Weekly Review — September 30, 2003, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

At the request of the CIA, the Justice Department began investigating charges that the White House leaked the name of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame to the press in retaliation for remarks by her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, challenging President Bush’sclaim that Iraq tried to buy yellowcake uranium in Africa. An unnamed administration official told the Washington Post that two White House officials had revealed the agent’s identity to at least six journalists. “Clearly,” the official said, “it was meant purely and simply for revenge.” The White House denied that Karl Rove was responsible for the leak, which was a violation of the Intelligence Protection Act and carries penalties of up to 10 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.Washington Post Attorney General John Ashcroft instructed federal prosecutors to stop making plea bargains and go for the “most serious, readily provable offense.”New York TimesPresident Bush addressed the United Nations General Assembly and devoted a surprising portion of his speech to the global sex trade, which he unambiguously condemned.CNNFrench president Jacques Chirac and foreign minister Dominique Villepin stood in line at a dinner party in New York to have their pictures taken with President Bush.New York TimesVladimir Putin visited President Bush at Camp David; “Pootie-Poot,” as he is known by the president, refused to cancel Russia’s $800 million contract to build a commercial nuclear reactor for Iran.New York TimesA new poll found that President Bush’s approval rating was down to 50 percent, and that he was in a statistical tie with most of the Democratic candidates.Associated PressColin Powell gave Iraqis six months to come up with a new constitution.New York TimesL. Paul Bremer, the American overseer of Iraq, was having a hard time explaining to Congress why he needs so much money. In an attempt to explain a $400 million request for two 4,000-bed prisons, which comes to $50,000 per bed, Bremer explained that there is a “shortage of cement” in Iraq.Financial TimesMongolian troops returned to Baghdad for the first time since 1258, when Hulegu, a grandson of Genghis Khan, destroyed the city and killed 800,000 people.New York TimesDonald Rumsfeld claimed that the president’s $87 billion request for the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan constituted an “exit strategy.”Financial TimesIt was reported that U.S. casket companies have started building extra-large coffins. “The economic opportunity exists until the country changes,” said one coffin maker. “We’re just reacting to the supersizing of America.”New York Times

The International Monetary Fund called for the destruction of Afghanistan’s poppy fields, which supply a $2.5 billion opium export industry. The fund said that opium accounts for up to 50 percent of the Afghan economy.ReutersRanking members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence criticized the Bush Administration for basing its case for the invasion of Iraq on piecemeal, out of date, deficient intelligence.Washington PostAdministration officials tried to play down a disappointing progress report by the American team searching Iraq for signs of weapons of mass destruction.New York TimesThe Defense Intelligence Agency concluded in an internal assessment that most of the information received from Iraqi defectors before the war was completely useless.New York TimesIraq’s governing council announced that it was opening the entire Iraqi economy, including essential services such as electricity, telecommunications, and health, to foreign investors. Taxes and trade tariffs will be cut, though oil and other natural resources will be exempt from the new policy.IndependentA U.S. Army chaplain was arrested on suspicion of being a Muslim spy.IndependentThe Computer and Communications Industry Association released a report warning that the government’s growing reliance on Microsoft operating systems and software was exposing federal computer networks to “massive, cascading failures.” The author of the report was fired the next day by his employer, a consulting firm that does business with Microsoft.CCIA, Associated PressThe recording industry let it be known that it was promoting a “stealing is bad” curriculum for the nation’s schools that will include classes on the history of copyright and games such as Starving Artist, a role-playing game in which children pretend to be musicians who no longer receive royalties because their work has been copied on the Internet.New York TimesA 16-year-old boy in Spokane, Washington, was wounded by police officers after he barricaded himself in a classroom with a pistol;New York Timesin Minnesota, a high school freshman shot and killed one student and severely wounded another;New York Timesand an eighth-grade North Carolina boy fired two shots at school but hurt no one.Associated PressThe American Defense Threat Reduction Agency was keeping a close watch on Scottish whiskey makers.BBCThe smog was bad in southern California.Associated Press

Six thousand Segway scooters were recalled because they tend to throw their riders when the battery gets low. President Bush was photographed falling off one of the $4,950 scooters in June, though he had simply neglected to turn it on.New York TimesA meteorite injured five Indians near the Bay of Bengal.Agence France-PresseAll nine members of NASA’s safety advisory panel resigned.New York TimesEurope sent a probe to the moon.ReutersAustralian health authorities warned that ice-cube enemas, which some people have been using in an attempt to revive people who have overdosed on the drug GHB, are bad for you. One expert told a gay newspaper that unexpectedly inserting an object into someone’s rectum could cause a “vagal” reaction and stop the flow of blood to the brain.News.com.auScientists announced that the 3,000-year-old Ward Hunt Ice Shelf has broken up; it formerly covered 150 square miles and was the largest ice shelf in the Arctic.ReutersThe Industrial Christian Fellowship, a Christian think tank, said that financial workers don’t get enough prayer support and called on believers to pray for bankers and stockbrokers.ReutersCharlton Heston was named as the first recipient of the Charlton Heston Prize.BBCThe Bush Administration relaxed regulations governing nursing homes so that people with only one day of training can feed patients who are unable to feed themselves.New York TimesWitchcraftkillings and mutilations were on the rise in South Africa.New York TimesIt was reported that the federal government is aggressively using antiterrorism laws to prosecute ordinary criminals.New York TimesRed Lobster fired its chief executive after an all-you-can-eat crab promotion went horribly wrong.Associated PressGeorge Plimpton, Edward Said, and Elia Kazan died.Scientists unveiled a rough draft of the poodle genome.Nature.comFrench researchers announced that the first cloned rats had been born.Bedbugs were making a comeback in the United States.Associated PressZoologists discovered that octopuses can get erections.Nature.com

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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.

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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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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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