Weekly Review — July 15, 2003, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

The White House admitted that President Bush’s claim in his last State of the Union address that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from Niger was based on “unsubstantiated” intelligence;CNNGeorge Tenet, the director of central intelligence, took the blame for the president’s discredited claim and said that “these 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the president.”BBCTom Daschle, the Senate minority leader, said that this matter “ought to be reviewed very carefully.”CNNHoward Dean, the former governor of Vermont and a Democratic presidential candidate, said that “this government either is inept or simply has not told us the truth.”BBCPresident Bush, asked whether he regretted his false claim about the uranium, responded by saying there was “no doubt” in his mind that he was right to conquer Iraq.”And there’s no doubt in my mind, when it’s all said and done, the facts will show the world the truth.”New York TimesCondoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, said that the president’s discredited claim was still technically a true statement: “The British government did say that.”New York TimesAmerican soldiers continued to die in Iraq,Associated Pressand the U.S. Central Command reported an average of 13 armed attacks on American forces each day.Asia TimesPresident Bush’s approval rating was down to 59 percent, according to a new poll, and 52 percent of respondents said that the level of American casualties in Iraq was “unacceptable.”SlateIraq’s new interim Governing Council was announced.Its first act was to abolish six holidays associated with Saddam Hussein; April 9, the date of the fall of Baghdad, was declared a new national holiday.New York TimesDanish troops in Iraq received a supply shipment of lawn mowers and snowplows.Agence France-Presse

President Bush traveled to Africa where he and his family were entertained by the sight of two elephantsmating.New York Times, SlateMrs. Bush read a book about Clifford the big red dog to some HIV-infected children in Uganda; the children responded with a song: “AIDS has no mercy to the youth,” they sang. “We all die young.”ReutersThe Food and Drug Administration was planning to make it easier for companies to make misleading health claims about their food products. “Many Americans are not getting clear information on how the foods they choose affect their health,” said the FDA’s commissioner about the initiative. “We need to do a better job on this urgent public-health problem.”New York TimesIt was discovered that clown fish can change their sex as they move up in social status.New ScientistBritain proposed giving transsexuals the right to get married in their adoptive sex.Daily TelegraphJerry Springer, the talk-show host, filed to run for the Senate in Ohio.ReutersGerman Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder cancelled his Italian vacation in retaliation for insulting remarks about German tourists made by Italy’s tourism minister; regional officials asked the Italian government to declare a “state of calamity” to compensate for the anticipated loss of German tourist business.New York Times, BBCA racist factory worker in Mississippi who was angry at being forced to attend sensitivity training killed five co-workers and then himself.New York TimesThe federal commission investigating the September 11 attacks complained that the Justice Department and the Pentagon were not cooperating.New York TimesPresident Bush was photographed holding hands with the president of Senegal.New York TimesA new study found that marriage significantly undermines the careers of scientists and criminals.Daily Telegraph

The World Meteorological Organization said that the extreme weather conditions observed this spring across the globe (very high temperatures in parts of Europe, 562 tornadoes in one month in the United States, a heat wave in India that killed at least 1,400 people) were strong evidence that global climate change is happening now and that the number of such extreme weather events can be expected to increase.WMO Press ReleaseEastern equine encephalitis, a mosquito-borne disease which mainly affects horses, was said to be “unusually active” this year.New ScientistThe Food and Drug Administration reported that a feed company in Washington State had admitted to violating rules designed to prevent the spread of mad cow disease.ReutersFishermen in Italy were using live kittens to catch giant sheat fish in the Po River.IndependentCustoms agents in Hong Kong seized 10,000 endangered turtles on their way from Malaysia to China, probably to be eaten.Associated PressKraft Foods, apparently worried about tobacco-style lawsuits from obese people, announced that it was committed to producing healthier foods.Daily TelegraphEleven people in Texas were quarantined with SARS-like symptoms.New York TimesLegionnaires’ disease was on the rise.Associated PressA giant flyborg, an artificially intelligent robot balloon, escaped from the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Britain.BBCIt was discovered that some women ovulate more than once a month.New ScientistSingapore lifted its ban on chewing gum.Reuters

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Addressing the graduating cadets at West Point in May 1942, General George C. Marshall, then the Army chief of staff, reduced the nation’s purpose in the global war it had recently joined to a single emphatic sentence. “We are determined,” he remarked, “that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand and of overwhelming force on the other.”

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A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition, as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he.

I rose long before dawn, too thrilled to sleep, and set off to find my tribe. North from Greenville in the dark, past towns with names like Sans Souci and Travelers Rest, over the border into North Carolina, through land so choked by kudzu that the overgrown trees in the dark looked like great creatures petrified in mid-flight. The weirdness of this scene would, by the end of the weekend, show itself to be appropriate: my trip would be all about romanticism, and romanticism is a human collision with place that results, as Baudelaire put it, “neither in choice of subject nor exact truth, but in a way of feeling.” My rental car’s engine whined as it climbed the mountains. Day was just breaking when I nosed down a hill to Orchard Lake Campground, where tents were still being erected in the dimness.

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Harold Jamieson, once chief engineer of New York City’s sanitation department, enjoyed retirement. He knew from his small circle of friends that some didn’t, so he considered himself lucky. He had an acre of garden in Queens that he shared with several like-minded horticulturists, he had discovered Netflix, and he was making inroads in the books he’d always meant to read. He still missed his wife—a victim of breast cancer five years previous—but aside from that persistent ache, his life was quite full. Before rising every morning, he reminded himself to enjoy the day. At sixty-eight, he liked to think he had a fair amount of road left, but there was no denying it had begun to narrow.

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1. In 2014, Deepti Gurdasani, a genetic epidemiologist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in England, coauthored a paper in Nature on human genetic variation in Africa, from which this image is taken. A recent study had found that DNA from people of European descent made up 96 percent of genetic samples worldwide, reflecting the historical tendency among scientists and doctors to view the male, European body as a global archetype. “There wasn’t very much data available from Africa at all,” Gurdasani told me. To help rectify the imbalance, her research team collected samples from eighteen African ethnolinguistic groups across the continent—such as the Kalenjin of Uganda and the Oromo of Ethiopia—most of whom had not previously been included in genomic research. They analyzed the data using an admixture algorithm, which visualizes the statistical genetic differences among groups by representing them as color clusters. The top chart shows genetic differences among the sampled African populations, in increasing degrees of granularity from top to bottom, and the bottom chart shows how they compare with ethnic groups in the rest of the world. The areas where the colors mix and overlap imply that groups commingled. The Yoruba, for instance, show remarkable homogeneity—their column is almost entirely green and purple—while the Kalenjin seem to have associated with many populations across the continent.

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Ten yards was the nearest we could get to the river. Any closer and the smell was too much to bear. The water was a milky gray color, as if mixed with ashes, and the passage of floating trash was ceaseless. Plastic bags and bottles, coffee lids, yogurt cups, flip-flops, and sodden stuffed animals drifted past, coated in yellow scum. Amid the old tires and mattresses dumped on the riverbank, mounds of rank green weeds gave refuge to birds and grasshoppers, which didn’t seem bothered by the fecal stench.

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