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The Week MagazineThe Week Magazine

The Week Magazine

June 28, 2019

The Week makes sense of the news by curating the best of the U.S. and international media into a succinct, lively digest.

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48 Issues


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escalating tensions with iran

What happened Tensions between the U.S. and Iran reached new heights this week as Tehran announced that it would increase its nuclear fuel stockpile past the limit it agreed to in the 2015 nuclear deal, while President Trump deployed 1,000 more American troops to the Middle East. The latest escalation in the conflict came after the U.S. accused Iran’s Revolutionary Guards of launching attacks that crippled two oil tankers belonging to Japan and Norway in the Gulf of Oman. The Defense Department released grainy video purportedly showing the crew of an Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded mine from one of the tankers. Iran denied any involvement, but has launched similar attacks in the past. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. does “not want war,” but warned that any…

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Jessica Biel was widely criticized after she lobbied against a California bill last week that would tighten vaccination requirements amid a nationwide measles outbreak. The actress, 37, met with state legislators in Sacramento to oppose the legislation, and posed with anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who called her stance “courageous.” State legislators say the bill would stop the practice of parents pressuring their doctors to give their kids bogus medical exemptions from vaccinations, by requiring the exemptions to be granted by state health officials. Biel said she was “not against vaccinations” but wanted parents to have “the right to make educated medical decisions for their children alongside physicians.” In 2015, it was reported that Biel and her husband, Justin Timberlake, planned to not vaccinate their son. Democratic State Sen. Richard…

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is trump a national security threat?

Jonathan Chait NYMag.com The Pentagon and U.S. intelligence officials see President Trump “as a national security risk,” said Jonathan Chait. That harrowing little detail was tucked deep into a New York Times story this week on a new cyber-offensive the U.S. has mounted against Russia, in which malware has been inserted in that country’s power grid as a deterrent to another attack on our elections. Trump, the Times reported, “had not been briefed in any detail” on the operation, “for concern over his reaction—and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials.” Think what this means. Despite the Mueller report’s investigation into potential crimes, we still do not know if Moscow has secret “leverage over Trump.” Well into the presidential campaign, Trump continued to negotiate with Russia…

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i read it in the tabloids

A Chinese computer programmer created a chatbot that sent realistic responses to his girlfriend’s daily barrage of 300 texts. Li Kaixiang said he developed the program because he feared hurting his girlfriend’s feelings by ignoring her while he was at work. But the girlfriend became suspicious when the responses to her texts came back nearly instantly. “Why are you responding so fast?” she asked. After revealing his ruse on social media, Li was inundated with requests from other men for the source code to his bot. An Englishman got his dying wish: to go to his eternal reward alongside a bacon double cheeseburger. Leonard Durkin, 71, was a huge Burger King fan and told his kin he wanted to be buried with his usual order. So after he died of heart…

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in defense of the belgian staycation

BELGIUM Laurianne Terlinden La Libre Belgique Feeling guilty about the climate impact of your air travel? Then stay home this summer, said Laurianne Terlinden. No Belgian really needs “a round trip to Milan for a day’s shopping spree, a weekend in Hamburg for a concert,” or a trip to Egypt’s beaches to learn about the world. We are fortunate “to live in a country where diversity is king, where we can discover a new culture on every corner.” Walk over to the next neighborhood, and you might find a thriving African community. Head to Brussels, and you can taste the cuisine of a world-famous chef from Aleppo, a refugee from the Syrian civil war. Or take a culinary tour of Belgium and sample home-grown delicacies like Liège’s lacquemants (waffles), Jodoigne’s famous almond-studded bread…

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showing americans they need us

MEXICO Leonardo Curzio El Universal President Trump loves to say that the U.S. doesn’t need Mexico, said Leonardo Curzio, but at least some Americans know that’s not true. When Trump threatened recently to impose tariffs on all Mexican goods—saying the tariffs would increase 5 percent a month until Mexico stopped the flow of Central American migrants across the U.S. border—our American friends came to our aid. Mexican diplomats were able to draw on “a network of allies in the political, business, and intellectual sectors” to lobby the White House to backtrack. In the end, Trump dropped his threat—at least for now. So the U.S. elite knows our value. But what about ordinary American voters? A typical Kansas housewife likely doesn’t realize she relies on Mexican goods. She probably doesn’t know that the “phone…