Poet Philip Levine dies
Philip Levine, a former US poet laureate whose work was vibrantly, angrily and often painfully alive with the sound, smell and sinew of heavy manual labor, died on Saturday last week at his home in Fresno, California. He was 87. The cause was pancreatic cancer. Levine served as poet laureate from 2011 to 2012. He received a Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for his collection The Simple Truth and won two National Book Awards — in 1980 for Ashes: Poems New & Old and 1991 for What Work Is. In spare, realistic free verse, Levine explored the subjects that had animated his work for decades: his gritty Detroit childhood; the soul-numbing factory jobs he held as a young person; Spain, where he lived for some time as an adult; and the Spanish anarchists of the 1930s. “A large, ironic Whitman of the industrial heartland” is how the poet Edward Hirsch, writing in the New York Times Book Review, described Levine in 1984.
Scorpion on a plane
A scorpion stung a woman on the hand just before her flight from Los Angeles to Portland took off. Flight 567 was taxiing on the runway on Saturday night last week when the passenger was stung, Alaska Airlines spokesman Cole Cosgrove said. The plane returned to the gate, and the woman was checked by medics. She refused additional medical treatment, but she did not get back on the plane. Meanwhile, flight attendants killed the scorpion and checked overhead compartments for any additional unwanted arachnids. Oregon State University basketball coach Wayne Tinkle told ESPN that the woman was sitting two rows in front of him. “The plane was coming from Mexico before us, and [the scorpion] was on the plane,” Tinkle said. “The woman was a real champ. She acted like it was a mosquito bite. They got it off her, but the needle was stuck.”
Being president is not all drone strikes and crisis meetings. A video released on Thursday last week shows President Barack Obama posing in front of the mirror with aviator sunglasses, playing around with a selfie stick and struggling to enunciate “February.” In a skit recorded by BuzzFeed called “things everyone does but doesn’t talk about,” Obama can also be seen blaming himself for making cookies too big to dunk in a glass of milk — “thanks Obama” — and drawing a picture of his wife, Michelle. The president is also captured pretending to score a winning basket, before being interrupted and receiving a quizzical look from comedian Andrew Ilnyckyj posing as a staffer. Obama responds “can’t I live, man?” before declaring “YOLO man” — you only live once.
CDU trounced in Hamburg
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) suffered heavy losses in Hamburg city-state elections on Sunday, where an anti-euro party looked set to enter parliament. The center-left Social Democrats (SPD) easily won the election in their traditional northern stronghold, as expected, after an election campaign fought on local issues. The anti-euro party Alternative for Germany (AFD) won about five percent of the vote according to early exit polls which, if confirmed, would see them narrowly enter their fourth state parliament. Public broadcasters projected the CDU won only about 16 percent, its worst-ever Hamburg result and one of its lowest nationwide, against about 47 percent for the SPD.
India has moved additional troops along its northern border as it prepares for an extended conflict with China, after several rounds of talks failed to ease tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. China has already placed about 5,000 soldiers and armored vehicles within its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh region, an Indian government official said, asking not to be identified, citing rules. India is adding a similar number of troops as well as artillery guns along the border to fend off the continuing incursions by the Chinese army, the official said. The standoff began on May 5, when troops clashed
CLOSELY TRACKED: A US officer said that the warplanes were watched as they flew from Russia by way of Iran and Syria to Libya and were photographed multiple times The US Africa Command flatly rejected Russian claims that Moscow did not deploy fighter jets to Libya, saying on Friday that the 14 aircraft flown in reflect Russia’s long-term goal to establish a foothold in the region that could threaten NATO allies. US Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, deputy director of intelligence, said that the US tracked the MiG-29s and Su-24 fighter bombers flown in by Russian military, passing through Iran and Syria before landing at Libya’s al-Jufra air base. The base is the main forward airfield for Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army, which has been waging an
Singapore’s otters, long adored by the city-state’s nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the COVID-19 lockdown, but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. With the streets empty, the creatures have been spotted hanging out by a shopping center, scampering through the lobby of a hospital and even feasting on pricey fish stolen from a pond. While many think of tiny Singapore as a densely populated concrete jungle, it is also relatively green for a busy Asian city, and has patches of rainforest, fairly clean waterways and abundant wildlife. There are estimated to be about
Indonesian officials are forcing people who break social distancing rules to recite Koran verses, stay in “haunted” houses and submit to public shaming on social media as the country battles to contain surging novel coronavirus infections. The Southeast Asian archipelago began deploying about 340,000 troops across two dozen cities to oversee enforcement of measures aimed at halting transmission of the disease, such as wearing masks in public. However, provincial leaders are buttressing these efforts with their own zealous campaigns to fight the coronavirus. Police in western Bengkulu Province have assembled a 40-person squad to find lockdown scofflaws and force them to wear