Weekly Review — October 9, 2007, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Tempest, December 1878]

Burma’s junta claimed that peace and stability had been restored following its crackdown on mass pro-democracy protests in which at least 30 people, but likely far more, were killed. Up to 6,000 monks had been arrested, Internet service to the country was almost completely cut off, and the army was paying 20,000 kyat to the families of non-protesters who had been accidentally killed. “Myanmar people,” said a demoralized taxi driver, “have no blood in their veins.” VOABBC NewsBloombergBBC NewsThe AgeSylvester Stallone, filming the sequel to “Rambo” near the Burmese border, described the country as “a hellhole beyond your wildest dreams.”AP via MyWayThree thousand two hundred South African gold miners were rescued without injury after a power cable accident trapped them underground; the last group of miners emerged within 40 hours of the accident, dehydrated and exhausted, singing and stamping their feet.The Canadian PressBBCIt was reported that the U.S. Justice Department, despite calling torture “abhorrent” in 2004, had secretly endorsed brutal interrogation techniques on terror suspects,NYTand the Iraqi government launched an official investigation into the role of U.S. military contractor Blackwater in last month’s civilian shootings in Baghdad, calling the incident a deliberate crime and raising the number of people killed in the shootings from 11 to 17.RadioFreeEuropeIn Iowa,Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson continued to attest to the existence of WMDs in Iraq. “We can’t forget the fact that although at a particular point in time we never found any WMD down there, [Saddam Hussein] clearly had had WMD,” he said; Thompson ended his speech by asking for applause.MSNBCRepublican Senator Larry Craig was selected for induction into the Idaho Hall of Fame and announced that he would not resign from the Senate, despite being denied his request to withdraw his guilty plea of disorderly conduct resulting from a sex sting at an airport men’s room.CNNAP

A Nepalese eighth-grader who felt pity for policemen facing street demonstrations invented a crowd-controlling robot that can “charge at the mob with baton, use water canon, lob tear gas, and even shoot.”Nepal NewsCanadianresearchers found that lonely, bullied, or ostracized children have sex earlier than happier children,Canada.comand the mother of a bullied Jacksonville, Florida, boy brandished a gun at his bus stop, asking his fellow pupils, “Does anyone have something to say?”Local6In England, American gray squirrels were bullying diminutive, mild-mannered indigenous red squirrels.NYTA Thai restaurant in London was cordoned off by police after passersby mistook the smell of its extra-spicy homemade chili sauce for a chemical outbreak,Cape TimesSky Newsand a volcano erupted on the Red Sea island of al-Tair.BBCIvory Coast was fighting chronic lateness, known as “African time,” with a contest that offered a $60,000 villa as its grand prize. The winner, legal adviser Narcisse Aka, is known by his colleagues as “Mr. White Man’s Time” and said that his punctuality made him feel like “an extra-terrestrial.”ReutersStudies found that nearly two-thirds of HIV-positive patients in the United States are overweight or obese. “It would be very sad to survive HIV,” said an epidemiologist, “and die of something else that was preventable.”Local6

American pastors were luring teenage boys to church by installing large-screen game consoles equipped for group sessions of the video game “Halo.” Responding to concerns that the explicit and realistic violence in “Halo” is at odds with Christian values, Gregg Barbour, a youth minister in Colorado, stated, “We want to make it hard for teenagers to go to hell.” “Teens are our ‘fish’,” he wrote in a letter to parents. “So weâ??ve become creative in baiting our hooks.”NYTBritish clergy were condemning the nomination of video game “Resistance: Fall of Man,” which features a fire-fight scene set in Manchester Cathedral, for an award. “For a global manufacturer to recreate one of our great cathedrals with photo-realistic quality,” said the Bishop of Manchester, “and encourage people to have gun battles in the building is beyond belief and highly irresponsible.” vnunet.comThe Middlebury Institute, a liberal advocacy group opposing the Iraq War, and the League of the South, which displays a Confederate Battle Flag on its banner, met in Tennessee to discuss their shared goal of secession from the Union. APA white family in Florida found three burning crosses in its back yard.Local6An autopsy could not reveal the identity of a baby found in a Big John’s Pickled Sausage jar and left in a Florida cane field,Miami Heraldand researcher Craig Venter announced that he has constructed a synthetic chromosome out of laboratory chemicals, creating the first artificial life form on Earth.Guardian

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

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