Lagos

Dmitri Shostakovich is currently on trial in the Supreme Court. So are Fritz Lang, Sergei Prokofiev, and Astrid Lindgren, creator of Pippi Longstocking. For years, these artists’ works, and many others like them, were readily and freely available to American audiences.

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This is not a fantasy. The Nigerian Secret Service found in a ship bound from Iran to wherever, with a stop-over in Lagos, 13 containers of weapons about which the bribery bureaucracy had begun to fake papers. Where do you think they were going? To Disneyland? Here’s the report by Barak Ravid in today’s Ha’aretz. Please take notice Jimmy Carter, eminence gris of the Elders. Or maybe the senile.

Will a hotter climate mean more immigration? In some places, yes, that's quite possible. Earlier this week, a team of researchers led by Princeton's Michael Oppenheimer published a study suggesting that as global warming causes agricultural yields in Mexico to decline, an additional 1.4 million to 6.7 million Mexicans could migrate to the United States by 2080. (The team analyzed data on emigration, crop yields, and climate from 1995 to 2005 in order to make their forecasts.) As always, caveats abound. The social consequences of global warming are always the hardest things to predict.

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So the Muslim fanatic from Nigeria, whose father turned information about him in to the American embassy in Lagos, was on the long list, not the short one. Like Mohammed Atta. And Major Hasan. And presumably lots of others. What are the standards for making it to the short list?

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The New York Times is on to this story, very fast and very detailed. A dispatch from Washington by Scott Shane, Eric Schmitt and Eric Lipton reveals that the father of the would-be killer had told American officials (in Lagos, maybe) "several weeks ago" of the involvement of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, his son, with terrorist and extremist Muslim organizations. But, write the reportorial trio, apparently "the initial information was not specific enough to raise alarms that he could potentially carry out a terrorist attack." My God, what would be information "specific enough?" This is at least t

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I dimly remembered that Mohammed Atta and at least three of his brothers (a big word in Islam) had been known to security agencies at least a year before 9/11 as "likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States." This quote is from an August 9, 2005 article written by ace- investigator-of-intricate-matters Douglas Jehl for the New York Times.

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Things Come Together

The Thing Around Your Neck By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Knopf, 218 pp., $24.95)   In “Jumping Monkey Hill,” the most wicked story in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s new collection, a group of young writers selected from all over Africa have gathered for a workshop at a fancy resort outside Cape Town--”the kind of place,” thinks Ujunwa, the representative Nigerian, “where . . .

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Mister Lucky

Malcolm Gladwell's fairy tales.

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The Sorrow Reflex

Campo Santo By W.G. Sebald Translated by Anthea Bell (Random House, 221 pp., $24.95) Unrecounted Poems by W.G. Sebald Lithographs by Jan Peter Tripp Translated by Michael Hamburger (New Directions, 109 pp., $22.95)   I. Although he arrived at it relatively late in his senselessly truncated life, once W.G. Sebald found his real voice, it became unmistakable: melancholy, allusive, inward, and elegant, its cadences carried from book to book until each one seemed like another sketch from a single, instantly recognizable personal landscape.

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Enemy's Enemy

KAMPALA, UGANDA--On a steamy Sunday morning, several hundred students are dancing in the aisles of a dilapidated college lecture hall. Dressed in shabby, secondhand sport coats, the men pivot their hips, flinging their elbows back and forth to a lively gospel tune. The women's cornrows bounce up and down. With a showman's sense of timing, Pastor Martin Ssempa sidles slowly onto the stage, grooving to the beat. "Thank you, God!" shouts the bespectacled, 36-year-old evangelist. He has unbuttoned the top button of his natty, cream-colored shirt, and his blue tie hangs loose. "Can you feel it?

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