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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review

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“Papa” John Schnatter retracted a claim he made last month that he had eaten “40 pizzas in the last 30 days,” admitting that he had been referring to eating “parts of pieces” rather than entire pies.

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus—which was officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization—reached 71,000, and 1,873 people were reported to have died, almost all of them in mainland China, where half the population has been placed under travel restrictions.1 2 A Florida-based pornography company offered free webcam sessions for passengers stuck on the quarantined World Dream and Diamond Princess cruise ships. “We like cruises as much as the next guy, but without activities or human interaction, the boredom must be crippling.”3 Passengers aboard the Diamond Princess were quoted as saying they had made “lifelong friends” during the quarantine and “definitely plan on keeping in touch” with others; more than 300 Americans were evacuated from the ship, and several days later, at least 14 of them tested positive for COVID-19.4 5 A Russian social-media star who faked coronavirus symptoms on the Moscow subway was arrested for hooliganism, two New York City teenagers were referred to the New York City Police Department after boarding a subway in hazmat suits with a vat of red liquid, and an Illinois teenager was arrested after walking into a Walmart wearing a sign that read “I have the coronavirus.”6 7 8 The American televangelist Jim Bakker was promoting a liquid “Silver Solution” that he claimed could eliminate the virus in 12 hours, and the head of a Hindu nationalist group in India advocated eating cow dung and drinking cow urine to combat the disease.9 10 Taiwan debuted several new mascots to promote safety during the outbreak, including Zongchai, a Shiba Inu that provides hygienic advice; a goose that warns about exaggerated reports of consumer-goods shortages; and a pigeon that gives information on travel restrictions.11

As the Iowa Democratic Party continued to review results of its first-in-the-nation caucus, Senator Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire Democratic primary.12 13 Footage surfaced of a 2015 Aspen Institute speech by Michael Bloomberg—who won three write-in votes in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, after personally calling most of its five residents and who has paid social-media influencers to post memes that portray him as a “self-aware ironic character”—in which the former New York City mayor claimed that “Ninety-five percent of your murders, murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. . . . They are male, minorities, 16 to 25.”14 15 Other footage of Bloomberg includes comments he made in 2016 that jobs in the information economy require “more gray matter” than jobs in agriculture and remarks he made in 2008 arguing that the end of redlining led to the financial crisis.16 17 Four federal prosecutors withdrew from the case of Roger Stone after the president tweeted that the prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation of seven to nine years—for lying under oath, obstructing a congressional inquiry, and seeking to block witness testimony—was “a horrible and very unfair situation,” and the Justice Department intervened to have that recommendation lowered, which led a group of more than 1,000 former Justice Department officials to demand the resignation of the attorney general, William Barr.18 19 Maesaiah Thabane, the first lady of Lesotho, was charged with murdering the previous first lady; three quarters of Malta’s traffic police were arrested for suspected fraud; and Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s Northern League party, faced potential kidnapping charges for failing to allow 131 migrants from exiting a ship docked in Sicily.20 21 22 “Papa” John Schnatter retracted a claim he made last month that he had eaten “40 pizzas in the last 30 days,” admitting that he had been referring to eating “parts of pieces” rather than entire pies.23

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that it would be sending elite, sniper-trained tactical agents to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel in sanctuary cities; the commissioner of CPB admitted that “leadership just got a little overzealous” when detaining hundreds of U.S. citizens of Iranian descent in the wake of Qassem Soleimani’s assassination; and the High Court of Australia ruled that being convicted of a crime was not grounds to deport an aboriginal Australian.24 25 26 A group of Israeli festival organizers sought permits for a Burning Man–inspired event to be held in the Occupied Territories, and it was reported that the Canadian Armed Forces were considering shorter, slimmer uniform skirts to recruit more women.26 27 The Vancouver International Airport issued an apology for encouraging airline passengers to hit on their seatmates on Valentine’s Day, a Utah bill decriminalizing polygamy advanced to the State Senate, and a section of a Florida park was closed because of a mass of copulating snakes.28 29 30 Antarctica set a new record high temperature of 69 degrees Fahrenheit.31

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