Weekly Review — October 12, 2004, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

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

The Labor Department reported that the economy created a mere 96,000 jobs last month, thus failing to keep pace with the expansion of the nation’s work force and confirming that George W. Bush has the worst job creation record of any president since Herbert Hoover. The White House reacted to the bad news by declaring that the poor job numbers prove that the president’s tax cuts have been working.New York TimesThe Iraq Survey Group issued its final report and concluded that Saddam Hussein dismantled his nuclear weapons program in 1991 and did not attempt to revive it. The inspectors said that there was no evidence that Iraq continued to possess chemical or biological weapons, and they concluded that Hussein refused to admit he had disarmed because he wanted to maintain a deterrent against Iran.New York TimesPresident Bush said that the report proved that Iraq was “a gathering threat.”New York TimesL. Paul Bremer, President Bush’s former proconsul in Iraq, told an audience of insurance agents that “we never had enough troops on the ground” and that “the single most important change ?? the one thing that would have improved the situation ?? would have been having more troops in Iraq at the beginning and throughout.” Bremer said that he had argued for more troops but that his requests were denied. The Bush Administration first denied that Bremer asked for more troops and then admitted that, yes, in fact, he did.Washington PostJacques Derrida died of pancreatic cancer.New York TimesSecretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited Iraq and told soldiers that the violence there will probably get worse; while he was in the country two car bombs went off in Baghdad, killing 11 people.Los Angeles TimesAlu Alkhanov was sworn in as president of Chechnya.New York TimesOpposition politicians complained that the Afghan presidential election was fraudulent, and anNew York TimesIraqi politician was indicted for suggesting that the country open negotiations with Israel.New York TimesBombings in three Egyptian resort towns killed at least 33 people and wounded 149. Many of the victims were vacationing Israelis.New York TimesA suicide car bombing killed at least 39 people at a rally in central Pakistan, and theReutersgovernment banned public meetings except for Friday prayers.New York TimesRebels and government soldiers were abducting, torturing, and killing civilians in Nepal.ReutersThe genocide in Sudan was continuing.New York TimesIn Haiti, supporters of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide were going after policemen with machetes; some were beheaded.New York TimesA Washington, D.C., policeman arrested, cuffed, and jailed a woman for eating a candy bar in the subway.Associated Press

The Bush campaign denied rumors that the president was wired with an earpiece to receive help during his first debate with Senator John Kerry.Associated PressRepublicans in Michigan were calling on authorities to prosecute Michael Moore for offering to give clean underwear to college students if they would promise to vote.Associated PressRepublicans in Oklahoma were running television ads showing dark-skinned hands accepting welfare checks, andAssociated PressHouse majority leader Tom DeLay was again rebuked by the House Ethics Committee for having “created an appearance that donors were being provided special access to you regarding” pending legislation.New York TimesVice President Dick Cheney and Senator John Edwards had harsh words for each other during their debate;New York TimesCheneyclaimed that he had never before met Senator Edwards; newspapers then published a photograph of the two men smiling and speaking together at a prayer breakfast.New York TimesMartha Stewart began her five-month prison sentence for telling lies.Associated PressSwaziland’s police commissioner was detained for several hours in the Atlanta airport when he was traveling to the Interpol General Assembly in Mexico.New York TimesKing Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia abdicated his throne.New York TimesRodney Dangerfield died.New York TimesFederal tax revenue was lower than it was in 2000,New York TimesChicago experienced its first murder-free night in five years, andNew York TimesSupreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that “sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged.”Guardian

Britain suspended the license of the factory in Liverpool that was supposed to manufacture almost half the American supply of this year’s flu vaccine.New York TimesPublic health experts have long warned that it is insane for the United States to depend on two companies for the country’s flu vaccine.New York TimesThe World Health Organization released a study, based on an unscientific “spot-check” sampling, concluding that Indonesian villagers in Buyat Bay, Sulawesi, have not been poisoned by a gold mine, owned by the Newmont Mining Corporation, that dumped about 2,000 tons of mine tailings a day into nearby waters.New York TimesThe Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations called on hospitals to prevent “anesthesia awareness,” which is the term for when a patient can feel the pain of surgery but is unable to move or cry out.Associated PressCongress agreed to permit the Energy Department to redefine some highly radioactive nuclear waste in South Carolina and Idaho so that it can be left in tanks rather than being pumped out for deep burial.New York TimesThree hundred pounds of weapons-grade plutonium from the United States arrived in France.New York TimesMexico declined to stop the construction of a Wal-Mart next to the ancient ruins of Teotihuacán, and paleontologistsReutersin China discovered 130-million-year-old fossils of Dilong paradoxus, an ancestor of Tyrannosaurus rex, with impressions of feathers all over its body.New York TimesScientists sequenced the genome of a Hereford cow.Associated PressWeather experts said that the United States experienced a record number of tornadoes in August and September, andNew York TimesElfriede Jelinek, the Austrian novelist, won the Nobel Prize in Literature.Associated PressScientists were investigating the appearance of hermaphrodite fish in Colorado’s South Platte River; the fish were found near two wastewater discharge pipes.USA TodayKorean and Italian researchers developed a tiny robot with multiple legs designed to crawl through a patient’s guts.New ScientistScientists with NIZO Food Research developed an artificial throat that breathes, salivates, and swallows.New ScientistA nineteen-year-old Singapore man set a world record for the number of hamburgers he could stuff in his mouth. “I’m on top of the world right now,” he said,” because everyone’s going to know that I can shove more than three burgers in my mouth.”Associated Press

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For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing — for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now — for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco — well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations — half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime minister’s lair — became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.

One Friday evening, the refugees’ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: “We don’t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!” The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.

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