Weekly Review — May 15, 2018, 11:14 am

Weekly Review

Trump leaves the Iran nuclear deal, Ebola breaks out in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and scientists claim that Pluto is still a planet

US president Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which limited Iranian nuclear capabilities, and then reintroduced sanctions on the country, despite ten International Atomic Energy Agency reports finding that Iran had upheld its end of the deal. “We did not talk about a plan B,” said a State Department official.[1][2][3] Iran fired twenty rockets at Israeli forces in the Golan Heights, and Israel bombed fifty Iranian targets in Syria.[4][5] Gina Haspel, Trump’s nominee for director of the Central Intelligence Agency, was questioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee about her oversight of a CIA “black site” in Thailand where prisoners were waterboarded; Arizona senator John McCain, who was imprisoned and tortured for four years in Vietnam and who Trump claimed was “not a war hero,” said Haspel’s “refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying”; and an aide to Trump said a confirmation vote from McCain wasn’t necessary because the senator, who has brain cancer, “is dying anyway.”[6][7][8][9]

New York State attorney general Eric Schneiderman resigned after it was reported that four women said he had beaten them, and it was revealed that one of Trump’s personal lawyers had been told five years ago about the allegations.[10][11][12] A panel of judges determined that Maricopa County, Arizona, was liable for almost $100 million in damages related to racial profiling and other misconduct by former county sheriff Joe Arpaio, whom Trump pardoned in 2017; and John Kelly, the current White House chief of staff, said children separated from their parents by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement “will be taken care of” by being “put into foster care or whatever.”[13][14] Apple said it would create a credit card, Facebook said it would create its own cryptocurrency, and Uber unveiled a prototype for air taxis.[15][16][17] The only White House team focused solely on global health security was disbanded on the same day a new Ebola outbreak began in the Democratic Republic of Congo; a plan pushed by Trump adviser Jared Kushner to improve health care for veterans was reported to have likely caused an increase in patient deaths; Trump proposed $15 billion in cuts to already approved spending, including to the Children’s Health Insurance Program; and a new study found that birds migrate to avoid disease.[18][19][20][21]

The United Kingdom announced plans to ban wet wipes, which make up 93 percent of the matter that causes blockages in sewage pipes and are a component of underground waste masses called fat bergs.[22] Iraq captured five Islamic State leaders; North Korea released three American detainees; and a salmonella outbreak occurred in a jail in Chicago.[23][24][25] Officials warned that Kilauea, the longest-erupting volcano in the world, could shower Hawaii with ten-ton boulders if its magma hits groundwater, which will cause steam explosions.[26][27] Liquid chocolate spilled from a tanker-truck that crashed on a Polish highway, and $800,000 worth of dimes spilled from a semitrailer that tipped over on a highway in Nevada.[28][29] Two scientists claimed that Pluto was still a planet, and a human foot, wearing a hiking boot, washed ashore on the western coast of Canada, the fourteenth shoe-clad foot that tides have brought to shore since 2007 but the first not in sneakers.[30][31]

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Afew months before the United States invaded Iraq, in 2003, Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary at the time, was asked on a radio show how long the war would take. “Five days or five weeks or five months,” he replied. “It certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that.” When George W. Bush departed the White House more than five years later, there were nearly 136,000 US soldiers stationed in the country. 

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In March, Harper’s Magazine convened a panel of former soldiers at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. The participants, almost all of whom saw combat in Iraq or Afghanistan, were asked to reflect on the country’s involvement in the Middle East. This Forum is based on that panel, which was held before an audience of cadets and officers, and on a private discussion that followed.

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Before he died, my father reminded me that when I was four and he asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said I wanted to be a writer. Of course, what I meant by “writer” then was a writer of Superman comics. In part I was infatuated with the practically invulnerable Man of Steel, his blue eyes and his spit curl. I wanted both to be him and to marry him—to be his Robin, so to speak. But more importantly, I wanted to write his story, the adventures of the man who fought for truth, justice, and the American Way—if only I could figure out what the fuck the American Way was.

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Sarah was four years old when her spirit guide first appeared. One day, she woke up from a nap and saw him there beside her bed. He was short, with longish curly hair, like a cherub made of light. She couldn’t see his feet. They played a board game—she remembers pushing the pieces around—and then he melted away.

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In the fall of 1969, I was a freelance journalist working out of a small, cheap office I had rented on the eighth floor of the National Press Building in downtown Washington. A few doors down was a young Ralph Nader, also a loner, whose exposé of the safety failures in American automobiles had changed the industry. There was nothing in those days quite like a quick lunch at the downstairs coffee shop with Ralph. Once, he grabbed a spoonful of my tuna-fish salad, flattened it out on a plate, and pointed out small pieces of paper and even tinier pieces of mouse shit in it. He was marvelous, if a bit hard to digest.

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The family was informed they would be moving to a place called Montana. Jaber Abdullah had never heard of it, but a Google search revealed that it was mountainous. Up to that point, he and his wife, Heba, had thought they’d be moving from Turkey to Newark, New Jersey. The prospect of crime there concerned Heba, as she and Jaber had two young sons: Jan, a petulant two-year-old, and Ivan, a newborn. 

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Trump leaves the Iran nuclear deal, Ebola breaks out in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and scientists claim that Pluto is still a planet.

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