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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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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Last fall, a court filing in the Eastern District of Virginia inadvertently suggested that the Justice Department had indicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and other outlets reported soon after that Assange had likely been secretly indicted for conspiring with his sources to publish classified government material and hacked documents belonging to the Democratic National Committee, among other things.

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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.

The best part of those days—assuming it wasn’t raining, snowing, or too cold—was the nine-block walk to Central Park after breakfast. Although he carried a cell phone and used an electronic tablet (had grown dependent on it, in fact), he still preferred the print version of the Times. In the park, he would settle on his favorite bench and spend an hour with it, reading the sections back to front, telling himself he was progressing from the sublime to the ridiculous.

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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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