Weekly Review — April 10, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Babylonian lion, 1875]

In Iraq, the sixth suicide chlorine attack in two months killed 20 people in the Anbar province, New York Timesthe resurgent Mahdi army clashed with U.S. soldiers in Sadr City,Washington PostAmerican fighter jets bombed Shiite militiamen in Diwaniya,New York Timesand in Baghdad, a U.S. congressional delegation outfitted with bulletproof vests, flanked by 100 soldiers in armored Humvees, and watched over by attack helicopters, visited a local bazaar to demonstrate the success of the current security plan. It was, said Representative Mike Pence (R., Ind.), just like an “outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime.”New York TimesVice President Dick Cheney attacked the “self-appointed strategists” in Congress who were hampering the Bush Administration’s efforts to prolong the war in Iraq,.CNN.comand Secretary of Defense Robert Gates confirmed that the U.S. military was violating its “dwell time” policy, which guarantees soldiers a year between combat postings.Los Angeles TimesNorth Korea ordered its diplomats to send all but one child home as collateral against defection,BBC Newsand Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad released 15 abducted Britishmarines.Los Angeles TimesItaly banned reality programming on public television,BBC NewsThailand blocked access to YouTube,New York Timesand at the CNN Center in Atlanta, a woman died after being shot in the face by her estranged boyfriend.CNN.comLapsed AlbanianCommunists were rediscovering God,Washington PostFidel Castro called American biofuel policy an “internationalization of genocide,”BBC Newsand the market price for children in India slipped below that of buffalo.Reuters

The Food and Drug Administration proposed new labeling rules that would allow irradiated foods to be categorized merely as “pasteurized,”Washington Postand the Supreme Court forbade the Environmental Protection Agency to shirk its responsibility to regulate greenhouse gases.New York TimesResearchers used infrared and atomic-emission spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy, electron microscopy, pollen analysis, and the leading “noses” in the perfume industry to determine that a rib bone unearthed at the site where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake actually belonged to an Egyptian mummy.New York Times and XinhuaIn Beardstown, Illinois, federal agents arrested 62 undocumented immigrants in a pork plant,Reutersand in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, Hillary Clinton accused President George W. Bush of “vetoing the will of the American people.”New York TimesFrench archaeologists were using dung-eating mites to study ancient Incan relics,New York TimesBritishscientists were “baffled” by the discovery of five-footed frogs,Breitbart.comand Dr. Zahi Hawass of Egypt dismissed the Exodus story of the Jews as a “myth.”New York Times

Dr. John Billings, creator of the “Billings Method” of natural birth control and father of nine, died,New York Timesand Durex, a contraceptive company located in Knutsford, England, began assembling a “massive” panel of volunteer testers for its condom and lubricant products.BBC NewsA Chicago woman filed suit against her dance partner for “negligent dancing,”CNN.comand the estate of deceased actor James Doohan, who was best known for his performance as the space mechanic “Scotty” on Star Trek, paid $495 to have his ashes rocketed into orbit.Playfuls.comSinger/songwriter Billy Joe Shaver, author of such hits as “Georgia on a Fast Train” and “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I’m Gonna Be a Diamond Someday)” was sought by police in Texas after he shot a “drunk, aggressive stranger.”CNN.comThe North Carolina Senate expressed “profound contrition” for the state’s slave history.Washington PostA 13-year-old girl in Brooklyn, New York, was brought up on criminal mischief charges after being caught writing the word “okay” on her school desk,WCBS-tvand an elementary school principal in Toronto admitted to pelting an unruly student with feces. Toronto StarPolish burglars knocked over a sex shop in Austria, then used vibrators, prophylactics, and a vacuum cleaner to elude the police in a high-speed car chase.Metro UKXXXChurch.com, an online ministry, staged a “Porn and Pancakes” event for evangelicals in Morton, Illinois.CNN.comGaytanamo: Hardcore, a film set in the “sexiest secret military prison ever,” was being sold at a discount on the Internet.Dark Alley.com via nerve.comIn Miami, the Department of Corrections was housing registered sex offenders under a bridge.CNN.comHerding dogs were being used to control the spiraling goose population in New York’s Central Park,New York Timesand a South African farmer received a 20-year sentence for killing a man he mistakenly believed to be a baboon.BBC NewsThe Walt Disney Company announced that it will begin offering “Fairy Tale” weddings to homosexuals.Reuters

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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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