Weekly Review — March 16, 2017, 2:17 pm

Weekly Review

South Korea’s president is removed from office, Kellyanne Conway suggests that Barack Obama could have spied on Donald Trump using “microwaves that turned into cameras,” and a lake in Australia turns pink.

the magnificent bird of paradise.

the magnificent bird of paradise.

The Constitutional Court of South Korea voted unanimously to remove President Park Geun-hye from office, stripping her of immunity from bribery and extortion charges.[1] Thousands of people took to the streets outside the courthouse to hear the decision, and three people were killed after protesters attacked police with flagpoles and ladders. “Sorry,” said Park.[2][3][4] In the United States, legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act was advanced by the House Ways and Means Committee after 18 hours of deliberation, during which time the Republican members of Congress passed around candy and the Democrats proposed calling the legislation the Republican Pay More for Less Care Act.[5][6] “It’s not about branding,” said White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, defending the administration’s reported desire not to name the act after Donald Trump, whose name has appeared on lamps, wine, steaks, mattresses, ties, perfumes, bottles of water, and a multilevel-marketing company that claimed to tailor vitamin regimens to customers’ health needs based on samples of their urine. [7] It was reported that Trump had spent 22.8 percent of his time since taking office in Florida, Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari re-emerged after disappearing for seven weeks while on holiday in England, and Brazilian president Michel Temer said ghosts forced him to move out of the 75,000-square-foot presidential palace. “Bad vibes,” he said.[8][9][10]

Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked a revised executive order signed by Trump temporarily banning new refugees and immigrants from six Muslim-majority countries, and Trump requested that 46 U.S. attorneys hand in letters of resignation.[11][12][13] WikiLeaks published 8,761 leaked CIA documents revealing that the agency had developed tools to hack into phones and cars, and to listen to citizens through their TVs while the devices appeared to be switched off; and Conway said that former president Barack Obama could have spied on Trump through “microwaves that turned into cameras.”[14][15][16] On International Women’s Day, schools were closed in Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia because teachers requested the day off en masse, dozens of nurseries and children’s centers closed in Australia after women went home early to protest the gender wage gap, and Trump, who has referred to women as “dogs,” “big fat pigs,” and “pieces of ass,” tweeted that he had “tremendous respect” for women.[17][18] It was announced that women visiting prison inmates in Maine would no longer have to remove their bras before entering.[19]

Algae turned a lake in Melbourne, Australia, hot pink; people who ate Peeps-flavored Oreos reported their mouths, tongues, and excrement had turned pink; and officials told residents of a small town in Canada that their tap water, which was contaminated with hot-pink potassium permanganate, was safe for consumption. “They assured me that everything was very good,” said one resident. “It wasn’t going to turn me into Spider-Man.”[20][21][22] A five-foot-long shark’s carcass was found in a shopping cart in a Walmart parking lot in Florida.[23] Legislation was introduced in Maine to require that dogs wear seatbelts, and a team of sled dogs in Alaska reached a checkpoint on the Iditarod race without their musher, who had gone to sleep and fallen out of his sled and arrived an hour later.[24][25] Scientists announced that there is a variety of potato capable of growing on Mars, that music makes curry taste spicier, and that the Mona Lisa is smiling.[26][27][28] An Ohio couple was arrested for faking the wife’s murder in a bathtub using ketchup and texting photos to their friends, and it was reported that a funeral home in Memphis, Tennessee, was offering drive-through viewings of the deceased.[29][30] In Mexico, the town of Tultepec honored 31 people who died in a recent explosion at a fireworks factory by putting on a fireworks show. “Fireworks,” said one resident, “is what we do.”[31][32]

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More from Sharon J. Riley:

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In 1989 I published a book about a plutonium-producing nuclear complex in En­gland, on the coast of the Irish Sea. The plant is called Sellafield now. In 1957, when it was the site of the most serious nuclear accident then known to have occurred, the plant was called Windscale. While working on the book, I learned from reports in the British press that in the course of normal functioning it released significant quantities of waste—plutonium and other transuranic elements—into the environment and the adjacent sea. There were reports of high cancer rates. The plant had always been wholly owned by the British government. I believe at some point the government bought it from itself. Privatization was very well thought of at the time, and no buyer could be found for this vast monument to dinosaur modernism.

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Last fall, a court filing in the Eastern District of Virginia inadvertently suggested that the Justice Department had indicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and other outlets reported soon after that Assange had likely been secretly indicted for conspiring with his sources to publish classified government material and hacked documents belonging to the Democratic National Committee, among other things.

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Early in the morning on June 28, 1969, New York police raided the Stonewall Inn at 53 Christopher Street, the city’s most popular gay bar. The police had raided Stonewall frequently since its opening two years before, but the local precinct usually tipped off the management and arrived in the early evening. This time they came unannounced, during peak hours. They swept through the bar, checking I.D.s and arresting anyone wearing attire that was not “appropriate to one’s gender,” carrying out the law of the time. Eyewitness accounts differ on what turned the unruly scene explosive. Whatever the inciting event, patrons and a growing crowd on the street began throwing coins, bottles, and bricks at the police, who were forced to retreat into the bar and call in the riot squad.

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The squat warehouse at Miami’s 5th Street Terminal was nearly obscured by merchandise: used car engines; tangles of coat hangers; bicycles bound together with cellophane; stacks of wheelbarrows; cases of Powerade and bottled water; a bag of sprouting onions atop a secondhand Whirlpool refrigerator; and, above all, mattresses—shrink-wrapped and bare, spotless and streaked with dust, heaped in every corner of the lot—twins, queens, kings. All this and more was bound for Port-de-Paix, a remote city in northwestern Haiti.

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In Lore Segal’s short story “The Reverse Bug,” a teacher named Ilka Weisz invites her conversational En­glish class to a panel at a Connecticut think tank: “?‘Should there be a statute of limitations on genocide?’ with a wine and cheese reception.” The class is made up of immigrants to the United States. Although Segal doesn’t give a date, we are to understand that most came several decades earlier as a result of World War II: Gerti Gruner, who recently arrived in the United States from Vienna, by way of Montevideo, and can’t stop talking about her lost cousins; the moody Paulino from La Paz, whose father disappeared in the American Consulate; and the mysterious Japanese Matsue, who tells them that he worked in a Munich firm “employed in soundproofing the Dachau ovens so that what went on inside could not be heard on the outside.” He’s since been working at the think tank on a “reverse bug,” a technological device that brings sound from the outside in. The class takes advantage of his poor En­glish to ignore what he is saying.

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