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

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