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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review

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Sri Lanka’s president demoted the country’s health minister, who advocated for sorcery as a treatment for COVID-19.

Several government buildings on Capitol Hill were evacuated after Floyd Ray Roseberry of North Carolina claimed that he had a bomb inside his truck, which he’d parked in front of the Library of Congress, and demanded President Biden’s resignation.1 “Generally speaking, I understand citizenry anger directed at dictatorial Socialism and its threat to liberty, freedom and the very fabric of American society,” tweeted Alabama representative Mo Brooks in response to Roseberry’s threat.2 A sales report found that year-to-date Jeep Gladiator sales increased 21.5 percent, and the Washington, D.C., police department sent out a notice activating all officers and postponing vacation days in anticipation of a rally in support of jailed January 6 rioters.3 4 “We must achieve a situation of pacification as quickly as possible,” said France’s foreign minister, in reference to the Taliban’s rule of Afghanistan.5 Taliban soldiers fired at a crowd of protesters, attacked reporters, and burned down a Kabul amusement park after riding the merry-go-round and bumper cars.6 7 8 “When it comes to experience, maturity, vision, there is a huge difference between us in comparison to 20 years ago,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.9 In Kandahar province, governor Haji Wafa said that the Taliban will not enforce the wearing of beards or the suppression of music, but that Islamic scholars will make residents aware of their sins, and the Taliban’s political office spokesman tweeted a video of a scholar telling female hospital staffers to continue their work.10 11 U.K. foreign secretary Dominic Raab was unable to discuss evacuations of civilians with his Afghan counterpart because Raab was on vacation in Crete.12 At least seven people, including the two-year-old daughter of a former interpreter, were crushed to death at the gates of Kabul airport while waiting for a flight out of the country.13

Sri Lanka’s president demoted the country’s health minister, who advocated for sorcery as a treatment for COVID-19.14 In Nashville, a conservative radio host who once wrote a parody of the Beatles’ “Taxman,” called “Vaxman,” and advised his listeners to treat infections with ivermectin, a deworming drug for livestock, died from complications related to COVID-19, and Mississippi’s Poison Control Center reported a statewide surge in calls related to the ingestion of ivermectin.15 16 The United States reported more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths in one day, a first since March; over 1,600 students in three weeks tested positive for the virus in one Florida school district; Alabama ran out of ICU beds; and New Zealand announced a nationwide lockdown after one person tested positive for COVID-19.17 18 19 20 Following 11 incidents in which Tesla’s self-driving features led cars to crash into emergency vehicles stationed at the sites of previous crashes, a federal investigation into the technology was launched.21 Elon Musk announced plans to build humanoid robots that would work at Tesla manufacturing plants or perform menial tasks for consumers.22 23 “Our cars are semi-sentient robots on wheels,” said Musk during a presentation in which a dancer in a spandex suit jerkily walked across the stage. “It kind of makes sense to put that onto a humanoid form. We’re also quite good at sensors and batteries and actuators, so we think we’ll probably have a prototype some time next year that basically looks like this.” The U.S. unemployment rate fell to a pandemic low, thanks in part to manufacturing plants in the mid-Atlantic region hiring more workers and offering more hours.24 OnlyFans, a livestreaming website that has experienced enormous growth since April 2020 and is best known for offering its users the opportunity to be paid for the porn and porn-adjacent content they post, announced a ban on sexually explicit material.25 26 A former police officer in Alabama was sentenced to 25 years in prison for fatally shooting a suicidal man who had been holding a gun to his own head.27

A taxi driver in New York City discovered that a passenger placed in his car, whom he had been told was drunk, was in fact dead, and a man in Washington drove his car into a river in an effort to fill the vehicle’s radiator with water.28 29 In Memphis, Tennessee, a son lost his father’s ashes when the FedEx package containing the urn was stolen from outside his apartment, despite his instructions that the package be held for pickup.30 An oft-cited 2012 study that proposed a way to make people behave more honestly was found to be based on fraudulent data.31 Researchers found evidence that sea snake attacks on divers could be a misdirected attempt to mate.32 “Oh, I love him,” said a Utah alligator trainer of the gator that had recently attacked and dragged her into its tank.33 “He is like a member of my family.” —Clara Olshansky

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