Weekly Review — March 13, 2018, 6:29 pm

Weekly Review

Rex Tillerson gets fired, Stormy Daniels sues Donald Trump, and the world’s last male northern white rhino battles a life-threatening illness

US president Donald Trump, who once called North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un a fat “Rocket Man” with a small “nuclear button,” announced that he would meet and discuss nuclear weapons with Kim, who has threatened to fire missiles at the US territory of Guam and has referred to Trump as “a mentally deranged U.S. dotard.”[1][2] “Congratulations to all!” tweeted Trump, who fired his secretary of state and said he would replace him with CIA director Mike Pompeo, who has expressed support for waterboarding and would be succeeded at the CIA by deputy director Gina Haspel, who reportedly oversaw the agency’s black site prison in Thailand and who later drafted a directive signed by her boss ordering the destruction of videotapes documenting the torture of inmates.[3][4][5][6] Adult-film star Stormy Daniels filed a lawsuit against Trump alleging that an agreement to keep silent about a previous sexual relationship she had with him in exchange for $130,000 was “void” because he did not sign it.[7]

In the United States, where gun shops outnumber all Starbucks, McDonald’s, and grocery stores combined, the National Rifle Association sued Florida for passing a bill that would raise the minimum age for buying rifles from 18 to 21, ban bump stocks, and introduce a three-day waiting period for gun purchases within the state, where 17 people were recently killed in a school shooting carried out by a 19-year-old armed with an AR-15 rifle.[8][9][10][11] Two couples in Ohio sued a Cleveland clinic where almost 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos were damaged by a storage-tank malfunction, and an 89-year-old nun in Los Angeles who was involved in a lawsuit trying to prevent pop star Katy Perry from purchasing a convent collapsed during her court appearance and died. “Katy,” said the nun, “please stop.”[12][13]

The United Nations human rights chief said that Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, who has ordered the country’s police to ignore all UN special rapporteurs investigating the deaths of as many as 7,000 people killed in his “war on drugs” and who once threatened to burn the UN down, should undergo a psychiatric evaluation.[14][15][16] In China, the National People’s Congress voted 2,958 to 2 in favor of removing presidential term limits from the country’s constitution, which would allow President Xi Jinping to rule for life.[17][18] In Mauritius, the country’s president was asked to step down after allegedly using a credit card issued by a charity to purchase clothes and jewelry worth tens of thousands of dollars.[19] A study showed that it took a true statement about six times as long as a falsehood to be read by 1,500 people on Twitter, and a woman was arrested for complaining about her ex-husband on Facebook.[20][21][22] A mega-colony of 1.5 million penguins was discovered near the Antarctic Peninsula, the world’s last male northern white rhino was reported to be battling a life-threatening illness, and a club in Miami was shut down after a woman rode a horse onto the dance floor.[23][24][25]

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"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

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