Weekly Review — August 8, 2006, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Lost Souls in Hell, 1875]

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert insisted that the war with Lebanon would continue, and the Lebanese government rejected an internationally-brokered peace plan, claiming it favored Israel.Washington PostHezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah boasted that his forces were inflicting “maximum casualties” and warned Israel that if it “bombed our capital Beirut, we will bomb the capital of your usurping entity”; he also called on his fellow Arab leaders to “be men for just one day.”NY TimesCNNLebanon’sstock exchange reopened,NY TimesNY TimesBBCand the mayor of Beirut said war with Israel was bad for the environment.Globe and MailEnglish Prime Minister Tony Blair said there was an “arc of extremism” stretching across the Middle East that could be defeated, he proposed, by “an alliance of moderation.”BBCIn Cairo, Muslims took to the street carrying posters of Hassan Nasrallah, chanting “O Sunni! O Shiite! Let’s fight the Jews.”NY TimesIn Iraq, President Jalal Talabani vowed to “terminate terrorism” by 2007;BBCin Baghdad, 100,000 Shiites attended a “million-man” march in support of Hezbollah. The AustralianU.S. General John Abizaid told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “Iraq could move toward civil war.”NY TimesA lawyer who represents one of four American paratroopers accused of murdering three Iraqi detainees told a military court in Tikrit that the dead men “got exactly what they deserved,”BBC and BBCand Staff Sergeant Frank D. Wuterich sued CongressmanJack Murtha for defamation of character.Washington PostCorporal Phillip E. Baucus, 28, nephew of U.S. SenatorMax Baucus, was killed in action in Iraq,Bloomberg via Google Newsand Lance Corporal Mark Beyers, an Iraq war veteran and double amputee, was attacked and robbed outside a restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland.Local6.com

The Senate Permanent Investigations subcommittee reported that law enforcement agencies were powerless to prevent the super-rich from cheating on their taxes, NY Timesand the Food and Drug Administration almost approved over-the-counter sales of the oral contraceptive Plan B.NY TimesPresident Bush encouraged the people of Cuba to seek regime change,Reutersand SenatorHillary Clinton called on Donald Rumsfeld to resign.allheadlinenews.com via Google NewsIn California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tony Blair should be named United Nations secretary-general when he steps down as prime minister. “It’s a big job that he has right now,” Schwarzenegger said, “and I think whatever job he wants he will get, because he has such a great success rate at home and he has done such a remarkable job, I think.”CNNThe London School of Economics determined that good-looking couples are 36 percent more likely than their ugly counterparts to have femaleoffspring,Washington Postand a Chicago woman was suing Borders Books after she was “permanently disfigured” in a toilet seat accident.CBS2 ChicagoA study conducted at Texas A&M University found that cigarette smoking reduced the impact of alcohol on inebriated rats. “I hope people won’t interpret that as a good thing,” said lead researcher Wei-Jung Chen.Seed MagazineScientists at the Centers for Disease Control failed in their attempts to create a more virulent strain of bird flu,Washington Postand threatening letters sent to federal officials by Donald Ray Bilby, 30, who is currently serving time for auto theft in Trenton, New Jersey, included his full name, signature, and inmate number.Mail and GuardianNaveed Afzal Haq, the man accused of an anti-Semitic shooting attack in Seattle, was described as a “hothead” with a “chip on his shoulder,” by his former boss, Thomas de Winter: “He didn’t take instruction well.”UPI via Google News

In Japan, on the Day of the Dog, Princess Kiko prayed for the safe delivery of her third child.BBCIn China 50,000 dogs died in Yunnan province when government-authorized “killing teams” crept into villages at night and beat the dogs to death.Local6.comBasketball player Yao Ming announced he would no longer eat shark finsoup because “endangered species are our friends.”NY TimesIn New Delhi, the commuter rail authority was using a black-faced langur monkey to frighten other monkeys,BBCand in New York a man bit the head off a rooster that he accused of harming his pigeon.AOL NewsEngland’s Alton Towers theme park canceled “National Muslim Fun Day,”Reutersand hotel owners in Italy made plans to open women-only Muslim beaches.Breitbart.comWild bison took over a small Canadian town. “Try and get an insurance claim done after your car was kicked by a buffalo,” said one local resident. “The adjustor will just laugh at you.”Mail and GuardianA 14-foot blue marlin stabbed angler Ian Card in the chest during a fishing rodeo off Bermuda.Daily MailRacer Cristiano da Matta’s Champ Car collided with a deer in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin,cnnsi.comand a laser-equipped research aircraft owned by NASA was being used to locate woodpeckers in the Mississippi Delta.CNNAn English paleobiologist announced that the crests of giant prehistoric flying reptiles signified sexual maturity, much like a “giant cockerel’s comb.”BBCAt least 25,000 chickens died in Indiana from the heat,CNNand geologists in Ohio were baffled by the earthquakes in suburban Cleveland.CNNNacreous clouds, which occur only in temperatures lower than minus 176 degrees Fahrenheit, were observed above Antarctica,Yahoo Newsand a fireball streaked through the night sky over Lakeway, Texas.Local6.comBungs, drugs, and wholesale cheating were declared to be the norm in all major sports.Observer UK

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The city was not beautiful; no one made that claim for it. At the height of summer, people in suits, shellacked by the sun, moved like harassed insects to avoid the concentrated light. There was a civil war–like fracture in America—the president had said so—but little of it showed in the capital. Everyone was polite and smooth in their exchanges. The corridor between Dupont Circle and Georgetown was like the dream of Yugoslav planners: long blocks of uniform earth-toned buildings that made the classical edifices of the Hill seem the residue of ancestors straining for pedigree. Bunting, starched and perfectly ruffled in red-white-and-blue fans, hung everywhere—from air conditioners, from gutters, from statues of dead revolutionaries. Coming from Berlin, where the manual laborers are white, I felt as though I was entering the heart of a caste civilization. Untouchables in hard hats drilled into sidewalks, carried pylons, and ate lunch from metal boxes, while waiters in restaurants complimented old respectable bobbing heads on how well they were progressing with their rib eyes and iceberg wedges.

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When Demétrio Martins was ready to preach, he pushed a joystick that angled the seat of his wheelchair forward, slowly lifting him to a standing position. Restraints held his body upright. His atrophied right arm lay on an armrest, and with his left hand, he put a microphone to his lips. “Proverbs, chapter fourteen, verse twelve,” he said. “ ‘There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is . . .’ ”

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On December 7, 2016, a drone departed from an Amazon warehouse in the United Kingdom, ascended to an altitude of four hundred feet, and flew to a nearby farm. There it glided down to the front lawn and released from its clutches a small box containing an Amazon streaming device and a bag of popcorn. This was the first successful flight of Prime Air, Amazon’s drone delivery program. If instituted as a regular service, it would slash the costs of “last-mile delivery,” the shortest and most expensive leg of a package’s journey from warehouse to doorstep. Drones don’t get into fender benders, don’t hit rush-hour traffic, and don’t need humans to accompany them, all of which, Amazon says, could enable it to offer thirty-minute delivery for up to 90 percent of domestic shipments while also reducing carbon emissions. After years of testing, Amazon wrote to the Federal Aviation Administration last summer to ask for permission to conduct limited commercial deliveries with its drones, attaching this diagram to show how the system would work. (Amazon insisted that we note that the diagram is not to scale.) Amazon is not the only company working toward such an automated future—­UPS, FedEx, Uber, and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, have similar programs—­but its plans offer the most detailed vision of what seems to be an impending reality, one in which parce­l-toting drones are a constant presence in the sky, doing much more than just delivering popcorn.

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Every year in Lusk, Wyoming, during the second week of July, locals gather to reenact a day in 1849 when members of a nearby band of Sioux are said to have skinned a white man alive. None of the actors are Native American. The white participants dress up like Indians and redden their skin with body paint made from iron ore.

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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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