Weekly Review — June 9, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

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

President Barack Obama visited Cairo and addressed the Muslim world in a 55-minute speech that the White House arranged to be televised, text-messaged in four languages, and posted to Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter. Obama quoted from the Koran, spoke in Arabic, recognized Palestine, and said that “the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.” He visited the Sphinx and pyramids, then spent a night at the desert stallion farm of Saudi Arabian King Abdullah, who presented him with the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit, a thick gold chain with a very large medallion. “Goodness gracious,” said Obama of the necklace. “That’s something there.” He went on to Europe, where he visited Buchenwald with Elie Wiesel, commemorated D-Day in Normandy, and declined a dinner invitation from French President Nicolas Sarkozy in order to eat alone with First Lady Michelle Obama. New York TimesNew York TimesWashington PostChicago TribuneCNNTimesObama warned North Korea, amid reports that Kim Jong-il had named his youngest son Jong-un as his successor, not to pursue “provocative actions.” Little is known about Jong-un, who is believed to be 26 years old and who reportedly learned English, French, and German at a Swiss school, where, if he did attend, he was known as Park Chol; he is also said to have a “dictatorial streak like his father” and to enjoy skiing.ReutersNew York Times

A 31-year-old Yemeni detainee at Guantanamo Bay who had been imprisoned since 2002 committed suicide.Pentagon officials would not provide details about the detainee’s death, but it is known that he was on a hunger strike and thus held in the psychiatric ward, where he was force-fed in a restraint chair and likely kept sedated. “They harbored some hope that President Obama would move swiftly to resolve the situation,” said David Remes, a lawyer who represents 16 other Yemeni detainees, “but they canâ??t see any progress so far or any light at the end of the tunnel.”New York TimesFifteen hundred progressives–a thousand fewer than last year–gathered in Washington, D.C., for the America’s Future Now conference (formerly known as the Take Back America conference), where activists lamented that liberals had lost their fervor. “Obama is making us stupid,” said Naomi Klein. “Love can make you stupid.” Washington PostWith Nancy Reagan, dressed in a bright red pantsuit, beside him, her hand nestled in the crook of his arm, Obama signed a proclamation establishing the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission. Reagan later visited the Capitol rotunda to attend the unveiling of a seven-foot-tall, 500-pound bronze statue of her late husband, which stands atop a marble pedestal that contains a piece of the Berlin Wall.New York TimesNew York TimesPhotos of topless women and of one naked man at Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s private villa were published in Spain, causing Berlusconi to threaten to sue and further dampening the odds that he will win a Nobel Peace Prize, despite the best efforts of the Berlusconi-for-Nobel committee. “I find it strange that a man like that,” said Nobel laureate Jose Saramago, whose Italian publisher has refused to release his latest book because it describes Berlusconi as a “delinquent,” “hasnâ??t produced a social movement of revulsion in protest at the simple fact that heâ??s ruined the prestige of his country.”New York TimesBBC NewsThe Independent

To prevent any commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, Chinese officials filled the plaza with police officers, shut down 160 websites for “system maintenance,” blocked access to Twitter, and prevented activists from leaving their homes. “They won’t even allow me to go out and buy vegetables,” said Ding Zillin, whose son was killed in the protests. New York TimesA man in Shenzen lost his hand when it was torn off at the wrist during a tug-of-war match at a beach,Ananovaand researchers who recently learned that a fluid excreted by maggots helps the bugs consume decaying flesh, said wounds would one day be treated with an ointment that contains the “essence of maggot.” National GeographicKung Fu star David Carradine, 72, was found dead in the closet of his Bangkok hotel room with a rope wrapped around his neck and genitals, the apparent victim of an autoerotic mishap. “I can confirm that we found his body, naked, hanging in the closet,” said officer Teerapop Luanseng.ABC NewsOn International Whores Day, prostitutes in Australia marched in protest against the high rates that local newspapers charge when advertisements are placed by sex workers. “I’m paying too much,” said whore Ivy McIntosh, “for a measly two inches.”The New York TimesSay What?A French court ruled that contestants on the reality show Temptation Island are employed workers entitled to overtime payments, a 35-hour work week, and vacation. “Temptation Island constitutes a job and therefore justifies an employment contract,” said the court. “Tempting a person of the opposite sex requires concentration and attention.”BBC

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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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