Weekly Review — December 5, 2018, 1:21 pm

Weekly Review

George H. W. Bush died; military law enforcement officers broke up a catfishing ring; a London ambulance trainee went rogue

George H. W. Bush, a prodigious writer of thank-you notes who, prior to becoming the 41st US president, established the first offshore drilling rig in Kuwait and was known as the “Saudi vice president,” died at the age of 94.1 2 At the G20 summit in Argentina, President Trump canceled his scheduled press conference out of respect for Bush, as well as a scheduled meeting with Vladimir Putin, and abruptly walked off the stage after meeting with the Argentinian president, saying, “Get me out of here” to an aide.3 4 Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, who, according to CIA intercepts, ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, was enthusiastically high-fived by Putin at the summit.5 6 Saudi Arabian officials considered cutting oil production but feared angering Trump, who has lauded the high Saudi output on Twitter as “a big Tax Cut for America and the World”; US crude-oil prices declined by the largest amount in a month since 2008.7 8 9 Over 100 people have been injured in Paris in the “Yellow Vest” protests, which began in response to increased gas taxes intended to reduce carbon emissions.10 “We cut off heads for less than this,” read one slogan painted on the Arc de Triomphe.11 The new Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, declined to move in to the presidential residence, instead opening its doors to the public, and a county commissioner in Georgia was sworn in with a copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X instead of the Bible.12 13

Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to a federal crime for the second time in three months, admitting to lying to Congress about whether discussions concerning the Trump Tower project in Moscow continued after Trump was the presumptive Republican nominee.14 15 The president denied any wrongdoing, saying, “There was a good chance that I wouldn’t have won, in which case I would have gotten back into the business. And why should I lose lots of opportunities?”16 A Russian group of hackers known as Energetic Bear probed the US electric grid for vulnerabilities; Marriott revealed that 500 million of its guests may have had their personal details hacked in a security breach stretching back to 2014; and Dunkin’ Donuts warned customers that third parties had obtained access to an undisclosed number of customer loyalty accounts, likely to trade “DD Perks” on the dark web.17 18 19 Military law enforcement officers broke up a catfishing ring that had extorted over $560,000 from 442 service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, and, responding to the arrest of 16 of its employees for trafficking cocaine, the US Postal Service issued a statement, saying, “Postal employees are paid to deliver mail, not drugs.”20 21

Beijing lifted a ban on rice imports from a Japanese prefecture neighboring the Fukushima nuclear disaster following a concerted effort by the Japanese government to promote agricultural products from the region, which included a page on a government website called “Fukushima Foods: Safe and Delicious.”22 Researchers found that Costa Rican monkeys were developing bright yellow patches of fur as a result of ingesting sulfur from pesticides, and the head of an association of Danish Christmas tree growers noted that Caucasian firs were more vividly green than usual this year because of a drought.23 24 A woman was arrested after having sex with a wedding guest and urinating on a tree at a ceremony she had been hired to photograph. “Y’all families will be dead by Christmas, y’all’s daughters are dead,” said the woman, who also works as a swimsuit model.25 Germany’s interior ministry served blood sausage containing pork at the Federal Ministry of the Interior’s conference on Islam and was defended by the far-right AfD party, a member of whom said, “Tolerance starts at the point where the blood sausage is seen simply for what it is: a German delicacy that no one has to like, but that, just like our way of life, cannot be taken away from us.”26 A trainee in the London Ambulance Service was fired and arrested after it was revealed he had failed his exams, “gone rogue,” and treated more than 100 patients without authorization, and a memorabilia collector in Texas offered deals on all merchandise in an attempt to raise funds for his kidney transplant.27 28 A man in one of the wealthiest towns in New Jersey has been charged with murdering his brother, his brother’s wife, and their two children, and then setting their mansion on fire, likely over a business dispute, and two men racing to become the first person to cross Antarctica without support completed the first third of their journey; neither man had brought a change of clothes.29 30Willa Glickman

Share
Single Page

More from Harper’s Magazine:

Weekly Review February 12, 2019, 2:32 pm

Weekly Review

Matthew Whitaker testified before the House Judiciary Committee; Iran commemorated the 40th anniversary of its Islamic Revolution; teachers in Denver went on strike to protest how their base pay is calculated

Podcast February 7, 2019, 4:40 pm

Going to Extremes

In sickness, only: on mercy killings, and the crisis in our health care system

Weekly Review February 5, 2019, 11:40 am

Weekly Review

Twenty-one people died in weather-related incidents; Howard Schultz and Michael Bloomberg criticized Medicare for all; Russia’s Ministry of Justice proposed softening anti-corruption laws

Get access to 168 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

March 2019

The Story of Storytelling

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Myth of White Genocide

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
No Joe!·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In the heart of the US Capitol there’s a small men’s room with an uplifting Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt quotation above the door. Making use of the facilities there after lunch in the nearby House dining room about a year ago, I found myself standing next to Trent Lott. Once a mighty power in the building as Senate Republican leader, he had been forced to resign his post following some imprudently affectionate references to his fellow Republican senator, arch-segregationist Strom Thurmond. Now he was visiting the Capitol as a lucratively employed lobbyist.

Article
The Myth of White Genocide·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The squatter camp outside Lawley township, in the southwest of Johannesburg, stretches for miles against a bare hillside, without electricity, water, or toilets. I visited on a blustery morning in October with a local journalist named Mophethe Thebe, who spent much of his childhood in the area. As we drove toward the settlement he pointed out land that had been abandoned by white Afrikaner farmers after the end of apartheid in 1994, and had since been taken over by impoverished black settlers who built over the former farms with half-paved roadways and tiny brick houses. You could still see stands of headstones inscribed in Afrikaans, all that remained visible of the former inhabitants.

Article
The Story of Storytelling·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The story begins, as so many do, with a journey. In this case, it’s a seemingly simple one: a young girl, cloaked in red, must carry a basket of food through the woods to her bedridden grandmother. Along the way, she meets a duplicitous wolf who persuades her to dawdle: Notice the robins, he says; Laze in the sun, breathe in the hyacinth and bluebells; Wouldn’t your grandmother like a fresh bouquet? Meanwhile, he hastens to her grandmother’s cottage, where he swallows the old woman whole, slips into her bed, and waits for his final course.

Article
Run Me to Earth·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

They were released.

For the first time in seven years, they stood outside in the courtyard of the reeducation center. They looked across at the gate. They remembered none of this. The flagpole and the towers. The cameras. Prany counted the sentries in the towers. He heard the rattle of keys as the guard behind him, wearing a green uniform, undid his handcuffs. Then the guard undid Vang’s. They rubbed their free wrists. Vang made fists with his hands.

Prany dug the soles of his new shoes into the dirt. He watched Vang’s hands and then turned to see the building they had exited. It resembled a schoolhouse or a gymnasium. The flag flapped in the wind. The sun on him. The immense sky. His neck was stiff. He knew that if they were forced to run right now his legs might buckle. Not because he was weak, but because in this moment, in the new environment, out in the open, his entire body felt uncertain.

Article
New Books·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

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.

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.

Classes at a Catholic school in Durham, North Carolina, were canceled in anticipation of protests against a lesbian alumna, who had been invited to speak at a Black History Month event.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Happiness Is a Worn Gun

By

Illustration by Stan Fellows

Illustration by Stan Fellows

“Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.”

Subscribe Today