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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review

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“Mad Dog” Mattis resigned; Trump’s spiked slats forced a government shutdown; Canadian boy bit by coyote upset he hasn’t turned into a werewolf

While speaking to Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a phone call that had been arranged by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in order to clarify his threats against US-supported Kurdish forces, Donald Trump told the Turkish president, “Okay, it’s all yours,” and repeatedly said that the United States would completely withdraw from Syria as soon as possible.1 2 “I’ve done more damage to ISIS than all recent presidents.… not even close!” Trump tweeted.3 US Secretary of Defense General James Mattis, who said, “It’s fun to shoot some people.… I like brawling,” while discussing the war in Afghanistan, responded to the announced pullout by resigning from his post on Thursday, and stated his last day would be February 28, 2019; on Sunday, the president announced that he would remove Mattis from his post January 1, 2019.4 5 6 Trump, who once told Mattis to “go in” to Syria and “kill the fucking lot of them” and that “you don’t need a strategy to kill people,” announced that the interim acting defense secretary would be a former executive of Boeing, the second-largest defense contractor in the world.7 8 9 After Trump stated that he would be “proud” to force a government shutdown and the Senate failed to approve $5.7 billion for the erection of a wall or spiked steel slats across the southern border, the government ceased operations for the third time this year, forcing 420,000 employees to work without pay through the holidays and placing another 380,000 on unpaid leave.10 11 12 13 14 The US Geological Survey, which monitors earthquake and water conditions around the world, has stopped displaying real-time updates as part of the shutdown, retaining only 75 of its estimated 8,032 employees; without this data, seismologists in Indonesia have been limited in their ability to predict if another tsunami will follow the one that hit the country Saturday, which killed at least 429 people and left hundreds more injured.15 16 An Iraq War veteran living in Miramar, Florida, created a GoFundMe titled “We the People Will Build the Wall” which has raised $17,239,732 of its $1 billion goal; contributions in US Dollars to GoFundMes that were created to provide relief to Indonesia after the earthquake and tsunami in September, which killed at least 2,256 people and injured more than 10,000 others, total $128,453.17 18 19

Following reports of illegal drones sighted near the runways at Gatwick Airport in London which caused the airport to shut down for 36 hours, a forensics examination revealed that the drones might not have existed; Korean Airlines have increased ticket-refund penalties for three fans who checked in to a flight just to take pictures of Wanna One.20 21 The UN approved a British-led resolution which arranged a cease-fire at the port in Hodeida, Yemen, that would allow foreign aid to reach the population, while a rival resolution proposed by the United States on behalf of Saudi Arabia was rejected.22 23 It was revealed that Facebook gave certain companies access to its users’ data that far exceeded what had been publicly disclosed, including allowing Netflix and Spotify to read private messages, and that the Russian Internet Research Agency’s influence campaign’s most popular Instagram account was @blackstagram.24 25 A week after Congress passed legislation requiring its members to use private money rather than public funds to settle sexual-harassment lawsuits, Rudy Giuliani defended Trump’s use of campaign contributions as hush money, arguing that if donations were given for “another purpose, it’s not a campaign contribution. Here, the purpose was to protect you against your wife. Protect her from embarrassment.”26 27 A 600-meter floating barrier launched off the coast of San Francisco has failed to collect the trash of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.28

A human-rights commission has called on a school in Canton, Massachusetts, to stop administering electric shocks to disabled children as a form of punishment, and an eight-year-old boy died on Christmas morning while in the custody of US Customs and Border Patrol, the second such fatality of a Guatemalan child under the age of 10 the law enforcement agency had presided over in 17 days.29 30 In Texas, a 61-year-old grandmother arrested for a misdemeanor trespassing charge, who had been held on $300 bond since July, died in the Bexar County jail, and in Missouri, a convicted deer poacher was sentenced to watching Bambi every month during his year in prison.31 32 Pope Francis warned child abusers to prepare for “divine justice”; a priest in Middletown, New York, who has settled several sexual abuse cases with the state, said in a sermon that Jesus “understands that we’re not perfect”; and an FBI agent who accidentally shot a bar patron while performing a backflip off-duty pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.33 34 35 Denmark’s parliament has approved a plan to exile foreign criminals to a small island that is used as a laboratory for research on infectious diseases, and Northern Ireland has begun soliciting feedback on probation and punishment from offenders and victims of crime.36 37 A spate of thefts of the baby Jesus from the mangers of nativity scenes around the country prompted local business leaders in West Bend, Wisconsin, to nail Jesus to his manger for their display.38 In Airdrie, Canada, a six-year-old boy was not injured after being bitten by a coyote because of his snowsuit and the quick actions of his mother’s boyfriend.39 “However, he is a bit upset he has not turned into a werewolf yet,” his mother wrote on Facebook.—Maud Doyle

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