Weekly Review — April 28, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: All In My Eye, December 1853]
An American cattleman.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control declared a public-health emergency over an outbreak of swine flu that has infected at least 20 people in California, Kansas, New York, Ohio, and Texas. The virus is believed to have originated in Mexico City, where more than 149 people, all aged between 20 and 40, have died, and at least 1,300 people have gotten sick. Mexico‘s government closed all schools, universities, and zoos, canceled church services, soccer games, and bullfights, and banned visits to beauty salons and juvenile detention centers. Swine flu has been found in Canada, China, France, Israel, New Zealand, and Spain, prompting the World Health Organization to consider raising the pandemic alert level from 3 to 4 out of 6.New York TimesYahoo NewsA hunter in Hawaii was arrested for stabbing to death a couple’s blind pet pig.Honolulu AdvisorThe International Monetary Fund released a report that predicts that the economic crisis will “be deep and long lasting,” that it will result in $4.1 trillion in losses for banks and financial institutions, and that the global economy, now in its first recession since World War II, would shrink by 1.3 percent in 2009. New York TimesBBCDavid Kellerman, the chief financial officer of Freddie Mac, hanged himself. New York TimesPresident Barack Obama convened his first official meeting with his Cabinet and told its members that they must cut spending by $100 million. Few were impressed. “Let’s say,” said economist Paul Krugman, “the administration finds $100 million in efficiencies every working day for the rest of the Obama administration’s first term. That’s still around $80 billion, or around 2 percent of one year’s federal spending.”Washington PostThe Conscience of a Liberal

The Sri Lankan government rejected a call by the Tamil Tigers for a cease-fire, instead demanding the rebel group surrender. Hundreds of Sri Lankan civilians have been killed amid the government’s recent push to wipe out the Tigers, and tens of thousands have been forced into refugee camps; at a hospital where more than 1,700 refugees have arrived seeking aid, one doctor said, “The old don’t seem to make it here. There’s a few. But I think they’re mostly dying on the way.”New York TimesNew York TimesBea Arthur, best known as Maude Findlay of “Maude” and Dorothy Zbornak of “The Golden Girls,” died.The Los Angeles TimesA writer for the Chicago Tribune who had been covering the recession for the paper in a blog titled “The Recession Diaries” was laid off,True/Slantand a live shark was dumped on the doorstep of an Australian newspaper. “We arrived,” said Constable Jarrod Dwyer, “and poured some water on it just to see if it was still breathing and it kicked around for a little while.” AnanovaA supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy billions of light-years away was found to be spewing water vapor. BBCThe U.S. Census Bureau reported that Americans were relocating at the lowest rate since the Bureau began tracking mobility six decades ago.New York TimesResearchers found that ants are better than humans at finding good homes.BBC

Philip Markoff, a 23-year-old medical student in Boston, was arrested on his way to a casino with his fiancée and $1,000 in cash and charged with the murder of one masseuse and the robbery of another, both of whom he arranged to meet via Craigslist. “I think it’s really unfortunate that someone that bright would be in this much trouble,” said professor Frank Hauser, who taught Markoff at SUNY-Albany. “Since I don’t give many A’s, he was obviously an excellent student.”New York TimesWilliam Parente, a New York lawyer believed to have run a Ponzi scheme, gathered his family at a Maryland hotel, then bludgeoned and strangled his wife, Betty, and their two daughters, Stephanie, 19, and Catherine, 11, then slit his wrist and bled to death. Asked whether the economy makes domestic abuse more prevalent, Richard Gelles, a dean at the University of Pennsylvania, said, “The warning sign is when these familicide cases begin to cluster. In the past few months, they have begun to pop off across the country.”MSNBCA Salt Lake City teenager who went to steal a car and was startled to find a police officer sitting inside it, soiled himself. “Yeah,” he told the officer, “I crapped my pants.”Desert NewsA class of eighth graders taunted a moose that had wandered onto the grounds of their Alaskan middle school, frightening the animal so badly that it threw itself against a wall until it died.The FrontiersmanToxic-mining wastes in Idaho were killing tundra swans, which feed on the area’s lead-contaminated roots and tubers. “For me, it’s like bearing witness,” said Kate Healy, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “They die slow, agonizing deaths.”Anchorage Daily News

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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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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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