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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review


The Saudi government vacillates on what happened to Jamal Khashoggi; black senior citizens denied early voting in Georgia; some of the Museum of the Bible’s most valuable artifacts declared fakes

The Turkish police are searching Belgrad Forest and areas around the Sea of Marmara for the remains of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen entering Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, where a man wearing his clothes and a fake beard exited through the back door 98 minutes later.1 2 The Saudi interior minister dismissed “lies” targeting the Saudi government, and on Tuesday the kingdom wired $100 million to the United States government for stabilization efforts in Syria.3 4 President Trump, who once said “I get along with all of them” in Saudi Arabia because they “buy apartments from me,” said that if investigations reveal Saudi Arabian involvement in the journalist’s murder, consequences would have to be “very severe,” but need not involve canceling pending arms sales, and posited, “maybe these could have been rogue killers, who knows?”6 7 8 9 The kingdom later released a statement stating that Khashoggi had died in a fistfight when “discussions” between the journalist and 15 Saudi operatives at the consulate, one of whom was a forensics specialist allegedly carrying a bone saw, “developed in a negative way.”10 On Thursday, Trump said that it “certainly looks” as if Khashoggi died and that “it is not a positive,” then travelled to Montana for a rally, where he called Representative Greg Gianforte, who was charged with assault last year after punching a Guardian reporter who had asked him a question about health-care policy, “a great guy.”11 12 “I heard that he body-slammed a reporter,” Trump said to applause.13

Three weeks after stating that there was no need to “rush” a deal to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, Trump confirmed on Saturday that the United States would dissolve President Reagan’s nuclear nonproliferation agreement with Russia, saying that he didn’t understand why President Obama hadn’t negotiated an agreement with Russia, while National Security Adviser John Bolton has blocked talks to extend the nonproliferation agreement Obama had negotiated with the former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, which is set to expire in 2021.14 15 16 “Maybe saving children doesn’t matter anymore,” said the EPA children’s health director after she was suspended without explanation while in the middle of a report on child lead poisoning.17 The Department of Health and Human Services released a memo that stated it wishes to define gender as the biological sex assigned at birth.18 In Georgia, where 1.4 million voters have been purged from the rolls since 2012, close to 600 absentee ballots have been rejected because of “signature variants”; Jefferson County employees stopped a bus from taking a group of senior citizens, all of whom were black, from a retirement facility to an early voting precinct over concerns about “an unknown third party,” Black Voters Matter, whose mission the mayor of nearby Bartow then compared to the mass suicide of the Peoples Temple cult; and the City of Savannah announced that finding the vandal who glued googly eyes to a statue of a Revolutionary War hero was a serious public safety issue, writing that “it may look funny” but “it’s no laughing matter, in fact, it’s a crime.”19 20 21 22 23 An Ohio congressman who is seeking reelection explained that he voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act because it would protect undocumented women and offer some of them visas, and Dennis Hof, a dead brothel owner who called himself “the Trump from Pahrump,” is expected to win a seat in the Nevada state legislature.24 25 “This really is the Trump movement,” Hof said before he died, speaking from the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, his brothel. “People will set aside for a moment their moral beliefs, their religious beliefs, to get somebody that is honest in office.”

The trustees of the Sagrada Familia reached an agreement with the Barcelona city council to obtain a building license 136 years after construction began.26 In Israel, where the High Court of Justice approved the demolition of an East Jerusalem village with 181 Palestinian residents last month as part of an expansion plan for Israeli settlements, a Hamas rocket destroyed a home in Beersheba, and Israel struck 20 targets in Gaza in response, injuring 14 Palestinians and killing one; Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank assaulted Palestinian farmers harvesting olives in Nablus and Burin; in Tell, settlers uprooted Palestinians’ olive trees and stole their olive harvests; and a Jewish party run by Israel’s minister of education launched a campaign in Ramle featuring an image of a young woman in a hijab and the warning, “Hundreds of cases of intermarriage in Ramle, and no one cares. Tomorrow it could be your daughter.”27 28 29  30 31 New York’s attorney general subpoenaed over a dozen telecommunications trade groups and contractors in its investigation of 9.5 million fraudulent comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission in support of ending net neutrality during last year’s debate over regulating the internet, including a significant portion that were submitted by deceased citizens.32 33 In Petoskey, Michigan, a pharmacist refused to fill a woman’s prescription for a medication to treat miscarriages on the grounds that he is “a good Catholic male,” and, a week after the remains of 11 infants were found in the ceiling of a Detroit funeral home, the police found 27 fetuses in a freezer and 36 more in a box at a second funeral home.34 35 At the Indianapolis Zoo, a lioness suffocated the father of her three cubs, and a high school cook in Potter, Nebraska, who added kangaroo meat to a beef chili, was subsequently fired because, the school superintendent explained, kangaroo meat is “without a doubt not a normal staple of our diet.”36 37 The Museum of the Bible announced that five fragments of parchment in its collection that were believed to be part of the Dead Sea Scrolls are fake.38Maud Doyle

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