Weekly Review — July 3, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A grasshopper driving a chariot, 1875]

Tony Blair alighted on a mission to bring cohesion to Palestinian institutions,Jerusalem Postand his successor Gordon Brown proposed stripping British prime ministers of the power to declare war.TelegraphPolice found a pair of Mercedes-Benz sedans filled with gasoline and nails parked in the center of London, and two men crashed a Jeep Cherokee into the glass doors of Terminal One at Glasgow Airport. The vehicle failed to penetrate the doors, but the driver poured gasoline over himself and the Jeep, and the Jeep blazed. The throng of travelers in the terminal stampeded away from the inferno, and the flaming driver staggered out of the Jeep, threw punches, and shouted, “Allah, Allah.” The crowd of travelers in the terminal stampeded away from the fireball. Stephen Clarkson, a bystander, pounced on the burning man. “I managed to knock the fellow to the ground,” said Clarkson. “His clothes had partially burned from his body. His hair was on fire. His whole body was on fire.” Police arrested the charred driver and the unscathed passenger. The discovery of a suspicious device on the driverâ??s person resulted in the evacuation of the hospital where his burns were being treated, and authorities blew up a suspicious car in the hospital parking lot. Detectives blamed an eight-person Al Qaeda cell controlled by someone they called “Mr. Big” and commenced raids. Three suspected collaborators of the would-be suicide bombers, including a 27-year-old woman, were apprehended.TelegraphAt least 11 successful suicide bombings were reported in Iraq,.GuardianGuardianMcClatchyand Scottish jurists cast doubt on the conviction of a Libyan intelligence official jailed for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie.KUNAMSNBCLA TimesUSA TodayToronto StarElsewhere in Scotland, a buzzard assailed a jogger, puncturing the manâ??s scalp with its talons. “I donâ??t know why the bird went haywire like that,” said Kevin Barclay, a psychiatric nurse. “I think it was nesting and must have been intimidated by me.”ScotsmanA New York man attacked a peacock he claimed was a vampire, My Wayand wildfires ravaged the forests of Romania.FOCUSPhilanthropist clothing designer Liz Claiborne died,New York Timesand I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr. was set free.Newsday

“Is it a surprise to anybody in this room that if you donâ??t have any money, you donâ??t get any justice?” asked Alaska Senator Mike Gravel at the third debate of the Democratic presidential candidates. Gravel called for the abolition of the income tax and the war on drugs, OhioCongressman Dennis Kucinich called for the abolition of NAFTA and the WTO, and Hillary Clinton predicted that global warming would create jobs for millions of Americans. Joseph Biden and Barack Obama reminisced about getting tested for HIV, New York Timesand researchers posited that humans became susceptible to AIDS a million years ago when hominids evolved immunity to a now extinct virus known as PtERV1; it was thus speculated that gene therapy might prove an effective treatment for AIDS sufferers wealthy enough to afford it. EconomistScientists said that global warming, overfishing, and pollution are stressing out coral, causing an outbreak of lethal herpes in the worldâ??s reefs. “The coral,” said microbiologist Forest Rowher, “is actually losing control of its microbial community.”Live ScienceAn Oregon teenager was arrested after being videotaped molesting a horse,Corvallis Gazette-Timesand the CIA released documents known as the “Family Jewels,” detailing its surveillance of journalists, its opening of Jane Fondaâ??s mail, and its plans to kill Fidel Castro. The documents describe the unrealized assassination plot, which was reported in the 1960s, as “a sensitive mission requiring gangster-type action,” and say that the recruited gangsters preferred poisoning Castro with a pill to shooting him. Responding in his newspaper column, “Reflections of the Commander in Chief,” Castro called the United States a “killing machine” and reasserted that Lee Harvey Oswald was a CIA operative and that a second shooter must have assisted him in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.New York Times

Hundreds of Kosovar Albanians demanding independence from Serbia threw toilet paper at the parliament in Pristina,Washington Postand hundreds of Kosovar Serbs gathered in the village of Gazimestan to commemorate their ancestorsâ?? routing at the hands of the Ottoman Turks in 1389.Radio Free EuropeNATO air strikes killed 45 civilians and 62 Taliban fighters in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.GuardianBenign forms of E. coli had learned to reproduce in sand, indicating higher overall microbe content for American beaches; scientists advised beachgoers to bathe after their outings, and researchers warned that children digging holes at beaches, at construction sites, and in sandboxes often die when their holes collapse.Live ScienceWashington PostIt was reported that orders given by Vice President Dick Cheney in 2001 to reverse the flow of waters in the Pacific Northwest, against rules set by the Endangered Species Act, left 77,000 salmon rotting on the shores of the Klamath River. The ensuing “commercial fishery failure” required $60 million in federal disaster aid to local fishermen. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, where President George W. Bush and his father took him fishing. “Fishing,” said former President George H. W. Bush, “is good for the soul.” New York TimesWashington Post

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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.

The best part of those days—assuming it wasn’t raining, snowing, or too cold—was the nine-block walk to Central Park after breakfast. Although he carried a cell phone and used an electronic tablet (had grown dependent on it, in fact), he still preferred the print version of the Times. In the park, he would settle on his favorite bench and spend an hour with it, reading the sections back to front, telling himself he was progressing from the sublime to the ridiculous.

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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.

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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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