Weekly Review — January 3, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Babylonian lion, 1875]

Seven people died in a suicide car bombing in Iraq,The Guardianand a Norfolk, Virginia, man changed his name to Kentucky Fried Cruelty.com.NBC6.netRussia shut down a natural-gas pipeline to Ukraine; as a result, natural-gas supplies were diminished in Hungary, France, Italy, Poland, and Germany.BBC NewsU.S. financial giant Citigroup was attempting to purchase about 85 percent of the state-owned Guangdong Development Bank of China.The New York TimesThe U.S. Justice Department opened an investigation into who leaked information about the NSA’s domestic wiretapping program to the New York Times. Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Times editor Bill Keller refused to answer any questions about the leak, even though the questions came from their own public editor.The Washington PostThe New York TimesA 2-year-old in Patchogue, New York, was found drunk,APand a judge ruled that John Hinckley Jr. could make unsupervised visits to his parents.CNN.comIn Malaysia people were searching for a 10-foot-tall ape that walks upright.ReutersThe New Year was postponed by one second to accommodate for the slowing rotation of the earth.The ScotsmanIt was flooding in California, and parts of Oklahoma and Texas were on fire.CBS NewsForbes.com

Twenty Sudanese migrants, protesting their treatment in Egypt, were killed by Egyptian police.BBC NewsA landslide in Yemen killed 30 people,BBC Newsand a collapsing ice rink in Germany killed 11 people.BBC NewsA police officer in Fremont, California, was attacked by a pack of chihuahuas and was later treated for ankle bites.APAn airplane flying from England to Spain made an unscheduled stop in Porto Santo, a 10-mile-long, three-mile-wide island, to eject a disruptive passenger.TelegraphA British woman married an Israelidolphin after fifteen years of courtship. “I am just waiting for everyone to leave,” said the woman, “so we can have a private moment.” NBC10.comWives in China were suing their husbands’ mistresses to reclaim gifts the mistresses had received from the husbands.China DailyA judge ruled that it was illegal for the Bush Administration to continue to imprison several ChineseMuslims at Guantánamo Bay. Nine months ago a tribunal determined that the prisoners in question were not actually enemy combatants, but U.S. law will not allow them to be sent to China because China persecutes Muslims, and no other country wants the prisoners. The judge also noted that he had no power to enforce his own ruling.Boston.comIn Utah a 13-year-old girl who became pregnant by her 12-year-old boyfriend was ruled a sex offender. The 12-year-old boy was also ruled a sex offender. “It’s a paradox,” said the girl’s attorney.The Salt Lake Tribune

Nepalese Maoist Pushpa Kamal Dahal announced an end to the four-month truce with King Gyanendra’s Royal Nepalese Army.New KeralaIt was revealed that Pentagon contractors had hired IraqiSunni clerics to help them develop propaganda campaigns.The New York TimesIn Florida a 16-year-old named Farris Hassan decided to complete a school project on the Iraq war by going to Iraq; he made it to Baghdad, and was sent back to Florida by United States authorities. “This place,” explained an official, “is incredibly dangerous to individual private American citizens.”CNN.comA U.S. National Guardsman who served in Iraq was sentenced to 25 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to shooting an Iraqi soldier with whom he had had consensual gay sex.Gay.com/APU.S. school buses were increasingly being plastered with advertisements,CBS Newsand the University of Michigan was boycotting Coca-Cola products because of Coca-Cola’s human rights policies.Local 6In West Virginia 13 miners were trapped underground.ABC NewsA woman in New York City was under investigation for putting her dead husband in a suitcase and leaving him there until neighbors complained of the smell. “She wanted to take him to Arizona to be buried,” explained a detective.NewsdayAuthorities in New Zealand shot and killed 41 stranded pilot whales.Toronto StarA study found that Antonin Scalia is the funniest of the Supreme Court justices; in fact Scalia is 19 times funnier than Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A former clerk defended Ginsburg’s sense of humor: “Maybe not often, perhaps not loudly or with great vigor and the wild waving of arms,” said the clerk, “but laugh she does.”The New York TimesAnother study found that Americans have a lot of stuff.The Christian Science MonitorHunters in Spain were killing 50,000 hunting greyhounds each year by drowning, poisoning, and hanging them; those greyhounds that “humiliate” their owners by failing to win races or catch hares are often hanged in such a way that their paws barely touch the ground, and as they struggle against the noose, the dogs’ nails make a clacking noise. This is known as “the typewriting death.”The Guardian

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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

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