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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review

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The Thai government banned frightening news.

For the first time, the vaccination rate in the European Union surpassed that of the United States, which reported the highest number of new COVID-19 cases of any country in the world.1 2 The governor of Florida, which set a new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations, announced an executive order that would withhold funding from any school district that requires students or staff to wear masks; the governor of Texas, which surpassed New York in total COVID-19 deaths, issued an executive order forbidding state and local officials from mandating masks or vaccines; and the governor of Arkansas, which has the third lowest vaccination rate of any state, declared a state of emergency unaccompanied by a mask requirement or any restrictions on businesses.3 4 5 6 7 “We are wide open in Arkansas,” he said. In Missouri, a clinic at the St. Charles County Fair did not manage to vaccinate a single person.8 9 “It’s disappointing,” said one local health official. Pharmacists in Missouri reported that people have been disguising themselves before getting the vaccine, fearing how their friends and family might react.10 According to one doctor, “They even went so far as to say, ‘Please, please, please, don’t let anybody know that I got this vaccine. I don’t want my friends to know. I don’t want to get COVID.’” The nation of Bhutan managed to fully vaccinate 90 percent of its adult population within a week of receiving the vaccine through foreign donations.11 “If there’s anything that I hope the world can learn,” said UNICEF’s representative in Bhutan, “it is that [in] a country like Bhutan, with very few doctors, very few nurses, but a really committed king and leadership in the government mobilizing society—it’s not impossible to vaccinate the whole country.”

Congress allowed a 16-month-old federal moratorium on evictions to expire even though some 15 million Americans remain behind in rent payments.12 “Really, we only learned about this yesterday,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.13 The U.S. government sold Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, the Wu-Tang Clan album that was once purchased by the disgraced drug executive Martin Shkreli, to an anonymous buyer for an undisclosed amount; and the Department of Justice seized the 3,600-year-old Gilgamesh Dream Tablet from Hobby Lobby, a chain of arts-and-crafts stores, alleging that it had been illegally imported.14 15 The treasurer of Crook County, Wyoming, was charged with the unauthorized use of monies, issuing false certificates, and official misconduct.16 A slice of royal cake from the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles was to be auctioned off in England. “We advise against eating it,” read the auction house’s website.17

The Thai government banned frightening news.18 A Californian man who gave himself the military rank of Supreme Commander was sentenced to three years in prison for recruiting more than 200 Chinese nationals to join a fictitious unit called the U.S. Army/Military Special Forces Reserve, giving them uniforms, and having them march around the Los Angeles suburbs.19 The Federal Aviation Administration redefined “astronaut” in a manner that would likely exclude Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, and pilots reported, for the third time, a man wearing a jetpack flying over Los Angeles.20 21 “Use caution,” warned an air traffic controller. “The jetpack guy is back.” Officials in Weber County, Utah, warned of the dangers of hammocking from power lines.22 In Alaska, a group of locals and wildlife officials gathered around a stranded orca and kept it hydrated for six hours, until the tide rose and it swam out to sea.23

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