[Weekly Review] | February 3, 2015, by Joe Kloc | Harper's Magazine

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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review


Islamic State militants behead a second Japanese hostage, Mitt Romney decides not to run for president, and a 29-year-old Romanian man is unable to sell his virginity in a local newspaper


Kurdish fighters expelled Islamic State militants from Kobani, Syria, after three months of fighting in which nearly 400 Kurds and 1,000 militants were killed and more than 700 U.S.-led airstrikes were carried out.[1][2] At least four gunmen claiming allegiance to the Islamic State shot and killed nine people in a luxury hotel in Tripoli, Libya; Islamic State loyalists bombed multiple security sites in Sinai, Egypt, killing at least 30 people, and in Baghdad, Islamic State fighters dropped mortar shells on two neighborhoods, killing five civilians, and detonated a car bomb at a crowded market, killing at least 20 others. In Syria, Islamic State militants beheaded a second Japanese hostage, a journalist whom the group had tried unsuccessfully to exchange for one of its members being held in Jordan. “We by Allah’s grace are the Islamic caliphate,” the killer said. “An entire army thirsty for your blood.”[3][4][5][6][7] New cases of measles were identified in Nebraska, New York, Minnesota, and Marin County, California, bringing the total number of infected patients to 102 since a Disneyland visitor spread the virus last December. President Barack Obama told parents to get their kids vaccinated, adding, “The science is, you know, pretty indisputable.” New Jersey governor Chris Christie said parents should decide whether they want to immunize their kids, and then issued a clarifying statement explaining that he meant to say, “There is no question kids should be vaccinated.”[8][9][10] The Koch brothers announced they would spend $889 million to elect Republican candidates in the 2016 election, and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced that he would not run for president. “As you no doubt heard,” Romney told an audience at Mississippi State University prior to the announcement, “I’m already rich.”[11][12][13]

The city of New York settled a 28-year-old case involving two corrupt NYPD officers who mistakenly executed Nicholas Guido, a telephone installer with the same name as a gangster they had been contracted by the mafia to kill.[14] Three Russian men were charged in New York with spying on the United States; a former CIA officer was convicted of espionage for telling a New York Times reporter about a failed U.S. plan to pass phony Russian intelligence to Iranian nuclear scientists; Argentina’s president announced she would send a bill to congress that would dissolve the nation’s intelligence service after she was accused by agents of conspiring with Iran to cover up the country’s role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center; a naturalized American scientist from Argentina was sentenced to five years in prison for passing U.S. nuclear data to an undercover FBI agent he believed was a Venezuelan government official; it was reported that a former intelligence officer in Chile was sentenced to seven years in jail and another to two years of police supervision for killing two Americans living in Chile shortly after General Augusto Pinochet’s coup in 1973; and an intoxicated man in the United Kingdom phoned the British surveillance agency GCHQ and obtained information about its director, which he then used to call Prime Minister David Cameron and apologize for the disruption. “I’ve just made complete monkeys out of GCHQ,” the caller told a reporter. “I’m definitely going to do it again.”[15][16][17][18][19][20]

A church in Wilsden, England, announced that it will launch a campaign against loneliness, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that depression was linked to binge-watching television, and a 29-year-old Romanian who took out an ad in his local newspaper offering to sell his virginity for €850 received no replies. “I’m no Brad Pitt but I’m not ugly either,” he said. “I didn’t even get any gay takers.”[21][22][23] In Albuquerque, New Mexico, a three-year-old boy shot his father in the buttocks and his pregnant mother in the shoulder when he mistakenly grabbed their handgun while reaching for an iPod; a teenager in Collier County, Florida, was accidentally shot in the penis by his friend while the two were playing with a gun; and Carl Djerassi, the inventor of the birth-control pill and author of the Broadway play “Phallacy,” died at 91.[24][25] The Federal Trade Commission banned a man from posting nude photographs of women online and then charging for their removal, a convicted child pornographer sued Taylor Swift for allegedly using his life story in the lyrics of her songs, and the Church of England ordained the first female bishop in the church’s 500-year existence. “In a few years’ time,” said the archbishop of York, “we shall be wondering how we ever managed without them.”[26][27][28]

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