Weekly Review — February 23, 2016, 11:42 am

Weekly Review

A cyclone makes landfall in Fiji, three people protest Beyoncé’s Super Bowl halftime show, and a knife-wielding monkey chases patrons around a bar

HarpersWeb-WeeklyReview-Popkey-bigCyclone Winston, the second most powerful storm ever recorded in the South Pacific, made landfall in Fiji with 40-foot waves and 200-mile-per-hour winds, killing at least 29 people and leaving about 80 percent of the island nation’s 900,000 residents without regular electricity.[1] American airstrikes on an Islamic State camp in Libya killed at least 40 people, including two Serbian hostages.[2] In Syria, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a series of bomb blasts in the cities of Homs and Damascus that killed at least 140; and Syrian antigovernment forces accused Russia of carrying out bombings of four hospitals that killed at least 50.[3][4] French judges placed former president Nicolas Sarkozy under investigation over allegations that he spent more than the legally permissible 22.5 million euros during his failed 2012 run for reelection, and former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert began serving a 19-month prison term for bribery and obstruction of justice.[5][6] In Clausnitz, in the German state of Saxony, 100 protesters surrounded a bus filled with refugees and chanted “go home”; in Bautzen, also in Saxony, onlookers cheered when a fire broke out in a building that was slated to house 300 migrants; and in Maine, Governor Paul LePage suggested that asylum seekers were his state’s biggest problem because they carried diseases.[7][8][9] “You get hepatitis C, tuberculosis, AIDS, H.I.V.,” he said, “the ziki fly.”[10]

The European Union and British prime minister David Cameron agreed that the United Kingdom would be exempt from the obligation to pursue an “ever closer union,” and Cameron set June 23 as the date for a referendum on whether his country would exit the union.[11] “This is the moment to be brave,” wrote London mayor Boris Johnson in a newspaper column supporting the exit, “not to hug the skirts of Nurse in Brussels.”[12] During a campaign event at a golf course in South Carolina, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump called Pope Francis “disgraceful” for suggesting that Trump is not Christian because he wants to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. “Amazing comments from the pope,” tweeted a senior advisor to Trump, “considering Vatican City is 100% surrounded by massive walls.”[13][14] In Chicago, an investigation revealed that of the 51 homes tested for lead water contamination by the city’s Water Management Department, residents of at least two dozen were currently employed by the agency.[15] In Crystal City, Texas, officials advised residents to boil their water before drinking it after renovations to the municipal water tank caused sediment to leak into distribution lines, making tap water in some homes run black. “We are currently going through administrative challenges that minimize our coordination,” the city, whose mayor, city manager, and mayor pro tempore were arrested by the FBI on bribery and gambling charges, posted on its Facebook page.[16][17][18]

Three people gathered outside the National Football League’s headquarters in New York to protest Beyoncé’s Super Bowl halftime show, and a Tennessee sheriff who heard gunshots outside his home suggested that Beyoncé’s “Formation” music video might have inspired the perpetrator.[19][20] In Ohio, a Christian radio host was arrested for slapping a woman’s buttocks as she exited a restroom; in Minnesota, a man was taken into custody after he threatened his girlfriend with a gun because she was nursing their infant instead of paying attention to him; and the lawyer of former New York governor Eliot Spitzer announced that a 26-year-old woman who had earlier accused Spitzer of choking her had apologized by email for fabricating her account in order to avoid hospitalization for a suicide attempt.[21][22][23] In Utah, a Mormon youth-group leader found the decapitated head of a snake inside a can of green beans, and in Brazil a capuchin monkey was captured by a local fire department after video emerged in which it drinks alcohol from glasses around a bar and then chases patrons with a foot-long knife.[24][25] In New Jersey, a mail carrier called his postmaster for help after several wild turkeys trapped him in his truck. “I got a carrier that’s being attacked by wild turkeys,” said the postmaster in a 911 call, “and won’t let him deliver the mail.”[26] North Korea’s state-run newspaper unveiled 375 new party slogans in advance of May’s Workers’ Party congress including, “Make the whole country seethe with a high-pitched campaign for producing greenhouse vegetables!”[27] Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid a ransom in bitcoins equivalent to about $17,000 after hackers disabled its computer network, and in Florida, 18-year-old Malachi A. Love-Robinson was accused, for the third time since 2015, of impersonating a doctor. “I do currently hold a Ph.D.,” said Love-Robinson, “in what, I don’t feel comfortable disclosing because that is not the issue here.”[28][29]

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