Weekly Review — July 7, 2009, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: Caught in the Web, 1860]

Caught in the Web, 1860.

Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska announced that she would not seek reelection and that she would resign by the end of July. “‘We’re not retreating,'” she said, citing General Douglas MacArthur, who was not the author of the quotation. “‘We are advancing in another direction.'” No one knew why she resigned. “Everybody Iâ??ve talked to thinks itâ??s a little crazy,” said conservative pundit William Kristol. “But maybe not. What is she going to accomplish in the next year as governor?”AP via NO Times-PicayuneLATLATWPPoliticoAnchorage Daily NewsNYTNYTThe U.S. unemployment rate reached 9.5 percent, and reports for June showed that 6.5 million jobs have been lost in the recession so far, wiping out the previous nine years’ gains. Rank-and-file workers in the private sector averaged 33 hours of work per week, the fewest since records began in 1964.BloombergNYTAmish former factory workers in Indiana said that life has improved since they were laid off. “We were all going way too fast,” said Freeman Miller, who started making wooden caskets for pets after he was fired from his manufacturing job.WSJUSA TodayIn an attempt to reduce rampant bribery, staff at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan airport were issued pants without pockets, BBCand a study found that perceived signs of guilt in dogs are probably reactions to subtle cues from their owners. “The most guilty look,” noted Barnard College assistant professor of psychology Alexandra Horowitz, “was when the owner scolded an innocent dog.”WP

Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, recipient of the Medal of Freedom and the Distinguished Service Medal, died,ReutersNYTTimeAFPWPand in Vietnam, where 1.12 boys are born for every girl, the government was confiscating books on how to choose your baby’s sex.Boston GlobeFour thousand U.S. Marines were deployed to the Helmand Province in Afghanistan, where they are under orders to counteract the influence of the Taliban by befriending the locals. “We’re not going to drive to work,” said the brigade’s commander. “We’re going to walk to work.” NYTWPA court in New Delhi overturned a colonial-era law banning gay sex, NYTand at least 140 people were killed in Urumqi, in the Xinjiang region of China, when predominantly Muslim, Turkic-speaking Uighurs protesting discrimination clashed with Han Chinese and security forces. NYTWSJ

Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya attempted to stage a dramatic return to his country but was prevented from landing by the military and landed in El Salvador instead.BBCAustralian authorities decreed that anyone who comes within 500 meters of the white humpback whale Migaloo (“white fella” in an aboriginal dialect) will be fined $13,500. BBCThe Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously ruled Al Franken the victor in his close senatorial race against Norm Coleman,AP via WPand Glasgow lifted a thirty-year-old ban on Monty Python’s film The Life of Brian.BBCFormer Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair was found dead in Nashville, possibly a victim of a murder-suicide by his girlfriend.TennesseanDallas Morning NewsThirty-one Xhosa teenagers in South Africa died from botched circumcisions performed without anaesthesia,NYTand an FDA advisory panel voted to ban Percocet and Vicodin.NYTOfficials in Britain said that the number of new cases of swine flu in that country was doubling weekly and could reach 100,000 new cases per day by the end of August; Dr. Richard Jarvis, chairman of the British Medical Association’s public-health committee, cited reports of people throwing “swine flu parties” to expose themselves to the virus and build their immunity. “I don’t think it is a good idea,” he said.Hindustan TimesAP via Star-TribuneBBCUp to one thousand species in the United Kingdom were imperiled by the spread of the ravenous harlequin ladybug. Scientists suggested that the harlequin, an invasive species originally introduced to Europe from Asia to kill other pests, could be controlled by infecting the population with sexually transmitted mites.The Harlequin Ladybird SurveyBBCA flight from Marseille to the Comoros Islands crashed, killing 152 passengers but sparing one, 12-year-old Bahia Bakari, who survived at sea for more than nine hours before being rescued by the Madagascar merchant marine. “I grabbed on to something,” she said, “but I donâ??t know what.” AP via YahooNYTAP via YahooWSJScientists said that a single super-colony of billions of Argentine ants had conquered Europe, the United States, and Japan, forming the largest insect colony ever.BBC

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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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