Weekly Review — January 22, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

West African extremists, Obama’s gun challenge, and tragic Belgian twins

“What Though I Am Obligated to Dance a Bear”

In Algeria, 32 militants calling themselves “Those Who Signed in Blood” seized control of a natural-gas refinery in the Saharan outpost of Ain Amenas, where they threatened to blow up the complex and hundreds of workers from around the world unless the Algerian government freed 100 prisoners. During the resulting four-day standoff, Algerian special forces assaulted the refinery twice, and 38 hostages and 29 militants were killed. The attackers came from Algeria, Canada, Egypt, Mali, Niger, and Tunisia, and were reportedly affiliated with the Masked Brigade, a group founded by one-eyed Algerian bandit Moktar Belmoktar, who planned the attack from northern Mali. “It seems,” said one analyst, “that Moktar has tasked himself with the internationalization of the Mali conflict.”[1][2][3][4][5] In Mali, Islamist militants fled the towns of Diabaly, Douentza, and Konna under heavy French bombing; France also deployed 2,000 ground troops in the north. “The French resemble a fly that was attracted to a pot of honey,” said Oumar Ould Hamaha of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa. “Now their feet are sticky. They can’t fly away anymore.”[6][7][8][9][10] The Russian army ordered its soldiers to start wearing socks, and a Muscovite upset about a Bolshoi ballet casting decision threw acid in the face of the company’s artistic director, Sergei Filin. “I have a feeling,” said Filin, “that I am on the front lines.”[11][12] More than 800 Syrians were killed in the country’s civil war.[13] Half of the 50 Boeing 787 Dreamliners currently in operation were grounded following safety incidents, including a battery fire and two fuel leaks, at six world airports; the U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced that it would remove full-body airport scanners that produce revealing images; and Chicago’s O’Hare Airport processed a shipment of 18 human heads. “Everybody here is ‘Oh my gosh, you got a box of heads,’ ” said a Department of Homeland Security spokesman. “We’ve seen it at various ports.”[14][15][16]

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

Barack Obama, who was sworn in for a second term as U.S. president, signed 23 executive actions designed to reduce gun violence, and called on Congress to pass a law banning military-style assault weapons. “There will be pundits and politicians and special-interest lobbyists publicly warning of a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty,” said Obama. “Not because that’s true, but because they want to gin up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves.”[17][18] At the Crossroads of the West gun show in Phoenix, dealers were raising their prices on such weapons as the AR-15 rifle, which was used in the murders of 27 people at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, last month, and of a family of five near Albuquerque on Saturday. “It doubles the price I get,” said one dealer of the proposed ban.[19] The National Rifle Association released a “gun safety” video game that allows players to upgrade their weapons for $0.99, as well as an ad accusing Obama of hypocrisy for failing to support its proposal to place armed guards in public schools when his own daughters benefit from such protection.[20][21] In Lapeer, Michigan, a security guard hired by an elementary school in the wake of the Newtown shootings forgot his gun in a school bathroom. “No harm, no foul,” said the county prosecutor.[22] It was revealed that the Justice Department rarely checks references when hiring new attorneys, and that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had spoken during oral arguments for the first time in nearly seven years. “Well — he did not —,” Thomas reportedly said. “I would refute that, Justice Thomas,” replied the lawyer at the lectern.[23][24] American cyclist Lance Armstrong, who last year was banned for life from the sport, confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs, bullying his teammates to do the same, and lying to cover up his actions. “I think he has political ambitions,” said a former competitor.[25][26]

[Correction] It was later reported that the woman started the train by accident. (Source: BBC)

A shop owner in Vernal, Utah, was charging liberals an extra dollar for smoothies, and Jersey Shore residents were complaining about police barricades erected to keep visitors away from towns devastated by Hurricane Sandy. “We live in an open democracy,” said Brick mayor Kevin Acropolis. “I want to get back to that.”[27][28] In Italy, a record 215 parties submitted logos for February’s parliamentary elections, including the Look What a Mess They’ve Got Us Into group and the Democracy, Nature, and Love (DNA) movement, whose symbol is a porn star.[29] Scientists reported the existence of quadruple-helix human DNA, and short-penised Pacific gooseneck barnacles were found to reproduce by oozing sperm into the water for females to capture. “Why depend totally on penis length?” said a biologist at the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, Maine. “Why not spermcast as well?”[30][31] Baseball hall-of-famers Stan “The Man” Musial and Earl Weaver died, as did “Dear Abby” columnist Pauline Friedman Phillips.[32][33][34] A cleaning lady was injured after she stole a commuter train outside Stockholm, drove for a mile, derailed the train, and crashed into a building. “We have only heard good things about her,” said a train-company spokesman.[35][Correction] A Detroit man was arrested for digging up his father’s body from Gethsemane Cemetery in hopes of resurrecting him, and in Brussels, 45-year-old twins born deaf were permitted to commit suicide because they had also become blind. “It’s not simply that they were deaf and blind that they were granted the right to euthanasia,” said a hospital official. “It is that they could no longer bear being unable to hear or see the other.”[36][37] On a single day at a hospital in Israel, four sets of twins were born to parents from four different faiths.[38]


Sign up and get the Weekly Review delivered to your inbox every Tuesday morning.

Share
Single Page

More from Jeremy Keehn:

Weekly Review September 23, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Scotland rejects independence, Sierra Leone issues a three-day lockdown, and Iran lashes its citizens for doing a “Happy” dance

Weekly Review September 9, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

ISIL murders journalist Steven Sotloff; Satan in Moscow and Detroit; and Florida police play Cherries Waffles Tennis

Weekly Review August 5, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Alternating shelter bombings and ceasefires in Gaza; a do-nothing Congress whimpers feebly into recess; and India hires a troupe of black-faced-langur imitators

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

August 2019

The Last Frontier

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Play with No End

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Call of the Drums

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Brutal from the Beginning

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Alps

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Last Frontier·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The San Luis Valley in southern Colorado still looks much as it did one hundred, or even two hundred, years ago. Blanca Peak, at 14,345 feet the fourth-highest summit in the Rockies, overlooks a vast openness. Blanca, named for the snow that covers its summit most of the year, is visible from almost everywhere in the valley and is considered sacred by the Navajo. The range that Blanca presides over, the Sangre de Cristo, forms the valley’s eastern side. Nestled up against the range just north of Blanca is Great Sand Dunes National Park. The park is an amazement: winds from the west and southwest lift grains of sand from the grasses and sagebrush of the valley and deposit the finest ones, creating gigantic dunes. You can climb up these dunes and run back down, as I did as a child on a family road trip and I repeated with my own children fifteen years ago. The valley tapers to a close down in New Mexico, a little north of Taos. It is not hard to picture the indigenous people who carved inscriptions into rocks near the rivers, or the Hispanic people who established Colorado’s oldest town, San Luis, and a still-working system of communal irrigation in the southeastern corner, or a pioneer wagon train. (Feral horses still roam, as do pronghorn antelope and the occasional mountain lion.)

Article
A Play with No End·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

When I caught up with the Gilets Jaunes on March 2, near the Jardin du Ranelagh, they were moving in such a mass through the streets that all traffic had come to a halt. The residents of Passy, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Paris, stood agape and apart and afraid. Many of the shops and businesses along the route of the march, which that day crossed seven and a half miles of the city, were shuttered for the occasion, the proprietors fearful of the volatile crowd, who mostly hailed from outside Paris and were considered a rabble of invaders.

Article
The Call of the Drums·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Great Kurultáj, an event held annually outside the town of Bugac, Hungary, is billed as both the “Tribal Assembly of the Hun-­Turkic Nations” and “Europe’s Largest Equestrian Event.” When I arrived last August, I was fittingly greeted by a variety of riders on horseback: some dressed as Huns, others as Parthian cavalrymen, Scythian archers, Magyar warriors, csikós cowboys, and betyár bandits. In total there were representatives from twenty-­seven “tribes,” all members of the “Hun-­Turkic” fraternity. The festival’s entrance was marked by a sixty-­foot-­tall portrait of Attila himself, wielding an immense broadsword and standing in front of what was either a bonfire or a sky illuminated by the baleful glow of war. He sported a goatee in the style of Steven Seagal and, shorn of his war braids and helmet, might have been someone you could find in a Budapest cellar bar. A slight smirk suggested that great mirth and great violence together mingled in his soul.

Article
Brutal from the Beginning·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Celebrity sightings are a familiar feature of the modern N.B.A., but this year’s playoffs included an appearance unusual even by the standards of America’s most star-­friendly sports league. A few minutes into the first game of the Western Conference semifinals, between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston ­Rockets—the season’s hottest ticket, featuring the reigning M.V.P. on one side and the reigning league champions on the other—­President Paul Kagame of Rwanda arrived with an entourage of about a dozen people, creating what the sports website The Undefeated called “a scene reminiscent of the fashionably late arrivals of Prince, Jay-­Z, Beyoncé and Rihanna.”

Article
The Alps·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Toyota HiAce with piebald paneling, singing suspension, and a reg from the last millennium rolled into the parking lot of the Swinford Gaels football club late on a Friday evening. The HiAce belonged to Rory Hughes, the eldest of the three brothers known as the Alps, and the Alps traveled everywhere together in it. The three stepped out and with a decisive slam of the van’s side door moved off across the moonscape of the parking lot in the order of their conceptions, Rory on point, the middle brother, Eustace, close behind, and the youngest, ­Bimbo, in dawdling tow.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

“What’s the point?” said Senator Tim Scott, who is paid at least $174,000 per year as an elected official, when asked whether he had read the Mueller report.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Happiness Is a Worn Gun

By

“Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.”

Subscribe Today