Weekly Review — December 11, 2018, 12:33 pm

Weekly Review

John Kelly resigned; “ballot harvesting” uncovered in North Carolina; a robot ran over bear repellent at an Amazon warehouse

In Katowice, Poland, the United Nations held its 24th annual climate change conference to design a “rulebook” for the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.1 2 Researchers announced that global carbon dioxide emissions are expected to reach a record high in 2018, projecting a 2.7 percent rise by the end of this year; scientists said that Greenland’s ice sheet, which if it melted would raise sea levels across the world by 20 feet, is thawing at a rate not seen in 350 years; in France, a raise in gasoline taxes has been canceled after mass protests; and in northern California, the cleanup began following the deadly fires that killed 85 people.3 4 5 6 Six Michigan doctors were charged with insurance fraud in a $464 million scheme that involved overcharging for braces, performing unnecessary medical procedures, and prescribing 13.2 million doses of opioids over five years; Affordable Care Act enrollment is down 11 percent compared to this time last year; and, despite providing multiple forms of identification, a home health nurse was repeatedly questioned by a sheriff’s deputy while giving care to an elderly patient until she called her boss, who asked the officer, “Are y’all saying she looked suspicious because she’s black?”7 8 9 William P. Barr, who, as a member of the George H. W. Bush Administration, wrote a memo on presidential power that some claim was used to justify the use of torture during George W. Bush’s presidency and signed off on a report called “The Case for More Incarceration,” was announced as the nominee for attorney general, and John Kelly, who responded to a reporter’s question about an Ebola outbreak in Latin America by saying, “It’s literally, ‘Katie bar the door,’” announced that he is leaving his position as White House chief of staff.10 11 12 Fifteen activists, who chained themselves to the front of a plane at the Stansted Airport in Essex, UK, to prevent its passengers from being deported to Nigeria, Ghana, and Sierra Leone, were found guilty of a terrorism-related offense and could be sentenced to life imprisonment.13 A report revealed that the United States outsold Russian weapons manufacturers by $184.9 billion last year.14

In Bladen County, North Carolina, a case of “ballot harvesting,” in which absentee ballots were collected from voters illegally by workers paid $75 to $100 a week by a consultant hired by the campaign staff of Mark Harris, was uncovered, and Rosanell Eaton, who was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that struck down voting restrictions in North Carolina and who registered to vote during Jim Crow despite racial abuse, including her being shot at, died at 97.15 16 17 In Charlottesville, Virginia, James Fields, who killed Heather Heyer with his car during a white supremacist rally in 2017, was found guilty of first-degree murder.18 American taxpayers spent $40 million on Confederate monuments and heritage groups over the past decade, said a report, and Silent Sam, a statue of a Confederate soldier, will be reerected, the University of North Carolina announced, in a new multimillion-dollar building.19 20 Arrests at the US–Mexico border jumped 78 percent in November compared with the same period last year.21 “To tell you the truth, with past administrations, we never had a problem like this,” commented the immigration lawyer for a Guatemalan man trying to obtain a visa to attend the funeral of his 13-year-old daughter.22 Qatar left OPEC, the US government outlined a plan to open 9 million acres to drilling and mining, and for the first time in 75 years, the United States is a net oil exporter.23 24 25 Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro announced he will abolish the country’s human rights ministry.26

In Robbinsville, New Jersey, a robot at an Amazon factory accidentally punctured a can of bear repellent, which sent two dozen workers to the emergency room; a nearly identical incident had occurred at a Haslet, Texas, Amazon facility in 2015.27 28 The Oregon Department of Health and Human Services employee in charge of coordinating reviews of child abuse fatalities was revealed to be active in the 9/11 truther community and believes, among other conspiracy theories, that the 2010 earthquake in Haiti was caused by government experiments.29 A 500-year-old skeleton wearing thigh-high leather boots was found in the Thames River, and British prime minister Theresa May said she eats peanut butter out of the jar to help ease the stress of Brexit negotiations.30 31 China announced that rejecting physical money as a method of payment is illegal.32 NASA released the first recordings of sound from Mars after a probe recorded 10-to-15 mph winds vibrating a seismometer.33Jacob Rosenberg

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