Saudi Arabia’s highest-ranking cleric issued a fatwa condemning the game of chess, claiming it causes “enmity and hatred.” The Danish town of Randers voted to require pork in school lunches. A ten-year-old Muslim student in Lancashire, England, was questioned by police after he misspelled the word “terraced” and wrote instead that he lived in a “terrorist house”; and the U.K. Home Office misspelled the word “language” in an announcement of new English tests for immigrants. Read more...
Winter Storm Jonas deposited up to three feet of snow throughout the eastern seaboard, causing power outages, flooding, and transit closures. At least 30 people died during the blizzard from car accidents, carbon-monoxide poisoning, and cardiac arrest caused by shoveling snow. New York City officials announced that anyone driving a car during the storm would be arrested, and police in Washington, D.C., threatened to hand out $750 tickets to motorists who got stuck in the snow. An economist at Brigham Young University predicted that there would be a slight uptick in births in nine months. “They’re just told to hunker down in their houses,” he said, “until everything can get plowed.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised pregnant women to avoid traveling to parts of Africa, South America, and the South Pacific, where the mosquito-borne Zika virus is causing children to be born with abnormally small brains. The governor of Michigan denied that race played a factor in his administration’s insistence that lead-contaminated water was safe to drink in the majority-black city of Flint, and teachers in Detroit staged a “sickout” to protest their schools’ understaffing, aging facilities, and lack of funds. “I want to be able to go to school and not have to worry,” said one student, “about being bitten by mice.” Pennsylvania parents were angered after their children were forced to answer questions about their sexual orientation and family finances at a school-sponsored “Kindness Workshop.” In Iowa, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina posed in front of an anti-abortion poster with pre-schoolers whose parents did not consent to the photograph. “He can’t fully comprehend that stuff,” said one boy’s father. “He likes dinosaurs.”
Islamist militants murdered at least 22 students and instructors at Pakistan’s Bacha Khan University, al-Shabaab terrorists killed at least 20 people at a beachfront hotel and restaurant in Mogadishu, and a Taliban suicide bomber in Kabul drove a car into a minibus carrying a television-production team, killing seven. It was reported that the Islamic State had cut fighters’ salaries by 50 percent and was using a Justin Bieber hashtag on Twitter to spread recruitment videos. Saudi Arabia’s highest-ranking cleric issued a fatwa condemning the game of chess, claiming it causes “enmity and hatred.” The Danish town of Randers voted to require pork in school lunches. A ten-year-old Muslim student in Lancashire, England, was questioned by police after he misspelled the word “terraced” and wrote instead that he lived in a “terrorist house”; and the U.K. Home Office misspelled the word “language” in an announcement of new English tests for immigrants. An official U.K. report concluded that Vladimir Putin probably approved the 2006 assassination of an ex-Russian spy with radioactive polonium-210, and MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, was named the most LGBT-friendly workplace in the country.
Astrophysicists at the California Institute of Technology announced that they may have discovered a distant ninth planet; and archeologists from the University of Cambridge unearthed the remains of a 10,000-year-old massacre in Kenya, in which 27 people were killed with arrows and clubs. Eight museum employees in Cairo were put on trial for “gross negligence” for clumsily gluing the beard back onto King Tutankhamun’s mask after it became detached. Academy Award–winning actor Jamie Foxx rescued a man from a burning truck in Los Angeles, and former U.S. defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld helped create a new mobile video game entitled “Churchill Solitaire.” “Within each game, there are thousands of different paths,” said the game’s developers. “Only a few of them lead to victory.” A New York City emergency-room doctor was suspended after he was accused of ejaculating onto a semi-conscious patient, and the New York City Council considered easing its restrictions on public urination. North Korean scientists claimed to have created hangover-resistant liquor. The Food and Drug Administration recalled Master Herbs Inc.’s Licorice Coughing Liquid for containing morphine, and officials in China investigated 35 restaurants for using opium seeds to season their dishes. The Chinese government launched an online database of 870 officially recognized living reincarnations of the Buddha, and Pope Francis described the Internet as a “gift of God.”
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