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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review

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Vladimir Putin announced his intention to replace Wikipedia with a digital version of the Great Russian Encyclopedia to ensure the dissemination of “reliable information.”

In the Kentucky gubernatorial election, Democrat Andy Beshear, the son of the Kentucky governor who served from 2007 to 2015, defeated incumbent Matt Bevin, who, despite pleas from Republican colleagues to “let it go” and “call it quits,” refused to concede the election and blamed the results on “illegally counted” absentee ballots.1 2 3 4 For the first time in 26 years, both houses of the Virginia legislature turned Democratic; lawmakers now include Ghazala Hashmi, the first Muslim woman elected to the state’s Senate; Shelly Simonds, who lost an election for her House of Delegates seat in 2017 after her name was not picked from a hat; and Joe Morrissey, a lawyer who was once jailed for sleeping with his underage secretary.5 6 7 In Loudoun County, Virginia, a woman who had been fired from her job as a marketing analyst for giving Donald Trump’s motorcade the middle finger was elected to the Board of Supervisors.8 The U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, revised his testimony to congressional impeachment investigators, claiming to recall a conversation in which he explicitly made aid to Ukraine dependent on an investigation of Joe Biden, and it was revealed that Attorney General William Barr had denied a request from the president to hold a press conference declaring that he had not broken the law.9 10 Trump was reportedly in talks with Mark Burnett, the producer of The Apprentice, about future reality-show opportunities, including a project tentatively called The Apprentice: White House, and Rudy Giuliani was overheard discussing plans to launch an impeachment-themed podcast.11 12 During the first week of Roger Stone’s trial for witness tampering and lying to Congress, the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones threatened to release a juror’s personal information; a radio comedian accused of being Stone’s link to WikiLeaks testified that he cannot perform a credible impersonation of Frank Pentangeli, a character from The Godfather: Part II; the judge requested that the jury not watch the Godfather films during the trial; and a courtroom spectator suffered a seizure.13 14 15

A New Hampshire man attempted to register for the state’s presidential primary as “Jeffrey Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself”; a Missouri man broke into an adult store called Mi Dream Angels and tried to rescue its mannequins from “sex trafficking”; and the police chief of New South Wales defended the practice of strip-searching children, saying that he’d want his own “young children” strip-searched if they were expected of wrongdoing.16 17 18 Two turtles with white swastikas painted on their shells were spotted in a park in Renton, Washington, and an Italian youth soccer team abandoned plans to play in blackface as an anti-racism protest.19 20 “We received emails telling us it could be perceived as offensive in some cultures,” said the team’s manager. A man who had clubbed another man to death with an axe handle was unsuccessful in his attempt to appeal his life sentence on the basis that he had completed the sentence when doctors revived him after his “death” of septic poisoning, and a woman in Texas was denied lifesaving medication because the Social Security Administration thought she was already dead.21 22 The city council of Vancouver, British Columbia, passed a law permitting grave-sharing. “It’s no different than the ride-sharing practices such as Uber and Lyft,” said one environmental planner. “Except the person has reached their final destination.”23 A Winnipeg man whose curb was damaged by city snow-removal equipment in 1993 received word that repair work would be completed by 2037, and 168,149 text messages originally sent on Valentine’s Day were successfully delivered.24 25

A warrant was issued for the arrest of a Michigan woman for failing to return overdue copies of Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends and Elie Wiesel’s Night to her local library; officials in Citrus County, Florida, denied a library’s request for a New York Times subscription, calling it “fake news”; and Vladimir Putin announced his intention to replace Wikipedia with a digital version of the Great Russian Encyclopedia to ensure the dissemination of “reliable information.”26 27 28 Two former Twitter employees were charged with spying for Saudi Arabia by accessing the personal information of the kingdom’s critics; one of the former employees was given $300,000 and a designer watch worth at least $20,000 for his services.29 China imposed spending and time restrictions on gamers under the age of 18; it was reported that the erotically suggestive usage of the eggplant and peach emojis can cause users on Facebook and Instagram to be flagged or banned; and Sebastian Gorka, the former deputy assistant to the president who now hosts a radio show called America First, was banned from YouTube for repeatedly uploading audio from the rock band Imagine Dragons without copyright permission.30 31 32 The Defense Department announced that male Marines can now use umbrellas.33 Amid an ongoing smog crisis in Delhi, in which pollution levels have reached over nine times the standard for unhealthy air, Harsh Vardhan—who is jointly the minister of science and technology, the minister of health and family welfare, and the minister of earth sciences—suggested that citizens protect themselves by eating carrots, and Prakash Javadekar—who is both the minister of environmental, forest, and climate change and the minister of information and broadcasting—recommended listening to music in the morning.34 Scientists determined that dogs direct their bowel movements along a north-south axis in accordance with the earth’s magnetic field.35

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