Weekly Review — February 15, 2017, 2:57 pm

Weekly Review

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigns, U.S. congressman Dana Rohrabacher announces that Macedonia is not a country, and White House press briefings draw more viewers than The Bold and the Beautiful

HarpersMagazine-1853-12-bootsA three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit unanimously refused to reinstate President Donald Trump’s executive order banning citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States.[1] Trump said that he would fight the decision in court, and the White House said that the Trump Administration would not immediately appeal the decision.[2][3] Trump reiterated his campaign pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a project that the Department of Homeland Security estimated would cost $21 billion, 75 percent higher than Trump had previously guessed.[4][5] In Phoenix, seven protesters were arrested for blocking vans outside an immigration center after an undocumented immigrant and mother of two who has lived in the United States for 21 years was deported.[6] During the Senate confirmation hearing for Trump’s attorney-general nominee, Jeff Sessions, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell banned Senator Elizabeth Warren from reading a letter written by Coretta Scott King in 1986, in which King opposed Sessions’s appointment to the federal judiciary on the grounds that he had worked to disenfranchise black voters.[7] The Senate confirmed Sessions by a vote of 52–47.[8] Alabama governor Robert J. Bentley announced that he would give Sessions’s newly vacant Senate seat to the state’s attorney general, Luther Strange, who was at the time investigating whether Bentley had used state funds to cover up an affair.[9] Trump tweeted that the retail chain Nordstrom was treating his daughter Ivanka “unfairly” because it stopped carrying her company’s clothing and accessories, Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway told Americans they should buy Ivanka’s products, and the consumer-research firm Nielsen announced that White House press briefings were drawing more viewers than The Bold and the Beautiful.[10][11][12]

Trump issued an executive memorandum expediting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the permits required to complete the project to Energy Transfer Partners, a company in which Trump once had a stake of as much as $1 million.[13][14] Nine current or former intelligence officials claimed that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with the country’s ambassador while on Trump’s transition team, and Flynn, who had previously denied that the conversation took place, said that he could not recall whether they spoke on the topic, and then resigned.[15][16] A dual U.S.-Somali citizen described by journalists as the “least corrupt” candidate won Somalia’s presidential election, and a former London mayor renounced his U.S. citizenship.[17][18] Syrian president Bashar al-Assad referred to an Amnesty International report on the mass execution of prisoners in the country as “fake news,” and a mayor in Turkey accused a Muslim cleric residing in Pennsylvania of creating artificial earthquakes to harm his city’s economy.[19][20] North Korea successfully tested a ballistic missile, launching it into the Sea of Japan; Greece evacuated 72,000 people from the town of Thessaloniki while an undetonated World War II–era bomb was excavated from beneath a gas station; and organizers of tennis’s Fed Cup, held this year in Hawaii, apologized for playing the Nazi-era version of the German national anthem before the tournament’s quarter-final match.[21][22][23] U.S. congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who was once described by fellow Republican John McCain as the “lunatic fringe” of the party, appeared on an Albanian news show and said that the Balkan state of Macedonia, which declared its independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991 and was recognized by the United Nations in 1993, was not a sovereign state. “This is going to make everybody mad at me,” said Rohrabacher, “but what the heck: Macedonia is not a country. I’m sorry, it’s not.”[24][25][26]

The White House released a list of 78 terrorist attacks it claimed were underreported on by the media, including the December 2015 attack in “San Bernadino [sic]”; the Department of Education tweeted a quotation attributed to “W.E.B. DeBois [sic],” then tweeted its “deepest apologizes [sic]”; and the Library of Congress began and then stopped selling an official inauguration portrait of Trump that includes the quotation “no challenge is to [sic] great.”[27][28][29] The United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency reported that £50 million worth of cocaine had washed up on Norfolk beaches, more than 600 pilot whales beached themselves in New Zealand in two separate incidents, and a 90-year-old Australian lungfish at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium was euthanized because of old age.[30][31][32] A hundred and ten firefighters in China responded to a conflagration at the factory that manufactures Samsung Galaxy 7 batteries, which were recalled last year over concerns that they were spontaneously catching fire; Reckitt Benckiser, the company that owns leading condom brand Durex, announced that it was purchasing a popular brand of baby formula; and Domino’s Pizza launched an online wedding registry. “Our registry aims to bring people together,” said a company spokesperson, “over their shared love of pizza.”[33][34][35][36]

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