Illustrations by Istvan Banyai
Pack your bags, Olympics fans: effective today, the Chinese government has banned free plastic shopping bags to steer citizens toward carts and cloth sacks.
FEMA intends to move the tens of thousands of victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita still living in “temporary” trailers into other housing by today, the official start of hurricane season. In February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered potentially dangerous levels of formaldehyde in the trailers.
The paper airline ticket is about to depart. The International Air Transport Association, which represents 94 percent of international scheduled air traffic, has ordered its last paper tickets and will switch to electronic ticketing beginning today.
Although Harry Potter never did graduate from Hogwarts, his creator, J. K. Rowling, dons a cap and gown today to deliver Harvard’s commencement address.
The World Naked Bike Ride (a series of rides, really) starts in the U.S. this weekend. Nude cyclists first took to the streets in 2004 to draw attention to oil dependency, bike safety, and, of course, themselves. They now rally annually in about 70 cities in 20 countries. Riders are encouraged to protect only their feet and noggins.
China’s aggressive spying efforts have ensnared another American. Gregg Bergersen, a former Defense Department analyst, faces sentencing today. In March, he pleaded guilty to providing secret information about U.S.-Taiwanese military sales in exchange for gifts and money. Another American, an engineer, was sentenced in March for passing details of submarine technology to the Middle Kingdom.
The schism in the Anglican Church over gay marriage and gay clergy could widen this week. Many conservative church leaders have announced that they'll skip an important decennial Anglcan gathering next month called the Lambeth Conference, and instead hold their own summit, starting today in Jerusalem, to plot a future course for the conservative branch of the Church.
Prosecutors get a second bite at Michael Vick today, as the onetime Atlanta Falcons quarterback, already in federal prison for dogfighting, stands trial in Virginia on two state felony counts, each of which carries a possible five-year penalty. His federal sentence is scheduled to end next July.
The writers are back—but now the actors may strike. With the Screen Actors Guild contract expiring today, Hollywood has been hustling to avoid another paralyzing work stoppage. (In the first month after the writers returned, 68 movies began production—a 62 percent increase over the same period last year.) Top stars like George Clooney and Tom Hanks have called for a quick settlement.
Spinning teacups just don’t cut it anymore. Facing stiff competition in the theme-park business, Disney has launched a $1.1 billion upgrade of its California Adventure Park, next door to the original Disneyland. The flagship ride, the $80 million, 3-D “immersive” Toy Story Mania!, opens this month.
Having conquered the hipsters, Apple makes a play for the boardroom this month when a long-anticipated software update allows the iPhone to sync with corporate e-mail, an area currently dominated by Microsoft and BlackBerry.