Weekly Review — August 15, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: a very upset, poisoned cat.]

Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman lost the DemocraticSenate primary election to anti-Iraq-war candidate Ned Lamont. Lieberman then announced that he would run as an independent candidate, and that “Team Connecticut” would “surge forward to victory.” Vice President Dick Cheney said that Lamont’s victory was encouraging to “Al Qaeda types.”Chicago Sun-TimesUnder pressure from U.S. officials, authorities in the United Kingdom announced the discovery of a terrorist plot to blow up as many as ten passenger planes in the air, possibly by using explosive liquids hidden inside sports-drink bottles. Twenty-one suspects were arrested. Britain raised its threat level to “critical”; the United States raised its threat level “for all commercial flights flying from the United Kingdom to the United States” to “red.” Carry-on luggage was banned on flights in and out of Heathrow airport, and classical and traditional musicians, who normally keep their fragile instruments with them while traveling, were forced to check them as baggage and risk damage. “These restrictions,” said a cellist, “are a disaster for me.” Bagpipers planning to attend the World Pipe Band Championships were particularly worried about the effects of the ban. Prime Minister Tony Blair, on vacation in the Caribbean, thanked U.K. security services for their “hard work,” and President George W. Bush, who had been monitoring the progress of the investigation while on vacation in Crawford, Texas (where he was reading The Stranger, by Albert Camus), flew to Wisconsin and called the arrests “a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists.”The New York TimesBBC NewsBush’s approval rating once again fell to 33 percent,MSNBCReady.govABC NewsBBC NewsBreitbart.comAMNBC News via MSNBCABC 7 Newsand light, sweet crude was trading at $76.98 per barrel.BBC NewsThe Federal Reserve allowed the U.S. interest rate to remain at 5.25 percent.Bloomberg.comCoke and Pepsi were banned in the state of Kerala, India, because of their high levels of pesticide residue,MSN.co.inand Scotland banned the sale of swords, with religious swords exempted.BBC News

Astronomers were trying to decide whether Pluto was or was not a planet. “So far,” said an astronomer, “it looks like a stalemate.”CNN.comHezbollah accepted a U.N. ceasefire resolution, and agreed to allow Lebanese and U.N. troops to serve as peacekeepers in southern Lebanon.CNN.comAriel Sharon’s cerebral condition was reportedly growing worse.CNN.comIn Queens, New York, a cat named Fred Wheezy, a recipient of the New York City Police Department’s Law Enforcement Achievement Award, was struck and killed by a car.The New York TimesCuban leader Fidel Castro, it was reported, looked good after surgery, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez visited his bedside. “I ask you all to be optimistic,” said Castro in a statement, “and at the same time to be ready to face any adverse news.” BBC NewsIranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was writing a blog.Times OnlineReuters via Yahoo! NewsGünter Grass announced that he had once been a member of the Nazi SS.Telegraph.co.ukA Hiroshima man was arrested for making 37,760 silent phone calls to directory assistance because he wanted “to hear these women’s voices.”The AustralianIt was pointed out that the United States has been fighting in Iraq for as long as it fought Germany during World War II.The Chicago Tribune

Spain,Sicily, and North Africa were on jellyfish alert, with over 30,000 people stung so far this summer. The jellyfish explosion, a researcher explained, is due to overfishing and global warming.BBC NewsAmerica Online released the search query data of 658,000 people to the Web, then pulled the information because it could be used to violate user privacy. User 88112, for instance, searched for “christian beliefs and sex outside of marrigae” and “penis abnormalities in children,” while user 843043 searched for “fungal meningitis and coma” and “eastercookie recipe for jesus’ suffering.” “This,” said an AOL representative, “was a screw up.”eWeekIt was reported that NASA had lost the original high-resolution tapes of the July 1969 moon landing.AOL Log SearchThe IndependentIn Texas a truck carrying zoo animals overturned, immediately killing one penguin; three more penguins were killed by oncoming traffic. The octopus was not harmed.The GuardianMarine biologists discovered a huge hypoxic “dead zone” off the Oregon coast. “We can’t be sure what happened to all the fish,” said a researcher, “but it’s clear they are gone.”Science DailyIn Florida a man was missing after a large turtle pulled him into the sea,Local6.comand, for the first time in over 60 years, a corpse flower bloomed in New York City.Chron.com

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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.

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