Weekly Review — July 18, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Babylonian Lion, March 1875]

War erupted between Hezbollah and Israel after the Lebanese militia launched Operation Truthful Promise against Israel by crossing the border and capturing two Israeli soldiers. The operation was staged in response to Operation Summer Rains, in which Israel occupied Gaza and destroyed a large portion of the civilian infrastructure. Israel countered Operation Truthful Promise by staging Operation Just Reward against Lebanon, bombing roads, bridges, power stations, fuel depots, ports, and airports, and killing numerous civilians. Hezbollah bombed Haifa, surprising Israel with the range of its rockets and killing at least eight civilians. “You wanted an open war,” said Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah in a recorded message, “and we are heading for an open war. . . . The surprises that I have promised you will start now.”The Daily StarTimes OnlineNewsdayTimes of IndiaZaman OnlineAP via Yahoo!“What they need to do,” said President George W. Bush as he buttered a piece of bread at the G-8 summit, “is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it’s over.”UPIThe Washington PostIsrael said it had no plans to attack Syria.Ha’aretzTwenty dead bus drivers were found in Muqdadiya, Iraq, and two dead carpenters were found in Tikrit. Gunmen entered a market in Mahmudiya and killed at least 42 people; an explosion killed 25 at a cafe in Tuz Khurmatu.Reuters AlertNetIn Afghanistan 700 coalition troops occupied the town of Sangin in the Helmand province,Reuters AlertNetReuters AlertNetReuters AlertNetReuters AlertNetReuters AlertNetReuters AlertNetReutersBBC Newsand Newt Gingrich called on President Bush to admit that the United States is now involved in World War III.The Seattle Times

Bombings on trains and in train stations killed 181 people in Mumbai, India, and led India to postpone peace talks with Pakistan. The diamond industry of Mumbai was said to be particularly hard hit by the bombings.Reuters AlertnetSyd Barrett died.Reuters AlertnetBBC NewsScientists in Maryland found that two thirds of people who consumed the hallucinogenic drugpsilocybin had extremely meaningful experiences.The Wall Street JournalBritishscientists found that playing with dolls can help improve Alzheimer’s patients’ communication abilities,BBC Newsand scientists in Massachusetts implanted sensors in a paralyzed man’s brain that allowed the man to check email.BBC NewsThe Pentagon issued a memo acknowledging that all prisoners in U.S. military custody were entitled to protection under the Geneva Conventions.The Financial TimesA German man, on trial for robbery, was caught stealing from the judge during his hearing,Reuters via Yahoo! Newsand police in Seattle were looking for a gang of angry machete-wielding clowns.Reuters via Yahoo! NewsThe U.S. Army said that it would not renew its contract for logistics support with Halliburton.BBC NewsPeter Coors, chief executive of Molson Coors Brewing Co., had his license revoked for drunk driving.BBC News

Scientists in Pennsylvania found that menarche occurs earlier in girls who live in homes with half- and step-brothers, without fathers, or in urban areas, but occurs later in girls who live with sisters. Such an adaptation, the scientists proposed, might help limit inbreeding.Live ScienceA girls’ softball coach at Beaver Falls High School in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, was in trouble for having sex with a 17-year-old softball player,Beaver County Times & Allegheny Timesand Bill Clinton called on Sudan to accept foreign peacekeepers from Muslim countries.Reuters AlertnetRed Buttons died.Chicago TribuneIn Australiascientists found that mothers are less revolted by the smell of their child’s feces than they are by the feces of other children,Live Scienceand paleontologists found fossil evidence between 10 million and 20 million years old of large, meat-eating kangaroos and possibly carnivorous birds, which were nicknamed “demon ducks of doom.”BBC NewsResearchers in Uganda announced that gorillas eat rotting wood for the sodium.Live ScienceBees killed four dogs in Florida.Local 6It was feared that the West African black rhino was extinct,BBC Newsand Jack Kevorkian, who is dying, said that he would not choose suicide.CNNChechen separatist leader Shamil Basayev died in an explosion.The L.A. TimesScientists in Bologna, Italy, disinterred the eighteenth-century castrato Farinelli in the hope of finding what made him such a powerful singer,BBC Newsand the Vatican announced that, while it paid $9 million for the funeral of Pope John Paul II, it still made a $12.4 million profit in 2005.BBC NewsIn Mauritania, where local custom favors obese women and where girls are sometimes fattened up by being force-fed sweetened milk and millet porridge via a funnel, large numbers of women were attempting to lose weight for health reasons.The Christian Science MonitorSaddam Hussein’shunger strike entered its ninth day, though he still drinks sweet coffee and other liquids.The Washington PostIn Chennai, India, more than a ton of camel meat from Dubai was destroyed at an airport after no one claimed it,News Today Netand a chicken in Kazakhstan laid an egg with the word “Allah” in Arabic on its shell. “We’ll keep this egg,” said a farmer, “and we don’t think it’ll go bad.”The Scotsman

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In February 1947, Harper’s Magazine published Henry L. Stimson’s “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb.” As secretary of war, Stimson had served as the chief military adviser to President Truman, and recommended the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The terms of his unrepentant apologia, an excerpt of which appears on page 35, are now familiar to us: the risk of a dud made a demonstration too risky; the human cost of a land invasion would be too high; nothing short of the bomb’s awesome lethality would compel Japan to surrender. The bomb was the only option. Seventy years later, we find his reasoning unconvincing. Entirely aside from the destruction of the blasts themselves, the decision thrust the world irrevocably into a high-stakes arms race — in which, as Stimson took care to warn, the technology would proliferate, evolve, and quite possibly lead to the end of modern civilization. The first half of that forecast has long since come to pass, and the second feels as plausible as ever. Increasingly, the atmosphere seems to reflect the anxious days of the Cold War, albeit with more juvenile insults and more colorful threats. Terms once consigned to the history books — “madman theory,” “brinkmanship” — have returned to the news cycle with frightening regularity. In the pages that follow, seven writers and experts survey the current nuclear landscape. Our hope is to call attention to the bomb’s ever-present menace and point our way toward a world in which it finally ceases to exist.

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To look at him, Sweet Macho was a beautiful horse, lean and strong with muscles that twitched beneath his shining black coat. A former racehorse, he carried himself with ceremony, prancing the field behind our house as though it were the winner’s circle. When he approached us that day at the edge of the yard, his eyes shone with what might’ve looked like intelligence but was actually a form of insanity. Not that there was any telling our mother’s boyfriend this — he fancied himself a cowboy.

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What We Think About When We Think About Soccer, by Simon Critchley. Penguin Books. 224 pages. $20.

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