MONDAY, AUGUST 23 This week of epic traffic, improperly disposed-of cats, and alternating Muslim and anti-Muslim atrocities kicks off with a horrifying report out of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where UN officials say more than 150 women were gang-raped by Rwandan rebels during a weekend raid last month. Details come from the New York Times, which identifies the Rwandan rebel rapists as members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, "an ethnic Hutu rebel group that has been terrorizing the hills of eastern Congo for years, preying on villages in a quest for the natural resources beneath them." As Will F. Cragin of the International Medical Corps told the NYT, the weekend of horror commenced on July 30, when a group of armed men entered a village in the North Kivu Province. "They told the population that they were just there for food and rest and that they shouldn't worry. Then, after dark, another group came." According to witnesses, the second group consisted of between 200 and 400 armed men, who began looting villages and systematically raping the population. "Most women were raped by two to six men at a time," said Cragin, noting that attackers often took victims into their homes, raping them "in front of their children and their families." "The numbers keep rising," said International Medical Corps regional director Miel Hendrickson to the NYT. "We had heard first 24 rapes, then 56, then 78, then 96, then 156." Twisting the knife and incriminating all of humanity: This world historically awful story will be completely eclipsed in the international media by outrage over a British woman caught throwing a cat in the garbage.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 24 The week continues in China, where today a 60-mile traffic jam (!) near Beijing passed the 10-day mark (?!), with officials predicting the jam could last until mid-September (??!!). As the Wall Street Journal reports, the freaktastic jam—which involves thousands of drivers moving little more than a third of a mile per day—was triggered by roadwork along the Beijing-Tibet Highway and was exacerbated by closures along a major road circling Beijing. "Though triggered by construction, the root cause for the congestion is chronic overcrowding on key national arteries," reports the WSJ. "Automobile sales in China whizzed past the U.S. for the first time last year, as Chinese bought 13.6 million vehicles, compared with 9.4 million vehicles in 2008." Best of luck to the Chinese traffic jammers, who are reportedly spending their days being gouged by roadside sellers of food and water and figuring out places to dispose of their waste.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 25 In worse news, today brings the aforementioned alternating Muslim and anti-Muslim atrocities. We'll start with the latter, which went down last night in New York City, where taxi driver Ahmed H. Sharif—a Bangladeshi immigrant who's lived in the U.S. for 25 years—picked up a passenger who, according to authorities, promptly went violently nuts. Details come from the criminal complaint obtained by the New York Times, which reports the soon-to-be-psycho passenger began his ride by asking Sharif if he was a Muslim. When Sharif replied in the affirmative, the passenger reportedly responded with the Arabic greeting "Assalamu alaikum," after which he allegedly slashed Sharif's face, neck, and forearms with a utility knife. As his attacker tried to flee, Sharif tracked down a police officer, who caught and arrested the alleged attacker, identified as 21-year-old Michael Enright, who'll be arraigned today in Manhattan Criminal Court on charges of second-degree attempted murder as a hate crime, first-degree assault as a hate crime, and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, for which he faces up to 25 years in prison. Making everything much weirder: "Mr. Enright is a volunteer with Intersections International, a nonprofit that works to promote cross-cultural understanding and has spoken out in favor of the proposed Islamic cultural center near ground zero," the NYT reports. (According to police, Enright was "very drunk" at the time of the attack.) As for the victim: "I feel very sad," said Sharif in a statement. "I have been here more than 25 years. I have been driving a taxi more than 15 years. All my four kids were born here. I never feel this hopeless and insecure before."
••Meanwhile in Afghanistan, today brought some horrifying Muslim-on-Muslim violence, as dozens of schoolgirls and their teachers were felled by a poison gas attack at their high school. As CNN reports, "Many Afghan girls were not allowed to attend school during the Taliban's rule from 1996 to 2001. Girls' schools began reopening after the Islamist regime was toppled... but female educational facilities, students, and teachers have come under vicious attack as the insurgency has strengthened and spread from Taliban strongholds in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand." Proof: today's high-school gas attack, which sent 59 students and 14 teachers to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 26 The week continues with that stupid lady caught on a security camera throwing a live cat in the garbage, identified by the Daily Mail as Mary Bale, a 45-year-old British bank worker who earned the scorn of the universe after the owners of the improperly disposed-of cat put video of the incident on YouTube. "I want to take this opportunity to apologize profusely for the upset and distress that my actions have caused," said Ms. Bale to reporters outside her parents' home in Coventry, tastefully adding, "I don't know what the fuss is about. It's just a cat."
FRIDAY, AUGUST 27 Speaking of controversial humans: Today brings an update on Lindsay Lohan, the troubled starlet who recently wrapped up a stint in jail and court-ordered rehab and seemed to be on her way out of crime-related headlines—until today, which brought news of Lohan's next legal battle. At issue: that wild night in 2007, when Lohan allegedly commandeered a car for a high-speed chase across Los Angeles, at the end of which she failed a sobriety test and tried to convince cops, "I wasn't driving—the black kid was." Unfortunately for Lohan, the "black kid" and his two friends who were in the car when she jumped behind the wheel and sped off are claiming to have been kidnapped, with their lives endangered by Lohan's alleged carjacking/high-speed chase. As Radar.com reports, the whole alleged carjacking/kidnapping/life-endangering mess (during which Lohan reportedly told her passengers/alleged hostages "I can't get in trouble, I'm a celebrity") will go to trial starting on January 31, 2011. So please enjoy whatever time we have left without Lohan legal drama, for it all starts again in January. Prediction: In the end, the various dramas of Lindsay Lohan will make the various dramas of both Elizabeth Taylor and Courtney Love look like child's play (if Lohan doesn't cash out as a more popular version of Brittany Murphy before then). Stay tuned.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 28 Nothing happened today, unless you count whatever the hell Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin were trying to accomplish in Washington, D.C., where the dynamic dunce duo lorded over a rally devoted to "restoring American values," apparently through pooping on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and grievously misrepresenting the basic tenets of Jesus.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 29 Nothing happened today (unless you count the Emmys, where the unctuous Glee was trounced by the charming Modern Family, and hurrah).