Weekly Review — August 13, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

The U.S. government responds to an alleged terrorist plot, Ramadan ends in violence in parts of the Muslim world, and Swedish men guard their testicles from pacu fish

Saluting the Town (Weekly)The U.S. government reopened 18 diplomatic posts that it had closed across the Middle East after allegedly intercepting details of a planned attack in communications between Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Nasser al-Wuhayshi. The U.S. consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, remained closed, as did the U.S. embassy in Yemen, whose government claimed that it had, and had not, thwarted an Al Qaeda plot to take over an oil terminal, blow up oil pipelines, and kidnap foreign workers. “Everybody is feeling that there is something going on,” said a human rights advocate in Sana‘a, “but nobody knows what.”[1][2][3][4] Defense attorneys advising Major Nidal Hasan, who is representing himself in his trial for killing 13 people at Fort Hood Army Base in 2009, asked to be relieved of their duties because they believed Hasan was surreptitiously seeking the death penalty. “This has got to be torture,” said a former Army prosecutor, “particularly if you’re opposed to capital punishment.”[5] The White House canceled a planned summit between Barack Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin. “They slip back into Cold War thinking and Cold War mentality,” said Obama during an appearance on The Tonight Show. “I continually say to them and to President Putin: ‘That’s the past.’ ”[6] Mikhail Gorbachev announced that he wasn’t dead.[7] The White House press corps asked no questions about reforms to National Security Agency surveillance practices at a press conference called to discuss reforms to NSA surveillance practices.[8] At a speech by Obama in Phoenix, the audience interrupted to sing “Happy Birthday” to the president, while protesters outside shouted, “He’s 47 percent negro!” and “Bye, Bye, Black Sheep.” “He’s divided all the races,” said a demonstrator. “I hate him for that.”[9][10] Curiosity sang “Happy Birthday” to itself on Mars.[11]

In Jonglei, South Sudan, 328 people were reported to have been killed during two weeks of fighting between the army, rebel soldiers, and rival tribes; in Konduga, Nigeria, suspected members of Boko Haram shot and killed 44 people while they prayed at a mosque; in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, a remote-controlled bomb killed seven women and seven children as they visited the gravesite of a family member; in Quetta, Pakistan, a suicide bombing at a police officer’s funeral killed at least 30 people; in Adra, Syria, government troops killed 62 members of an opposition militia in a desert ambush and left their bodies in the sand; and across Iraq, a string of car bombs detonated on Eid al-Fitr, killing at least 61. “We had a terrible day,” said the owner of a shoe store whose windows were shattered, “that was supposed to be nice.”[12][13][14][15][16][17][18] Authorities rescued California teenager Hannah Anderson and killed her abductor, James Lee DiMaggio, in Idaho’s Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.[19] Interim Egyptian president Adli Mansour declared that international diplomacy had failed in Egypt.[20] The king of Morocco retracted a pardon inadvertently granted to a Spanish pedophile.[21] An American surgeon vacationing in Florence accidentally severed a finger from a statue of the Virgin Mary.[22] Breton farmers smashed tens of thousands of eggs to protest their cheapness.[23][24] Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger was found guilty of 31 racketeering charges that encompassed the murders of 11 people. “Rat-a-tat-tat, Whitey!” shouted a woman in the courtroom.[25] The New York Times sold the Boston Globe for 6 percent of its 1993 purchase price, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post for 1 percent of his net worth.[26][27] A recording was leaked of a conversation between a former Ron Paul aide and Jesse Benton, who worked for Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign and is now managing the re-election campaign of Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.). “Between you and me,” said Benton, “I’m sort of holding my nose for two years.”[28]

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

Correction: Spaniards, not Germans, were found to have the most organized fridges in Europe. 

American hog farmers were struggling to contain porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, which has killed thousands of piglets across 16 states.[29] Thames Water completed the removal of a 16.5-ton mound consisting of food grease and wet wipes from a sewage drain in a suburb of London. “We reckon it has to be the biggest such berg,” said the company’s waste-contracts supervisor, “in British history.”[30] A hamburger made from lab-grown beef was eaten in London. “It’s close to meat,” said one of the testers. “I would have said if it was disgusting.”[31] Germans were found to have the most organized fridges in Europe.[32][Correction] Scientists hypothesized that Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, which has killed nearly half of the 94 people infected, might be transmitted via contact with one-humped camels.[33] A 69-year-old Englishwoman named Penny Freeman and her brother were trapped in their home for four days by a family of seagulls that pecked on their windows and vomited on them when they tried to leave.[34] The Edinburgh Fringe Fest held a Ginger Pride rally, and a film society in Pordenone, Italy, discovered Too Much Johnson, Orson Welles’s first professional film.[35][36] Swedish men were advised against skinny-dipping after a pacu fish was discovered in Øresund Sound. “They bite because they’re hungry,” said a Danish ichthyologist. “And testicles sit nicely in their mouths.”[37]


Sign up and get the Weekly Review delivered to your inbox every Tuesday morning.

Share
Single Page

More from Ryann Liebenthal:

From the July 2015 issue

Bleakness Stakes

Weekly Review May 19, 2015, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

An Amtrak train derails, a Bangladeshi blogger is hacked to death, and an African-American boy who was maced at an anti–police-brutality protest is grateful he wasn’t shot

Weekly Review February 17, 2015, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

A Muslim family is killed over a parking space in North Carolina, Netflix launches in Cuba, and an Indian woman who is 95 percent genetically male gives birth to twins

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

August 2016

Atlas Aggregated

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Origins of Speech

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Four in Verse

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Sigh and a Salute

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Four in Prose

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Don the Realtor

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
Martin Amis on the rise of Trump, Tom Wolfe on the origins of speech, Art Spiegelman on Si Lewen, fiction by Diane Williams, and more

In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.

Illustration by Darrel Rees
Article
Don the Realtor·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"If you have ever wondered what it’s like, being a young and avaricious teetotal German-American philistine on the make in Manhattan, then your curiosity will be quenched by The Art of the Deal."
Photograph (detail) © Polly Borland/Exclusive by Getty Images
Article
The Origins of Speech·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"To Chomsky...every child’s language organ could use the 'deep structure,' 'universal grammar,' and 'language acquisition device' he was born with to express what he had to say, no matter whether it came out of his mouth in English or Urdu or Nagamese."
Illustration (detail) by Darrel Rees. Source photograph © Miroslav Dakov/Alamy Live News
Article
A Sigh and a Salute·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Si told me that various paintings had spoken to him, but he wished they had been hung closer together 'so they could talk to each other.' This observation planted a seed that would come to fruition years later in his mature work."
Artwork (detail) by Si Lewen
Article
El Bloqueo·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Amid the festivities and the flood of celebrities, it would be easy for Americans to miss that the central plank of the long-standing cold war against Cuba — the economic embargo — remains very much alive and well."
Photograph (detail) by Rose Marie Cromwell

Amount traders on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange can be fined for fighting, per punch:

$1,000

Philadelphian teenagers who want to lose weight also tend to drink too much soda, whereas Bostonian teenagers who drink too much soda are likelier to carry guns.

Nuremberg’s Neues Museum filed a criminal complaint against a 91-year-old woman who completed a crossword puzzle that was in fact a $116,000 piece of avant-garde Danish art.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Mississippi Drift

By

Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'

Subscribe Today