Weekly Review — May 19, 2015, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

An Amtrak train derails, a Bangladeshi blogger is hacked to death, and an African-American boy who was maced at an anti–police-brutality protest is grateful he wasn’t shot

saluting_the_town_350x278A seven-car Amtrak train traveling from Washington, D.C., to New York City derailed in Philadelphia while taking a sharp turn at 106 mph, more than twice the speed limit on that stretch of track. Several cars flipped over, throwing riders and luggage against the walls; 8 people were killed and more than 200 of the train’s 238 passengers were injured. “It was like being in the dryer,” said one passenger. The FBI investigated the possibility that the train had been struck by a grapefruit-size projectile, and friends of the train’s engineer said he was an “unabashed nerd” who “loved everything about trains.” “I’m not inferring that this accident happened because he was gay,” said a right-wing radio host, “but I do think it’s an interesting part of the story.” A member of the National Transportation Safety Board said that positive train control, an automatic speed-control system installed on certain sections of track, could have prevented the derailment; Amtrak reported that it had not implemented P.T.C. on the curve involved in the accident because of budget constraints; and the House Appropriations Committee voted to decrease Amtrak funding by $252 million. “When you give them money, they squander it,” said John Mica (R., Fla.), who called the rail agency a “Soviet-style operation.”[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] In Russia, where a bust was erected depicting Russian president Vladimir Putin in the garb of a Roman emperor, many Western leaders boycotted a parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II that included 16,000 soldiers, a T-14 Armata tank, and three ballistic missiles. “Everyone we wanted to see was here,” said Putin.[9][10] An Egyptian court sentenced former president Mohamed Morsi and 106 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death for killing and kidnapping police; conspiring with Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah; participating in a 20,000-man jailbreak; and stealing chickens.[11][12][13] Following 14 hours of deliberation, a jury sentenced Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death.[14] Nine people died outside the Twin Peaks sports bar in Waco, Texas, after members of at least three rival biker gangs who were arguing over a parking space attacked each other with chains, knives, clubs, and guns.[15] Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney lost a charity boxing match to retired fighter Evander Holyfield after two rounds, and scientists discovered a warm-blooded fish.[16][17]

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who inadvertently announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, affirmed and then denied that he would authorize the invasion of Iraq that his brother conducted in 2003. “If you’re looking for a perfect candidate,” said Bush, “he probably existed 2,000 years ago.”[18][19][20] Islamic State suicide bombers dressed as Iraqi police officers and seized control of Ramadi, setting fire to a government compound, ransacking weapons stores, stealing tanks, and killing 500 people. “At first we thought they were policemen,” said a Ramadi tribal fighter. “Then they started killing us.”[21][22][23][24] An Israeli court sentenced a Palestinian man to nine months in prison for inciting terrorism on Facebook, a secular Bangladeshi blogger was hacked to death by four men wielding machetes, and a teenager in Singapore was convicted of obscenity for posts critical of Lee Kuan Yew, the country’s founding father, that included an image of Lee having sex with Margaret Thatcher.[25][26][27] British prime minister David Cameron announced the expansion of anti-extremism laws, and the U.S. House of Representatives voted to end the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone metadata.[28][29] The minister of the People’s Armed Forces of North Korea, whose last public appearance was likely at the performance of a Pyongyang pop group that played “Glorious Motherland” and “My Country Is the Best,” was executed with an antiaircraft gun for falling asleep during military events; and a 34-year-old Oklahoma man pleaded guilty to asphyxiating his 58-year-old stepfather by pulling the older man’s underwear over his head and around his neck. “I did a horrible thing,” said the stepson, “when I gave him that wedgie.”[30][31][32]

A colt named American Pharoah, the son of Pioneerof the Nile, beat out Tale of Verve and Divining Rod to win the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore.[33] In Hong Kong, a wild boar fell through the ceiling of a children’s clothing store, knocked over and bit a mannequin, and ran into a fitting room.[34] It was reported that ten silver marmosets, seven gold lion tamarins, four baby goats, and a baby kangaroo were stolen from zoos in France and Wisconsin; and actor Johnny Depp was accused of smuggling two Yorkshire terriers into Australia.[35][36][37] A swarm of thousands of bees blackened the skies above Farnham, England, and millions of baby spiders rained down in streams of gossamer that covered Goulburn, Australia.[38][39] The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service featured a 24-hour live video feed of ewes lambing at a farm in Skagafjordur.[40] A 24-year-old woman in Jiangxi, China, resumed surfing the Internet after giving birth in the bathroom of a cybercafe, a Jordanian woman claimed she discovered a cell phone left in her abdomen during a Cesarean section after her belly began vibrating, and a Canadian woman who didn’t know she was pregnant gave birth on a flight to Tokyo. “She said to my son, ‘Something just fell out of me,’” said the mother of the woman’s boyfriend.[41][42][43] Elisabeth Bing, the popularizer of Lamaze, died at the age of 100; and B. B. “Blues Boy” King died at the age of 89. “Being a blues player and being black,” King, who was born to sharecroppers on a cotton plantation, once said, “was like being black twice.”[44][45][46] A 10-year-old African-American boy who was maced at an anti–police-brutality protest in Minneapolis said he was grateful he hadn’t been shot, a sheriff in Kentucky said he was grateful a car thief shot by police was white, and the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office in Florida announced that it was reviewing more than 150 cases involving black suspects after it found 230 racist and pornographic emails written by police officers between 2010 and 2012. “It is not possible for an officer to use hate-filled language and humor,” said the public defender in Broward County, “only on his private time.”[47][48][49]


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