change the name of Jap Road, which was reportedly named 100 years ago in honor of a Japanese rice farmer.ReutersThe Government Accountability Office said that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are running $12.3 billion over budget this year.New York TimesSamuel Berger, Bill Clinton’s national security adviser, was in trouble for removing classified documents from the National Security Archive.New York TimesGreat Britain announced that it will reduce the size of its armed forces by 15,000.New York TimesThe United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution demanding that Israel obey the World Court’s ruling and remove the West Bank wall.New York TimesPresident Jacques Chirac told Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon that he was no longer welcome in France.Deutsche WelleA miner in Guinea found a 182-carat diamond.Associated PressRussian police broke up a summer camp for young thieves.New York Times

Janssen Pharmaceutica Products, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, warned doctors that it had “minimized potentially fatal risks, and made misleading claims” about Risperdal, an anti-schizophrenia drug; the drug can cause stroke, diabetes, and other fatal complications, the company said, and contrary to claims on the label it is not safer than similar drugs. It was reported that some boys who were given Risperdal in Florida, where it is used as a “chemical restraint” in state facilities, developed lactating breasts.Miami HeraldThe Bush Administration has decided that consumers should not be able to sue manufacturers of drugs that have been approved by the FDA.New York TimesA new study of the evidence suggested that Napoleon died from getting too many enemas.New ScientistFormer Mexican president Luis Echeverra was indicted for his role in the killings of student protesters in 1971; the next day a judge refused to issue an arrest warrant.New York TimesAn Italian city banned the practice of keeping goldfish in bowls.Agence France-PresseWest Nile encephalitis killed a man in California, andReutersofficials there were considering closing national forests to prevent fires.Associated PressAn alligator bit off a landscaper’s arm in Florida.CNNIt was reported that one of the first lesbian couples to get married in Canada filed for divorce within five days, though Canadian law does not yet recognize same-sex divorce.Globe and MailThe European Space Agency found that rogue waves more than 25 meters high are not uncommon and may have sunk more than 200 supertankers over the past 20 years.Sydney Morning HeraldThe International Whaling Commission released a report concluding that military sonar harms whales and is to blame for the increasing numbers of whale strandings.Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor found wide genetic variations among healthy people; many people lack large sequences of DNA; others have multiple copies.NewsdayResearchers found that monkeys with good mothers are less likely to be aggressive, even if they have a gene that codes for aggression.New ScientistScientists discovered that yawning is contagious among chimps.New Scientist

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“One of the peculiar things about economic inequality is that the people who are most articulate about it are not poor, while the poor themselves have said little, at least in print, about their situation.”
Photograph © Reuters/Brendan McDermid
“It would be nice to get through this review without recourse to the term ‘writer’s writer.’ The thing is, in the case of Joy Williams, I have seen the cliché made flesh.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
“Miniatures originated in Persia and were brought to the Indian subcontinent when the Mughals conquered it in the sixteenth century. They could take on almost any subject: landscapes or portraits; stories of love, war, or play.”
Painting by by Imran Qureshi.
“The business of being a country veterinarian is increasingly precarious. The heartland has been emptying of large-animal vets for at least two decades, as agribusiness changed the employment picture and people left the region.”
Photograph by Lance Rosenfield
“Rosie and her husband had burned through their small savings in the first few months after she lost her job. Now their family of five relied on his minimum-wage paychecks, plus Rosie’s unemployment and food stamps, which, combined, brought them to around $2,000 per month, just above the poverty line.”
Illustrations by Taylor Callery

Ratio of children’s emergency-room visits for injuries related to fireworks last year to those related to “desk supplies”:


The ecosystems around Chernobyl, Ukraine, are now healthier than they were before the nuclear disaster, though radiation levels are still too high for human habitation.

The Islamic State opened two new theme parks featuring a Ferris wheel, teacup rides, and bumper cars.

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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

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