Weekly Review — September 3, 2015, 12:01 am

Weekly Review

Syrian rebels accuse the Islamic State of using mustard gas on children, scientists find that humanitarian catastrophes are good for air quality in the Middle East, and Tajikistan announces the existence of a planet named Tajikistan 

WeeklyReviewJK-captionIn Virginia, a journalist named Vester Lee Flanagan filmed himself shooting and killing two other journalists and posted the video online.[1] “This is THE WORST possible use,” wrote a Twitter user, “of Twitter.”[2] Flanagan faxed a news network three suicide notes, in which he wrote that he had killed his cats in the woods and “made thousands” as an escort, then shot himself in the head.[3][4] Police discovered his body in his rental car, along with 17 stamped envelopes, a briefcase containing three license plates, a wig, a shawl, an umbrella, sunglasses, and a to-do list.[5] At least nine people in Nepal were killed when a group of demonstrators protesting a draft of a new constitution for the country attacked police with knives, spears, and sickles, and poured kerosene on an officer and set him on fire.[6] The Syrian government carried out air strikes and barrel bombings against rebels in the Damascus suburb of Douma, killing at least 150 civilians; Syrian rebels accused the Islamic State of using mustard gas on children; the head of an international gay-rights organization told the United Nations that the Islamic State has shot, stoned, beheaded, or pushed from tall buildings at least 30 gay, lesbian, and transgender people; and a study in Germany found that civil wars, political uprisings, and the spread of the Islamic State have improved air quality in the Middle East. “Negative NO2 trends,” the scientists wrote, “are associated with humanitarian catastrophes.”[7][8][9][10]

After a two-week investigation into the bombing of a Hindu shrine, Thai police raided an apartment used by the group thought to be responsible, seizing explosives as well as nuts, bolts, a watch, and a remote-control toy car.[11] A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.[12][13] Following the online popularity of a 15-year-old’s bid for president under the name Deez Nutz, it was reported that 249 people registered phony presidential campaigns using fake names such as Dis Pussy, Dat Ass, and Dem Balls.[14] During several campaign speeches Republican candidate Donald Trump told audiences that he is “not a fan of Hitler,” is the “most militaristic person,” has “the blood pressure of a great athlete,” and “loves” the Bible, evangelical Christians, Japanese people, Chinese people, Mexican immigrants, Ukraine, and the New York Times. “You read the papers,” said Trump, who is leading in many polls, “you say, oh how could this be happening?”[15][16][17]

In Zimbabwe’s Camp Hwang Park, where an American dentist beheaded a 13-year-old lion named Cecil, a 14-year-old lion named Nxaha mauled to death a safari guide.[18] Five polar bears took hostage a group of researchers working at a weather station in Russia.[19] Scientists announced that there were more than 3 trillion trees on earth, and President Obama warned of climate change during a visit to Alaska, where he bought all the cinnamon rolls for sale at an Anchorage coffee shop.[20][21][22] A woman at the Beijing airport who was told she couldn’t bring a bottle of Remy Martin cognac through security drank the entire bottle at a checkpoint, collapsed, and was then prohibited from boarding her plane because she was too drunk.[23] A 12-year-old boy in Taiwan accidentally punched a fist-size hole through a 350-year-old painting valued at $1.5 million.[24][25] Officials in Tajikistan claimed that an organization called the International Astrophysicists Union, which has no online presence, has named “one of the small planets of the solar system” after the country. “Tajikistan,” reported the state news agency, “revolves around the Sun once every five years.”[26]

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