Weekly Review — July 31, 2018, 11:51 am

Weekly Review

Wildfires in Greece and California; Betsy DeVos’s $40 million yacht crashed; New Delhi public schools started offering happiness classes

Wildfires killed at least 91 people in Greece; in Japan, a heat wave killed at least 65.1 2 At least six people died in a wildfire in Redding, California, that began when a vehicle had a mechanical failure on State Route 299.3 Michael Cohen, former lawyer to US president Donald Trump, released a secretly recorded tape of himself and Trump discussing a hush-money payment to the Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claims she had an affair with Trump a decade ago, and, according to one of his own attorneys, said, “I’m not going to be a punching bag anymore.”4 5 On Monday, a Republican congressman put forward carbon tax legislation, and 222 other GOP representatives voted in support of a different bill that said a carbon tax would be “detrimental to the United States economy.”6 The Trump Administration announced $12 billion in aid to farmers affected by new trade tariffs.7 “We’d rather have trade,” said a Minnesota farmer. “Any aid package, no matter what dollar amount, is a Band-Aid on an arterial bleed.”8

On Mars, beneath a polar ice cap, scientists found a 12-mile-wide, briny, -90°F reservoir of water, and it was announced that the US economy grew by 4.1 percent this quarter.9 10 The United States government said that it would meet its court-ordered deadline to reunite undocumented families, even though 711 children remain separated from their parents, including those of 431 parents deported without their children.11 12 “I don’t know anything. You haven’t told me anything. This is really strange. This is all so strange,” said one detained mother, who had been told she would be reunited with her six-year-old daughter.13 In Arizona, it was reported that a six-year-old girl was sexually abused in an immigrant detention center; in Oregon, an immigrant detained by ICE described in court filings having to live in a room with three other men in which they all had to eat beside a toilet; and two private companies operating detention centers were sued for paying migrants a dollar a day for labor.14 15 16 Two off-duty police officers in New Orleans were arrested after they beat a man outside a club who was not wearing clothes they liked, and calling him a “fake American.”17 Six women accused CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves of sexual misconduct.18 GlaxoSmithKline will design new drugs with results from 23andMe genetic heredity tests.19

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s $40 million yacht was untied from port in Huron, Ohio, and sent drifting on the water until it collided with a dock, suffering $5,000 to $10,000 in damage.20 Seth Rogen will record public transport announcements for TransLink, in Vancouver, British Columbia, and public schools in New Delhi, India began offering happiness classes.21 22 A North Carolina man won $8.8 million in damages from his wife’s boyfriend.23 A metal pin that fell from the scoreboard at Wrigley Field in Chicago caused little harm to a fan because he had a plastic bucket on his head.24 In New Hampshire, a naked man doing yoga at a Planet Fitness was arrested, and told officers he thought it was a “judgment-free zone.”*25 “Lock her up,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions chanted with high school students at a leadership summit hosted by Turning Point USA.26 After their salads were linked to the infection of 178 people by intestinal parasites in Illinois, McDonald’s began to sell salads again, and the Big Mac celebrated its fiftieth anniversary.27 28Jacob Rosenberg

*Correction: the Planet Fitness’s location was misidentified as Massachusetts in an earlier version.

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Ten years ago, a week after his sixtieth birthday, and six months after his first appointment with an oncologist, my father died. That afternoon, I went to my parents’ bedroom to clear up the remains of the lunch my mother had brought him not long before he collapsed. A copy of Yiyun Li’s novel The Vagrants, which he’d asked me for after I reviewed it in a newspaper, was open on his bedside table. He had gotten about halfway through it. The Vagrants isn’t what you’d call a consoling book—it centers on a young woman’s unjust execution in a provincial Chinese town in 1979—and I had mixed feelings about it being the last thing he’d read. Perhaps an adolescent part of me had been happy to let him have it out of a need to see him as a more fearless reader than he might have wanted to be just then. Still, my father had read Proust and Robert Musil while working as a real estate agent. There was comfort, of a sort, for me, and maybe him, in his refusal of comfort reading.

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