Weekly Review — August 16, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

An angry-looking, monkey-like creature showing its teeth.
A kinkajou, 1886.

A cholera epidemic struck refugees fleeing a famine in southern Somalia that has killed an estimated 29,000 children so far. Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu reported 181 deaths as well as symptoms in more than 4,000 people, three quarters of them under the age of five.New York TimesIRIN NewsActivists said that Syrian government forces had killed at least 50 people in five cities, antigovernment militias in Libya advanced into the cities of Zawiya and Gharyan, and hundreds of thousands of Israelis demonstrated against such social injustices as inadequate housing, despite government approval of 1,600 new units in an East Jerusalem Haredi neighborhood and 277 homes in a West Bank settlement. “If there was a project for Arabs in East Jerusalem, we’d approve that too,” said Interior Minister Eli Yishai of the Shas party.AP via Globe and MailAPAPNew York TimesAPAPGuardianJerusalem PostJersualem PostReuters via Daily StarLondon police charged nearly 600 people in conjunction with riots that took place across four nights in the U.K. capital.APThe U.S. Army reported that 32 soldiers committed suicide during the month of July, the highest number since figures started being released in 2009.Washington PostA series of explosions in more than 15 Iraqi cities killed at least 60 people, six suicide bombers killed 22 people in an attack on a provincial governor’s compound in Afghanistan, and an F-16 strike wiped out the Taliban insurgents who killed 38 Afghan and U.S. troops in a rocket attack on a helicopter.AP via NOLA.comAP via Globe and MailAPOld male sparrows rap-battled in tough Ontario neighborhoods, and macaque armies gathered to fight New Delhi’s langur guard.Daily MailScience DailyTimes of IndiaIndependent

Scientists failed to differentiate DNA in sperm cocktails, Texas governor Rick Perry became the sixteenth Republican man to declare himself a candidate for president in the 2012 election, and Michele Bachmann won the Republican straw poll in Ames, Iowa. After finishing poorly, Tim Pawlenty withdrew.PLoS oneAP via Washington PostWashington PostCBCCandidate and former CEO Mitt Romney told hecklers at the state fair in Des Moines, “Corporations are people, my friend,” and a Louisiana man told police he exposed his penis to a Ford because he’s aroused by Walmart. The Dow Jones fell 635 points on Monday, rose 430 on Tuesday, fell 520 on Wednesday, and rose 423 on Thursday. Apple was briefly the world’s most valuable publicly traded company before falling back to second, and narcissists were found to make poor business leaders.New York TimesSmoking GunBarron’sCNETLiveScienceFormer Russian president Vladimir Putin went scuba diving in Phanagoria, site of the “Russian Atlantis.” After finding the remains of two urns at a depth of two meters, he toured a nearby excavation. “Can I take it?” he asked archaeologists upon filching an ancient amphora fragment. “It might be useful in my household.” Critics said the urns had been planted.Ria NovostiGuardianA federal appeals court struck down the requirement in U.S. health-care legislation that all Americans be insured, Barack Obama‘s approval rating dropped below 40 percent for the first time in his presidency, and leftists in Denmark beat up Shepard Fairey, creator of the Obama “HOPE” poster, after calling him “Obama Illuminati.” Fairey declined to file a police report, explaining, “The only thing I could see coming out of it was further media commentary like ‘Street artist whiner Shepard Fairey can’t hold it down in a fight so he snitches to the cops.’”USA TodayLos Angeles TimesGuardian

The Pacific island of Niue announced it would issue coins bearing the images of Star Wars characters, and King Abdullah II of Jordan unveiled plans for a $1.5-billion Star Trek resort.BBCCNETCuba held its first wedding of a gay man and a transgender woman, Prague held its first gay-pride march, “Sesame Street” denied that Bert and Ernie were a couple, and Phillip Hinkle, an antigay Republican state representative from Indiana, was discovered to have offered cash to an 18-year-old man in exchange for spending the night, plus a tip for a really good time.BBCBBCNew York PostIndianapolis StarRaw StoryA Texas jury sentenced religious fundamentalist Warren Jeffs to life in prison for sexually assaulting two girls, aged 12 and 15, who numbered among his 78 wives. A prison guard said Jeffs has been masturbating continuously when not in court, despite eating “[barely] enough to stay alive.”Salt Lake TribuneDailyThe Alaskan coastal hamlet of Kivalina pondered the origins of orange goo, grease devils besieged rural Sri Lanka, and two California nursing-home workers were jailed for pranking coworkers by covering dementia patients with slippery ointment.IndependentReuters via Yahoo!AZCentralIllinois ran out of money for pauper funerals, and the Edgar Allan Poe House in Baltimore faced closure due to inadequate funding.NBC ChicagoNew York TimesSoviet spies were accused of killing Albert Camus, researchers declared that spoilers enhance the enjoyment of reading, and the United States named as its poet laureate Philip Levine, “A tiny wise child who this time will love/his life because it is like no other.”AFP via Raw StoryBBCNew York ObserverMorehead State University

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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

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