Weekly Review — September 18, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Caught in the Web, 1860]
Caught in the Web, 1860.

General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker testified to Congress about progress in the war in Iraq; Crocker summarized 2006 as “a bad year,” but blamed ongoing sectarian violence on Saddam Hussein’s “social deconstruction” of the country. Petraeus cited progress in the Anbar region as evidence that his surge strategy is working. He suggested that one Army brigade might be home for Christmas, and that the surge might be over by next July. Barack Obama proposed removing at least one brigade per month, starting now, until all troops are out by the end of next year. President Bush supported the Petraeus plan, also citing progress in the Anbar Province and his recent meetings with leaders there. WaPoNYTBoston GlobeNYTWaPoUSA TodaySunni sheik Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, the leader of the “Anbar Awakening,” who had recently been photographed shaking Bush’s hand, was assassinated. “His death has squeezed our heart,” said Ali Hatem Ali Suleiman, head of a rival tribal organization. “Now, I swear to God, if we will hear anyone is with Al Qaeda, even if he is still inside his mother’s womb, we will kill him.”BBCWaPoA new British poll estimated that 1.2 million people had died so far in the war, and former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan wished that politicians would admit that the war was “largely aboutoil.” TimesGuardian

Thousands of people joined veterans in an antiwar march in Washington, D.C., at which 189 people were arrested, and Geoff Millard, president of the D.C. chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, urged the peace movement to “take the next step past protest and to resistance.” WaPoA U.S. State Department official speculated that North Korea was helping Syria develop nuclear weapons, NYTand an elite presidential guard unit in the Central African Republic was charged with various atrocities, including summary executions and burning whole villages.NYTBush nominated former federal judge Michael B. Mukasey as Attorney General, WaPoand Russian president Vladimir Putin dissolved his government, appointing a little-known technocrat, Viktor Zubkov, as new Prime Minister.BBCCS MonitorMoscow TimesThe governor of Ulyanovsk, Russia, urged everyone to skip work and make love.Reuters via YahooYale University exhibited tools used by Ivan Pavlov to measure dog drool, including one saliometer given as a gift to the daughter of a Yale professor,Hartford Courantand Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson, an outspoken advocate of Cuban sanctions, defended his large collection of Cuban cigars. “You know,” he said, “if it’s good, I smoke it.” St. Petersberg TimesAt a gala hosted by Mr. Sulu from “Star Trek,” the Japanese American Citizens League saluted Sen. Larry Craig (R., Idaho), and tourists flocked to the airport men’s room stall where Craig was recently arrested for attempted cruising. “I checked it out,” said Jon Westby of Minneapolis, who was with his wife, Sally, visiting the stall for his second time. “It’s the second stall from the right.”The HillIdaho Statesman

Arctic ice was found to be melting about ten times faster than in previous years, leaving the Northwest Passage conveniently ice-free.The AustralianAP via GoogleLeftists in Mexico sabotaged oil pipelines for the third time in three months,NYTand tech workers in Seattle threw a luau in Gas Works Park, despite toxic blobs oozing out of the ground nearby. “I’m not afraid of it,” said Tim Chovanak, who works for Safeco. “Just don’t eat the dirt.”Seattle P-IA museum in Argentina exhibited three Incan children perfectly frozen in their sleep 500 years ago. “These are dead people, Indian people,” noted Gabriel E. Miremont, the museum??s director. “It??s not a situation for a party.”NYTPine beetles infested Georgia, webworms infested Maine, and crypto parasites infested swimming pools in Idaho. Atlanta Journal-CourierBoston GlobeIdaho StatesmanFoot-and-mouth disease resurfaced in Surrey, England, BBCand a major outbreak of ebola killed more than 150 people in Congo.BBCNYTScientists predicted that ebola would also kill the last remaining western lowland gorillas.BBCNear Grand Forks, North Dakota, at least 1,600 catfish died of unknown causes, ruining the fishing season, Minneapolis Star Tribuneand evening traffic slowed in Santa Barbara, California, as commuters watched the carcass of a 70-foot blue whale drift south along the highway.FOXLAT

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Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.

Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.

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