[Weekly Review] | June 23, 2015, by Joe Kloc | Harper's Magazine

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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review


A white gunman massacres nine African Americans at a church in South Carolina, Pope Francis calls Earth a “pile of filth,” and North Korea claims to have developed a cure for AIDS 

WeeklyReviewJK-captionA 21-year-old white man in South Carolina walked into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the oldest black congregations in the South, and opened fire on a Bible study group, killing nine people.[1] Police captured the shooter, Dylann Storm Roof, after a 14-hour manhunt, then gave him a bulletproof vest, bought him a hamburger and fries at a Burger King, and locked him in the Charleston County Jail, where Michael Slager, a former police officer accused of killing an unarmed black man earlier this year, is being held.[2][3][4][5] Authorities determined that an anonymous bomb threat made to Morris Brown African Methodist Episcopal Church, where black and white congregants were singing “We Shall Overcome,” was made from a telephone in the Charleston County Jail.[6][7] Former Texas governor Rick Perry called the massacre an “accident,” then later said he meant “incident”; former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum said Roof chose his victims “indiscriminately”; former Florida governor Jeb Bush said he didn’t know whether Roof was motivated by racism; and Roof, who wore the flags of Rhodesia and apartheid-era South Africa on his coat and had a Confederate-flag license plate on his car, told investigators he wanted to start a race war.[8][9][10][11][12][13] A former University of Mississippi student pleaded guilty to placing a noose on a statue of the college’s first black student; the Supreme Court ruled that Texas could reject license plates featuring the Confederate flag; and South Carolina state representative Doug Brannon announced he will introduce legislation to remove the Confederate flag from the state’s Capitol. “My strategy,” he said, “is to scream a lot.”[14][15] A Rhode Island man and a Massachusetts man each pleaded not guilty to plotting to behead a police officer on behalf of the Islamic State, a man was arrested for planning to detonate a bomb in New York City, and a man in North Carolina was charged with plotting to kill Americans after he conspired with an undercover FBI agent to purchase a semi-automatic rifle at a gun show. “The war,” the man allegedly told the agent, “is here.”[16][17][18]

A study found that, in the past 114 years, pollution, hunting, and habitat loss have caused mammal species to go extinct 20 to 100 times faster than in previous centuries, prompting scientist to conclude that the planet is nearing a sixth “mass extinction”; and Japan said that it hopes to resume hunting whales in the Antarctic.[19][20] An EPA report found that if climate change is left unchecked throughout the 21st century, as many as 7.9 million acres of forest will be consumed by wildfires, 2,200 bridges will become structurally unsound, 35 percent of coral reef ecosystems in Hawaii will be destroyed, and the country will suffer $180 billion in economic losses.[21] It was reported that two secretive conservative organizations donated $125 million to a network of climate change–denial groups. “It is,” said the Drexel University professor who first exposed the network, “well oiled.”[22] U.S. Geological Survey researchers found that earthquakes are about 1.5 times more likely to occur in sites where oil and gas companies rapidly pump waste fluids into underground wells; a ruptured pipeline in California leaked 280,000 gallons of waste water; toxic blue-green algae that causes vomiting and diarrhea bloomed in Canadian lakes; the Chilean government declared a smog emergency in Santiago; and Pope Francis wrote in an encyclical on the environment that the planet looked like an “immense pile of filth.”[23][24][25][26][27]

Ireland’s Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children recommended warning labels for alcoholic drinks, and toxic bootleg alcohol in India killed at least 102 people.[28][29] Forty-six doctors, nurses, and medical professionals were charged with defrauding Medicare of $712 million, and North Korea announced that it had developed a cure for AIDS using gold and platinum.[30][31] A resident of Chalk Level Township in Missouri discovered the bodies of three dogs packed inside dog-food bags; the city of Yulin, China, kicked off its annual dog-meat festival, for which 10,000 dogs will be slaughtered; and British researchers estimated that millions of mummified dogs were stored in a series of underground tunnels in Egypt. “It’s a religious act,” said a researcher, “done for the best possible motive.”[32][33][34] The U.S. government crushed a ton of confiscated ivory in New York’s Times Square, and an employee of a German circus company was fired for smacking an elephant several times with a stick.[35][36] Paintings of flowers and fairytale castles by Adolf Hitler sold for $450,000 at an auction in Nuremberg, an extra-sweet watermelon sold for $2,800 in Japan, and it was reported that a Chinese website that sells air conditioners and trampolines also sells the stimulant mephedrone, which is banned in China. “I can handle this for you legally,” said one of the site’s sales representatives to a reporter, “or illegally.”[37][38][39]

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