Weekly Review — February 9, 2016, 12:19 pm

Weekly Review

Syrian forces advance on Aleppo, a bus driver is killed by a meteor, and a nine-year-old girl drives her intoxicated mother home 

HarpersWeb-WeeklyReview-RP-LargeSyrian forces continued their advance toward the city of Aleppo, prompting more than 40,000 residents to flee to the closed Turkish border. “There is no need to host such people,” said a Turkish governor.[1] The United Nations suspended peace talks between Syrian officials and antigovernment militias.[2] The Iraqi military began constructing a 10-foot-high concrete wall around Baghdad to keep out Islamic State fighters, and Tunisia dug the first part of a planned 125-mile moat along its border with Libya.[3][4] Saudi Arabia said it would join the United States in a military campaign against the Islamic State. “I don’t believe they are brave enough,” an Iranian general said of the Saudis, calling the plan “suicide.”[5] In Uzbekistan, the parents of young Islamists who have left the country to fight in Syria were identified and shamed on national television; and, in Germany, the cabinet tightened restrictions on asylum seekers.[6][7] A spokesperson for British prime minister David Cameron warned that Britain’s exit from the European Union could bring the Calais “Jungle” across the Channel from France, and Cameron said that non-Europeans on Tier-2 visas should leave the country if they earn less than $50,000 per year.[8][9] Haitian president Michel Martelly released a song called “Give Them the Banana” that was aimed at a female human-rights journalist and days later ended his term without a successor in place. “I’m at the end of my mandate,” said Martelly.[10]

Egypt banned a German tourist from the country for climbing the Giza pyramid, and the body of an Italian student was discovered with signs of torture in a Cairo suburb.[11][12] A New York City police officer testified in court that he was unable to perform CPR on a gunshot victim because the academy had helped him cheat on his certification test, and an officer in Chicago who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager sued the boy’s family for $10 million, claiming emotional trauma.[13][14] In Peru, a 51-year-old activist became the first former sex worker to run for the national legislature. “I’m going to put order,” she said, “in that big brothel which is Congress.”[15] A Starbucks in Riyadh refused to serve women, a New Delhi court ruled that a Hindu woman can be the legal head of her family, and a minister in Israel objected to the government’s decision to create a plaza at the Wailing Wall where men and women can pray together. “The Western Wall is a place of unity,” said the minister.[16][17] A fireball was sighted over the United States, and North Korea floated balloons filled with used toilet paper across the South Korean border.[18][19] An Indian bus driver became the first recorded case of a human killed by a meteor.[20] NASA announced plans to build a space probe propelled by sunlight. “We can keep thrusting,” said one researcher, “as long as the sun is shining.”[21] A study found that high levels of mercury in rainwater falling over the West Coast of the United States were likely caused by emissions in Asia.[22] A volcano erupted 30 miles from a Japanese nuclear plant, and radioactive water from a nuclear plant in New York overflowed into an underground monitoring well 35 miles north of Manhattan.[23][24] An intoxicated woman in Wisconsin was arrested for allowing her nine-year-old daughter to drive her home.[25]

The Dutch National Police trained eagles to hunt and snatch drones out of the sky, and a starving sea lion was discovered in a booth at an upscale San Diego restaurant.[26][27] A Russian prosecutor complained that media coverage of the friendship between a Siberian tiger and a mountain goat at an eastern safari park “is nothing less than the active imposition of homosexuality.”[28] At least 350 people in Mississippi received jury summonses from the Circuit Clerk’s office that mistakenly directed them to call a sex hotline.[29] New Zealand’s economic development minister was hit in the face with a pink dildo thrown by a woman protesting the Trans Pacific Partnership.[30] The Pentagon created a pilot program that would pay to freeze service members’ eggs and sperm.[31] It was reported that Chinese educators are trying to recruit more male teachers to “salvage masculinity in schools,” and a 13-year-old middle-school student in Kentucky who came to Disney Day dressed as Elsa from the movie Frozen was ordered to remove his costume.[32][33] A brand of costume dentures called Rottin’ Teeth was recalled after it was reported that partygoers couldn’t take them off.[34] Phoenix City Council members voted to ban prayer at meetings rather than allow a representative of the Satanic Temple to perform the opening invocation. “It leaves a bad taste,” said a lawyer for the Temple, “in the Satanist’s mouth.”[35]

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