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:

Postcard December 5, 2018, 10:00 am

The Shapes of Stones

The careful act of paying respects to kin while under curfew in Kashmir

Weekly Review March 28, 2018, 2:11 pm

Weekly Review

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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Discussed in this essay:

Semicolon: The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark, by Cecelia Watson. Ecco. 224 pages. $19.99.

Four Men Shaking: Searching for Sanity with Samuel Beckett, Norman Mailer, and My Perfect Zen Teacher, by Lawrence Shainberg. Shambhala. 144 pages. $16.95.

Japanese Tales of Lafcadio Hearn, edited by Andrei Codrescu. Princeton University Press. 224 pages. $22.95.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

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