View Full Version : Harpers summary for the week of 10.26.09

10-27-2009, 07:25 PM
Twin car bomb attacks just outside the Green Zone in Baghdad destroyed three government buildings, killed 155 people, and injured 520. The attack was the country's worst since 2007 and killed an unspecified number of children at the Justice Ministry day-care center. "There were children killed in the swings," said a rescuer, "others who died right where they sat on the see-saws." More violence is expected as elections near; three beheaded bodies were found in the province of Babel. Fourteen Americans were killed in two helicopter crashes in Afghanistan, and the Department of Defense announced that 72 members of the U.S. military had recently died while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, the Seychelles, the Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Yemen, as well as at Guantanamo Bay. The United States was planning a fact-finding mission to Burma, and North Korean diplomats attended nuclear talks in New York City. Democratic senators believed that a health-care bill with some sort of public option would soon pass in Congress. "Blue Dogs bark," explained a disappointed Senator John McCain, "but never bite." The Secret Service asked for a budget increase to handle the death threats against President Obama. A Minnesota man pleaded guilty to driving a La-Z-Boy while intoxicated, and Bernard Kerik was in jail for violating his bail. An apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared on a football-sized rock in California, and the face of Christ was found in the wood paneling of the men's room of an Ikea in Glasgow. Jews fought with Muslims at the Temple Mount, and Lebanon announced it had bested Israel's record by creating a two-ton plate of hummus.

In Kyrgyzstan, where the full cabinet resigned after President Kurmanbek Bakiyev took steps to consolidate his power, an ice-skating bear mauled a circus director to death. A mob in the Indian state of Jharkhand beat five Muslim widows and forced them to eat excrement for their witchcraft, and scientists said that a large meteorite crater in Latvia was likely created by people with shovels. It was revealed that a British investigation into sex trafficking that lasted six months and involved every police force in the country failed to find anyone who had forced anybody into prostitution. Britain replaced its Law Lords with a new Supreme Court whose justices wear no wigs, and Morrissey collapsed onstage in Swindon. A man was set on fire at a pub in Leeds and severely burned; he had been all in cottonballs, dressed as a sheep. Sweden's Lutheran church decided to consecrate gay marriages. Nigeria was cracking down on its online scammers, and Easter Islanders voted to limit the number of visiting tourists. Soupy Sales died. Hundreds of bishops called for Catholic leaders in Africa to step down for corruption. Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana was named to head the Vatican's justice and peace office, leading to speculation that he could become the first black pope, and after 25 years away from Uganda, Charles Wesley Mumbere, a nursing assistant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, returned home and ascended the throne as omusinga, or cultural leader, of the Rwenzururu Kingdom, to lead the Bakongo and Bamba peoples of the Mountains of the Moon. Scientists found that death may make the pygmies short.

Microsoft released Windows 7, and Sun Microsystems said it would lay off 3,000 people; economists said that the U.S. economic recovery will not bring back lost jobs. China was accused of cyberspying on American businesses and announced that its GDP had grown at a rate of nearly 9 percent in the third quarter. About 100,000 Italian women signed a petition of protest after Silvio Berlusconi made fun of a homely lady, and Texas researchers found that estrogen regulates fat-cell growth and keeps womens' bellies from growing as fat as mens', at least pre-menopause. "Nobody ever does female rodent research," said one scientist, explaining why such basic findings were so long in coming. "Male researchers hate working with female rats." Chicago rats fed a diet of sausage, pound cake, bacon, cheesecake, and Ho Hos began to behave like rats addicted to heroin, consuming increasing amounts of food to feel satisfied and continuing to eat even when to do so meant that electric shocks were delivered to their tiny paws. When switched to healthful food ("the salad option") the rats, which had become obese, their brains numbed by junk, simply refused to eat. A man in Iowa punched another man, who was ordering Mexican food, for being a zombie. Researchers from Oregon determined that ancient beavers did not eat trees, and a firm in New Jersey was distributing vaginal mints.