Weekly Review — November 5, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Syria finishes destroying its chemical-weapons facilities, the United States kills the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, and Axe body spray fells eight New York City students

An American Mastiff.

An American Mastiff.

Syria finished destroying its chemical-weapons production and mixing facilities, and the World Health Organization confirmed the country’s first polio cases since 1999 and warned that the rapid migration prompted by its civil war would likely cause the disease to spread.[1][2] A United Nations official announced plans to convert Jordan’s largest camp for Syrian refugees into a fully functioning city. “At the beginning we counted our exile in months,” said Khaled Zoabi, a refugee interviewed at a men’s social club. “Now maybe decades.”[3] In Beijing, three men suspected of being Xinjian separatists crashed an SUV outside the gates to the Forbidden City, killing themselves and two tourists, and in North Waziristan an American drone strike killed Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban. “Draconian prevention of violent terrorist attacks is part of the mission in maintaining order,” said Communist Party secretary Guo Jinlong. “Every drop of Hakimullah’s blood will turn into a suicide bomber,” said a Taliban spokesman.[4][5][6] An Italian newspaper reported that Russia had given world leaders attending the G20 summit in St. Petersburg earlier this autumn USB drives and mobile-phone chargers designed to download their communications.[7] U.S. National Security Agency director Keith Anderson claimed that European spy agencies had collected and shared with the NSA the phone records of millions of European citizens. “I am persuaded,” said Russia’s foreign minister, “that everyone knew everything.”[8][9] Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden published a “Manifesto for the Truth” in a German newsmagazine and started a tech-support job at a Russian Internet company.[10][11] Forbes magazine named Vladimir Putin the most powerful person in the world.[12]

The judges presiding over the trials for inciting deadly violence of deposed Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and other members of the Muslim Brotherhood stepped down after state security agencies refused to allow the defendants in the courtroom.[13] A federal appeals court blocked an order requiring an independent monitor to oversee the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk program and removed from the case the judge who had ruled that the program violated the civil rights of minorities.[14] Students at Brown University booed New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly off the stage before he could begin a lecture on proactive policing.[15] Nevada assemblyman Jim Wheeler apologized to anyone offended by his assertion that he would vote to institute slavery if asked to do so by his constituents. “That’s what a republic is about,” said Wheeler. “You can live with the consequences.”[16] A 23-year-old man carrying an assault rifle shot and killed a behavior-detection officer for the Transportation Security Administration at the Los Angeles International Airport, and a woman was arrested for attempting to smuggle three pumpkins filled with cocaine into Montreal from Haiti.[17][18] Trick-or-treaters in Casper, Wyoming, discovered condoms among their candy.[19] Irwindale, California, filed a complaint against a hot-sauce factory whose odor it claimed was causing headaches, Dell offered replacement laptops to customers who had complained that their computers smelled of cat urine, and emergency crews hospitalized eight New York City students after responding to a complaint of hazardous fumes that turned out to have been from another student’s Axe body spray.[20][21][22][23]

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In Siberia, a member of the punk band Pussy Riot went missing while being transferred between penal colonies.[24] Edward Bruce Johnson was arrested in Florida after smoking a crack pipe filled with Cialis.[25] The journal Sex Roles published a study finding that both men and women spend more time looking at women’s bodies than at their faces.[26] The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services removed a photograph of a woman’s face from the welcome page for HealthCare.gov, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized before Congress for the flawed launch of the website but said that it was nevertheless functional. “The website never crashed,” said Sebelius, at roughly the same time site users began receiving a message telling them it was down.[27][28] The Federal Aviation Administration revised its rules to allow airplane passengers to use electronic devices during takeoff and landing, a California motorist was given a ticket for driving while wearing Google Glass, and an Arizona truck driver who struck a police officer was reported to have been viewing photographs of prostitutes on his cell phone.[29][30][31] A third of Swedish children responding to a survey said their parents pay too much attention to their smartphones, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that parents limit teenagers’ access to smartphones in their bedrooms. “If you have a 14-year-old boy and he has an Internet connection in his bedroom, he is looking at pornography,” said the policy’s lead author.[32][33] An Ohio grand jury declined to press charges against a couple whose public sex act was photographed and posted on social media. “We should behave,” said the county prosecutor, “as if our family is always watching.”[34]


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Ashley arrived for her prenatal appointment at Black Hills Obstetrics and Gynecology, in Rapid City, South Dakota, wearing a black zip-up hoodie and Converse sneakers.1 To explain her absence from work that morning — a Tuesday in April 2015 — she had told a co-worker that she was having “female issues.” She was twenty-five years old and eight weeks pregnant. She had been separated from her husband, with whom she had a five-year-old son, for the better part of a year. The guy who’d gotten her pregnant was someone she’d met at the gym, and he’d made it abundantly clear that he wanted nothing more to do with her. Ashley found herself hoping that the doctor would discover some kind of fetal defect, so that her decision would be easier. She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. “Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.”

In the exam room, she perched on the table with her feet crossed at the ankles, her blond hair brushing the back of her pink hospital gown. “I don’t know what’s available for me here,” she told her doctor, Katherine Degen, who sat facing her on a stool. “I figured nothing.”

 Some names and identifying details have been changed. 

“Big, fat zero, unfortunately,” Degen said, making a 0 with her fingers. The last doctor who provided abortions in Rapid City retired in 1986, three years before Ashley was born.

The baby was due in November, when Ashley, who was a nurse, hoped to be enrolled in a graduate program to become a nurse practitioner. Getting pregnant as a teenager had forced her to put that dream on hold, but she had thought that she was finally ready; she had even submitted her application shortly before the March 15 deadline. For the first time in her adult life, Ashley felt as if her plans were coming together. Then she missed her period.

It would be too difficult to attend school as a single mother of two, Ashley knew. She had made an appointment for three weeks from now at the nearest abortion clinic, in Billings, Montana, 318 miles away. But just a week and a half ago, her husband had said he wanted to get back together and offered to raise the child as his own. Was it a sign that she was meant to continue the pregnancy? As a rule, Ashley approached her problems with resolve. She was capable and tough; she liked shooting guns and lifting weights. She kept track of her stats and checked off her goals as she achieved them one by one. Yet the dilemma before her had shaken her confidence. She leaned back and turned to watch the ultrasound screen. The black-and-white image danced. A sharp, fast thumping emerged from the machine. As Degen removed the wand, Ashley wiped the corner of her eye.

Photograph (detail) by Brian Frank
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A Window To The World·

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Ashley arrived for her prenatal appointment at Black Hills Obstetrics and Gynecology, in Rapid City, South Dakota, wearing a black zip-up hoodie and Converse sneakers.1 To explain her absence from work that morning — a Tuesday in April 2015 — she had told a co-worker that she was having “female issues.” She was twenty-five years old and eight weeks pregnant. She had been separated from her husband, with whom she had a five-year-old son, for the better part of a year. The guy who’d gotten her pregnant was someone she’d met at the gym, and he’d made it abundantly clear that he wanted nothing more to do with her. Ashley found herself hoping that the doctor would discover some kind of fetal defect, so that her decision would be easier. She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. “Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.”

In the exam room, she perched on the table with her feet crossed at the ankles, her blond hair brushing the back of her pink hospital gown. “I don’t know what’s available for me here,” she told her doctor, Katherine Degen, who sat facing her on a stool. “I figured nothing.”

 Some names and identifying details have been changed. 

“Big, fat zero, unfortunately,” Degen said, making a 0 with her fingers. The last doctor who provided abortions in Rapid City retired in 1986, three years before Ashley was born.

The baby was due in November, when Ashley, who was a nurse, hoped to be enrolled in a graduate program to become a nurse practitioner. Getting pregnant as a teenager had forced her to put that dream on hold, but she had thought that she was finally ready; she had even submitted her application shortly before the March 15 deadline. For the first time in her adult life, Ashley felt as if her plans were coming together. Then she missed her period.

It would be too difficult to attend school as a single mother of two, Ashley knew. She had made an appointment for three weeks from now at the nearest abortion clinic, in Billings, Montana, 318 miles away. But just a week and a half ago, her husband had said he wanted to get back together and offered to raise the child as his own. Was it a sign that she was meant to continue the pregnancy? As a rule, Ashley approached her problems with resolve. She was capable and tough; she liked shooting guns and lifting weights. She kept track of her stats and checked off her goals as she achieved them one by one. Yet the dilemma before her had shaken her confidence. She leaned back and turned to watch the ultrasound screen. The black-and-white image danced. A sharp, fast thumping emerged from the machine. As Degen removed the wand, Ashley wiped the corner of her eye.

Artwork by Imre Kinszki © Imre Kinszki Estate
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The Lords of Lambeau·

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Ashley arrived for her prenatal appointment at Black Hills Obstetrics and Gynecology, in Rapid City, South Dakota, wearing a black zip-up hoodie and Converse sneakers.1 To explain her absence from work that morning — a Tuesday in April 2015 — she had told a co-worker that she was having “female issues.” She was twenty-five years old and eight weeks pregnant. She had been separated from her husband, with whom she had a five-year-old son, for the better part of a year. The guy who’d gotten her pregnant was someone she’d met at the gym, and he’d made it abundantly clear that he wanted nothing more to do with her. Ashley found herself hoping that the doctor would discover some kind of fetal defect, so that her decision would be easier. She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. “Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.”

In the exam room, she perched on the table with her feet crossed at the ankles, her blond hair brushing the back of her pink hospital gown. “I don’t know what’s available for me here,” she told her doctor, Katherine Degen, who sat facing her on a stool. “I figured nothing.”

 Some names and identifying details have been changed. 

“Big, fat zero, unfortunately,” Degen said, making a 0 with her fingers. The last doctor who provided abortions in Rapid City retired in 1986, three years before Ashley was born.

The baby was due in November, when Ashley, who was a nurse, hoped to be enrolled in a graduate program to become a nurse practitioner. Getting pregnant as a teenager had forced her to put that dream on hold, but she had thought that she was finally ready; she had even submitted her application shortly before the March 15 deadline. For the first time in her adult life, Ashley felt as if her plans were coming together. Then she missed her period.

It would be too difficult to attend school as a single mother of two, Ashley knew. She had made an appointment for three weeks from now at the nearest abortion clinic, in Billings, Montana, 318 miles away. But just a week and a half ago, her husband had said he wanted to get back together and offered to raise the child as his own. Was it a sign that she was meant to continue the pregnancy? As a rule, Ashley approached her problems with resolve. She was capable and tough; she liked shooting guns and lifting weights. She kept track of her stats and checked off her goals as she achieved them one by one. Yet the dilemma before her had shaken her confidence. She leaned back and turned to watch the ultrasound screen. The black-and-white image danced. A sharp, fast thumping emerged from the machine. As Degen removed the wand, Ashley wiped the corner of her eye.

Photograph (detail) by Balazs Gardi
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"She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. 'Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.'"
Photograph (detail) by Lara Shipley

Price of ten pencils made from “recycled twigs,” from the Nature Company:

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A loggerhead turtle in a Kobe aquarium at last achieved swimming success with her twenty-seventh set of prosthetic fins. “When her children hatch,” said the aquarium’s director, “well, I just feel that would make all the trauma in her life worthwhile.”

In Colombia, U.N. delegates sent to serve as impartial observers of the peace process aimed at ending the half-century-long war between the FARC and the Colombian government were chastised after they were filmed dancing and getting drunk with FARC fighters at a New Year’s Eve party.

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