Weekly Review — July 30, 2019, 3:55 pm

Weekly Review

Boris Johnson was sworn in as prime minister; Donald Trump complained about Obama ruining the White House’s air-conditioning

In the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, a wealthy, New York City–born former journalist with dyed blond hair who is currently divorcing his second wife, was sworn in as the country’s newest prime minister. In his first speech to Parliament in his new role, Johnson, who has previously described gay men as “tank-topped bumboys” and women wearing burkas as “looking like letter boxes,” called for a “radical rewriting of our immigration system” and pledged that he would be “making this country the greatest place on earth.”1 2 3 4 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Donald Trump could use $2.5 billion of Pentagon funds to build a border wall in Arizona, New Mexico, and California, and the president announced that he had signed a safe-third-country agreement with Guatemala that would require any migrants who traveled to the United States through Guatemala to have first applied for asylum there, which would effectively prevent Honduran and Salvadoran asylum seekers from traveling to the United States by land.5 6 Approximately 150 migrants were reported to have died after a wooden boat capsized off the coast of Libya on its way to Europe, in what was described by the United Nations as the worst loss of life in the Mediterranean this year.7 An all-day “patriotic party” held on a 3,700-passenger British cruise ship as it was returning to Southampton from Bergen, Norway, culminated in a brawl at the ship’s buffet, where passengers threw plates and furniture at one another after one person attended dressed like a clown.8

U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced that, for the first time in more than 15 years, the death penalty would again be used on federal inmates, and that five federal prisoners, each convicted of murdering children, would be executed beginning later this year.9 Jeffrey Epstein, who taught at the elite Manhattan private school where Barr’s father was headmaster, was found unconscious on the floor of his jail cell with bruises on his neck; his cellmate, a former cop convicted of a quadruple homicide who illegally possessed a cell phone, allegedly alerted authorities to the reported suicide attempt.10 11 It was reported that the parents of at least 14 minors who were accepted to the University of Illinois surrendered guardianship in order to qualify for more financial aid, and police in Hong Kong used pepper spray, tear gas, and rubber bullets while attempting to disperse thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators who have been protesting for eight consecutive weekends.12 13 At least 36 people were killed in China after heavy rainfall caused landslides to bury houses in the province of Guizhou; record-breaking temperatures were reported in the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Norway, and Germany; and Trump complained that the Obama Administration had wrecked the White House air-conditioning.14 15 16 “It was so good before they did the system,” the president said. “Now that they did this system, it’s freezing or hot.”17 Beaches in Vancouver, British Columbia, were closed as a result of sewage overflows, and a Canada-wide hunt for two teenagers who have been accused of three murders and described as “survivalists” led the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Army to scour a remote area in northern Manitoba, known for its polar bears, bogs, and mosquitoes, using sniffer dogs, drones, helicopters, boats, and an Air Force plane.18 19 20 21 Police located a missing toddler in Saskatchewan after they heard him giggling in a hole.22

A woman in New Mexico ordered a meal at a Sonic restaurant and then declined to pay, saying “this one’s on God,” and lawmakers in South Dakota ordered all public schools in the state to display a 12-by-12-inch “In God We Trust” sign in a visible area.23 24 A poll found that 40 percent of Americans believe that God created humans in the past 10,000 years, and a man in South Africa drove his car into the ocean on a dare.25 26 It was reported that 33 people filed a civil lawsuit against the Biological Resource Center, a no-longer-operational business in Phoenix, Arizona, which had offered, in exchange for the donation of the bodies of deceased relatives, free pickup and cremation of the unsold body parts.27 Court documents revealed that an FBI raid on the business had found buckets of heads, arms, and legs, a “cooler filled with male genitalia,” and a “large torso with the head removed and replaced with a smaller head sewn together in a ‘Frankenstein’ manner,” and that the Biological Resource Center had charged medical schools and other buyers from $375 for a knee to $2,900 for a full torso with no head. More than 100,000 people signed an online petition to move the date of Halloween.28 In Missouri, a birthday cake for a two-year-old bought from Walmart was mistakenly inscribed with the message “Happy Birthday Loser,” and the clothing chain Forever 21 was criticized after it allegedly included complimentary diet bars in orders of plus-size clothing shipped to customers.29 30 Leaked planning documents prepared for Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman revealed his plans to spend $500 billion to create a city-state in a 10,000-square-mile area of the desert that would include flying taxis, an artificial moon made of drones, holograms of teachers, robot dinosaurs, robot cage fights, and “zero work/stress-related diseases.” “I want the sand to glow,” he said.31Sharon J. Riley

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