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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review

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Dozens of articles written by the co-founder of the fact-checking site Snopes were taken down after an investigation revealed that he had serially plagiarized BuzzFeed.

The Taliban, which ruled three-fourths of Afghanistan from September 1996 through December 2001, announced from the presidential palace in Kabul that it had seized control of the entire country.1 2 Former president Ashraf Ghani fled the country several days after his daughter’s film What We Left Unfinished screened at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco.3 4 President Biden sent 5,000 troops to evacuate remaining U.S. military personnel from Afghanistan, but did not provide immediate assistance to the tens of thousands of Afghans who had worked with them.5 6 As a McDonnell Douglas C-17 Globemaster III military jet taxied and then took off from the Kabul airport, dozens of Afghans clung to and fell from the fuselage of the aircraft; all subsequent commercial flights in and out of the capital were halted.7 8 “What Afghanistan has inherited from [the] U.S. is poverty, a rising unemployment rate, the destruction of social services, the unprecedented increase in class distinctions, a wealth gap, the destruction of the middle class, a vast economic mafia network, an underground economy, increased cultivation, production, and smuggling of drugs, addiction among more than four million young people, an ethnic war, the collapse of good values, the growth of a culture of corruption, money laundering, and lying,” said the leader of Afghanistan’s National Congress Party.9 Haitians displaced by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake along the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone that damaged more than 25,000 buildings, killed at least 1,900, and injured tens of thousands more slept on airport tarmacs and soccer fields. Doctors and hospital staff, short on IV drips, antibiotics, and X-ray film, treated patients in makeshift outdoor clinics and bandaged one woman’s leg with cardboard.10 11 12 13 International aid organizations, including the Red Cross—which in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake failed to track millions of dollars in donations and said that it had built homes for 130,000 people when it had built only six—established an operations base in Port-au-Prince.14 15 16 The earthquake struck two days before Tropical Depression Grace made landfall, one month after the nation’s president was mysteriously assassinated, and exactly 230 years after Bois Caïman, a voodoo ceremony and organizing event that is considered the inception of the Haitian Revolution.17 18

After the Lebanese central bank ended fuel subsidies amid countrywide shortages, a storage tank commandeered by the Lebanese military exploded as citizens waited in line for its gasoline, killing 28 and injuring 79.19 20 21 “What should I say to my children? That their brothers died for fuel?” asked the father of two of the deceased. In Florida, three Broward County educators died of complications from COVID-19 in the week before school started, and Palm Beach County asked 440 students to quarantine after more than 50 students and faculty tested positive for COVID in the first two days of the school year.22 23 A spokesperson for the state’s governor said that school board members in counties that, like Broward, require students to wear masks would have their salaries cut, then asked board members to instead “own their decision” and dock their own pay.24 It was reported that farm-supply stores were running low on livestock dewormers containing an antiparasitic ingredient mistakenly believed to cure COVID; Facebook removed hundreds of Russian accounts that posted Planet of the Apes memes insinuating that the AstraZeneca shot would turn recipients into chimpanzees, part of a campaign to discourage vaccination among Indians and Latin Americans; and anti-vaccine protesters intending to storm BBC headquarters went to the wrong address.25 26 27 A man who has lived in a cave in Serbia for 20 years advocated for vaccination. “It does not pick. It will come here to my cave too,” said the man, who moved into the cave after donating all his money to build three bridges in a nearby town.28

A Las Vegas landlord justified killing two of his tenants by explaining that they were behind on rent and he didn’t want to go through a lengthy eviction process.29 Officials in Lucama, North Carolina, began excavating thousands of municipal documents—believed to implicate the town in racist billing practices carried out in the 1990s and 2000s—buried under a field.30 Dozens of articles written by the co-founder of the fact-checking site Snopes were taken down after an investigation revealed that he had serially plagiarized BuzzFeed.31 A criminology professor specializing in environmental sociology was accused of intentionally igniting a series of wildfires across Northern California.32 Smoke from more than 100 drought-fueled Siberian wildfires, cumulatively larger than all the world’s other current fires combined, blew over the North Pole.33 “Can’t we have a plan that really works?” wrote Rwandan president Paul Kagame after the London soccer club Arsenal, which Rwanda sponsors, lost its first match of the season to newly promoted Brentford.34 —Jordan Cutler-Tietjen

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