Donald Trump arrived in Saudi Arabia this weekend to launch a new Middle East coalition designed to confront Iran just as Tehran announced the reëlection of President Hassan Rouhani, the man who dared to engage diplomatically with the United States. Rouhani won a commanding victory: fifty-seven per cent in a four-way race, with seventy per cent turnout. He fended off a challenge from a populist right-wing cleric, Ebrahim Raisi, a rising political star backed by hard-line power centers such as the Revolutionary Guards. Street celebrations erupted Saturday night from Tehran to Mashhad, the eastern city with Iran’s holiest shrine.
In his last public remarks, made on a live television show, “El Almohadazo,” on Monday morning, the Mexican journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas spoke by Skype with the show’s presenter, Fernanda Tapia. Their conversation dealt with issues pertaining to Mexico’s decade-old drug war, in which at least a hundred and seventy-five thousand people have died and another twenty-eight thousand have disappeared. Valdez’s home state of Sinaloa—turf of El Chapo and the Sinaloa Cartel—has been a key battleground from the start, and throughout he had been there, reporting from the frontline. Valdez had earned a reputation as a brave, independent, and outspoken reporter, as well as a prolific one. He wrote a column for Río Doce, a weekly local newspaper that he had co-founded; reported for the national daily La Jornada; and had published a half dozen books on Mexico’s narco underworld, including “Miss Narco,” “Huérfanos del Narco,” and his latest, “Narcoperiodismo.”
RIYADH (The Borowitz Report)—In a notable shift of public opinion, a substantial majority of Americans now favor a travel ban on a person who has recently visited a Muslim country, a new poll shows.
A maddening type of official document has emerged as a tool of the Trump Administration. This document is short and inadequate to its stated task: providing a rational basis for a highly suspect executive decision. Often, the document contradicts the words or actions of the President himself.
Six months ago, I was in the National Museum in Beirut, marvelling at two Phoenician sarcophagi among the treasures from ancient Middle Eastern civilizations, when the lights suddenly went out. A few days later, I was in the Bekaa Valley, whose towns hadn’t had power for half the day, as on many days. More recently, I was in oil-rich Iraq, where electricity was intermittent, at best. “One day we’ll have twelve hours. The next day no power at all,” Aras Maman, a journalist, told me, after the power went off in the restaurant where we were waiting for lunch. In Egypt, the government has appealed to the public to cut back on the use of light bulbs and appliances and to turn off air-conditioning even in sweltering heat to prevent wider outages. Parts of Libya, which has the largest oil reserves in Africa, have gone weeks without power this year. In the Gaza Strip, two million Palestinians get only two to four hours of electricity a day, after yet another cutback in April.
In an interview for the 2004 Criterion Collection DVD of the first film by Merchant Ivory Productions, “The Householder” (1963), James Ivory and Ismail Merchant, gray-haired and wearing similar oxford shirts, sit together in a muralled room in their 1805 Federal-style house in Claverack, New York, and companionably bicker about how they met. It was in 1961, at the Indian Consulate in Manhattan, at a screening of Ivory’s short documentary about Indian miniature paintings, “The Sword and the Flute.” Ivory says that they met on the steps. “He accosted me,” he says. Merchant invited Ivory for coffee.