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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review


Michael Cohen starts a GoFundMe; the 403rd consecutive month with above-average global temperatures passes; Europe’s biggest illegal turtle farm is shut down

In New York federal court, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who once described the president as “so natural, so honest and humble,” pleaded guilty to bank fraud, tax fraud, and campaign finance violations, then set up a GoFundMe page titled “Michael Cohen Truth Fund” to raise money to cover his legal expenses.1 3 In his guilty plea, Cohen, who owns 22 cabs in Chicago and 30 medallion taxi companies in New York City, including Love Bug Cab Corp., also told the court that Trump had personally directed him to arrange payments at hush money to adult-film star Stormy Daniels and to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who both allege to having had affairs with Trump, a possible violation of campaign finance rules.4 David Pecker, CEO of the National Enquirer, a tabloid that Trump has said deserved to win the Pulitzer Prize, was granted immunity in Michael Cohen’s case in exchange for providing information about the alleged settlements, and said that the magazine had kept a locked safe containing documents detailing damaging stories about Donald Trump.5 6 7 In Virginia, the president’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who Ukrainian hackers revealed had paid $9,000 a month in 2014 and 2015 for his mistress’s apartment in Manhattan and a house next to his in the Hamptons, was found guilty of tax fraud, bank fraud, and failure to report a foreign bank account.8 9 One of the first officials to endorse Trump for the presidency, Republican congressman Duncan Hunter, was indicted on corruption charges, including the use of campaign finances for video games, a Hawaiian vacation, an Italian vacation, airfare for his family’s pet rabbit, and a weekly golf outing that Hunter had described as “a Christian thing.”10 It was reported that Washington’s rat infestation was increasing, with complaints at an all-time high. “The rats are in some ways a byproduct of the success of the city,” said Jack Evans, a D.C. Council member.11

Reality Winner, the former NSA contractor who leaked information to the media and who once described Trump as “a soulless ginger orangutan,” was sentenced to 63 months in jail.12 “Gee, this is ‘small potatoes’ compared to what Hillary Clinton did! So unfair Jeff, Double Standard,” tweeted the president.13 The Australian parliament elected the country’s sixth prime minister in 10 years following a disagreement over climate change policy that saw conservatives pushing for increased investment in coal power.14 The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that this past July was the 42nd consecutive July, and 403rd consecutive month, with above-average global temperatures; it was reported that Norway, Sweden, Canada, Japan, Oman, and the United States have experienced record-breaking temperatures this summer; and researchers found that heat waves reduce fertility in pigs, which could increase the price of bacon.15 16 17 A boat believed to be carrying asylum seekers from Vietnam ran aground in a crocodile swamp in Australia, and Austrian authorities were reported to have rejected an asylum claim from a gay migrant from Iraq because he was “girlish.”18 19 A man was arrested for shooting female drivers in and near Katy, Texas, because he believes they are “incompetent” and that “their sole purpose is to give birth to male children”; two people were killed and 11 were injured in a shooting at a regional qualifier for an online football video game tournament in a pizza restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida; and three people were shot and one was killed at a high school football game in Jacksonville one week after two people were shot at a high school football practice in Palm Beach, Florida.20 21 22

IBM filed a patent for a drone that would monitor the “cognitive state” of office workers and deliver coffee with a string when it detects they are feeling drowsy.23 A 600-foot tunnel used to smuggle drugs from Mexico to the US was discovered in the basement of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in San Luis, Arizona; 596 endangered pig-nosed turtles from Indonesia were intercepted at a border checkpoint in Hong Kong; and smugglers in Cameroon were arrested after trying to bring 256 pangolins to Vietnam, where use of their scales in medicine is covered by health insurance.24 25 26 27 In Spain, law enforcement shut down Europe’s biggest illegal turtle farm, and it was reported that 40,000 giraffe parts have been imported to the United States over the past 10 years.28 29 Two goats were caught running loose on subway tracks in Brooklyn, New York, and a crocodile in Key Largo, Florida, was spotted using a pool noodle to swim across a canal.30 31 “He looked like just any typical Florida tourist,” said one onlooker. It was reported that a mysterious four-ton creature, described as a “hairy carcass,” washed up on shore in eastern Russia, and a “vampire-like creature” was reported to have killed and sucked the blood of eight sheep in eastern Ukraine.32 33 Scientists from the University of Oviedo and the University of Toronto Mississauga published a study that suggests angelfish can count.34 This reinforced the findings of a 2015 study involving guppies.35Sharon J. Riley

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