Weekly Review — February 1, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

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

In Egypt tens of thousands of antigovernment demonstrators, inspired by the fall of Tunisia’s dictatorship, defied curfews for a week to demand that President Hosni Mubarak step down after 29 years in power. President Obama urged Egypt, America’s closest ally in the Arab world, to refrain from violence against protesters, some of whom had faced tear gas and water cannons, and said he would review U.S. aid to Egypt, currently estimated at $1.5 billion annually, but Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, who emerged as an opposition leader, criticized the United States for not calling for Mubarak’s resignation. In a failed effort to appease critics, Mubarak arranged the resignation of his cabinet, appointed a new prime minister and, for the first time in his tenure, a vice president. The stock market, banks, and shops remained closed, and Egyptians were facing shortages of food and gas. The country’s Internet and cell-phone services were abruptly cut off, and the Chinese government blocked the search term “Egypt” from Twitter-like microblogs. After looters ripped the heads off two mummies at Cairo’s Egyptian Museum, home to the King Tutankhamun collection, bystanders formed a human chain around the building; armed troops were then dispatched to protect the museum, the Pyramids of Giza, and the temple city of Luxor. Demonstrators also gathered in the Jordanian capital of Amman to protest low wages and high unemployment. King Abdullah II responded by firing his cabinet.Mother JonesNew York TimesNew York TimesWashington PostAPCNNAPNew York TimesCNNA Florida mother killed her two teenagers for being “mouthy.”CNN

President Obama delivered a State of the Union address in which he begged Americans to “win the future” with technological and scientific innovation. “This is our generation’s ‘Sputnik’ moment,” he declared, comparing competition with China and India to the space race of the 1950s and ’60s; the nation marked the 25th anniversary of the Challenger space shuttle disaster.Washington PostAP via Wall Street JournalA New York City taxi exploded, then was issued a ticket for impeding traffic.Huffington PostIn China, where the suicide rate among senior citizens was found to have tripled over the past decade, the Civil Affairs Ministry introduced legislation that would require adult children to regularly visit their elderly parents.New York TimesRep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio) filed a $150,000 lawsuit against the House cafeteria for selling him a wrap containing an unpitted olive, and Malawi was preparing to outlaw public farting.Washington PostTime.comIran hanged two men who took videos of post-election protests in 2009, and sentenced to death two others for running porn sites. In Arlington, Texas, club owners were scrambling to find 10,000 more strippers to accommodate Super Bowl visitors.CNNAFPNew York Daily NewsHouse Republicans sought to restrict the use of federal funds to pay for abortions by redefining rape; under current law, pregnancies resulting from rape can be terminated with government support, but under the new law only “forcible” rape would be covered, excluding statutory and other kinds of rape.ABC NewsAdolph Hitler’s last surviving bodyguard announced that because of his advanced age he would no longer be replying with autographed photos to the continuous stream of fan mail he still receives.Reuters

Ugandan gay-rights advocate David Kato, whose photo was recently included in an antigay newspaper article under the headline “Hang Them,” was killed with a hammer.New York TimesAn Arkansas supermarket used a “family shield” to “protect young shoppers” from a magazine cover showing a photo of Elton John, his male partner, and their baby, and Walmart started selling anti-aging cosmetics for 8- to 12-year-olds.The WeekThe WeekLaw-enforcement officials across the country were alarmed by an increase in the number of people snorting, injecting, and smoking bath salts, which can lead to hallucinations and suicidal urges, and Mexican smugglers were arrested after trying to hurl drugs north over the U.S. border using a giant trebuchet.Washington PostReutersRep. Jack Kingston (R., Ga.) told Bill Maher that he doesn’t accept evolution: “I don’t believe that a creature crawled out of the sea and became a human being one day.”Huffington PostBritish researchers determined that Tyrannosaurus rex was indeed a hunter, not a scavenger as recently suspected.Science DailyA grand piano mysteriously appeared on a sandbar in Biscayne Bay, Florida, and The World, an archipelago of man-made islands off the coast of Dubai that are shaped like the countries of the world, was sinking.The Miami HeraldThe 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.

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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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