Weekly Review — October 31, 2018, 10:04 am

Weekly Review

Jair Bolsonaro wins; the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in American history; a robot gets a visa

In Brazil, the far-right nationalist Jair Bolsonaro, who once told a congresswoman she wasn’t attractive enough to be raped, who has described himself as “pro-torture,” and who has said he would “rather have [his] son die in a car accident” than be gay, was elected the country’s next president.1 2 In the United States, a country where at least 11 million people sympathize with “alt-right” beliefs, and where there are nearly 1,000 active hate groups, a Florida man was arrested after mailing more than a dozen pipe bombs, to the CNN offices in New York, a building owned by Robert De Niro, George Soros’s home, and the offices of prominent Democrats.3 4 5 The man, who has lived in a van covered in decals since his house was foreclosed on by a bank formerly owned by Steven Mnuchin, is a registered Republican who supported President Trump and was filmed by Michael Moore at a 2017 Trump rally holding a sign that read boycott • banded • blocked • fake news & dishonest media cnn sucks.6 7 8 Trump, who attempted to clarify his previous criticisms of the news media by tweeting “CNN and others in the Fake News Business keep purposely and inaccurately reporting that I said the ‘Media is the Enemy of the People.’ Wrong! I said that the ‘Fake News (Media) is the Enemy of the People,’ a very big difference. When you give out false information – not good!” suggested at a rally in North Carolina that the media was using the attacks to “score points against me and the Republican Party,” while the crowd chanted, “CNN sucks!”9 10 “You know what I am?” asked the president at a rally in Houston. “I’m a nationalist, okay? I’m a nationalist. Nationalist!”11 As many as 7,000 people fleeing violence in Central America made their way toward the United States to seek asylum; the Pentagon confirmed that 5,200 troops will be at the Southwestern border by the end of the week.12 13 “The president has condemned violence in all forms,” said Trump’s press secretary, “and has done that since day one.”14

In Pittsburgh, a 46-year-old man who did not vote for Trump, because he was too lenient toward those of the Jewish faith, entered the Tree of Life synagogue with three handguns and an AR-15 assault rifle and opened fire, killing 11 people between the ages of 54 and 97, and wounding six others, in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in American history.15 16 Hours before the shooting, the perpetrator had posted on Gab, an alternative to Twitter that was founded to counter the “left-leaning Big Social monopoly” and is predominantly used by white supremacists, that the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society “likes to bring invaders in that kill our people”; Tree of Life had held a Shabbat service in support of refugees, in partnership with HIAS, earlier in the month.17 18 Rabbi Loren Jacobs, who is a Messianic Jew, appeared at a Republican rally in Michigan also attended by Vice President Mike Pence, and led a prayer in honor of the victims of the attack that referred to Jesus as the Messiah and did not name any of the deceased.19 In Louisville, Kentucky, a white supremacist entered a Kroger grocery store with a handgun and proceeded to kill two black senior citizens by shooting both in the back of the head, minutes after trying to enter a nearby church with a predominantly black congregation.20 A white nationalist with the Rise Above Movement, known to be a hate group, surrendered to the FBI in California after attending political rallies where the group used “formation fighting training” to incite violence.21 It was reported that Representative Steve King, a Republican from Iowa, had met with members of an Austrian far-right political party, founded by a former Nazi SS officer in 1956, while on a trip intended for Holocaust education.22 “Western civilization is on the decline,” King said in an interview with the group, noting that the United States already had enough diversity, such as “Mexican food, Chinese food, those things,” which, he said, are “fine.” In Gujarat, India, farmers complained that the government had spent $430 million building the world’s tallest statue, a 600-foot likeness of a former nationalist leader.23 The public prosecutor in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, issued a statement acknowledging that the murder of the Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey had been “premeditated.”24

A 75-year-old woman was arrested in Minnesota after shooting her grandson because he had repeatedly placed a cup of tea on her furniture.25 In Belgium, thieves who attempted to rob an e-cigarette store and were told to return later, when the clerk would have more money, returned later and were arrested; and in Topeka, Kansas, a man who had been released from the Shawnee County Jail in the morning was arrested a few hours later for stealing a car from the parking lot of the jail.26 27 Police in Australia rescued a drowning kangaroo.28 A robot named Sophia chatted with the president of Azerbaijan, after receiving the world’s first visa issued to a robot; a portrait created by artificial intelligence was sold for the first time at Christie’s auction house, for $432,500, over 40 times the amount it had been estimated to be worth; and Microsoft announced that it would sell its technologies to intelligence agencies and the military. Scientists in China announced a plan to launch a new artificial moon into space, 310 miles above Earth, to provide cheaper artificial light.29 30 31 32 It was reported that Buddhist temples in Japan had started to install disco balls to try to attract younger crowds, and the Vatican endorsed the release of an app for smartphones, similar to Pokémon Go, named Jesus Christ Go, in which users search for biblical characters and Catholic saints, and can pray for extra points.33 34 At a Russian research station in Antarctica, an engineer stabbed a coworker for spoiling the endings of books in the outpost’s library.35Sharon J. Riley

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