Weekly Review — March 20, 2018, 1:38 pm

Weekly Review

Donald Trump says teachers should carry guns, a school resource officer mistakenly fires his gun at a middle school in Virginia, and the United States receives its worst-ever ranking on the World Happiness Report

In the United States, a country whose citizens make up 5 percent of the world’s population but possess 50 percent of all civilian-owned guns, tens of thousands of students walked out of their classrooms in the first of three major protests planned to protest gun violence in schools.[1][2] Congress passed a bill to increase school security that include no gun-control measures, US president Donald Trump proposed arming teachers, a high-school teacher in California injured three students when he accidentally fired the Glock 21 .45-caliber handgun he had brought to his Administration of Justice class and caused pieces of the ceiling to fall on them, and a school resource officer mistakenly fired his gun while he was at a middle school in Virginia.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9] Trump’s personal assistant was fired following the emergence of evidence that he had committed “serious financial crimes” and then immediately hired as a senior adviser on Trump’s 2020 campaign, and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired for “lack of candor” two days before his scheduled retirement.[10][11][12][13] “Who’s next?” said Trump, who once boasted that he had made $213,606,575 from a reality television show on which he fired people.[14][15] Researchers in Canada found that pinching and burning a voodoo doll of a superior could help employees “lower feelings of injustice.”[16]

The United Kingdom announced it would expel 23 Russian diplomats after a former Russian spy living in England was poisoned using a Cold War–era nerve agent made only in Russia, and the Russian government called the UK “unfriendly” and a “circus show” and announced it would also expel 23 British diplomats.[17][18] A federal election was held in Russia, where voting was encouraged through incentives including free tickets to a pop concert, cancer screenings, and bowls of skim-milk oatmeal with pine nuts; and Russian president Vladimir Putin, who did not participate in debates or release a campaign platform and whose main opponent was banned from running for office, was reelected to a fourth term.[19][20][21][22][23][24][25] Trump made his first visit as president to California, where he spent four hours at the home of the owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and posed for photos with guests who paid up to $250,000 to meet him.[26] A lawyer who previously represented wrestler Hulk Hogan filed a lawsuit on behalf of Trump to seek $20 million in damages from adult-film star Stormy Daniels for violating a confidentiality agreement signed after she and Trump allegedly had a consensual relationship.[27] The United States received its worst-ever ranking in the United Nations’ World Happiness Report; North Korea’s state-run television announced it would launch two new soap operas; and a woman from Maine named Jesus Christ endorsed Oprah Winfrey for president.[28][29][30]

A French judge issued an arrest warrant for a Saudi Arabian princess after she instructed her bodyguard to punch her plumber; at least 12 people were arrested in Texas for taking part in an animal sacrifice in a garage, where police found the remains of goats and chickens; and a bag containing 54 human hands was found near the city of Khabarovsk, Russia.[31][32][33] One hundred thousand dollars-worth of diamond jewelry was found in a landfill in Gainesville, Georgia, and Sherpas began collecting more than a thousand pounds of garbage from Mt. Everest.[34][35] A sheriff in Alabama who reportedly pocketed $750,000 earmarked for inmates’ meals was found to have bought a $740,000 beach house.[36] A fisherman found a giant plastic duck that had been reported missing off the coast of Australia, and scientists speculated that “rogue moons,” which float through space without planets to orbit, could be as numerous as stars.[37][38][39] Stephen Hawking, a renowned theoretical physicist who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis when he was 21 and given one year to live, passed away at his home in England at the age of 76, two weeks after completing a research paper titled “A Smooth Exit from Eternal Inflation.”[40]

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On a Friday afternoon in the fall of 2017, a few months after the liberation of Mosul from the Islamic State, a group of neighbors gathered at Mar Mattai, a monastery founded in the fourth century. They unloaded baskets of food, and arranged themselves around a long table in a courtyard. A woman named Niser spread out a tablecloth and put down a plate of dolmas. “It’s a way of celebrating that we still exist,” she told me. More people were arriving—children, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and distant relations—members of one of the oldest Christian communities in the world who had not seen one another for three years.

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Around three in the morning on a cold December Sunday, brothers José and Romel Sucuzhañay began to walk home from a bar in Bushwick, Brooklyn. It was a cloudy night, only a few degrees above freezing, and the houses and stores lining their route wore impassive, nighttime guises—shades drawn, metal grates locked down. Romel had only recently arrived from Ecuador. José, a thirty-­one-year-old father of two, ran a successful real estate agency in the neighborhood. The two had spent the evening eating and drinking at a quinceañera at St. Brigid Church, and afterward, they stopped at a local bar called Christopher’s Palace. They were feeling the alcohol as they headed back to José’s apartment. When they realized that José had left his coat behind in the bar, Romel took off his jacket and draped it around his younger brother’s shoulders. They continued to walk up Bushwick Avenue, swaying a bit, arms around each other for warmth and ballast.

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Illustration by Stan Fellows

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“Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.”

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