[Weekly Review] | October 14, 2014, by Joe Kloc | Harper's Magazine

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Ebola’s rising death toll, U.N. member states’ unpaid bills, and a recipe for “bear satay on a stick.”

ElephantWalk350A nurse in Spain became the first health-care worker outside of West Africa to be infected with Ebola; her dog was euthanized by Spanish officials despite a campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #saveExcalibur. A nurse in Dallas, Texas, contracted the virus while treating an infected patient visiting from Liberia who later died; the nurse’s dog was put in quarantine. “We have a plan in place,” said Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings, “to take care of the pet.” [1][2][3] The global death toll from Ebola rose above 4,000, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared the outbreak the worst epidemic since AIDS. [4][5] Nearly 200 airline workers responsible for cleaning up vomit and feces in airplane cabins went on strike, citing concerns that they did not have proper gloves, goggles, and face masks; to help curb Ebola’s spread, Japan shipped 20,000 sets of protective gear to West Africa, where the suits remained held up at an airport in Abidjan due to bureaucratic issues. “We have clearly stated what is required,” said the president of Sierra Leone, “and what is required is required yesterday.”[6][7] The United Nations called for a twentyfold increase in international aid to fight Ebola, and announced that member states owe $3.5 billion in unpaid dues for general operations and peacekeeping.[8][9] Peace talks were canceled between Hong Kong officials and pro-democracy student protesters, and between Cyprus’s Greek-controlled southern region and its Turkish northern area; Turkey said it would refuse to increase assistance in Syria unless the United States upped its efforts to oust Syrian president Bashar al-Assad; suicide bombings in Iraq killed more than fifty people; and U.S. federal agents arrested an Illinois nineteen-year-old planning to join the Islamic State. “We are all witness that the Western societies are getting more immoral,” the teenager had written in an unsent letter to his parents. “I do not want my kids being exposed to filth like this.” [10][11][12][12][13]

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to act on challenges that would strike down same-sex marriage in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin, and Virginia. “Once a substantial part of the country has experienced gay marriage,” said a former acting U.S. Solicitor General, “the court will be more willing to finish the job.” Courts lifted bans in Alaska and Idaho, bringing the total number of U.S. states where same-sex marriage is legal to 29. Alaska changed its marriage license forms from “Bride” and “Groom” to “Party A” and “Party B”; Idaho governor Butch Otter, one-time winner of the Mr. Tight Blue Jeans contest at Boise’s Rockin’ Rodeo bar, filed a motion stating that the ruling showed Idaho no more respect than a “fly-by-night payday loan business or massage parlor”; and biologists named a new species of snail Aegista diverifamilia, saying that the struggle for marriage equality “reminded us that Pulmonata land snails are hermaphrodite animals.” [14][15][16][17] In response to the asylum request of a 16-year-old Russian exchange student living in Michigan made based on concerns that he would be persecuted for being gay if he returned home, Russia announced that it would end its participation in the exchange program, and a U.S. State Department official said nearly half of the vacated spots would be provided to Ukrainians.[18][19] Russia drafted legislation that would allow Vladimir Putin to seize billions of dollars’ worth of assets from such Western companies as McDonald’s and ExxonMobil in order to recoup damages caused by U.S. embargoes put in place during the crisis in Ukraine.[20] It was reported that Edward Snowden’s girlfriend moved to Moscow.[21] The U.S. Justice Department said it will prosecute major Wall Street banks for colluding with one another in chat rooms that had names like “the cartel” and the “bandits club.” Twenty-six police officers suspected of being part of a gang infiltration of the local police force were arrested after 28 bodies were discovered in a mass grave in Iguala, Mexico; the Chicago Police Department’s chief of detectives warned that if Apple and Google improve the strength of data encryption, their mobile devices will “become the phone of choice for the pedophile”; and investigators in the Hague told reporters that they work with Syrian rebels in order to obtain documentation of war crimes. “Like the police,” said William H. Wiley, the head of the Commission for International Justice and Accountability, “you have to ally yourself with bad guys to get the guys that are badder.”[22][23][24][25]

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officials opened an animal-cruelty investigation after a dead black bear was discovered in Central Park. In Newton, New Jersey, state wildlife officials planned to give away cookbooks with recipes for “bear satay on a stick” to encourage hunters to kill more black bears; Northamptonshire, England, investigators announced that the dog that killed a six-month-old girl had been an American pitbull, which are banned in the United Kingdom for being a “dangerous breed”; and a police sergeant in Bakersfield, California, announced that there had been at least sixteen reports of people dressing up as clowns and terrifying children late at night. “We want it to stop,” he said.[26][27][28][29] In Torrance, California, an African grey parrot named Nigel, who once spoke English with a British accent and had returned home after a four-year absence, began asking for someone named “Larry” and speaking Spanish. In Turkey, a man brought home a goat to sacrifice for Eid al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice—which celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for God—and stored it on his roof until, on Wednesday, it fell off, landing on and killing his 13-year-old son, who was playing below. “In fact,” the man said, “there is nothing at all to say.”[30][31]

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