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July 20 2019

… the United States Congress (or, anyway, better than the week Pyotr Kikilyk had—more on him in a moment): Robert Mueller’s testimony was delayed till July 24, freeing up Democrats to bicker among themselves (Nancy Pelosi vs. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez et al.) and Republicans to sit on their hands when the leader of their party and president of (44 percent of) the United States went full racist—or as he prefers it, the House resolution notwithstanding, “NOT Racist!”

In fairness: Trump claimed that Ocasio-Cortez and her colleagues “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all)”—which means that, since three of the four were born in the U.S., he was actually 75 percent accurate.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom readied for the presumed incoming P.M., Boris Johnson, as if for a determined houseguest whose arrival you can put off no longer. (Gad, is that his horrible Toyota pulling into the driveway already?) Still, it was a good week—or as good as one can expect, under the circumstances—for brilliant code-deciphering mathematician war heroes who were persecuted by the government for their homosexuality: 67 years after his apparent suicide, Alan Turing will be appearing on £50 notes.

But it wasn’t such a fine week for New York’s Central Park, where parts of the Great Lawn were closed for nine days to prepare for—and, this weekend, host—something called OZY Fest, with top tickets at $400. Until the event was canceled late Friday because of the heat, a ticket would have gotten you music, food, talk, and so forth from Alex Rodriguez, Jameela Jamil, Beto O’Rourke, Padma Lakshmi, Trevor Noah, Megan Rapinoe, Malcolm Gladwell, Deepak Chopra, Spike Lee, Rachael Ray, John Legend, and Laurene Powell Jobs, among others. Not everyone was pleased with the plan—the scale, prices, and duration of the disruption were said to be unprecedented, and this is, after all, public land—but really, who uses Central Park in mid-July anyway? The place is practically deserted.

As for Pyotr Kikilyk: In Russia, local police in Degtyarsk detained the 75-year-old for trying to install, as “an act of friendship,” a plaque commemorating then vice president Richard Nixon’s 1959 visit to the mining town. Kikilyk was held overnight and the plaque confiscated.

He wasn’t the only one feeling nostalgic. The V. S. Genius interrupted his customary tweeted endearments (“The Obama Administration built the Cages,” “bunch of Communists,” “horrible & disgusting actions,” etc.) and alarming rallies to mark two very, very special days on the calendar this week.

First, the 13th anniversary of the launch of Twitter on Monday inspired the tweet “IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE!” Leave Twitter? Well, maybe he was referring to something else. Let’s hope he was referring to something else when he tweeted on Tuesday (the first anniversary of his meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, the one where he said he believed the Russian leader didn’t interfere in the 2016 election), “See you in 2020!” —George Kalogerakis