Weekly Review — December 31, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

War and peacekeeping in South Sudan and the Central African Republic, a brief truce in the Syrian civil war, and bells hell in Manhattan

Saluting the Town (Weekly)The United Nations Security Council voted to increase the number of peacekeepers stationed in South Sudan from the current 7,600 to more than 13,000 following two weeks of fighting between forces loyal to Salva Kiir, the country’s ethnically Dinka president, and Nuer backers of the former prime minister, Riek Machar, whom Kiir fired in July and accused of planning a coup to unseat him. “He must go, because he can no longer maintain the unity of the people,” said Machar. “Especially when he kills people like flies.” The bodies of 34 Dinka were found in a mass grave in Unity State, and U.N. officials said that thousands of others had died in the past week, and that at least 80,000 people had fled their homes. “This is not,” said human rights activist Biel Boutros Biel, “a place to be.”[1][2][3][4][5][6] Rwanda agreed to send a peacekeeping contingent to supplement French and African Union forces in the Central African Republic, where at least 650 people have been killed and more than 600,000 displaced by fighting that began after the country’s parliament elected as president the Muslim leader of a coup that unseated a Christian president last spring. Chadian peacekeepers were accused of firing on Christian protesters, and the African Union announced the discovery of a mass grave on Panthers’ Hill, near the presidential palace. “You found five bodies in one hole, three in another, two in yet another,” said a spokesman. “And so on.”[7][8][9][10][11][12] The Israeli government released an archival letter claiming that its Mossad intelligence agency had unknowingly given paramilitary training to Nelson Mandela, and held a pre-Christmas event with a Greek Orthodox priests as part of a new campaign designed to recruit Christian Arabs into military service.[13][14] Pope Francis delivered his first Christmas Day Urbi et Orbi address at St. Peter’s Basilica, calling for an end to conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Israel, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Syria. “I invite even nonbelievers,” he said, “to desire peace.”[15]

The Syrian government and opposition forces agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire in the town of Moadamiyet al-Sham to allow aid workers to bring food and supplies to civilians. “If they honor the conditions, then very well,” said an opposition councilman. “If not, then it will be back to fighting.” In Aleppo, government helicopters barrel-bombed a vegetable market and several other targets, extending a series of airstrikes on the province that has killed more than 500 people in two weeks. [16][17][18] The Egyptian government designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group and sent riot police to break up a student strike at Cairo’s Islamic University, where they were accused of shooting live rounds indiscriminately and setting fire to the Faculty of Commerce.[19][20] On consecutive days, suicide bombers attacked a trolley bus and a train station in Volgograd, Russia, killing 32 people.[21] It was reported that Kim Jong Un’s execution of his uncle earlier this month had been over a struggle for control of North Korea’s clam, coal, and crab industries.[22] China formally abolished re-education labor camps and celebrated the 120th birthday of Mao Zedong.[23][24] Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the AK-47, died at the age of 94 and was given a state burial in the “alley of heroes” at the Federal Military Memorial Cemetery near Moscow.[25][26] Queen Elizabeth posthumously pardoned computer scientist and World War II codebreaker Alan Turing, who committed suicide in 1954 after being prosecuted for homosexuality and forcibly injected with estrogen to reduce his sex drive.[27] Maria Alyokhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova of the punk band Pussy Riot criticized the Russian government after being granted amnesty and released from prison, where they were serving sentences for hooliganism. “They put me in; they let me out,” said Tolokonnikova. “One thing was funny and the other no less funny.”[28]

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

The crew of the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, a Russian research vessel icebound off the coast of Tasmania, exchanged Christmas presents and gave each other knot-tying lessons while awaiting the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis, which was called in after unsuccessful rescue attempts by China’s Snow Dragon and France’s Astrolabe.[29][30][31] A school of carnivorous palometa fish bit off the fingers and toes of several bathers as they cooled off in Argentina’s Paraná River.[32] Arsonists burned a ceremonial Christmas straw goat in the Swedish town of Gavle for the twenty-seventh time since 1966.[33] Judges ruled legal a New Year’s Eve Possum Drop in Brasstown, North Carolina, and a coyote- and wolf-hunting derby in Salmon, Idaho.[34][35] At the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, New York, a new fence was reportedly built around a sculpture by the Icelandic artist Thordis Adalsteinsdottir that portrays a bear tackling a naked man who has an erection. “The man is depicted,” said the park’s executive director, “[in] an involuntary reflexive response at the moment of being attacked.”[36] A Manhattan church criticized for ringing its bells all day was accused of retaliating by ringing them all night.[37]


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

Share
Single Page

More from Ryann Liebenthal:

Weekly Review June 10, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Unity and disunity in Palestine, NYRB vs. CIA, and John Roberts marries art criticism with jurisprudence

Weekly Review April 22, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Boko Haram steps up its attacks in Nigeria, South Korea mourns a ferry disaster, and Gabriel García Márquez dies at 87

Weekly Review March 18, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Crimeans vote to join the Russian Federation, the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 deepens, and Joseph Jambon tackles the fornicating slipper snail

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

  • Gunnar Wordon

    Great summary, says it best!….

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

August 2014

The End of Retirement

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Octopus and Its Grandchildren

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Francis and the Nuns

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Return of the Strongman

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
“Evidence of a chill was plain. People in Hailey spoke to me about Bergdahl in low voices, as if about a death.”
Fox & Friends, July 6, 2014
Article
The Seductive Catastrophe·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The world’s leaders were moved by a populace fused into a forward phalanx, were shaken by a tidal wave of militancy jubilantly united.”
Photograph courtesy Mary Evans Picture Library
Post
The Glitch in the Video-Game Graveyard·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“From the nerd squabbles of Internet discussion threads rose an urban legend that culminated in a film that hinges on digging through my town’s trash.”
Illustration (detail) by Timothy Taranto
Article
What the Camera Saw·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“They shot him behind the left ear, and he fell.”
Article
Bounty·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If I’d been one of the unprepared, I’d be desperate, too.”
Illustration (detail) by Simon Pemberton

Chances that an organ transplanted in New York City last year came from a murder victim:

1 in 4

Two thirds of U.S. teenagers experience uncontrollable rage.

In Gainesville, Florida, a drunk man who jumped out of his pickup truck to yell at the driver in front of him was run over by his own vehicle.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today