Weekly Review — May 6, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Ukraine conducts military strikes in the east, Boko Haram threatens to sell captured Nigerian schoolgirls, and the many uses of beached whales

ALL IN MY EYE.The interim government of Ukraine launched a military offensive against an estimated 800 pro-Russian separatists in the city of Slovyansk, one of a dozen eastern municipalities where militants have seized government buildings. Forty-six people died in a clash between pro-Kiev and pro-Moscow demonstrators in the port city of Odessa, and pro-Russian activists stormed Odessa’s police headquarters and freed 67 detainees. U.S. secretary of state John Kerry demanded that the Russian government take action to defuse the crisis or risk broad sanctions against its financial and energy sectors, and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed Russia has “lost its influence” over the separatists. “We again urge the Kiev organizers of terror,” said a statement from Russia’s foreign ministry, “[to] withdraw troops and sit down, finally, at the negotiating table to start a normal dialogue.” “The process of dialogue had begun,” said interim Ukrainian prime minister Yatsenyuk, “only it was drowned out by the shots from Russian-made Kalashnikovs.”[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] Marchers carried signs reading ‘‘Let’s go to Crimea for vacation” at the first May Day parade in Moscow’s Red Square since the collapse of the Soviet Union.[9] During a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show in Providence, Rhode Island, eight women who were dangling by their hair from a metal “human chandelier” fell more than 30 feet to the ground when a clamp broke. “Are they supposed to fall like that?” an audience member was heard asking in a YouTube video of the accident.[10][11][12] An American ecologist published a photo of a Julia butterfly and a solitary bee drinking the tears of a spectacled caiman, and the Missouri Department of Conservation reversed its decision to euthanize Boo Boo, a baby bear from a Moscow Mills petting zoo who bit 18 university students at an event called Petting Zoo on the Swamp.[13][14]

In Nigeria, two of the 300 teenage girls abducted from a northern school three weeks ago had reportedly died of snakebites, and the leader of the Islamist group Boko Haram announced that the rest were “slaves” whom he and his men planned to sell.[15] Afghan authorities declared the site of two landslides in the country’s northeastern Badakhshan province a “mass grave” and gave up searching for at least 2,000 people still believed missing, including 600 residents of a nearby village who were engulfed by the second landslide while searching for survivors of the first.[16][17] U.S. president Barack Obama called for a review of the death penalty after the botched execution of Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett, who died of a heart attack 38 minutes after a previously untested combination of lethal drugs had been injected into a vein in his groin, causing the vein to collapse and prevent the rapid delivery of a dose sufficient to kill him. After being declared unconscious, Lockett — a convicted rapist sentenced to death for shooting a 19-year-old woman and watching his two accomplices bury her alive — groaned, lifted his head, and said, “Man.”[18][19][20][21][22] North Korean state media released a report declaring the United States “the world’s worst human right abuser,” “a living hell,” and a “tundra of a human being’s rights to existence.”[23] Four students at Edward Stone Middle School in Burlington, Illinois, were arrested for trying to bake marijuana cookies in a home-economics class, and police in Bakersfield, California, reported that cupcakes given to bullying classmates by a tenth-grade girl who had reportedly laced them with pills, pubic hair, and semen were in fact laced with barbecue sauce, soy sauce, and mayonnaise.[24][25] Arizona became the tenth state to outlaw revenge porn, German police raided the annual meeting of a suspected pedophile ring whose members officials said used their own children to make contact with their victims, and Wisconsin state representative Brett Hulsey (D.) revealed that he had used his daughter’s sewing machine to make Ku Klux Klan–style hoods for distribution outside the state G.O.P. convention. “It’s a Wisconsin Republican Party hat,” said Hulsey. “People can interpret it any way they want.”[26][27][28]

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The Caliente Nudist Resort in Land O’ Lakes, Florida, held the fifth annual Bare Dare 5K run, and a disoriented beaver delayed traffic on Pleasant Drive in Miramichi, New Brunswick.[29][30] A fire at a warehouse containing 1,000 cans of surströmming, a delicacy made of rotten Baltic herring, caused an explosion that launched tins into the Swedish town of Enaanger.[31] A vandal painted ΤΕΦ (Tau Epsilon Phi) on the belly of a beached whale carcass in Atlantic City, New Jersey; the town of Cape St. George, Newfoundland, attempted to sell a 40-foot-long sperm-whale carcass on eBay; and tourists were climbing atop the methane-bloated carcass of an 85-foot-long beached whale in Trout River, Newfoundland. “If somebody gets swallowed into the insides of that whale,” said a Trout River restaurateur, “it’s going to be quite dangerous to get them out.”[32][33][34][35] The Icelandic Phallological Museum, which houses more than 300 penises and penile parts from nearly a hundred species, accepted an offer from New York resident Jonah Falcon to display his penis, which measures 13.5 inches long when erect, upon his death. “It would be an honor to have my manhood put on display, hopefully nestled between the sexual appendages of a sperm whale and a polar bear,” Falcon wrote in a letter to the museum. “May I suggest you call the exhibit ‘Jonah and the Whale.’ ”[36]


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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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