Weekly Review — January 17, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Runaway Raft on the Tigris, March 1875]
Runaway Raft on the Tigris.

In Baghdad at least 28 people were killed when two suicide bombers attacked the Interior Ministry.BBC NewsWalter Cronkite called for the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq,CBC.comand Iraq’selectoral commission ruled that 99 percent of ballots cast on December 15, 2005, were valid.Forbes.comU.S. troops continued to be plagued by improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. “They blow up,” said a Marine corporal, “and you can’t find the triggerman. You’re mad, and you just want to kill someone, and you can’t find them.”The Wall Street Journal/A1The United States bombed Pakistan. The missiles were intended to kill Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was expected at a dinner; instead, 18 people were killed, including women and children, and al-Zawahiri remains alive.ReutersTony Blair’s government was planning to lift a 40-year prohibition against spying on members of Parliament. British officials, including the Secretary of State for Defense, were opposed to the plan.The IndependentBlair also admitted to smacking his children.The GuardianNorth Korean leader Kim Jong-Il rode an armored train to China, where he toured hi-tech firms. BBC NewsIn Kenya, 2.5 million people were close to starvation; police raids showed that those who were supposed to be handing out food were instead selling it.ReutersAn Indonesian girl died of bird flu, and Turkey had killed 306,000 birds.BBC NewsBBC NewsA skinhead shouting “I will kill you” stabbed eight people at a Moscowsynagogue,BBC Newsand the U.S. Senate made Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito’s wife cry.NBC11.com

A former NSA agent named Russell Tice claimed that the NSA had repeatedly spied on American citizens. “I believe I have seen some things that are illegal,” he said.Democracy Now!U.S. senators insisted that attacking Iran must remain an option.Boston.comShots were fired during a New Orleans parade intended to celebrate unity, and four people were hospitalized with gunshot wounds.APScientists announced that the Donner family had not actually been cannibals; it was in fact other pioneers, six miles away, who cooked and ate each other.SFGate.comAt Ohio State University a 47-year-old chimpanzee named Sarah (who knows the numbers from zero through six) attacked a student,The Guardianand Amnesty International released reports detailing even more torture at Guantnamo Bay.Forbes.comPat Robertson apologized to Ariel Sharon’s son, Omri, for being “inappropriate and insensitive” when he said that Sharon’s illness was God’s punishment. It remained unclear, however, whether Robertson would once again be permitted to build a theme park by the Sea of Galilee.BBC NewsIn Saudi Arabia 345 people were trampled to death while attempting to finish the “stoning-of-the-devil” ritual of the Hajj. “This was fate,” said a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, “destined by God.” Officials said that they were working out a plan to allow 500,000 people to stone the devil per hour.The Seattle TimesIn Zimbabwe, a pair of twins named Tafadzwa and Tapiwanashe Fichiani were charged with indecent exposure after entering an upscale mall wearing traditional goatskin loincloths known as nhembe. “We do not care what people say or think about us,” explained Tapiwanashe, “because we regard them as colonized.”News24.comFiremen in Japan were celebrating the end of a fire awareness event when a fire broke out, severely damaging their station.CNN.comFurther investigation showed that it may have been the wind rather than a burning mouse that caused a house fire in New Mexico. The homeowner held to his story, however: “I have an awful hate for those critters.”CNN.comSheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, 78, the ruler of Kuwait, died. Sheikh Saad al-Abdulla al-Sabah, 76, was named to replace him.Al-Jazeera

A Marylandschool superintendent decided to lift a ban on the book The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things in high-school libraries; the ban remained in effect for middle-school libraries.WGAL.comA study found that 24 percent of Americans find fat people less attractive than thin people; this represents a significant change from 20 years ago when 55 percent of Americans said that they were repulsed by fat people.Seattle PIWestern Australian Premier Geoff Gallop resigned due to depression. “I now need the space required,” he said, “to start the process of full recovery.”ABC News OnlineIn Aberystwyth, Wales, a woman was banned from the local seafront after she repeatedly attempted to drown herself. BBC NewsA soon-to-be revealed world map was offered as evidence that Chinese sailors discovered America; the map is said to be a 1763 copy of the 1418 original made during the reign of Emperor Yongle.BBC NewsA Minnesota man named Jonathan “The Impaler” Sharkey, who claims to be a vampire, announced that he would run for governor and promised that if elected he would personally impale murderers and child molesters. “I’m a Satanist who doesn’t hate Jesus,” he explained.ReutersBritish researchers were hoping to fuse human cells with rabbit eggs in order to generate stem cells. “The fertility of rabbits,” noted a researcher, “is legendary.”The GuardianScientists in Taiwan bred three glowing pigs,ABC Newsand a noseless one-eyed kitten died in Oregon.APAriel Sharon twitched his eyelids and cried.Forbes/AP

Share
Single Page

More from Paul Ford:

From the May 2010 issue

Just like heaven

Weekly Review March 23, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review November 24, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

September 2015

Tremendous Machine

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Goose in a Dress

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Genealogy of Orals

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Neoliberal Arts

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
New Television·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In Season 5 of Louie (FX), Louie is a new kind of superhero. Like Wonder Woman, the canonical superhero he most resembles, Louie’s distinctive superpower is love.”
Illustration by Demetrios Psillos
Article
Romancing Kano·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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 California’s 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 “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — 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 “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” 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.

Article
The Prisoner of Sex·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“It is disappointing that parts of Purity read as though Franzen urgently wanted to telegraph a message to anyone who would defend his fiction from charges of chauvinism: ‘No, you’ve got me wrong. I really am sexist.’”
Illustration by Shonagh Rae
Article
Gangs of Karachi·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In Karachi, sometimes only the thinnest of polite fictions separates the politicians from the men who kill and extort on their behalf.”
Photograph © Asim Rafiqui/NOOR Images
Article
Weed Whackers·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Defining 'native' and 'invasive' in an ever-shifting natural world poses some problems. The camel, after all, is native to North America, though it went extinct here 8,000 years ago, while the sacrosanct redwood tree is invasive, having snuck in at some point in the past 65 million years.”
Photograph by Chad Ress

Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:

65

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 “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Subways Are for Sleeping

By

“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.”

Subscribe Today