Weekly Review — November 18, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Tempest, December 1878]

Doctors in Berlin announced that they had cured a man of AIDS by giving him transplanted blood stem cells from a donor naturally resistant to the virus; other researchers cautioned that the treatment was of little immediate use, and justified in this case only because the patient had leukemia. “Frankly,” said Dr. Robert C. Gallo of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, “I’d rather take the medicine.”NYTA German shoplifter with no arms stole a 24-inch television. “It’s hard to believe,” said a police officer, “that the sight of an armless man walking along with a giant TV clamped to his body did not get anyone’s attention.”Short NewsA man in a motorized wheelchair robbed a Space Coast Credit Union branch in Merritt Island, Florida, telling employees that he was rigged with explosives; police caught him ten minutes later and recovered the stolen money from his prosthetic leg.Local6Huseyin Kalkan, the mayor of Batman, Turkey, said that the town would sue Warner Bros. for a portion of the royalties from the movie The Dark Knight.” “There is,” said Kalkan, “only one Batman.”VarietyA sixth severed foot washed ashore in Canada,CNNand Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who is expected to sign a $7 million book deal, was asked if she planned to run for president in 2012. “I’m like, okay, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I’m like, Don’t let me miss the open door,” she said. “I’ll plow through that door.”AP via IHTThe Secret Service assigned official code names to President-elect Barack Obama (“Renegade”), First Lady Michelle Obama (“Renaissance”), and their daughters Malia (“Radiance”) and Sasha (“Rosebud”).Chicago TribuneIn Chicago, a relaxed-looking Obama, who gained 700,000 Facebook friends since his election, met with Senator John McCain, who has lost 1,000 Facebook friends,The GuardianSlateand astronomers in Canada and the United States, observing the constellations Piscis Austrinus and Pegasus, captured the first images of distant, dusty planets orbiting young, bright stars.NYT

The price of oil fell below $60 per barrel, a 20-month low,NYTand it was announced that a portion of the government’s $700 billion bailout package may be used to pay year-end bonuses on Wall Street.CBSComputer giant Sun Microsystems shed 6,000 jobs,LATimesand sales rose for Hormel Foods Corporation, which produces SPAM. “We are scheduled to work every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Darwin Sellers, a SPAM “formulator” who adds salt, sugar, and nitrates to rectangles of pork at a plant in Minnesota. “The man upstairs [would like] to get us to work eight days a week.”NYTBarack Obama’s chief-of-staff, Rahm Emanuel, apologized to the Arab community for remarks made by his father, Benjamin Emanuel, who told an Israeli newspaper that his son would “obviously influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn’t he? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to be mopping floors at the White House.”BBCAssailants sprayed acid in the faces of 15 schoolgirls in Kandahar, Afghanistan,.BBCand an Indian high court dismissed arguments that homosexual intercourse should be banned for causing bodily injuries.Times Of IndiaIndia’s space program landed a probe painted with the national flag on the surface of the moon.BBC

Nigerian police discovered a massive baby farm in the city of Enugu,AFP via News.com.auand a grandmother in Ohio gave birth to her daughter’s triplets.AP via YahooOfficials in Nebraska were scrambling to change a “safe haven” law, whereby children can be legally abandoned at hospitals, because it failed to specify an age limit for the children. “Please don’t bring your teenager to Nebraska,” said Governor Dave Heineman, responding to a spate of abandoned out-of-state teens. “Think of what you are saying. You are saying you no longer support them. You no longer love them.” CNNDon Dollar, a City Hall employee in Vernon, Mississippi, said that anyone who was happy with Obama’s victory should seek religious forgiveness. “This is a community that’s supposed to be filled with a bunch of Christian folks. If they’re not disappointed, they need to be at the altar.”IHTHolocaust survivors demanded that the Mormon church stop posthumously baptizing Jews killed in concentration camps,CNNand the Supreme Court was weighing a free-speech suit filed by adherents to the Summum church, in Pleasant Grove City, Utah. Members of the church claim that the city is discriminating against them by displaying a red granite plaque of the Ten Commandments in a public park but refusing to display a monument inscribed with their own faith’s Seven Aphorisms, which were communicated via telepathy from divine beings to a man named Corky Ra. Ron Temu and Su Menu, two Summum worshippers, argued that the Commandments were compatible with the Aphorisms, as both were handed down to Moses on Mount Sinai. “If you look at them side by side,” said Su Menu of the two monuments while sitting in a metal pyramid and drinking an alcoholic sacramental nectar beside a mummified Doberman pinscher, “they really are saying similar things.”NYT

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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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