Weekly Review — June 25, 2012, 9:12 pm

Weekly Review

americanmastiff350 Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was declared the winner of the election to succeed ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, thereby becoming the country’s first democratically elected leader. Tens of thousands of Egyptians celebrated the announcement in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where they had assembled to protest recent decrees by the country’s high court and Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that dissolved parliament, implemented martial law, and stripped the presidency of most of its powers. “The onus now is on the new president to unite the nation,” said a military source, “and to rebuild the country economically and politically.” Protesters vowed to continue occupying the square until parliament was reinstated, and analysts expressed skepticism that Morsi, who earned the nickname “spare tire” during the campaign, would be able to govern effectively. “Meet Egypt’s next non-president,” said one scholar.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] Egyptian media reported that Mubarak was comatose, on life support, clinically dead, and much improved.[8][9] In Pakistan, the chief justice of the supreme court fired the prime minister and dismantled the country’s cabinet.[10][11] In Paraguay, Congress fast-tracked impeachment proceedings against President Fernando Lugo and voted to remove him from office.[12] In Greece, it was announced that newly elected prime minister Antonis Samaras and his incoming finance minister would miss an upcoming European Union summit because of eye surgery and hospitalization for fainting, respectively.[13] Greece was defeated by Germany in the quarterfinals of the Euro 2012 soccer championship. “Without Angie,” chanted Germany’s fans, referring to German chancellor Angela Merkel, “you wouldn’t be here.”[14]

Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 counts related to his sexual abuse of ten boys. After the jury was sequestered, Sandusky’s youngest son revealed that he had also been sexually abused by his father.[15][16] North Carolina’s state legislature aborted plans to compensate victims of the state’s forced-sterilization program. “If you start compensating people who have been victimized by past history,” explained a state senator, “I don’t know where that would end.”[17] An online weapons dealer who sold a handgun and other equipment used in three U.S. mass shootings since 2007 was found to have ceased operations; the Florida police chief who failed to arrest George Zimmerman for the shooting of Trayvon Martin was fired; and Ron Barber, the former congressional aide who almost died in the shooting that wounded Gabrielle Giffords, assumed her seat in the House of Representatives.[18][19][20] A House panel voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for failing to divulge documents related to Operation Fast and Furious, a gun-trafficking investigation during which federal agents lost track of more than 2,000 weapons that were eventually obtained by drug cartels.[21] The Mexican government accidentally arrested a used-car-dealership employee it had misidentified as the son of the country’s top fugitive drug lord, and a New Mexico district judge ruled legal Southwest Companions, a prostitution website run by a retired Fairleigh Dickinson University physics professor and a former president of the University of New Mexico.[22][23] The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5–4 to reverse a Montana Supreme Court decision preventing the Citizens United decision from being applied to state campaign-finance laws, and struck down several key provisions of a controversial Arizona immigration law while sustaining a requirement that law-enforcement officials review the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally. “I would have preferred,” said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of the Arizona decision, “to see the Supreme Court give more latitude to the states, not less.”[24][25][26]

Romney turned down an invitation to speak at a convention of the National Association of Black Journalists, and a Politico reporter was suspended for saying Romney is comfortable only around white people.[27][28] The Vatican hired a Fox News correspondent as a media adviser.[29] A Wisconsin woman attacked her husband for having copies of The Onion newspaper in his car, and a Massachusetts cyclist was attacked by a man wielding sausage links.[30][31] Some 20 Zimbabwean legislators were circumcised in the country’s parliament building, and President Robert Mugabe’s motorcade, known in Zimbabwe as “Bob and the Wailers,” was involved in its third fatal crash of the past two weeks, smashing into a commuter bus and killing at least one person. “It was a minor crash& we regret death of few who died,” tweeted a spokesman for Mugabe’s political party.[32][33][34] An online campaign to create a vacation fund for a Rochester, New York, school-bus monitor who was seen being verbally abused by teenage boys in a widely circulated cell-phone video raised about $600,000, while a thank-you campaign for the man who organized the fund raised $4,000.[35][36] A Michigan lawmaker who was barred from speaking on the floor of the state legislature after she used the word “vagina” during debate performed The Vagina Monologues on the statehouse steps, and a Chinese TV news program apologized for reporting the discovery of a rare double-headed mushroom known as taisui lingzhi after the object was revealed to have been an artificial vagina and anus. “Our reporter is still very young and unwise to the ways of the world,” read the show’s apology. Confusion was found to be beneficial to learning.[37][38][39]

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For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing — for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now — for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco — well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations — half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime minister’s lair — became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.

One Friday evening, the refugees’ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: “We don’t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!” The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.

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