Weekly Review — July 20, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: The Wire Master and his puppets, 1875]
The wire master and his puppets, 1875.

BP successfully capped its hemorrhaging Deepwater Horizon wellhead with an 18-foot, 150,000-pound stopper, 86 days after the rig exploded. The Obama Administration pushed for temporarily reopening the cap and piping oil to the surface to ease pressure on the unstable well, but BP dissented. “No one,” said a spokesman, “wants to see any more oil flow into the Gulf of Mexico.” Fishermen learned that the money they’ve earned helping to clean up the spill will be deducted from the amount they will receive from the $20 billion compensation fund set up by BP, and a new poll showed that 73 percent of Americans disagree with President Obama’s six-month ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf, believing the disastrous oil spill to be a “freak accident.”CNNAP via Yahoo NewsBloombergBP admitted that it had lobbied the British government last year on behalf of Libya to secure the release of the only person ever convicted in connection with the Lockerbie bombing, to protect a $900 million oil-and-gas exploration deal off Libyaâ??s coast, and workers excavating the World Trade Center site discovered the keel of an eighteenth-century wooden ship, presumably used as landfill material when Manhattan’s shoreline was expanded.NYTNYTCordoba House, a Muslim community center and mosque planned for part of the redeveloped site, was still sparking debate. “Peaceful Muslims,” tweeted Sarah Palin, “pls refudiate.”WSJNew York TimesDubai’s Al-Arabiya television released the premature farewell video recorded by failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, and British researchers concluded that the chicken came before the egg.WaPoCNN

The Vatican issued a new set of ecclesiastical laws that categorized both the ordaining of women and the sexual abuse of children as “grave crimes,” and Switzerland refused to extradite Roman Polanski to the United States to face charges of having sex with a minor.New York TimesAOL NewsArgentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage. In Guatemala, President Álvaro Colom, who once posited that “God said â??Adan and Eva,â?? not â??Adan and Esteban,â??” apologized. “Esteban,” he said, “I ask you to pardon us for centuries of mistreatment and discrimination.”NYTBy a vote of 335 to 1, France’s lower house of parliament approved a ban on wearing an Islamic full-face veil in public, and fines and jail terms for men who force their wives to wear a burqa.BBCOxytocin, known as the “cuddle chemical” because it helps mothers bond with their babies, was shown to help schizophrenics, and a study found that a male penguin’s voice reveals how good a dad he will be by indicating how fat he is and hence how long he can incubate eggs without needing food. Psych CentralLive Science

Former leader Mark Williams was expelled from the Tea Party movement for writing an imaginary letter to Abraham Lincoln, calling slavery a “great gig” for “us coloreds.” Yahoo NewsWaPoGeorge Steinbrenner died, and Rush Limbaugh reflected that “that cracker made a lot of African-American millionaires. He fired a bunch of white guys as managers left and right.”AP via Fox NewsSewer cleaners were digging out an estimated 1,000 tons of putrid fat from underneath London, and Venezuelan officials exhumed nineteenth-century independence hero Simon BolĂ­var to determine whether he was poisoned by enemies in Colombia. “My God, my God… my Christ, our Christ… This glorious skeleton must be Bolivar because you can feel his presence. My God,” tweeted President Hugo ChĂĄvez.The IndependentReutersScientists speculated that Alexander the Great was poisoned by bacteria from the Styx River, and comic-book artist Harvey Pekar, who chronicled his mundane life in the series American Splendor, died.Discovery NewsLATExposure to antidepressants in the ocean was making shrimp suicidal, causing them to swim toward the light, despite its association with birds and fishermen.i09.comIt was determined that last month was the hottest June on record worldwide and the worst month for Armysuicides since the Vietnam era.CNNCNNAl Qaeda in Mesopotamia issued a fatwa telling its fighters to marry the widows of those who have died for their cause, and Omar bin Laden told a British newspaper that “I would love to meet Drew Barrymore. I am single now and she is the most beautiful woman in Hollywood.”NYT via Times of IndiaThe Telegraph

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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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