Weekly Review — April 19, 2005, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Two suicide car bombs blew up in central Baghdad, killing fifteen and injuring thirty.BBC NewsA bomb in Kirkuk killed twelve Iraqi guards,Al Jazeeraan American contractor was kidnapped north of Baghdad,BBC Newsand Marla Ruzicka, an activist from California who made it her mission to count the number of civilian casualties in Iraq, was killed in Baghdad by a suicide bomber.GuardianThe Iraqi army intervened to end a widely publicized hostage crisis in al-Madain, south of Baghdad, but found no hostages.ReutersIn the United States, Eric Rudolph, a Christianterrorist, pleaded guilty to several bombings, including those at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, an abortion-clinic bombing in 1998, and an attack on a gay nightclub in 1997.BBC NewsPrompted by the credit-card industry, which made $30 billion in profits last year, the House approved new legislation that will make it much harder for families to declare personal bankruptcy.American Progress ActionNew York PostFewer than half of all Californians approved of the job Arnold Schwarzenegger was doing as governor,Guardianand zoo officials in Johannesburg, South Africa, were pressuring one of their chimps to stop smoking.ReutersThe president of Brazil visited Senegal, where he apologized for Brazil’s role in the slave trade.BBC NewsAs pilgrims washed away their sins in India’s sacred Narmada River, a dam was opened upstream, releasing a wall of water that drowned fifty-two people.ABC NewsCatholic cardinals convened a conclave,ABC Newsand a Christian radio talk-show host was fired for questioning whether the dead pope would go to heaven.Local6.comOne-foot-tall talking Jesus, David, Mary, and Moses dolls will be sold in June.Messengers of FaithThe United Nations released a video game called “Food Force” that lets players pretend they are feeding the starving,BBC Newsand the International Monetary Fund announced that sub-Saharan Africa’seconomy had grown 5 percent last year, with inflation at its lowest in twenty-five years.BBC NewsThe Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 420 points; pharmaceutical stocks, however, continued to rise.APA study found that executions by lethal injection carried out in the United States did not meet veterinary standards. BBC NewsThe European Union decided to admit Bulgaria and Romania in 2007.BBC NewsBosnia was exporting snails.BBC News

The Governor of Wisconsin announced that he opposed cathunting.The Charlotte ObserverResearchers found that parents tend to take better care of their better-looking children.EurekAlert!American and Japanese scientists proclaimed clonedcattle safe to eat,BBC Newsa Danish study found no link between cell phones and brain tumors,InformationWeekand scientists at Yale University used lasers to control headless fruit flies.ABC OnlineBritain stopped importing United Statescorn after discovering that the United States had been sending banned, genetically modified corn to the U.K. for the past four years,The Independentand brewer Anheuser-Busch, America’s number one buyer of rice, announced that it will no longer buy rice from Missouri if that state allows genetically modified rice to be grown within its borders.CNN.comA new species of titi monkey, golden-crowned with a white-tipped tail, was discovered in Bolivia; it will be known as the GoldenPalace.com monkey.CNewsScientists used infrared technology to read lost works by Sophocles, Euripides, and Hesiod,The Independentand a London grandmother coldcocked a burglar with a garden gnome.CNN.comA scientist cataloged 395 different species of bacteria in the lower intestines of three healthy humans,EurekAlert!and entomologists named three newly discovered species of slime-mold beetle after George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld.USA TodaySupreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia refused to answer when asked if he sodomized his wife Maureen.New York PostHungary was planning to let prostitutes solicit in shopping malls,Daily Timesand Jenna Bush, the president’s daughter, got on all fours and did the “butt dance.”New York Post

Samples of the deadly Asianflu were accidentally mailed out to 3,700 labs worldwide. Several samples were missing.ReutersA garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh, killing at least one hundred people;Reuterssix died when an election rally in Togo turned violent;BBC Newsand Indonesian children, traumatized by last December’s tsunami, were talking about their feelings with puppets.BBC NewsResearchers found that keeping pigs cool helps them grow fatter.Netherlands Organization for Scientific ResearchU.S. marshals arrested more than 10,000 people on outstanding warrants, nearly half of them for minor drug offenses,KRT Wireand the $90 million Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum opened in Springfield, Illinois. It features special effects created by Stan Winston Studios–which did the effects for Jurassic Park–and a life-sized model of Navy Secretary Gideon Welles with a terrible toupee.LATimes.comOne hundred thirty-seven million people were overweight in China,Medical News Todayand America’s 7 million vending machines were being visited by 100 million people a day.Medical News TodayAfter returning to Afghanistan from the United States, where he underwent heart surgery, an Afghan toddler died.BBC NewsIn Wales, a drunken man stood before an open window, dropped his trousers, and cried out, “who wants some of this?” before he fell from the window, impaled himself on a railing, and died,Daily Recordand a Vermont teenager was accused of breaking into a tomb and beheading a corpse. He apparently wanted to use the skull as a bong.The Barre-Montpelier Times Argus

Share
Single Page

More from Paul Ford:

From the May 2010 issue

Just like heaven

Weekly Review March 23, 2010, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Weekly Review November 24, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

September 2019

The Wood Chipper

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Common Ground

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Love and Acid

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Black Axe

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Common Ground·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Thirty miles from the coast, on a desert plateau in the Judaean Mountains without natural resources or protection, Jerusalem is not a promising site for one of the world’s great cities, which partly explains why it has been burned to the ground twice and besieged or attacked more than seventy times. Much of the Old City that draws millions of tourists and Holy Land pilgrims dates back two thousand years, but the area ­likely served as the seat of the Judaean monarchy a full millennium before that. According to the Bible, King David conquered the Canaanite city and established it as his capital, but over centuries of destruction and rebuilding all traces of that period were lost. In 1867, a British military officer named Charles Warren set out to find the remnants of David’s kingdom. He expected to search below the famed Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, but the Ottoman authorities denied his request to excavate there. Warren decided to dig instead on a slope outside the Old City walls, observing that the Psalms describe Jerusalem as lying in a valley surrounded by hills, not on top of one.

On a Monday morning earlier this year, I walked from the Old City’s Muslim Quarter to the archaeological site that Warren unearthed, the ancient core of Jerusalem now known as the City of David. In the alleys of the Old City, stone insulated the air and awnings blocked the sun, so the streets were cold and dark and the mood was somber. Only the pilgrims were up this early. American church groups filed along the Via Dolorosa, holding thin wooden crosses and singing a hymn based on a line from the Gospel of Luke: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Narrow shops sold gardenia, musk, and amber incense alongside sweatshirts promoting the Israel Defense Forces.

I passed through the Western Wall Plaza to the Dung Gate, popularly believed to mark the ancient route along which red heifers were led to the Temple for sacrifice. Outside the Old City walls, in the open air, I found light and heat and noise. Tour buses lined up like train cars along the ridge. Monday is the day when bar and bat mitzvahs are held in Israel, and drumbeats from distant celebrations mixed with the pounding of jackhammers from construction sites nearby. When I arrived at the City of David, workmen were refinishing the wooden deck at the site’s entrance and laying down a marble mosaic by the ticket window.

Post
.TV·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A documentary about climate change, domain names, and capital

Article
The Black Axe·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Eleven years ago, on a bitter January night, dozens of young men, dressed in a uniform of black berets, white T-­shirts, and black pants, gathered on a hill overlooking the Nigerian city of Jos, shouting, dancing, and shooting guns into the black sky. A drummer pounded a rhythmic beat. Amid the roiling crowd, five men crawled toward a candlelit dais, where a white-­robed priest stood holding an axe. Leading them was John, a sophomore at the local college, powerfully built and baby-faced. Over the past six hours, he had been beaten and burned, trampled and taunted. He was exhausted. John looked out at the landscape beyond the priest. It was the harmattan season, when Saharan sand blots out the sky, and the city lights in the distance blurred in John’s eyes as if he were underwater.

John had been raised by a single mother in Kaduna, a hardscrabble city in Nigeria’s arid north. She’d worked all hours as a construction supplier, but the family still struggled to get by. Her three boys were left alone for long stretches, and they killed time hunting at a nearby lake while listening to American rap. At seventeen, John had enrolled at the University of Jos to study business. Four hours southeast of his native Kaduna, Jos was another world, temperate and green. John’s mother sent him an allowance, and he made cash on the side rearing guard dogs for sale in Port Harcourt, the perilous capital of Nigeria’s oil industry. But it wasn’t much. John’s older brother, also studying in Jos, hung around with a group of Axemen—members of the Black Axe fraternity—who partied hard and bought drugs and cars. Local media reported a flood of crimes that Axemen had allegedly committed, but his brother’s friends promised John that, were he to join the group, he wouldn’t be forced into anything illegal. He could just come to the parties, help out at the odd charity drive, and enjoy himself. It was up to him.

John knew that the Black Axe was into some “risky” stuff. But he thought it was worth it. Axemen were treated with respect and had connections to important people. Without a network, John’s chances of getting a good job post-­degree were almost nil. In his second year, he decided to join, or “bam.” On the day of the initiation, John was given a shopping list: candles, bug spray, a kola nut (a caffeinated nut native to West Africa), razor blades, and 10,000 Nigerian naira (around thirty dollars)—his bamming fee. He carried it all to the top of the hill. Once night fell, Axemen made John and the other four initiates lie on their stomachs in the dirt, pressed toge­ther shoulder to shoulder, and hurled insults at them. They reeked like goats, some Axemen screamed. Others lashed them with sticks. Each Axeman walked over their backs four times. Somebody lit the bug spray on fire, and ran the flames across them, “burning that goat stink from us,” John recalled.

Article
Who Is She?·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t get up—­just couldn’t get up, couldn’t get up or leave. All day lying in that median, unable. Was this misery or joy?

It’s happened to you, too, hasn’t it? A habit or phase, a marriage, a disease, children or drugs, money or debt—­something you believed inescapable, something that had been going on for so long that you’d forgotten any and every step taken to lead your life here. What did you do? How did this happen? When you try to solve the crossword, someone keeps adding clues.

It’s happened to us all. The impossible knowledge is the one we all want—­the big why, the big how. Who among us won’t buy that lotto ticket? This is where stories come from and, believe me, there are only two kinds: ­one, naked lies, and two, pot holders, gas masks, condoms—­something you must carefully place between yourself and a truth too dangerous to touch.

Article
Murder Italian Style·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Catholic School, by Edoardo Albinati. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1,280 pages. $40.

In a quiet northern suburb of Rome, a woman hears noises in the street and sends her son to investigate. Someone is locked in the trunk of a Fiat 127. The police arrive and find one girl seriously injured, together with the corpse of a second. Both have been raped, tortured, and left for dead. The survivor speaks of three young aggressors and a villa by the sea. Within hours two of the men have been arrested. The other will never be found.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

A federal judge in South Carolina ruled in favor of personal-injury lawyer George Sink Sr., who had sued his son, George Sink Jr., for using his own name at his competing law firm.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Happiness Is a Worn Gun

By

“Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.”

Subscribe Today