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The Week MagazineThe Week Magazine

The Week Magazine June 21, 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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editor’s letter

For the 0.1 percent, the sky really is no longer the limit. NASA announced last week that it will soon open the International Space Station to tourists, but only a few exceptionally deep-pocketed travelers will be able to afford the orbital lodging. A night at the ISS will cost at least $35,000—two paying visitors will be able to stay there for up to a month at a time—and amateur astronauts will also have to shell out for their ride to and from the station, which floats 220 miles above Earth. Each rocket flight will cost more than $50 million. NASA is a somewhat late entrant to the space tourism game. Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk announced plans last year to fly sightseers around the moon starting in 2023—his SpaceX firm has…

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the democrats’ mueller hearings

What happened House Democrats this week launched two separate hearings on the Mueller report as they stepped up their campaign to raise public awareness of its findings. The House Judiciary Committee convened its first hearings on the special counsel’s investigation, with testimony from Watergate-era White House counsel John Dean. During the Watergate hearings, Dean provided testimony about President Richard Nixon’s attempts to obstruct justice, helping force Nixon’s resignation. Dean drew parallels between many of Trump’s actions and Nixon’s, including Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and his dangling of pardons for Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, which he likened to Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre and his attempt to silence the Watergate burglars. “The Mueller report is to Trump as the Watergate road map was to Nixon,” Dean said, referring to…

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it wasn’t all bad

Four high school football players from Sapulpa, Okla., executed a real Hail Mary play last month, when they ran into a burning home and rescued a 90-year-old woman. The boys were passing by the home when they spotted the fire and rushed in through a back door. Nick Byrd, 14, found Catherine Ritchie in a smoke-filled hallway, picked her up, and carried her outside. In a heartfelt blog post, Ritchie’s daughter Missy Ritchie Nicholas thanked the teens “for being the kind of young men who thought about another person above yourselves.” The first time Tom Rice parachuted into Normandy, he didn’t get a warm reception. A member of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, he was dropped into Nazi-occupied France in June 1945 as part of the D-Day invasion. The paratroopers…

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house probes big tech’s power over the news

What happened Congress held the first hearing this week in its blockbuster antitrust inquiry into Big Tech companies, with news media leaders describing Facebook and Google as existential threats to their industry. “The marketplace for news is broken,” said David Pitofsky, general counsel for News Corp., which owns The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. Pitofsky testified that Facebook’s News Feed and Google News are “free riding,” grossing billions from ads tied to news without paying to report it. The News Media Alliance, which represents 2,000 news organizations, said publishers lose more money to these platforms as they become more dependent on them. “These giants stand as a bottleneck,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), “between consumers and the producers of news content,” which he called “a classic antitrust problem.” The…

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government clampdown on fetal tissue research

What happened Scientists reacted with dismay last week after the Trump administration sharply restricted federal funding for medical research that uses fetal tissue, potentially affecting some $100 million in grants. Collected from elective abortions, the tissue has been used to develop vaccines for illnesses including polio, rubella, and measles, and is currently being used to study diseases including cancer, HIV, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. The new restrictions will result in three research projects at the National Institutes of Health being shuttered. About 200 outside research projects that use the material and receive NIH funding will be allowed to continue until their grants expire. Future research projects will then have to be approved by an ethics advisory board appointed by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. The White House said the research…

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mexico: did trump’s tariff threat work?

President Trump has been criticized, often rightly, for his reliance on import tariffs as a tool to bring foreign governments to heel, said National Review in an editorial. But that tactic just scored him, and the nation, a big “win at the border.” Two weeks ago, Trump threatened to slap a 5 percent tariff on all imports from Mexico, eventually rising to 25 percent, unless the Mexican government took effective action to stem the tide of Central American migrants crossing Mexico on their way to the U.S. The usual experts mocked Trump for thinking this threat would work, and even nervous Republican leaders—fearing the economic damage of more tariffs—pleaded for a change of course. But last week, Mexico blinked. It has promised that 6,000 troops from the Mexican National Guard…