Weekly Review — June 6, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Humbug, December 1853]

In Iraq, a car bomb in Basra killed at least 33 people, CNNa mortar attack in southern Baghdad killed 9 people,Yahoo! Newsand 8 U.S. soldiers died.icasualties.orgPolice found 22 bodies with bullet wounds and signs of torture in Baghdad;Reutersnorthwest of the city, at an improvised checkpoint, 19 civilians were dragged from their cars and shot.Kuwait News AgencyTwenty-one Kurds and Shiites, many of them high school students, were ordered off a bus and executed in Ain Laila.Belleville News DemocratIn Baquba 7 policemen were killed,BBCand the heads of 8 Sunni men were found in Dole banana boxes.Indian ExpressReutersSix more policemen were killed in Mosul.Kuwait News AgencyA Baghdad pet market was bombed, killing 5 people and several doves.Guardian UnlimitedCanada.comIt was reported that a U.S. Marine had been traumatized by his experiences cleaning up and documenting the alleged massacre of civilians by other marines in Haditha. “He called me many times,” said the marine’s mother, “about carrying this little girl in his hands and her brains splattering on his boots.”Los Angeles TimesA U.S. soldier was sentenced to 90 days’ hard labor for threatening a prisoner at Abu Ghraib with a dog in 2003. “You can . . . end up losing the whole dang war,” said the prosecuting attorney, “basically for boneheaded decisions and misjudgments.”The Washington PostThe United States announced that it would join 5 other nations in demanding that Iran immediately suspend uranium-enrichment activities, although the country would in the future be allowed to develop some civilian nuclear technologies. Iran said it would refuse to engage in talks unless all conditions were dropped, and Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the United States could endanger its oil supply if it makes a “wrong move” toward Iran.The Washington PostAPThe Daily StarIran’s military was reported to have planned a campaign of decentralized guerilla warfare in the event of a U.S. invasion, The Washington Timesand oil rose to $73 a barrel.AP via Drudge ReportJohn Allen Muhammad, the Beltway Sniper, was sentenced to 6 consecutive life sentences.Baltimore Sun

It was determined that New Orleans was sinking faster than previously thought.BreitbartA potent drug cocktail killed at least 48 people in Detroit,Detroit Free Pressmonsoon storms killed more than 40 people in and around Bombay,Daily Timesand an earthquake in Iran killed one little girl.Daily TimesPresident George W. Bush named Goldman Sachs Group Chairman Henry Paulson Jr as the new Secretary of the Treasury,The Washington Postand an Ohio coin dealer named John Noe pleaded guilty to charges that he illegally funneled more than $45,000 to Bush’s reelection campaign.The Mercury NewsBritish police were patrolling seaports and airports in order to prevent football hooligans from attending the World Cup in Berlin, This is Londonand the European Court of Justice ruled that E.U. airlines are not required to provide passenger data to the United States.BBCCalifornia Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered 1,000 National Guard soldiers to the Mexican border.The Los Angeles TimesThe United States declared a moratorium on wind farms in Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.PhysOrg.comTed Nugent denied both poking his erect penis through a map of West Virginia and urinating on a nun.Belfast TelegraphIt was reported that Umberto Billo, a Venetian hotel porter, had slept with 8,000 women,New York Daily Newsand the worldwide rate of HIV infections stabilized for the first time in history.BreitbartMontenegro declared independence from Serbia,Chron.comand the first wild bear seen in Germany since 1835 continued to attack farm animals and elude capture. “For security purposes,” said Bavarian Environment Minister Werner Schnappauf, “the permission to open fire must be maintained.” Authorities said the brother of the bear had killed Swisssheep last summer.Fox NewsElizabeth Taylor denied reports that her health was failing,Breitbartand archaeologists in Romedug up a 3,000-year-old female skeleton.The New York Times

Researchers studying a shipwreck off Cape Cod discovered the remains of a nine-year-old pirate named John King,Los Angeles Timesa zoo in Vancouver was charged with cruelty to a hippo,The Calgary Sunand officials in south India said that they had captured an alcohol-abusing, homicidal rogue elephant named Master Killer.New KeralaThe PeninsulaIn Chinadoctors were trying to determine which left arm to remove from a three-armed baby.BBCIn New Jersey a 13-year-old girl was arrested for attempting to kill her 91-year-old neighbor;The Press of Atlantic Cityin Washington, D.C., a 13-year-old girl won the Scripps National Spelling Bee by correctly spelling “Ursprache”;ABC Newsand in New York City a 13-year-old girl (who may be an exotic dancer) abducted a 3-year-old boy.7Online.comDutchpedophiles founded a political party that will push to lower the Netherlands’ age of consent from 16 to 12, and eventually to scrap it altogether. “A ban,” said a party co-founder, “just makes children curious.” ReutersBritishscientists powered a small fan by feeding chocolate to bacteria, New Scientist Techan Ohio man was awarded a patent for a cordless jump rope,local6.comand a Japaneseacoustics expert recreated the voice of the Mona Lisa. “My true identity,” said the virtual Mona Lisa, “is shrouded in mystery.”Yahoo! NewsPakistan banned The Da Vinci Code. “Degradation of any prophet,” said Minister of Culture Ghulam Jamal, “is tantamount to defamation of the rest.” Yahoo! NewsTwo people died when a plane owned by Pat Robertson crashed off the coast of Connecticut,Bloombergand a snake bit a woman at a Wal-Mart in Florida. “Thank goodness for sweat pants with elastic,” said the woman, “because he tried to climb up my britches’ leg.”WFTV.comA woman married a cobra in the Indian state of Orissa. “Though snakes cannot speak or understand,” said the bride, “we communicate in a peculiar way.”BreitbartA senior citizens’ community in Washington was overrun by marmots.Yakima Herald-RepublicA cave in Israel was found to contain a complete ecosystem that had been sealed off for millions of years, National GeographicgGeologists identified the impact site of a giant meteor that is suspected of having wiped out most life on earth a quarter-billion years ago, BBCand an international team of scientists announced that the North Pole was once an ice-free area with tropical temperatures. “Basically,” explained palaeoecologist Appy Sluijs, “it looks like the earth released a gigantic fart of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.”BBCIt was declared that Batwoman will be a lesbian.BBC

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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.

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“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.”
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