Greetings from the other side of a blizzard. Much of the northeastern US was battered this weekend (or less than battered, we hear you were prepared though NYC) and Boston is still recovering from its mountain of snow. Meanwhile confusion has erupted regarding a hostage exchange between everyone’s least-favorite terrorist “state”, Jordan, and Japan; Californians might want to start vaccinating their children; Greece has held what will likely be an historic election; and Hezbollah and Israel are alternating between punching one another and showing a remarkable amount of restraint. Additionally the world marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz with the oft-repeated “Never again” vow that seems to be falling on deaf ears in much of Europe.
A happy belated MLK Day to American readers! (MLK Day was marked by protests over the tragic and unnecessary murders of black men all over the country by police officers. There will also be no civil rights charges for former officer Darren Wilson.) This week the King of the House of Saud is dead, Yemen’s government has been toppled by Houthi rebels, Congress is courting conservative Israeli PM Netanyahu to the most extreme objections of the White House, India is preparing for Obama, Pakistan has no fuel, Japan is racing the clock (more or less — it officially ran out today) to save the lives of two of its militant-held hostages, and France’s Jewish and Muslim communities are struggling to balance identity politics with nationalism – for very different reasons. Quite the week.
Welcome back! It’s 2015 and this blog is finally back in the States! The new year has already brought significant chaos: violence in France has kicked off an international debate on free speech and left the country’s Muslims under attack and its Jews eying mass immigration to Israel. A massacre in Nigeria orchestrated by Boko Haram has left the country further stunned, and in the US House Republicans are clashing increasingly with their slightly more moderate Senate counterparts as much as with President Obama. Additionally as a planet we are destroying the world’s oceans and apparently are close to violating the limits of what Earth can offer us. Comforting. Happy 2015, and a happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend to the Americans following this blog!