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[Weekly Review]

Weekly Review

A Belgian man was acquitted of drunk driving upon confirmation that he had auto-brewery syndrome, a rare condition in which the human body spontaneously generates alcohol.

The United States approved $61 billion in aid to Ukraine for its military counteroffensive against Russia, $26 billion in aid to Israel for its campaign against Gaza, and $8 billion in aid to Indo-Pacific allies to deter China.1 2 3 Approximately $1 billion in the package is earmarked for humanitarian assistance to Gaza, but none of it will be allotted to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, the largest humanitarian group serving Gaza, which made a flash appeal for $1.21 billion in emergency funds.4 5 Israel’s claim that a number of the organization’s employees participated in the October 7 attacks still has not been substantiated by independent review.6 About 30 members of Rabbis for Ceasefire were arrested near the border with Gaza in an attempt to convey rice and flour to the Erez crossing.7 World Central Kitchen, which has distributed more than 43 million meals in Gaza, where more than one million Palestinians face catastrophic hunger levels, resumed operations following a four-week hiatus after seven workers were killed in an Israeli airstrike, which the Israeli military blamed on a major’s misinterpretation of grainy drone footage.8 9 Israeli warplanes bombed Rafah; analysts and officials concurred on the inevitability of an all-out assault.10 Ukrainian citizens built and repaired military drones at home with parts purchased from AliExpress while artillery shells and ammunition ran low as the country awaited the arrival of aid.11 China blasted U.S. aid to Taiwan as Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Beijing, where he dined at a soup dumpling restaurant and then purchased an album by the Chinese rocker Dou Wei alongside a copy of Taylor Swift’s Midnights on vinyl in his latest coup of “musical diplomacy.”12 13 “Eating xiaolongbao is just like handling international relations,” aphorized a Weibo user, “if your attention slips even a little, you’ll burn your mouth.”14

The Supreme Court heard more oral arguments and justices posed hypotheticals about whether presidents could order assassinations on political rivals, sell nuclear secrets to foreign adversaries, and stage military coups with impunity, and also whether executing homeless people produced an Eighth Amendment issue.15 16 17 A joint letter from nine former senior corrections officials in Oklahoma warned that staff were suffering “lasting trauma” and a “psychological toll” from “non-stop executions,” to which an appeals court judge responded by telling them to “suck it up” and “man up.”18 Research led by a professor at Indiana University finds that empathy among young Americans has rebounded to levels unseen since the late Seventies, while research led by a professor at the University of Chicago finds that students on college campuses are more fearful than ever before.19 20 More than 500 U.S. college students were arrested this week in protests against the war on Gaza.21 A Columbia University professor who specializes in psychological bias called student protesters “terrorists” and “Hitler Youth,” and compared them to “the Judenrat” and “kapos.”22 23 24 In the days after President Biden signed the war aid package, which also threatens to ban TikTok within the year, his reelection campaign posted TikToks about Donald Trump’s claim that windmills cause cancer, Senator Kristi Noem’s admission that she shot her own dog, and Colin Jost’s endorsement of Biden at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.25 26 27 28 On the day of the annual media soirée, Crooked Media hosted a party at Grazie Nonna, NBC hosted a party at the French ambassador’s residence, Time hosted a party at the Swiss ambassador’s residence, United Talent Agency hosted a party at Fiola Mare, and Politico White House correspondent Eugene Daniels hosted a party in his suite at the Hilton, where, outside, a crowd of more than 100 protesters donning keffiyehs, some sporting fake blood, chanted and protested the war.29 “Every time the media lies, a journalist in Gaza dies,” demonstrators outside the dinner intoned, with a large banner that read, “Stop media complicity in genocide.”30 “They’re honoring the First Amendment, and so are we,” Daniels retorted.31 “It was a night of fun and celebration and we deserve it,” a CNN commentator added.32

Google fired 50 employees related to sit-in protests against a $1.2 billion cloud computing contract with Israel, which one protester prepared for by arriving with an adult diaper on.33 34 After the New York Police Department arrested hundreds at Jewish Voice for Peace’s “Seder in the Streets” in Brooklyn, MTA bus drivers refused to transport the protesters to jail, so officers resorted to asking whether any of those arrested had a commercial license; none did, producing what one arrested protester called “a who the hell is going to drive this bus situation,” with officers eventually attempting a precarious curb traversal and an 18-point turn.35 36 A Belgian man was acquitted of drunk driving upon confirmation that he had auto-brewery syndrome, a rare condition in which the human body spontaneously generates alcohol.37 Adam Schiff showed up to a formal fundraising dinner for his Senate campaign in shirtsleeves and an insulated vest after his car was burgled in a downtown San Francisco garage.38 Pope Francis became the first pope to visit the Venice Biennale when he touched down by helicopter at the Giudecca Women’s Prison—also the Vatican’s pavilion at the fair—where Lebanese artist Simone Fattal inscribed lines such as “I often think of my family,” “I am so sad,” and “I thought I was suffocating.” To facilitate the pontiff’s security, the movement of visitors to St. Mark’s Square was impeded by blockades.39Jasmine Liu


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