Weekly Review — December 30, 2016, 3:50 pm

Weekly Review

The U.N. Security Council condemns the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, an ordained Pagan priest receives permission to wear goat horns in his driver’s license photo, and snow falls in the Saharan town of Ain Sefra for the first time in 40 years.

WeeklyAvatar-SM.pngPolice in Italy shot and killed a man suspected of driving a truck into a Berlin Christmas market, after he refused to present identification papers in Milan’s Sesto San Giovanni neighborhood.[1] The suspect, a 24-year-old Tunisian man, had previously set fire to a migrant center on the Italian island of Lampedusa, been transferred to various Sicilian prisons for bad conduct, and been identified as a threat by both the Italian and German authorities, but had not been deported because he did not have a valid passport, which arrived two days after the Berlin attack.[2][3] U.S. president-elect Donald Trump tweeted that the United States should greatly “expand its nuclear capability,” and the Pakistani defense minister reacted to a fake news story claiming that Israel had threatened to use its nuclear arsenal by reiterating that Pakistan has a nuclear arsenal as well.[4][5] The United States abstained from voting for a U.N. Security Council resolution that condemned the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Israel claimed it had “rather hard” evidence that Barack Obama was behind the resolution, and Trump called the United Nations “a club for people to get together, talk, and have a good time.”[6][7][8] Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari congratulated troops for pushing Boko Haram insurgents out of Camp Zero, their last stronghold in the Sambisa Forest.[9] Kurdish-led fighters approached the ISIS-held Euphrates Dam in northern Syria.[10] A cafeteria manager in Turkey was detained after saying he would refuse to serve the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a cup of tea.[11]

In Russia, a plane carrying the Red Army Choir, which was scheduled to serenade troops in Syria on New Year’s Eve, crashed into the Black Sea moments after taking off, killing all 92 on board.[12] In New York, debate continued as to whether the Radio City Rockettes would be forced to perform at Trump’s inauguration.[13][14][15] “This Christmas,” the Republican National Committee said in a statement, “heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King.”[16] Queen Elizabeth II missed Christmas church services because of a “heavy cold,” and the principal of a Taiwanese school resigned after students staged a Nazi-themed Christmas parade.[17][18] South Korean protesters in Santa costumes held a candlelight vigil to call for their president’s resignation.[19] In Sri Lanka, the 2016 Joy to the World Festival mistakenly printed the lyrics to Tupac’s “Hail Mary,” which read, “we all wrapped up in this livin’ life as thugs.”[20] A Libyan Airbus A320 was hijacked at Malta International Airport, disrupting the filming of a movie about a 1976 plane hijacking in Uganda.[21] An Indian court told airlines to stop dumping feces during flights, and a transatlantic flight from Paris to New York stopped in Ireland so passengers could use the bathroom.[22][23] U.S. Customs and Border Protection began asking certain foreign travelers for lists of their social-media accounts, and Korean Air said crew members are now permitted to use stun guns.[24][25] Scientists said the discovery of a fossilized wing bone belonging to the prehistoric Tingmiatornis arctica suggests the North Pole was once as warm as Florida, and snow fell in the Saharan town of Ain Sefra for the first time in 40 years.[26][27]

Biologists studying Inuits in Greenland identified a gene variant from an extinct group of humans that promotes heat-generating body fat.[28] Maine resident Phelan Moonsong, an ordained Pagan priest, received permission to wear goat horns in his driver’s license photo.[29] It was reported that the number of emergency calls in Sweden dropped by 20 percent between 3 and 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve, when Swedes gathered to watch “Kalle Anka och hans vanner onskar God Jul,” a Donald Duck Christmas special.[30] A&E Network changed the name of an upcoming documentary series from “Generation KKK” to “Escaping the KKK,” then canceled it altogether after it was revealed that producers had paid members of the white supremacist group for access.[31] Walmart stopped selling shirts reading “Bulletproof: Black Lives Matter” after receiving a complaint from the Fraternal Order of Police, and a man charged with the murder of a 52-year-old UPS driver in a Walmart parking lot said in court that he “shot and killed Donald Trump purposely, intentionally, and very proudly.”[32][33] A man in California prepared to fight a DUI charge for driving under the influence of caffeine.[34] Wyoming police used DNA collected from a half-eaten peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich to arrest a burglary suspect.[35] Investigators in Russia’s Yakutia region examined footage of a brown bear being repeatedly run over by two off-road trucks in the Siberian tundra.[36] Inmates escaped through the wall of a Tennessee jail that had been eroded by water damage from a broken toilet, the Chinese government announced a “toilet revolution,” and New Delhi’s municipal council launched 28 inflatable mascots that will blow a whistle when they detect public defecation.[37][38][39] In Miami, London, and Brazil, Burger King invited customers to exchange unwanted gifts for Whoppers, and in Chicago, a bus driver filed a lawsuit against McDonald’s for consumer fraud, explaining that purchasing an Extra Value Meal is 41 cents more expensive than purchasing two cheeseburgers, a medium fries, and a drink separately.[40][41] Trump tweeted that the world is “gloomy.”[42]

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In February 1947, Harper’s Magazine published Henry L. Stimson’s “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb.” As secretary of war, Stimson had served as the chief military adviser to President Truman, and recommended the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The terms of his unrepentant apologia, an excerpt of which appears on page 35, are now familiar to us: the risk of a dud made a demonstration too risky; the human cost of a land invasion would be too high; nothing short of the bomb’s awesome lethality would compel Japan to surrender. The bomb was the only option. Seventy years later, we find his reasoning unconvincing. Entirely aside from the destruction of the blasts themselves, the decision thrust the world irrevocably into a high-stakes arms race — in which, as Stimson took care to warn, the technology would proliferate, evolve, and quite possibly lead to the end of modern civilization. The first half of that forecast has long since come to pass, and the second feels as plausible as ever. Increasingly, the atmosphere seems to reflect the anxious days of the Cold War, albeit with more juvenile insults and more colorful threats. Terms once consigned to the history books — “madman theory,” “brinkmanship” — have returned to the news cycle with frightening regularity. In the pages that follow, seven writers and experts survey the current nuclear landscape. Our hope is to call attention to the bomb’s ever-present menace and point our way toward a world in which it finally ceases to exist.

Illustration by Darrel Rees. Source photographs: Kim Jong-un © ITAR-TASS Photo Agency/Alamy Stock Photo; Donald Trump © Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Newscom
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But the exercise of labor is the worker’s own life-activity, the manifestation of his own life. . . . He works in order to live. He does not even reckon labor as part of his life, it is rather a sacrifice of his life.

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What We Think About When We Think About Soccer, by Simon Critchley. Penguin Books. 224 pages. $20.

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