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Weekly Review


HarpersMagazine-1853-12-bootsIn the Sindh province of Pakistan, a suicide bomber aligned with the Islamic State walked into a crowd of worshippers dancing at a Sufi shrine, threw a hand grenade, and then blew himself up, killing at least 72 people.[1] In Iraq, an Islamic State militant bombed a Baghdad car dealership, killing more than 55 people; and the Iraqi Air Force dropped leaflets in western Mosul alerting civilians of its ground offensive to reclaim the land captured by the Islamic State.[2][3] U.S. president Donald Trump suggested to a rally of supporters in Florida that terrorists had carried out an attack in Sweden the previous night. “Sweden, who would believe this?” said Trump of the attack, which did not occur.[4][5] Trump tweeted that “the FAKE NEWS media” was the “enemy of the American people,” the Kremlin reportedly ordered Russian state media to reduce its flattering coverage of Trump, and a Canadian news site published its tally of 80 false claims made by the president during his first month in office.[6][7][8] Fast-food executive Andrew Puzder, who was Trump’s first choice for secretary of labor, withdrew himself from consideration after a video surfaced of his ex-wife accusing him of domestic abuse; and Trump nominated as Puzder’s replacement R. Alexander Acosta, a former U.S. attorney in Miami who was criticized for not pressing federal charges against Jeffery Epstein, a billionaire and former Trump associate who was accused of having sex with dozens of underage girls and who pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution.[9][10][11][12] The White House announced Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster as its second nominee for national-security adviser, after Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former adviser, was asked to resign and Vice Admiral Robert Harward turned down the job, allegedly calling it a “shit sandwich.”[13][14]

The United Nations and the Sudanese government declared a famine in South Sudan.[15] Congolese human-rights activists published a video of soldiers who appear to be members of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s national army firing rifles at unarmed civilians, and two people in Chicago were shot and killed during a Facebook Live stream.[16][17] An Indonesian woman arrested for her suspected involvement in the killing of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s half-brother told Malaysian authorities that she was tricked into thinking the killing was a part of a comedy television show.[18] India launched a record-breaking 104 satellites into orbit on a single mission, and an astrophysicist rediscovered an 11-page essay by Winston Churchill in which the British statesman writes that he believes in extraterrestrial life.[19][20] Researchers published a paper arguing they had identified an eighth continent named Zealandia that is mostly submerged in the southwest Pacific, and a chunk of ice ten times the size of Manhattan broke off one of Antarctica’s glaciers.[21][22]

It was reported that education secretary Betsy DeVos’s brother, the founder of a private military company whose employees were convicted of killing 17 unarmed civilians in Baghdad in 2007, would be providing China with military training.[23] Japanese interpreters said they struggled with translating Trump’s speeches because of his habit of mentioning proper nouns out of context.[24] A psychiatrist wrote a letter to the New York Times explaining that Trump does not suffer from a mental disorder, the White House issued a statement explaining that Trump did not yell at the director of the CIA, and the White House press secretary referred to Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau as “Joe Trudeau.”[25][26][27] Trump held a press conference in which he stated that his administration was “a fine-tuned machine” with “zero chaos,” referred to himself as the “least anti-Semitic” and “least racist” person, and asked a black reporter to set up a meeting between himself and the Congressional Black Caucus. “Are they friends of yours?” Trump asked the reporter.[28]

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