Weekly Review — November 14, 2000, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Israelassassinated a Palestinian paramilitary commander by blowing up his vehicle with missiles fired from helicopter gunships; two women who were standing nearby were also killed. One witness described seeing the women’s bodies with “their intestines and livers hanging out.” An Israeli general said that he hoped the assassination would “reduce the violence and bring reason back to this area.” Heavier fighting followed; two Israeli soldiers and more Palestinians, including a twelve-year-old boy, were shot dead.Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, asked the United Nations Security Council to send a multinational peacekeeping force to the Occupied Territories.The U.N. General Assembly for the ninth time called on the United States to lift its embargo of Cuba; the vote was 167-3; only the Marshall Islands and Israel voted with the U.S.South African television broadcast a 1998 training video showing black prisoners being mauled repeatedly by policedogs as they begged for mercy; six white policemen were arrested shortly thereafter.Zimbabwe’s supreme court declared that the recent seizures of white-owned farms were illegal and ordered the government to evict black squatters occupying the farms; the government, which has ignored two previous court orders on the subject, said there was “no going back.” Indonesian troops in Aceh, on the island of Sumatra, were killing civilians suspected of collaborating with rebels; bodies of men arrested by security forces routinely turn up dead, mutilated, dismembered.”The Year of Living Dangerously,” a film about the rise of former president Suharto, was shown publicly in Indonesia for the first time.Radislav Krstic, a Bosnian-Serb general, was standing trial at the Hague for war crimes connected to the massacre at Srebrenica; prosecutors played a tape of a radio intercept in which Krstic said, “Kill each and every one of them.Do not leave a single one alive.”

Police shot protesters in Mozambique, killing ten, after an election the opposition said was rigged.Ralph Nader prevented Al Gore from winning a clear victory in the U.S. presidential election. Although Gore won a popular majority nationwide, the Electoral College outcome awaited a decision in the contested Florida vote, where widespread “irregularities” occurred; most commentators were pleased to believe that the irregularities were the result of mere incompetence and stupidity in the state governed by Jeb Bush.Lawsuits were filed.Many people were appalled that the political process had been politicized.Senator Hillary Clinton called for the abolition of the Electoral College.Thousands of Chinesevoted in a mock U.S. election in Beijing; Al Gore won by a 2 to 1 margin.Venezuela’sparliament gave President Hugo Chvez the power to rule by decree.Californiavoters approved a measure requiring drug offenders to be sentenced to treatment rather than prison.The European Commission filed suit in Brooklyn against the Philip Morris Company and the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company for allegedly engaging in money laundering, wire fraud, and other illegal activities connected with “a massive ongoing smuggling scheme.”One hundred and seventy skiers died in a cable car accident near Salzburg, Austria; some were burned to death, others choked on the smoke.Jimmie Davis, former governor of Louisiana, died; he was best known for having written “You Are My Sunshine.”

New Zealandresearchers claimed to have found a gene for schizophrenia.Jodie and Mary, a pair of Siamese twins in Britain, were separated pursuant to a court order which concluded that Mary, being “incapable of independent existence,” was “designated for death.” Jodie was doing fine; doctors said they might put a mirror next to her to lessen the loss of her sister. Mary “sadly died,” the hospital said, “despite all the best efforts of the medical team.” It was unclear what the team hoped to accomplish; she had no heart, no lungs.After spending time in the custody of child welfare authorities, a three-year-old toddler weighing 120 pounds was returned to her parents in Albuquerque, New Mexico.Eric Morley, founder of the Miss World pageant, which was originally called the Miss World Festival Bikini Girl competition, died.Herpes virus 8, which causes Kaposi’s sarcoma, a skin cancer that commonly afflicts AIDSpatients, may be spread by kissing, according to a new study.Germany’s lower house of parliament passed a limited gay-marriage bill.Physicists made a transistor out of a single buckyball molecule.Thieves crashed into the Millennium Dome in London in an attempt to steal $500 million in diamonds, which were not there, as it turned out.Friends of the Earth reported the discovery of Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” corn in European food; the genetically modified corn has not been approved in Europe for any use.Environmental activists held forty candlelight vigils along two hundred miles of the Hudson River, which is polluted by PCBs dumped there, legally, a long time ago by General Electric.Chemical analysis of a strand of Ludwig van Beethoven’s hair determined that he probably suffered from lead poisoning.Two scientists traveled to South Georgia Island in the south Atlantic to find out whether it is true that penguins there fall over backwards while watching airplanes fly by.A dead man was elected to the United States Senate.

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The city was not beautiful; no one made that claim for it. At the height of summer, people in suits, shellacked by the sun, moved like harassed insects to avoid the concentrated light. There was a civil war–like fracture in America—the president had said so—but little of it showed in the capital. Everyone was polite and smooth in their exchanges. The corridor between Dupont Circle and Georgetown was like the dream of Yugoslav planners: long blocks of uniform earth-toned buildings that made the classical edifices of the Hill seem the residue of ancestors straining for pedigree. Bunting, starched and perfectly ruffled in red-white-and-blue fans, hung everywhere—from air conditioners, from gutters, from statues of dead revolutionaries. Coming from Berlin, where the manual laborers are white, I felt as though I was entering the heart of a caste civilization. Untouchables in hard hats drilled into sidewalks, carried pylons, and ate lunch from metal boxes, while waiters in restaurants complimented old respectable bobbing heads on how well they were progressing with their rib eyes and iceberg wedges.

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Every year in Lusk, Wyoming, during the second week of July, locals gather to reenact a day in 1849 when members of a nearby band of Sioux are said to have skinned a white man alive. None of the actors are Native American. The white participants dress up like Indians and redden their skin with body paint made from iron ore.

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At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

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