Weekly Review — April 25, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Saluting the Town, March 1854]

Under the presumed influence of White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, who collects photographs of President George W. Bush’s hands, Karl Rove was relieved of his position as presidential policy adviser in order that he might focus his energies on the November midterm elections, and White House press secretary Scott McClellan resigned. “One of these days,” the President said of McClellan, “he and I are going to be rocking in chairs in Texas and talking about the good old days.”USA TodayForbes.comBBC NewsIn Iraq, three U.S. soldiers were killed by a bomb and at least 27 Iraqis were killed in other violence. President Bush phoned the newly elected Iraqi prime minister-designate Jawad al-Maliki, parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, and president Jalal Talabani to urge them to form a coalition government. “They have awesome responsibilities,” said the President, “to their people.”The New York TimesNews.com.auVia audiotape, Osama bin Laden called on his followers to travel to Sudan and fight against the U.N. forces in Darfur.The New York TimesChinese President Hu Jintao visited with President Bush in Washington, D.C. A Falun Gong protester interrupted the welcoming ceremony; President Bush apologized to Hu, and also called on Hu to appreciate the value of the yuan.AP via Yahoo! NewsBBC NewsBritishdoctors criticized China for harvesting organs for transplant from thousands of executed prisoners.BBC NewsIn Florida, a beehive with 15,000 bees was removed from a tree,Local6.comand a man was arrested for keeping his mother at home for months after she died so that he could keep cashing her Social Security checks.Local6.comPawn-shop owners in Texas noted that more people were pawning their belongings in order to buy gas.CBS11TV.comThe New YorkStock Exchange was considering a merger with the London Stock Exchange.Reuters UK

Representative Alan B. Mollohan (D., W.Va.), whose real estate holdings and other assets reportedly rose in value from $562,000 to at least $6.3 million between 2000 and 2004, temporarily stepped down from the Houseethics committee after being accused of misusing funds.The Washington PostSinger Mary J. Blige said that she had found God. “My God is a God who wants me to have things,” she said. “He wants me to bling.”MSNBCA member of MiniKiss, a KISS tribute band made up of dwarves, denied that he had tried to sneak past security at a Las Vegas concert of Tiny Kiss, a KISS tribute band made up of three little people and a 350-pound woman.The Los Angeles TimesAn Oakland, California, carpenter named Percy Honnibal was in trouble for carpentering naked.CNN.comIn Toluca, Mexico, a priest admitted to strangling and dismembering his pregnant lover after Easter mass,MSNBCand in Acapulco, Mexico, the heads of a police chief and a police officer were found in front of a government building. A sign next to the heads read: “So that you learn respect.”AZCentral.comAn elderly Miami man was in trouble for going door-to-door offering free breast exams,MSNBCand a woman in El Salvador was in trouble for allegedly attempting to smuggle a live grenade and marijuana into a prison via a container stuffed into her vagina.NewsNet5.comIn the Netherlands authorities fined an advertiser for placing advertisements on sheep blankets. “If we start with sheep,” said Bert Kuiper, the mayor of Skarsterlan, “then next it’s the cows and horses.”The New York Times

National Intelligence Director John Negroponte said that almost 100,000 people were working for the U.S. intelligence services,Capitol Hill Blueand the recently-completed “campaign plan for the global war on terrorism” was approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The new plan calls for “special mission units” to be engaged in continuous warfare around the world; such groups will be permitted to invade a country without the approval of the country’s U.S. ambassador.The Washington PostThe National Counterterrorism Center announced that there had been over 10,000 terrorist incidents worldwide in 2005 but noted that, because the study methodology had changed, this should not be seen as an increase over the 3,192 terrorist incidents of 2004. “Technically,” said a State Department spokesman, “you could say that there might be a larger number of incidents from one year to another, but itâ??s comparing apples and oranges.”MSNBCIt was reported that firms performing contract work for KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary that provides basic services to the U.S. military in Iraq, were violating human trafficking laws and confiscating the passports of their employees.San Jose Mercury NewsThe CIA fired Mary McCarthy, a senior analyst, for leaking information about the CIA’s network of secret prisons in Eastern Europe to a reporter from the Washington Post.CNN.comGreenpeace estimated that over the last 20 years 93,000 people have died from the fallout from the Chernobylnuclear disaster,Democracy Now!and over 20 years after a gas leak at the Bhopal chemical plant killed thousands of people, India agreed to fund a cleanup of the site.Democracy Now!Scientists reported that ichthyoallyeinotoxic fishes–such as mullet, goatfish, tangs, damsels, and rabbitfish–could produce LSD-like hallucinations in those who ate them.Practical FishkeepinggIn England a man drowned after diving into the river Ouse to rescue his girlfriend’s shoes,Mail & Guardian Onlineand Belgianresearchers found that men lose their decision-making skills when exposed to an attractive woman.BBC NewsIn Hawaii a new law was passed that allows a mother to take home her placenta, or “iewe,” and bury it under a tree,SFGate.comand Malaysian wildlife officials denied reports that they had captured a baby Bigfoot.All Headline NewsBrazil was planning to open a uranium-enrichment center,AP via STLToday.coma woman in Los Angeles was hospitalized for bubonic plague,Times Onlineand researchers discovered that the buried lakes of Antarctica are connected to one another by secret rivers.BBC

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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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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.

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