Weekly Review — September 27, 2016, 3:22 pm

Weekly Review

A man kills five at a Macy’s in Washington, North Carolina scientists find that men are more likely to believe in God after sex, and researchers in Norway train horses to communicate with people

the magnificent bird of paradise.

In the Syrian city of Aleppo, where an estimated 2 million residents no longer had access to drinking water and a reported 250,000 remained trapped by fighting, government and Russian forces carried out a series of air strikes, bringing the total count of civilians killed since the end of a weeklong ceasefire to at least 231.[1] Both countries denied having bombed a 31-vehicle United Nations aid convoy bound for the city, an attack that destroyed 18 trucks and resulted in at least 20 fatalities.[2][3] “Aleppo,” tweeted the Syrian state news agency, “still boasts a thriving nightlife.”[4] U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power accused the Russians of “barbarism,” her British counterpart said the Syrian government had a “sick bloodlust,” and Donald Trump, Jr., compared refugees fleeing Syria to tainted Skittles.[5][6] A police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was charged with felony manslaughter after she shot and killed Terence Crutcher, a 40-year-old black man, while he held his hands in the air, and police in Charlotte, North Carolina, released video of the fatal police shooting of Keith Scott, a 43-year-old black man who was waiting for his son’s school bus, amid disputes over whether Scott had been holding a book or a gun.[7][8] “When they see the weapon,” said Charlotte’s chief of police, “they say, ‘Uh-oh.’ ”[9] A 21-year-old black man named Tawon Boyd, who had dialed 9-1-1 seeking an ambulance, died after police officers came to his home and punched him multiple times in the face. “Help!” Boyd yelled while banging on a neighbor’s door. “Call the police!”[10]

A 20-year-old man whom police described as “zombie-like” was arrested after killing five people with a hunting rifle at a Macy’s cosmetics counter in Burlington, Washington, and a man in Toronto was arrested when a sawed-off shotgun fell out of his pants in the parking lot of a Tim Hortons.[11][12] In Italy, a judge ordered that a man who paid for sex with a 15-year-old girl must buy her 30 feminist-themed books, including The Diary of Anne Frank and the poems of Emily Dickinson.[13] Former New York congressman Anthony Weiner was being investigated by federal authorities after he was accused of sexting a 15-year-old girl, and Snapchat announced it would start selling sunglasses equipped with cameras.[14][15] It was reported that visits from Buddhist priests could be purchased through Amazon in Japan, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra began streaming performances through virtual-reality headsets.[16][17] Uber announced a new security feature that would require drivers to take a selfie each time they got behind the wheel, and Chinese researchers hacked into a Tesla, remotely controlling the electric car’s brakes, moonroof, and windshield wipers.[18][19] A 62-year-old man in Saskatchewan, Canada, was forced to buy his first computer in order to run for mayor. “I got it last week,” he said. “And I’m not happy about it.”[20]

Following the arrest of at least 10 clowns in Kentucky and Alabama, Tennesseans were warned that clowns could be “predators” and Pennsylvanians were advised not to interact with what one police chief described as “knuckleheads with clown-like clothes on.”[21][22][23][24][25] The president of a Crime Stoppers chapter in Canada was fired for allegedly participating in the cultivation of cannabis, police in Mexico found a van outfitted with a ten-foot-long air cannon used to fire 60-pound bales of marijuana over the U.S. border, and an employee of the Royal Canadian Mint was suspected of having smuggled out an estimated $179,015 in “cookie-sized nuggets” of gold by coating them in Vaseline and hiding them in his rectum.[26][27][28] Researchers in Norway trained horses to communicate with humans; a farmer in Cumbria, England, spray-painted his 800 sheep orange so they wouldn’t be rustled; and a helicopter crashed in Queensland, Australia, after it became snagged on a cow’s horns.[29][30][31] Residents of Kenai, Alaska, scheduled a vote on a bylaw that would require all cats to be leashed in public, and a handbag made from the pelt of a cat named Tom sold for $400 at auction in New Zealand. “He had a particularly nice face,” said the bag’s creator.[32][33] Scientists in Ecuador discovered a previously unknown species of tropical ant in the vomit of the poisonous devil frog, researchers in North Carolina concluded that men are more likely to believe in God after having sex, and a woman in Istanbul, Turkey, was attacked by a man on a bus who was upset that she was wearing shorts. “My spiritual side took over,” said the attacker, “and I kicked her in the face.”[34][35][36]

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When I saw Ted Cruz speak, in early August, it was at Underwood’s Cafeteria in Brownwood. He was on a weeklong swing through rural central Texas, hitting small towns and military bases that ensured him friendly, if not always entirely enthusiastic, crowds. In Brownwood, some in the audience of two hundred were still nibbling on peach cobbler as Cruz began with an anecdote about his win in a charity basketball game against ABC’s late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. They rewarded him with smug chuckles when he pointed out that “Hollywood celebrities” would be hurting over the defeat “for the next fifty years.” His pitch for votes was still an off-the-rack Tea Party platform, complete with warnings about the menace of creeping progressivism, delivered at a slightly mechanical pace but with lots of punch. The woman next to me remarked, “This is the fire in the gut! Like he had the first time!” referring to Cruz’s successful long-shot run in the 2011 Texas Republican Senate primary. And it’s true—the speech was exactly like one Cruz would have delivered in 2011, right down to one specific detail: he never mentioned Donald Trump by name.

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H

e is a nondescript man.

I’d never used that adjective about a client. Not until this one. My seventeenth. He’d requested an evening time and came Tuesdays at six-thirty. For months he didn’t tell me what he did.

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1 in 2

People tend to believe that God believes what they believe.

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