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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review


Six Guantánamo Bay prisoners are transferred to Oman, an 800-person manhunt fails to catch two escaped convicts, and a runaway zoo elephant kills a 65-year-old man

HarpersWeb-WeeklyReview-avatar-WCS-bigA survey found that fewer than half of Europeans were in favor of sending troops to support NATO members threatened by Russia, and the United States announced that it would send enough equipment and weapons to supply 5,000 troops to several Baltic and Eastern European countries.[1][2] President Obama deployed 450 military personnel to train Iraqi soldiers to fight the Islamic State, and Al Qaeda leaders said the Islamic State had stripped them of prestige and new members. ISIS “is expanding,” a State Department official wrote in a memo, “like Starbucks franchises.”[3][4][5] An airstrike allegedly carried out by Saudi Arabia against Houthi rebels in Yemen’s capital destroyed a 2,500-year-old UNESCO heritage site, and six Yemenis were transferred to Oman from Guantánamo Bay.[6][7] In France, a former Guantánamo prisoner was stopped from boarding a flight to Canada to attend a conference focused on dissuading young people from jihad, and the mother of a French teenage boy who joined the Islamic State filed a $124,000 lawsuit against the government for failing to stop her son on his way to Syria.[8][9] In China, where legal reforms have led to a 29 percent increase in lawsuits in the past year, a man sued an actress for staring at him through his television and causing him “spiritual damage.”[10] The founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee U.K. alleged that Zionists sneaked into his house while he slept in order to intimidate him. “The only thing they took,” he wrote in a post on Facebook, “was one shoe.”[11]

The United States denied North Korean allegations that it had intentionally shipped live anthrax samples to a military base in South Korea in an attempt to initiate biological warfare, and North Korea test-fired three KN-01 anti-ship missiles.[12][13] Countries in Asia issued warnings against travel to South Korea, where a MERS outbreak has killed at least 16 people; Sierra Leone placed restrictions on those entering and leaving two districts where the Ebola virus has reemerged; and Eritrea denied United Nations allegations that it was enslaving, torturing, and killing its citizens.[14][15][16][17] A Louisiana prisoner held in solitary confinement for nearly four decades was granted freedom by a federal judge, before an appeals panel blocked his release. “He mostly wants,” said the man’s attorney, “to talk.”[18][19] More than 800 law-enforcement officials unsuccessfully searched for two convicted murderers who escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York.[20] A three-year-old in Ohio accidentally shot himself after grabbing a gun from his mother’s purse; a wedding guest at the Waldorf Astoria hotel accidentally fired a gun in his pocket while photos were being taken, grazing a woman’s head with the ricocheted bullet; and a woman in France was killed by celebratory gunfire from a passing wedding procession.[21][22][23] A pregnant woman sucked the venom from a rattlesnake bite on her son’s foot, the world’s first successful recipient of a penile transplant announced that he will become a father, and Zimbabwe reported that the exchange rate between U.S. and Zimbabwean dollars was now 1:35,000,000,000,000,000.[24][25][26]

A British Nobel Laureate complained that he was forced to resign his post at University College London without being given a chance to explain his recent comment that women are “disruptive” to science.[27][28] A University of Missouri alumni group proposed restricting women’s access to fraternity houses on weekends, and a women’s rights activist in China awarded condoms, a vibrator, and devices which enable women to urinate while standing up to the winners of an underarm-hair competition.[29][30] Chinese state media criticized government officials for not reading enough after anti-graft inspectors did not find a single book in the mansion of an ousted politician.[31] A 102-year-old Jewish woman was awarded her Ph.D. from the University of Hamburg nearly eight decades after completing her doctoral thesis, a 103-year-old man and a 91-year-old woman married in Britain after 27 years of dating, and Seattle police arrested several “Raging Grannies” who had chained their rocking chairs together on train tracks to protest Arctic drilling.[32][33][34] Scientists reported that Svalbard polar bears have begun eating dolphins.[35] A truck carrying 2,200 piglets overturned on a highway in Ohio, killing about half the animals, and an Amtrak train in Illinois collided with a truck carrying 70,000 pounds of bacon.[36][37] Chimpanzees in Guinea were observed sipping villagers’ fermenting palm sap; a 34-year-old elephant named Baby escaped from a German circus and killed a 65-year-old man who was taking a walk in the woods; and the Wellington Zoo announced it had devised an order for killing its animals in the event of a mass escape. “They will be destroyed,” a zoo coordinator said, “no questions asked.”[38][39][40]

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July 2015

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