Weekly Review — June 5, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

“Into the palace parlor they stepped; her hand in his paw the old bruin kept,” 1875

Thirty-seven American soldiers were killed in Iraq, ending the deadliest month for U.S. forces in the past two-and-a-half years. U.S. military commanders were negotiating cease-fires with Iraqi militants, Turkish troops shelled northern Iraq, and in Baghdad the country’s preeminent calligrapher was shot to death. icasualties.orgAP via breitbart.comAP via International Herald TribuneBBCIraq was found to be the world’s 121st least peaceful country out of 121 countries; the United States ranked 96, below Yemen but above Iran.BBCThe crowd at the Miss Universe competition in Mexico City booed Miss America,breitbart.tvand in Crawford, Texas, Cindy Sheehan resigned as the “‘face’ of the American anti-war movement.” “Good-bye America,” wrote Sheehan. “You are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.”Daily KosParis Hilton went to jail and, according to family members, “breaks down crying a lot because she can’t deal with the reality and the pressure.”AP via local6.comHundreds of men serving life terms in Italian prisons demanded to be put to death. “We are tired of dying a little bit every day,” said the inmates in a letter to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. “We have decided to die just once.”The News (Pakistan)Jack Kevorkian was released from prison,AP via Washington Postand Damien Hirst unveiled a diamond-encrusted human skull valued at $100,000,000.BBCRussian President Vladimir Putin threatened to point his country’s missiles at Washington and Europe,ReutersChina and India were preparing to race to the moon,Financial Timesand a Polish man who had been comatose since Communist rule awoke. BBC

Adults and children in the European Union were getting fatter,AP via Yahoo!NEWSand a judge in New Delhi ruled that government-employed air hostesses had to lose weight. “If by perseverance, the snail could reach the Ark,” said Justice Rekha Sharma, “why can’t these worthy ladies stand on and turn the scale”; farther south, in Agra, a mob of lawyers stripped a low-caste youth, tied him to a tree, shaved his head, spat on his face, and beat him. “No one,” said Bar Council of India Vice President Rajendra Raghuvanshi, “can take law in their hands.”BBCTimes of IndiaSex stimulants were banned in Australianprisons.Daily Telegraph (Australia)Argentineresearchers used Viagra to treat jet lag in hamsters,Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Wichita Eagleand in New York, a psychologist named Gordon Gallup announced that semen may be a powerful and addictive antidepressant for women.Psychology TodayAn Italiandoctor built vaginas for two women who lacked them due to Mayer-von Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome,Reuters via ABC (Australia)Serb farmers were exchanging cows for penis-enlargementsurgery,Independent Onlineand an Egyptian jurist at Al-Azhar University was disciplined for issuing a fatwa that permitted women to breastfeed adult men. BBCJapanese engineers unveiled a gray-skinned child-android with the physical abilities of a toddler,Yomiuri Shimbunand a robot was assigned to guard duty at a South Korean school. The robot, said DU Robo CEO Kang Jung-Won, “will alert officials when it detects someone trying to seduce a student.”AFP via The AgeDuke University lost the the men’s NCAA lacrosse championship.AP via local6.com

Nazi-released raccoons continued to wreak havoc from the Baltic Sea to the Alps. “We like the United States of America,” said retired German orthodontist Dieter Hoffmann, “but we do not like your Waschbaeren!”Washington Post via Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionPeruvianscientists were concerned that an itinerant penguin from Chile “could suffer discrimination” among Peru’s penguins,BBCa family in England claimed that they were being chased out of their neighborhood because they are redheads,BBCand a family in Morocco were evicted from the toilet where they had lived for several years. “When he came home,” said the mother of her son, “he would cry and asked me why we lived in the toilet.”BBCElephants were fleeing war in Sri Lanka, while at least one elephant in eastern India was robbing motorists.Reuters via Daily Times (Pakistan)ReutersBattalions of macaques were attacking the houses of Indian congressmen. “In the name of protection of monkeys,” said an activist, “we cannot afford to be silent spectator to this perennial problem.”Mumbai MirrorScientists in Des Moines, Iowa, talked to apes, who responded by pointing to lexigrams,ABCNewsand it was revealed that young sparrows learn their songs by eavesdropping. UPI via ScienceDailyA group of men in New York City were accused of using GoogleEarth to plot a terrorist attack on underground jet-fuel lines,The Smoking Guna hot-mud volcano in Indonesia had been erupting for one year,Reutersand in the midst of a bright, dusty lava-plain on Mars, astronomers discovered an immensely deep cavern from which no light escapes.HiRISE Operations Center

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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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