Weekly Review — July 4, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Runaway Raft on the Tigris, March 1875]

Runaway Raft on the Tigris.

Palestinian militants conducted a raid in Israel and abducted an Israeli soldier, whom they carried to Gaza via a secret tunnel. Israel retaliated by bombing Gaza’s main power plant, two bridges, the offices of Palestine’s prime minister and interior minister, and a soccer field, and by arresting as many as 64 Palestinian officials. Palestinian militants demanded that Israel release all Palestinian prisoners who are women or under the age of 18. A number of Israeli and Palestinian officials speculated that Israel’s actions were intended to weaken or topple Palestine’s Hamas government.VOA NewsIn Iraq, where 14 U.S. soldiers died, bombings killed 62 people in a poor Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad, 17 people at a market in Hilla, and 18 people in Khairnabat.ReutersGuardianSan Francisco ChronicleReutersReutersThe bodies of seven men were discovered in the Tigris River south of Baghdad, and the bodies of two men were found in the Euphrates river south of Baghdad. All the bodies showed signs of torture.ReutersReutersicasualties.orgReutersIraqi and U.S. authorities freed 495 prisoners,AP via KTARand Iraq’s national security adviser announced that the body of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been buried in “a marked but secret place.”ABC News (Australia)Saddam Hussein’s eldest daughter and first wife were added to the Iraqi government’s list of “most wanted” terrorist figures.ReutersFour U.S. soldiers in Iraq were being investigated for raping a woman, then killing her and three other members of her family; it was suggested that the accused may have spent up to a week planning the attack.Times Online (U.K)It was reported that Iraqi insurgents have started using sophisticated armor-penetrating mines that propel jets of molten metal at military vehicles. Telegraph.co.ukThe U.S. Supreme Court ruled that President George W. Bush had overstepped his authority in establishing military tribunals for Guantánamo Bay detainees. “I’d like to close Guantánamo,” said Bush, “But . . . we’re holding some people that are darn dangerous.”Yahoo! NewsBreitbart.comThe President went jogging with a soldier who lost both his legs in Iraq,.local6.comand Vice President Dick Cheney’s heart was said to be functioning properly.Associated Press

Floods killed dozens of people in Romania, Pakistan, China, and the northeastern United States.ReutersA subway derailment near Jesus station in Valencia, Spain, killed 34 people.Washington Post680 NewsScotsmanScotsmanEnglishsoccer fans, said German breweries, were endangering the Germanbeer supply.Mirror.co.ukIn Britain the wives of soldiers serving in Iraq were receiving strange phone calls from Iraqi militants,Telegraph.co.ukandit wasannounced that the Royal Familycost U.K. taxpayers about $68 millionlast year. “Our key aim,” said the Keeper of the Privy Purse,”is not to try and achieve a low-costmonarchy.”ScotsmanA three-foot-long escaped porcupine named Twinkle was captured in Langwathby, England.BBCPresident Bush said that it was “disgraceful” for newspapers to report on a secret intelligence program to trace bank records,New York Timesand China announced that media outlets would be fined up to $12,500 if they reported on any “sudden events” without prior authorization.New York TimesThe library of the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, cancelled its subscription to the New York Times.MySA.comIn Florida thieves stole the 31-year-old remains of a 6-year-old boy,wftv.comand a trailer park was under criticism for recruiting sexual predators. “Everybody,” said a coordinator of Habitat for Offenders, “deserves a second chance.”local6.comBruno the bear was shot and killed by German authorities, ending his seven-week rampage through Germany and Austria; Bruno, officially tagged Rampant Brown Bear JJ 1, had killed sheep and rabbits, stolen honey, eluded Finnish bear trackers and elkhounds, and squashed a guinea pig. “Sexual frustration,” said a German official, “may be a reason for the random killings.”Times Online (U.K)Rush Limbaugh was detained at an airport when authorities found Viagra in his luggage.Hamilton Spectatorlocal6.comA Vermont teenager was convicted of stealing the bowtie and eyeglasses from a corpse and cutting off its head to make a bong,NBC5.comand in Nigeria a professor at Olabisi Onabanjo University was found dead behind Poopola Hospital in Ijebu-Igbo; Professor Oyedola is believed to have been killed by one of two warring campus cults–either the Eiye Confraternity or the Buccaneers.VanguardIn Rajasthan, India, a low-caste bridegroom on a horse was stoned by onlookers when a camel in his wedding procession ran amok,Hindustan Timesand David Hasselhoff hit his head on a chandelier while shaving. AP via AOL News

It was revealed that Hillary Clinton’s ancestors were English coal miners,Northern Echoand scientists in Borneo found a snake that can spontaneously change color from reddish-brown to white.ReutersIn India an autopsy determined that the rogue elephant known as Master Killer died from multiple organ failure. “I had lost my two children,” said the elephant’s distraught trainer. “But when I discovered this naughty tusker . . . I thought, ‘Here’s a newborn that will help me forget my own loss.'”The PeninsulaAustralian scientists studying the use of dingo urine as a kangaroo repellent found that the urine startles kangaroos.Yahoo! NewsEngineers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology announced the creation of a machine that can record and reproduce smells. “We can tell a green apple from a red apple,” said TIT scientist Pambuk Somboon.GuardianA study showed that rich people get more sleep than poor people, white people get more sleep than black people, and women get more sleep than men,Reutersand another study found that money does not buy very much happiness.LiveScience.comA gang of marauding transvestite thieves was terrorizing New Orleansbusinesses,New Orleans City Businessand sScientists were trying to create tomatoes containing an HIV vaccine.New ScientistIt was revealed that a Minnesota Timberwolves basketball player crashed his SUV into a parked car because he was drunk and masturbating to porn.wcco.comA man who killed himself in Eureka, Montana, also killed a 16-year-old girl when a bullet traveled through his head and struck the girl in the chest,wftv.comVladimir Putin kissed a boy on the stomach,Daily News & Analysisand a prison inmate in Pakistan awoke to discover a lightbulb in his anus, which surgeons removed several days later. “Thanks Allah,” said the man. “Now I feel comfort.”Reuters

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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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A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition, as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he.

I rose long before dawn, too thrilled to sleep, and set off to find my tribe. North from Greenville in the dark, past towns with names like Sans Souci and Travelers Rest, over the border into North Carolina, through land so choked by kudzu that the overgrown trees in the dark looked like great creatures petrified in mid-flight. The weirdness of this scene would, by the end of the weekend, show itself to be appropriate: my trip would be all about romanticism, and romanticism is a human collision with place that results, as Baudelaire put it, “neither in choice of subject nor exact truth, but in a way of feeling.” My rental car’s engine whined as it climbed the mountains. Day was just breaking when I nosed down a hill to Orchard Lake Campground, where tents were still being erected in the dimness.

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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.

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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.

El Río de los Remedios, or the River of Remedies, runs through the city of Ecatepec, a densely populated satellite of Mexico City. Confined mostly to concrete channels, the river serves as the main drainage line for the vast monochrome barrios that surround the capital. That day, I was standing on a stretch of the canal just north of Ecatepec, with a twenty-three-year-old photographer named Reyna Leynez. Reyna was the one who’d told me about the place and what it represents. This ruined river, this open sewer, is said to be one of the largest mass graves in Mexico.

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At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

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