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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review

The Italian Supreme Court ruled that children don’t have to see their grandparents if they don’t want to.

Days after the release of a report that found a Chinese company’s plan to build a corn mill near a North Dakota Air Force base posed a “significant threat to national security,” according to the United States military, the United States shot down a Chinese spy balloon the size of three buses off the coast of the Carolinas.1 2 3 The weeklong journey of the balloon, which China claimed was a meteorological airship that had blown off course, led to a diplomatic crisis and the cancellation of a meeting in Beijing between Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Chinese president Xi Jinping.4 President Joe Biden, who followed a Pentagon recommendation not to shoot down the balloon while it was over land to avoid hitting people below, was criticized by Republicans, who argued that the balloon should have been downed immediately.5 6 “In Montana we do not bow,” tweeted Big Sky State representative Ryan Zinke. “Take the shot.” It was reported that vaccine makers had kept $1.4 billion in payments for canceled COVID-19 immunizations intended for the world’s poor, and the Biden Administration announced that the coronavirus national and public health emergencies would end in May, forcing some to pay for tests and treatments.7 8 “Just because the president of the United States is a 40-year career pathological liar doesn’t make it okay for anyone else to go out and do that,” said New York representative George Santos, who reportedly claimed to have been a producer of the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.9 10 Santos, who is the subject of multiple investigations into his fabrications about his past, recused himself from his committee assignments and was accused of sexually harassing a prospective aide.11 12 “The middle finger, which is higher than the others, reminds us of something essential: honesty,” tweeted the pope.13

In Iraq, a 22-year-old YouTube star was killed by her father, and in Iran, an influencer couple were given multiyear prison sentences for dancing in the street.14 15 The province of Ontario argued that it does not owe billions of dollars to First Nations people for breaking its treaty obligations due to the historical expenses of colonization and resource extraction.16 It was reported that debt agents for British Gas were breaking into the homes of struggling customers to install prepayment meters, and the former prime minister Boris Johnson said that Russian president Vladimir Putin had threatened to hit him with a missile.17 18 House Republicans removed Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs committee, and the Judiciary committee spent the first hour of a meeting arguing over whether to say the Pledge of Allegiance.19 20 A report revealed that black taxpayers are at least three times as likely to be audited by the IRS as others, and the College Board issued a revised curriculum for its AP African American Studies course that omits reparations, queer life, Black Lives Matter, and incarceration from the corresponding exam.21 22 The Miami Police Department unveiled a Black History Month–themed cruiser.23 A tech CEO apologized after quoting Martin Luther King Jr. in an email laying off 7 percent of her staff, and a survey found that 80 percent of workers who quit their jobs in the Great Resignation have regrets.24 25 A construction laborer won $295,000 Canadian in a lawsuit after being punched in the crotch by his boss and needing to have a testicle removed.26 “It was a whole dick,” said an employee of an Alabama gas station where a disembodied penis was found.27 Hatchet Speed, an accused U.S. Capitol rioter, had his bond revoked.28

A man filed suit for three million Singapore dollars against a woman because she saw him as just a friend, and the Italian Supreme Court ruled that children don’t have to see their grandparents if they don’t want to.29 30 It was reported that in Saskatoon, a landlord had told the family of a murdered renter that they were responsible for cleaning his blood off the walls.31 “What it tells us is that there’s still a lot of things that we don’t understand,” said a scientist who discovered a new kind of ice.32 The British Trust for Ornithology lost access to its Twitter account after several posts about woodcocks, and a pigeon that had been dyed pink, likely for a gender reveal, was in “delicate critical” condition after being rescued from a New York City park.33 34 In Illinois, a former school administrator was accused of embezzling over $1.5 million, largely in the form of chicken wings.35 A man accused of breaching various enclosures at the Dallas Zoo and stealing two emperor tamarin monkeys was arrested after being spotted at an aquarium, and a zoo director in Mexico was accused of killing four of the zoo’s pygmy goats and serving them at a Christmas banquet.36 37 It was announced that a gibbon who lived alone in a cage had gotten pregnant through a nine-millimeter-wide hole, and scientists revealed that the male northern quoll may be dying out because it sacrifices sleep in order to find sex.38 39 “At first it was a joke,” said a Ugandan man who cannot afford his 12 wives, 102 children, and 578 grandchildren.40 “But now this has its problems.” —Jon Edelman

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