Weekly Review — July 19, 2011, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

[Image: A Christian martyr, 1855]

A Christian martyr.

An Afghan police officer assassinated Ahmed Wali Karzai, half brother of president Hamid Karzai and the de facto governor of Afghanistan??s Kandahar region, whom U.S. officials suspected of having connections to the opium trade. During a memorial service for Karzai at a local mosque, a suicide bomber detonated explosives hidden in his turban, killing three. Another suicide bomber killed a close aide to President Karzai. The United Nations reported that the first six months of this year have been the deadliest for civilians in Afghanistan since the U.S. invaded in 2001, and NATO representatives held a private ceremony in Bamiyan Province to begin handing over responsibility for the country??s security to Afghan forces.New York TimesNew York TimesReutersIranian authorities arrested a female journalist for attempting to report on the Women??s World Cup tournament, 41 pro-democracy protesters were killed during demonstrations in Syria, and 200 residents in Stony Stratford, England, lit cigarettes in protest of a new smoking ban. “If this new proposal in Stony goes through,” said the region’s European Union representative, “it will mean no more ??popping out for a smoke.??”AFPBloombergBBCTwo top London police officers and two executives of News International, Rupert Murdoch??s U.K. newspaper company, resigned amid accusations that its employees may have hacked into thousands of cell phones and bribed police for information. “We are sorry,” said Murdoch in a paid advertisement. The FBI launched an investigation into whether News Corporation, the parent company of News International and Fox News, hacked into the phones of 9/11 survivors.Los Angeles TimesNew York TimesGuardianCNNScientists found that alpha-male baboons are stressed out. LA Times

Congress failed to agree on a plan to avoid sending the United States into default. President Barack Obama warned that if the debt ceiling were not raised by August 2, checks for the 70 million Americans who receive government benefits might not be mailed out. “Don??t call my bluff,” Obama cautioned Republican leaders during the negotiations. “I don??t need to see markets drop 400 points,” said House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), “but Republicans may need to see markets drop 400 points.” New York Daily NewsDaily MailThe HillJournalists discovered that Republican presidential candidate Hermann Cain released a gospel album and that the former church of candidate Michelle Bachmann believes the pope to be the Antichrist.CBSRaw StoryLos Angelenos avoided Carmaggeddon; residents of Phonehenge West, a California shantytown started by a former telephone technician, were evicted; and Republicans from the state??s southern inland campaigned for their counties to secede.New York timesAPNew York TimesA jury in San Francisco acquitted a man accused of possessing magic mushrooms after his lawyer successfully argued that he forgot they were in his backpack. “Some people think my argument was unique,” explained the attorney, “but it just seemed logical to me.”Raw StoryThe Mexican army found a 300-acre marijuana farm.BBC

Exorcists gathered in Poland for a conference on vampires and “the devil??s deceit.”Raw StoryAn Austrian Pastafarian won the right to wear a pasta strainer on his head in his driver??s license photo, and the body of the last heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire was buried in Vienna. His heart was buried in Budapest.Raw StoryBBCCanadians adopted seven dogs who??d eaten their owners?? remains.CBCTwo men were caught trying to steal an ATM from a brothel in Australia.Sydney Morning HeraldA 70-year-old prison chaplain was arrested for paying for oral sex from an inmate in New York.New York Daily NewsA drug-resistant gonorrhea superbug was reported to have been discovered in Japan, and Chinese beekeeper Wang Dalin won a bee-wearing competition by attracting 57 pounds of bees.New York TimesBBCA sheriff in St. Petersburg, Florida, planned to save $45,000 a year by no longer providing free underwear to male prisoners. “If inmates want to wear underwear in jail,” he explained, “they can buy it, just like hard-working Polk County citizens do.” According to a police spokeswoman, female inmates would continue to be granted five free pair.Raw Story

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The city was not beautiful; no one made that claim for it. At the height of summer, people in suits, shellacked by the sun, moved like harassed insects to avoid the concentrated light. There was a civil war–like fracture in America—the president had said so—but little of it showed in the capital. Everyone was polite and smooth in their exchanges. The corridor between Dupont Circle and Georgetown was like the dream of Yugoslav planners: long blocks of uniform earth-toned buildings that made the classical edifices of the Hill seem the residue of ancestors straining for pedigree. Bunting, starched and perfectly ruffled in red-white-and-blue fans, hung everywhere—from air conditioners, from gutters, from statues of dead revolutionaries. Coming from Berlin, where the manual laborers are white, I felt as though I was entering the heart of a caste civilization. Untouchables in hard hats drilled into sidewalks, carried pylons, and ate lunch from metal boxes, while waiters in restaurants complimented old respectable bobbing heads on how well they were progressing with their rib eyes and iceberg wedges.

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Every year in Lusk, Wyoming, during the second week of July, locals gather to reenact a day in 1849 when members of a nearby band of Sioux are said to have skinned a white man alive. None of the actors are Native American. The white participants dress up like Indians and redden their skin with body paint made from iron ore.

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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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