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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review

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Police officers in Kansas were summoned to defuse a rod of dynamite that turned out to be a beef stick.

A depot in downtown Beirut that held 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate detonated in the largest urban explosion in decades, destroying Lebanon’s largest grain silo, the homes of at least 300,000 people, and 17 shipping containers filled with hundreds of thousands of masks and other personal protective equipment intended for health care workers.1 2 The blast has prompted days of protests during which government forces injured a further 700 people using tear gas and non-rubber bullets; the entire Lebanese cabinet later stepped down.3 4 At 8:15 am on Thursday, the Japanese city of Nagasaki held a moment of silence to mark the 75th anniversary of the killing of 140,000 residents by an American atomic bomb.5 Police officers in Kansas were summoned to defuse a rod of dynamite that turned out to be a beef stick.6 Two Dunkin’ Donuts employees in Des Moines, Iowa, were fired by text message after they refused to serve a police spokesman whose son had accused him of abuse, and it was reported that the executives of Talkspace, an app that connects users with therapists, had read transcripts of an employee’s sessions at a company-wide meeting.7 8 The U.S. Department of State sent text messages in Persian and English to Russian and Iranian cell phones, offering up to $10 million for information about attempts to hack American voting machines.9 “If Iran could influence elections, it would influence its own elections,” said one Tehran IT specialist. New York State certified the results of two elections that took place six weeks ago, and Louis DeJoy, a major Trump donor who was appointed postmaster general in June, announced a large-scale restructuring of the Postal Service that fired or demoted 23 executives and gives him more power.10 11 “Just to be honest, we’re very suspicious of this new postmaster general,” said the chief of staff of the National Association of Letter Carriers.12 Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee, who is polling at two percent, canceled a campaign appearance after a bat bit her.13

The attorney general of New York sued to dissolve the National Rifle Association, which was chartered as a nonprofit in the state 148 years ago.14 “They can’t stand it, but our movement is based on love of our country and our communities, our fellow citizens,” said Trump at a tele-rally in Georgia. “Joe Biden, under him, you’re going to have a real problem with your Second Amendment.”15 Three teens with a loaded AK-47 ran away from a police officer who was in the middle of an unrelated traffic stop, scaled the walls of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, and then said that they did not know whose property they were trespassing on.16 Protests broke out across Belarus after President Aleksandr Lukashenko, who has ruled the country for 26 years, won reelection with 80 percent of the vote, according to a government-run polling organization.17 “I think tomorrow they will calm down and understand that everyone only lives once,” Lukashenko said. The former president of Argentina is suing Google for allegedly listing her occupation as “Thief of the Argentine Nation.”18 The Supreme Court of Louisiana upheld a life sentence for a 62-year-old man who was convicted of stealing hedge clippers in 1997; the lone dissenting justice noted that his imprisonment had already cost the state $500,000.19 A Florida judge suspended a Zoom hearing for a teenage Twitter hacker after pranksters joined the call and played loud audio and porn.20

New Zealand announced that 100 days had passed since a case of COVID-19 had been transmitted within the country; on the 102nd day, four new cases were confirmed in Auckland.21 22 Citing concerns about unequal access to distance learning, Kenya canceled the current school year and will require all students to repeat a grade.23 In Arizona, where intensive-care units were at 90 percent capacity in late July, a band and choir teacher was fined $2,000 for quitting his job; as a stratagem to “own the posh crowd,” Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the president of Mexico, said he wouldn’t wear a face mask until there was no corruption in his country; and an Iowa man broke into a bank and stole hand sanitizer.24 25 26 “Our only intent is to operate the examination fairly and securely,” said the executive director of the Texas Board of Law Examiners, which for the first time will allow test takers to bring tampons and pads when sitting for the bar exam.27 Hundreds of people joined a Harry Potter–themed action to protest the monarchy in Thailand, whose king quarantined in the Bavarian Alps with a harem of 20 women, and donations to Mermaids, an organization that supports trans youth, surged during the week of J. K. Rowling’s birthday.28 29 30 The evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr., who once gave a 21-year-old pool boy $1.8 million to start a hotel and who tweeted blackface and KKK imagery this May, agreed to take an indefinite leave of absence from the helm of Liberty University after he posted photos of himself with his arm around a woman, both of their pants unzipped, at a yacht party called “Trailer Park Boys.”31 32 “More vacation shots,” the post said. “I promise that’s just black water in my glass.”—Cameron French

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