Weekly Review — June 6, 2018, 1:13 pm

Weekly Review

A volcano erupts in Guatemala, Trump says he is allowed to pardon himself, and scientists identify the oldest known lizard species

A 12,346-foot volcano erupted in Guatemala, covering houses with ash and molten rock, and killing at least 38 people.[1] North Korea’s state-run news agency reported that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, who has been accused of using chemical weapons on civilians, planned to visit North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who has been accused of torturing political opponents.[2][3] US president Donald Trump met with a reality television star to discuss prison reform, pardoned an author and filmmaker who pleaded guilty to violating federal campaign-finance laws in 2014, and said he would consider pardoning a businesswoman and reality television star who was found guilty of obstruction and making false statements and was once described by Trump as his “biggest fan.”[4][5][6] Trump, whose 2016 presidential campaign is currently under investigation for possible collusion with the Russian government, tweeted that he had “the absolute right to pardon” himself but wouldn’t do so, since he had “done nothing wrong.”[7]

A 20-year-old Palestinian paramedic was shot and killed by Israeli forces when she ran to help an injured protester in Gaza, and Indian paramilitary forces in Kashmir ran over a protester with a truck, killing him.[8][9][10] Off the coasts of Turkey and Tunisia, at least 46 migrants drowned after their boat sank, and it was reported that almost 700,000 Rohingya in the world’s largest refugee camp, in Bangladesh, were living in the path of an oncoming monsoon.[11][12] The governments of Israel and Myanmar signed an “education agreement” that would allow each country to “mutually verify” how its history is taught by the other, and the United Nations published its first “educational guidelines” on fighting anti-Semitism.[13][14] In Jordan, the prime minister was forced to resign after mass protests against rising inflation and the government’s proposed tax increases, and in Slovenia an anti-immigration, nationalist party emerged with the most votes after the parliamentary elections.[15][16] In the United States, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to create a custom wedding cake for a gay couple, and in a bar in Denver an off-duty FBI agent accidentally shot a man in the leg while performing a handstand.[17][18]

In the state of Kerala in south India, the Nipah virus, a brain-damaging pathogen for which there is no vaccine or cure, killed 17 people, and in the United States it was confirmed that five people had died from an E. coli infection spread by romaine lettuce.[19][20] Scientists said that they had identified the oldest known species of lizard, which lived in what is now the Italian Alps at least 240 million years ago.[21] In Idaho, a high school science teacher was charged with animal cruelty for feeding a sick puppy to a snapping turtle as part of a demonstration to his students.[22] The German automaker Volkswagen announced that it would no longer use animals for testing the effects of diesel exhaust.[23] A report revealed that more than 300 whales, 122 of which were pregnant, were killed by Japan off the coast of Antarctica during the country’s annual summer hunt.[24] In the Australian state of New South Wales, surgical masks and sanitary pads were found washing up on beaches, and in southern Thailand, a whale that was rescued from a canal eventually died from swallowing 80 plastic bags. “If you have 80 plastic bags in your stomach, you die,” a marine biologist said.[25][26]

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More from Niya Shahdad:

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More than a million Americans marched in protest of the country’s lax gun-control laws,   Trump appointed John Bolton as his third national security adviser, and a pothole patching machine was unveiled in Rome

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

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“You’re being reborn,” the voice says. “Exiting the womb of your mother. Coming into the earth as a small baby. Everything is new.” It is a Saturday morning in mid-March, and right now I’m lying on a yoga mat in a lodge in Ohio, surrounded by fifty other men who’ve come to the Midwest for a weekend of manhood-confirming adventures. The voice in question belongs to Aaron Blaine, a facilitator for Evryman, the men’s group orchestrating this three-day retreat. All around me, men are shedding tears as Blaine leads us on a guided meditation, a kind of archetypal montage of Norman Rockwell boyhood. “You’re starting to figure things out,” he says, in somniferous baritone. “Snow, for the first time. Sunshine. Start to notice the smells, the tastes, the confusion. The fear. And you’re growing. You’re about ten years old. The world’s huge and scary.”

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The WASP story is personal for me. I arrived at Yale in 1971 from a thoroughly mediocre suburb in New Jersey, the second-generation hybrid of Irish and Italian stock riding the postwar boom. Those sockless people in Top-Siders, whose ancestors’ names and portraits adorned the walls, were entirely new to me. I made friends with some, but I was not free of a corrosive envy of their habitus of ease and entitlement.

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I slept for a good seven hours on the overnight flight from Spain to Peru, and while I slept I dreamed that I was leading American visitors around a park in Berlin, looking for birds on a hazy, overcast day. There wasn’t much to see until we noticed a distant commotion in the sky. Large raptors were panicking, driven back and forth by something threatening them from above. The commotion moved closer. The clouds parted, an oval aperture backed with blue. In it two seraphim hovered motionless. “Those are angels,” I told the group.

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Last May, the families of students at Cypress Academy, an independent charter school in New Orleans, received an email announcing that the school would close when classes ended the following week and that all its students would be transferred to another nearby charter for the upcoming year. Parents would have the option of entering their children in the city’s charter-enrollment lottery, but the lottery’s first round had already taken place, and the most desirable spots for the fall were filled.

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how high? that high

He had his stick that was used mostly to point at your head if your head wasn’t held up proudly.

I still like that man—Holger! He had been an orphan!

He came up to me once because there was something about how I was moving my feet that wasn’t according to the regulations or his expectations.

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At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

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