Big anniversary bash: Chinese military officials have overlooked no detail in preparing for a massive parade this week to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic. Thousands of soldiers have been drilling intensely for months to hold their rifles at exactly the same level. Photos show drill sergeants sticking pins through soldiers’ collars to make them keep their necks in precisely the right position. The endless practicing has taken a toll: More than 1,000 of the soldiers sought mental-health counseling because of the stress of being trained to remain motionless for three hours and to refrain from blinking more than twice a minute.
Cho Oyu, Tibet
Lawmaker’s husband dies on mountain: The husband of Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) died last week while mountaineering in the Himalayas. Clifton Maloney, 71, an experienced climber, passed away in his sleep after reaching the 27,000-foot summit of Cho Oyu, the sixth-highest peak in the world. He was the oldest American ever to scale such a high mountain. Companions reported that Maloney, an investment banker, descended to a base camp, hungry and tired, and said: “I’m the happiest man in the world—I have just climbed a beautiful mountain.” Then he went to sleep and did not awaken. Rep. Maloney decided recently not to challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a Democratic primary for the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton.
Quake traps thousands: A powerful earthquake toppled hundreds of buildings across Indonesia this week, trapping thousands of people, many of whom were feared dead. Padang, a Sumatran city of 900,000, was cut off from the rest of the country as landslides buried roads and took down power and phone lines. Hospitals and mosques were among the collapsed buildings that had been crowded with people. “This is a high-scale disaster,” said Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari. The 7.6 magnitude quake also shook skyscrapers hundreds of miles away in Singapore and Malaysia. It struck along the same fault line as the quake that triggered the 2004 tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people across Asia.
Pago Pago, American Samoa
Deadly tsunami: A massive tsunami hurled by a powerful offshore earthquake flattened villages on three South Pacific island nations, claiming at least 100 lives as it swept people and cars out to sea. Thousands were left homeless on Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga, and the death toll was expected to rise as rescuers dug through the rubble of destroyed homes and other structures. The tsunami, with waves up to 20 feet high, hit just a few minutes after the predawn, magnitude 8.3 earthquake struck, so there was little time for residents to flee. “So much has gone. So many people are gone,” said Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. “I’m so shocked, so saddened by all the loss.”
No faking virginity: Members of the Egyptian parliament are calling for a ban on a device that allows women to fake virginity. The device, made in China and available in some Arab countries for around $15, releases a liquid that looks like blood. It’s intended for a bride to use on her wedding night so her husband thinks he broke her hymen. Some clerics and scholars say those who sell the device should be executed, since supplying such an item is akin to “spreading vice in society,” a crime punishable by death.
Bloody crackdown: The government of Guinea is denying widespread reports that soldiers opened fire on peaceful demonstrators, killing dozens. Tens of thousands of protesters packed a stadium this week to protest the rule of Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara, who took power in a coup last December. Witnesses said security forces broke into the rally, shooting indiscriminately; the government claims that most of those who died were crushed by the crowd. Camara was popular when he first took over, promising to bring genuine democracy and to organize presidential elections in which he would not run. But last week he announced his intention to run for president after all, prompting the mass protests.
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