View Full Version : Harpers summary for the week of 6/6/10

06-10-2010, 08:39 PM
Israeli naval commandos raided the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish ship in an aid flotilla that sought to circumvent Israel's blockade of Gaza, and killed nine people. According to Israeli officials, the commandos intended to take control of the ship and bring it to port but were attacked by passengers wielding metal rods and knives, which led to hours of hand-to-hand fighting. Jamal Elshayyal, an Al Jazeera journalist who was on board the Mavi Marmara, said that Israeli forces opened fire from the air and that at least one casualty occurred before they boarded. The U.N. Security Council called for an investigation, condemning "those acts" that led to civilian deaths, and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the raid, in which four Turks were killed, was "like 9/11 for Turkey." Crime writer Henning Mankell was among nine Swedes and almost 700 activists in the flotilla who were jailed by the Israeli government. Longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas said that Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine" and return to Poland and Germany, and then announced that she was retiring. Four diving-suit-clad members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades were shot by the Israeli navy off the coast of Gaza, and would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad lost his home in Connecticut to foreclosure.

BP was forced to halt efforts to close the vents on a capping device designed to trap oil leaking from its Deepwater Horizon well. With three of the cap's four vents open, the device was already capturing more oil than BP could process. Admiral Thad W. Allen, the Coast Guard commander leading the U.S. government response to the spill, said that sufficient relief wells would not be completed before August at the soonest. "But even after that," he said, "there will be oil out there for months to come." One technician called the Horizon "one hell of a well." The spill, which Sarah Palin believes should be a lesson to "Extreme Greenies" about the need for more drilling, has so far cost BP $1.25 billion. "I would like my life back," said BP chief executive Tony Hayward. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said the media was exaggerating the severity of the damage, creating the impression that the Gulf Coast was "ankle-deep in oil." "Our tourist season has been hurt by the misperception of what's going on down here," Barbour said. "The coast is clear: Come on down." Artists painting a mural at an Arizona public elementary school were asked by school officials to lighten the face of a Mexican-American student depicted in the mural. Local councilman Steve Blair said the mural "looks like graffiti in L.A.," adding, "The focus doesn't need to be on what's different; the focus doesn't need to be on the minority all the time." Al and Tipper Gore announced their amicable separation after 40 years of marriage, and the world's ugliest dog died at 17.

Qualified hangmen in India continued to volunteer to carry out the execution of Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, who was convicted last month of participating in the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Bombay. Mahadeb Mullick, whose father conducted 25 executions, including the country's most recent hanging, in 2004, and whose grandfather is said to have hanged more than 600 people, expressed willingness to take on the job, but added, "Kasab should be taken to a zoo and fed to the lions and tigers in front of the TV cameras. Hanging him is too little a punishment." British Prime Minister David Cameron said that austerity measures may be required for decades to address the country's financial predicament. Lobbyists in Texas were signing up for concealed-weapons permits in order to avoid long metal-detector lines at the state Capitol. Taxi drivers in Chengdu, China, were given metal rods and invited to participate in the "mass destruction" of unlicensed cabs, and soccer players complained that Adidas's official World Cup balls may be possessed. "It's like it doesn't want to be kicked," said Brazilian forward Luis Fabiano. "I think it's supernatural. It's very bad."