Weekly Review — March 14, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Humbug, December 1853]

The U.S. State Department issued a report criticizing human rights abuses in China, North Korea, Iran, and Cuba. It also criticized the rights records of Jordan and Egypt, two countries where the United States has sent detainees to be interrogated. The report noted that the United States’ “own journey towards liberty and justice for all has been long and difficult,” and is “far from complete.”The New York TimesThe IndependentA bombing at a Shiite market in Sadr City, Iraq, killed at least 50 people; Shiite vigilantes responded by abducting four men, beating and executing them, and hanging them from lampposts.The New York TimesIn Baghdad 37 corpses were found, including 18 bodies stacked in a minibus. The corpse of American peace activist Tom Fox was found in a trash heap in western Baghdad; Fox and three other members of Christian Peacemaker Teams had been kidnapped in November 2005 by the Swords of Righteousness Brigade.The New York TimesThe New York TimesThe Iraqi government hanged 13 insurgents,AP via Yahoo! Newsand it was reported that Iraq’sShiite party had ordered the Health Ministry to stop recording deaths that resulted from execution-style shootings.The Washington PostAmericans had nearly $800 billion in credit-card debt.TribStar.comU.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow warned Congress that the United States was about to exceed its debt limit of $8.2 trillion,The Toronto Starand a five-year study into alternative methods of managing hog waste produced no feasible alternative to the current practice of filling massive lagoons with excrement.WRAL.comIn rural Nepal fathers were being paid in piglets if they agreed not to sell their daughters into servitude,The Christian Science Monitorand a farmer in Germany said that he got the idea of feeding a friend’s corpse to pigs from a lecture about Buddhism.MSNBCThe Sheaf, a University of Saskatchewan campus newspaper, was criticized for publishing a cartoon showing Jesus Christfellating a talking pig,The Gatewayand the House voted to renew the Patriot Act.CNN.comA New Zealand miner drowned in a flooded shaft,Stuff.co.nzand photographer and director Gordon Parks died.The Washington PostAfter 213 years as a nonprofit, the New York Stock Exchange became a public company.The New York TimesA new species of blind, furry, lobster-like crustaceans was discovered in the South Pacific.CNN.com

Former Texas Governor Ann Richards announced that she had been diagnosed with cancer.AP via Yahoo! NewsTom DeLay (R., Tex.) won the Republicanprimary for his congressional seat,Capitol Hill Blueand scientists were investigating a family of mentally retarded Kurds in Turkey who walk on all fours. “However they arrived at this point,” said a scientist, “we have adult human beings walking like ancestors several million years ago.”Time-warp family who walk on all foursThe House passed legislation that, if approved in the Senate, will make it far more difficult for states to put warning labels on food; under the new rules all warnings will be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. “What’s wrong,” asked Representative Henry Waxman (D., Calif.), “with our system of federalism?”Canada.comBritain planned to kill one third of its wild badger population–about 100,000 badgers–in order to slow the spread of bovinetuberculosis; critics of the plan argued that slaughtering badgers will speed the spread of bovine tuberculosis.The GuardianMad cow disease was found in Alabama,The New York Timeswhere three college students were arrested for setting nine churches on fire. One of the students, Benjamin Moseley, was planning to appear in a school theater production called “Young Zombies in Love.”The New York TimesA sociology professor at Suffolk University, Boston, was suspended after being caught browsing Internetporn sites while teaching a class; he was unaware that his computer was connected to a display behind him.7News BostonIn Licking County, Ohio, a man was accused of making 2,623 obscene phone calls over 20 days,SFGate.comand in Arizona a 52-year-old Deputy Fire Chief named Leroy Johnson was seen dragging a lamb into a neighbor’s barn. The lambâ??s owner, Alan Goats, entered the barn to confront Johnson. “You caught me, Alan,” said Johnson, zipping up his wet pants. “I tried to fuck your sheep.” Police described the victim as small, gray, three feet tall, and four feet long.The Smoking GunTwo British preschools were criticized for having children sing “Baa baa rainbow sheep.” “There are much better ways,” said a representative of another preschool, “of addressing these issues.”BBC NewsDetails from recently released Guantánamo Bay transcripts continued to emerge. “We lost our goats,” explained one prisoner. “That’s why we were looking through binoculars.”The Christian Science MonitorYanni was arrested for allegedly hitting his girlfriend.The Smoking Gun

The Cassini spacecraft, said NASA, found what appeared to be water on Saturn’s moon Enceladus.The Washington PostThe Nigerian government, hoping to avoid the panic and rioting that broke out during the eclipse of 2001, warned its citizens that they may experience “psychological discomfort” during the eclipse of March 29.Reuters via Yahoo! NewsSlobodan Milosevic died of a heart attack in prison at the Hague; it was unclear whether his death was a murder, a suicide, or from natural causes.Bloomberg NewsVenezuela debuted a new flag. “The white horse,” explained President Hugo Chavez, “is now liberated, free, vigorous, trotting toward the left.”CNN.comIn Chicago between 300,000 and 500,000 people marched to protest a House bill that calls for increased border protection to limit immigration,CBS2Chicago.netand Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano ordered more soldiers to patrol the Mexican border. “We are not,” she said, “at war with Mexico.”The Washington PostTwo more bodies from the Hurricane Katrina disaster were found in New Orleans.ABC News OnlineA Dutchstudy found that 50 percent of the products returned to stores for malfunctions actually work fine but are just too complicated to use.ReutersAl Qaeda was communicating via social networking website MySpace.com,ABC Newsand a Pentagon-funded medical consortium, researching techniques to regenerate body parts, was hoping to create a working finger within five years.The Charlotte Observer

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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.

Photograph (detail) by Karine Laval

Age at death last March of the sturgeon Nikita, Khrushchev’s gift to Norway, after an accidental immersion in salt water:

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