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United States military personnel who worked at Camp Delta, the largest prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, revealed that many prisoners there were tortured by being forced to endure strobe lights and cold temperatures and extremely loud recordings of Limp Bizkit.New York TimesMembers of an Army Reserve unit in Baghdad refused to deliver a fuel shipment because they said that it was a “suicide mission.”New York TimesA study found that Gulf War Syndrome was caused by toxic chemicals.New York TimesThe U.S. was bombing Falluja again, and twoNew York Timessuicide bombers penetrated the Green Zone in Baghdad and killed five people.Washington TimesThe State Department classified Unification and Jihad, a group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as a terrorist organization and froze its assets.CNNPrime Minister Iyad Allawi was working to dismantle an independent commission designed to keep former Baathists out of power as part of his effort to bring former Baathists into the government.New York TimesMohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, was concerned that entire buildings from Iraq’s former nuclear facilities have been dismantled and removed and no one knows where they were taken.BBCTwenty-eight American soldiers were under investigation for the apparent murder of two detainees at a base in Afghanistan.CNNPoland said that it will begin reducing its forces in Iraq next year.New York TimesIsrael pulled back from its latest invasion of the Gaza Strip, and theNew York TimesUniversity of Haifa began offering a master’s degree in disaster management.Jerusalem PostPresident Bush sent Ramadan greetings to Muslims in America and around the globe.Washington TimesSaddam Hussein underwent a hernia operation.Agence France-PresseDoc Holliday got a new tombstone.New York Times
Officials in Oregon and Nevada were investigating claims that Republicans destroyed Democratic voter-registration forms.New York TimesA senator from Kentucky apologized for saying that his Democratic opponent looks like one of Saddam Hussein’s sons.Associated PressA senate candidate in Oklahoma warned of “rampant” lesbianism in the schools.Associated PressPeople in Detroit were debating the wisdom of creating an “Africa Town” district, where the city would give special loans to black businessmen.New York TimesThe FCC fined Fox television $1.2 million for a broadcast of “Married by America” in April 2003 that featured strippers covered in whipped cream.Washington PostBill O’Reilly, the Fox News pundit, was accused of sexually harassing one of his female producers.Washington PostAn Australian doctor claimed that one of his patients had a sleep disorder that caused her to sneak out of her house at night and have sex with strangers.Associated PressA quadriplegic man succeeded in checking email and playing computer games via a microchip embedded in his brain.Nature.comThe Helsinki Zoo decided not to kill its 14 baboons, which it had planned to do to make room for snow monkeys, after a public outcry.Agence France-PresseA tractor-trailer accident spilled hundreds of live chickens onto the New Jersey Turnpike.New York TimesKarl Rove testified before a grand jury investigating the exposure of Valerie Plame as a covert CIA officer, andAssociated PressNew York attorney general Eliot Spitzer was going after corruption in the insurance industry.GuardianThe federal government reached its $7.4 trillion debt ceiling and was forced to delay contributions to pension plans.Washington PostA Dutch princess notified her husband in a newspaper advertisement that she wants a divorce.Agence France-Presse
The Justice Department opened an investigation into the Chiron Corporation, which was supposed to provide about half the American flu vaccine supply until the British government shut down the operation because of problems with bacterial contamination.New York TimesDisabled, elderly, and sick people were lining up for hours hoping to get a flu shot; one woman in California died after she collapsed from exhaustion and hit her head.Associated PressScientists announced a relatively successful trial of a new malaria vaccine.ForbesThe FDA ordered all antidepressants to carry a “black box” warning that the drugs might cause children and adolescents to have suicidal thoughts.Associated PressScientists successfully cultivated square salt-loving bacteria called Walsby’s square archaeon.Nature.comSwedish scientists found that using a mobile phone for ten years doubles the risk of developing a tumor on the acoustic nerve.Nature.comA giant virus was discovered that is as big as a small bacterium and may be an entirely new form of life.TelegraphCarbon dioxide levels were rising faster than ever.TelegraphThe British Food Standards Agency warned that lobsters, cockles, and scallops taken from the waters northwest of England are contaminated with plutonium and will exceed United Nations limits scheduled to take effect next year.New ScientistPolice in Burlington, Ontario, were searching for someone who glued shards of glass to playground equipment.CBC NewsThe British government was preparing to legalize casino gambling.Associated PressAn analysis of government data showed that the net worth of the median white household is 11 times greater than that of Hispanics and 14 times greater than blacks’.New York TimesThe European Patent Office revoked the patent previously granted to Monsanto on the Indian Nap Hal variety of wheat. It was proved by Greenpeace that the variety was bred by Indian farmers; Monsanto claimed to have invented it via genetic engineering.SifyThe Global Amphibian Assessment announced that 1,856 of the 5,743 known amphibian species are at risk of extinction; nine species are known to have died out since 1980, and 113 have not been seen in recent years; forty-three percent are in decline.BBCIsraeli police were searching for 1,000 baby crocodiles.Agence France-Presse
More from Roger D. Hodge:
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in Californiaâs ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as âinvasive,â âexotic,â âalienâ â all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as âindigenously Californianâ elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a âhome without its mother.â Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the âworldâs biggest selfies,â and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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âShelby 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.â