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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review

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A White House press corps flight to the G7 summit was delayed because one of the plane’s engines was filled with cicadas.

Israel’s Knesset moved by a single-vote margin to end the 12-year premiership of Benjamin Netanyahu, installing Naftali Bennett as the new prime minister at the head of a coalition including, among others, the right-wing party Yamina, the social-democratic party Meretz, and the conservative Islamist party Raam.1 2 At the 47th annual G7 summit, in Cornwall, England, President Emmanuel Macron of France, who had earlier that week been slapped at a protest in the town of Tain-l’Hermitage by a medieval-weapons enthusiast, welcomed the United States back into the “club”; the leaders attended an “entirely COVID-secure” beachfront barbecue; Macron and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom quarreled over Northern Ireland and the trade in sausages and other chilled meats; a group of protesters dressed as Pikachu demanded that Japan stop burning coal; and Biden met Queen Elizabeth II, whom he likened to his mother.3 4 5 6 7 A White House press corps flight to the summit was delayed because one of the plane’s engines was filled with cicadas.8 “We apologize to our charter customers,” read a statement from Delta, “for this rarest of entomological delays.” On her first trip to a foreign country as vice president, Kamala Harris, the daughter of two immigrants, addressed potential Guatemalan immigrants to the United States and told them, “Do not come.”9 10

Alberto Fernández, the president of Argentina, apologized after relating a version of an apocryphal quotation while speaking with the Spanish prime minister: “The Mexicans came from the Indians, the Brazilians came from the jungle, but we Argentines came from boats, and they were boats that came from Europe.”11 President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil led a motorcycle procession of some 12,000 riders through São Paulo to a public park, where he sharply criticized rules requiring the vaccinated to wear masks; Bolsonaro was subsequently fined $110 for violating the city’s mask mandate.12 In Russia, where 12 percent of the population has received only a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the mayor of Moscow announced that the city would be raffling off new cars for those electing to get the shot, and Washington State launched a program that would provide free joints, but not edibles, to those who receive the vaccine at marijuana dispensaries.13 14 A nursing student delivered testimony to the Ohio state legislature in support of a proposed law limiting vaccine mandates in which she claimed that the shot had made her “magnetic,” and attempted to stick both a bobby pin and a key to her skin, neither of which adhered.15

A report from ProPublica revealed that the 25 richest Americans paid an average income-tax rate of 15.8 percent from 2014 to 2018, lower than the average rate of an American making $45,000 a year.16 Jeff Bezos announced that he would be aboard the first human spaceflight of the New Shepard, a suborbital rocket produced by his company Blue Origin, along with his brother and an unnamed individual who paid $28 million for a ticket at auction.17 “The more you pay for it, the more you enjoy it,” said the auctioneer.18 El Salvador, where 70 percent of people do not have a bank account, became the first country to recognize bitcoin as legal tender.19 “This is going to evolve fast!” said the president regarding further plans to use geothermal energy from the country’s volcanoes to mine more bitcoin.20 Louie Gohmert, a Republican member of the House from Texas, asked a U.S. Forest Service official during a hearing whether the Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management would be able to alter the orbit of the moon or the earth to help mitigate climate-change efforts; the official replied that he would “have to follow up with you.”21 Amid widespread drought, the state of Nevada enacted a ban on watering roughly one third of the grass in the Las Vegas metropolitan area.22 A study of the oral traditions of the Māori determined that they may have traveled to Antarctica as early as the seventh century; the National Geographic Society announced the existence of a fifth ocean; and a fisherman on Cape Cod claimed to have escaped from the mouth of a whale after being trapped for almost a full minute.23 24 25 “I was lobster diving and a humpback whale tried to eat me,” the fisherman wrote of his experience. The results of a clinical trial suggested that laughing-gas therapy might be an effective treatment for depression.26

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