Weekly Review — June 20, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Devil Spanker]

In Iraq an Islamic militant group claimed that it had kidnapped two U.S. soldiers, 23-year-old Kristian Menchaca and 25-year-old Thomas L. Tucker. The Army sent 8,000 Iraqi and U.S. troops, supported by fighter jets and drones, to search for the missing soldiers,The New York Timesand the Pentagon announced the 2,500th American death in Iraq. “It’s a number,” said White House press secretary Tony Snow.Toronto StarIraqi prosecutors called for Saddam Hussein to be sentenced to death,Daily Mailand President George W. Bush visited Iraq because he wanted to “look at Prime Minister Maliki in the eyes.”The New York TimesIt was reported that a man named Abu Hamza Al Muhajer would take over for Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi, the assassinated leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. “He has left behind lions,” said Al Muhajer of Al Zarqawi, “that have been trained in his den.”Middle East TimesThe House passed a resolution that rejected “cutting and running” from Iraq,Los Angeles Timesand PennsylvaniaRepresentative John P. Murtha criticized Karl Rove for “sitting in his air-conditioned office on his big, fat backside saying, ‘Stay the course.'”The New York TimesIt was revealed that in 2003 the Bush Administration refused an offer by Iran to end Iranian support of Palestinianterror organizations and recognize Israel in exchange for an end to sanctions and permission to peacefully develop its nuclear program.The Jerusalem PostPresident Bush approved new legislation that allows the FCC to fine broadcasters up to $325,000 for each indecency,SFGate.comand Marine Corporal Joshua Belile apologized for appearing in “Hadji Girl,” an Internet-distributedvideo in which he plays guitar and jokes about killing an Iraqi family. “They should have known,” he sang, “they were fuckin’ with a Marine.”The Mercury NewsFormer Army First Lieutenant William Calley was said to wander at night through Benning, Georgia, haunted by his memories of the My Lai massacre.The Kansas City StarAt least 52 United States agencies were mining data about U.S. citizens, searching for criminals, terrorists, and potential military recruits,The Washington Postand the United States added the secret phone number for its Homeland Security hotline to the federal Do Not Call Registry. “Every time that phone rings,” said Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner, “it’s telemarketers.”USA TodayAnalysts said that $2 trillion in wealth had been lost on the global stock market over the last month.ReutersRome was troubled by seagulls and lice.Wanted in RomeWanted in Rome

At the World Cup in Germany over 400 people were arrested for violence and drunkenness related to the Germany-Poland soccer match (which Germany won 1-0).BBC NewsIn Thailand a man killed two soccer fans because he was annoyed by their cheering.USA TodayBaboons in Saudi Arabia ruined a picnic.Arab NewsIn Rangamati, Bangladesh, villagers fled in boats after their town was destroyed by rampaging elephants,Reuters via MSNBCand in Thiruvananthapuram, India, the recently captured rogue elephant Master Killer died in a cage.The HinduGayEpiscopalian bishop Gene Robinson said that he is “not an abomination before God,”BBC Newsand scientists found that African-American adults hear better than white adults.All Headline NewsVandals were emptying the water tanks that volunteers place in the Arizona desert; the volunteers maintain the tanks so that illegal immigrants from Mexico do not die from dehydration when crossing into the United States.KVOA TucsonArchaeologists said that ancient Mexicans wore decorative dentures made from wolves’ teeth,AP via MSNBCand Nestlé announced that it would buy weight loss firm Jenny Craig.The New York TimesBird flu was discovered in Prince Edward Island,GlobeAndMail.comand the Lakeland, Florida, Englishswan population, which is descended from swans given to the city by the Queen of England in 1957, was being eaten by alligators at three times the normal rate.NewsNet5.comPaul McCartney turned 64.The New York Times

A mine in Sri Lanka blew up a bus, killing 58 people,Reutersa minivan in Kandahar, Afghanistan, was bombed, killing ten people,CNewsand at least six people died during anti-government riots in Conakry, Guinea.CNN.comPrince Victor Emmanuel, the son of Italy’s last king, was arrested for allegedly helping guests at a casino to procure prostitutes,BBC Newsand bBananarustlers were on the loose in Australia.Times OnlineThe Israeli military absolved itself of responsibility for the deaths of seven members of the picnicking Ghalia family from explosions on a beach in Gaza. An Israeli committee admitted that Israeli forces fired six shells on and around the beach, but found that a mine planted by Hamas (or possibly a buried shell) had, by coincidence, exploded and killed the family at around the same time as the shelling. A former Pentagon battlefield analyst said that the shrapnel and craters he found at the scene of the explosion were consistent with shelling by Israelis, as were the wounds suffered by survivors.The GuardianIt was reported that for two years China has deployed a fleet of Golden Champion “death vans” to allow rural communities to carry out lethal injections.USA Today via AOLKazakhstan launched a satellite into orbit.BBC NewsPresident Bush designated 140,000 square miles encompassing several Hawaiian islands as a national monument and marine sanctuary.BBC NewsScientists found that the sea level in the Arctic Ocean was dropping, even as global sea levels rise.BBC NewsItalianscientists said that they had developed a technique for isolating potent sperm.PhysOrg.comNorway began to build a guarded, fenced-in concrete bunker intended to store three million seeds,BBC Newsand a Norwegianhen laid an egg twice normal size, then was killed to stop her suffering.Aftenposten

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