Weekly News Round-Up 2/9/15-2/13/15: An Equal And Opposite Reaction

This blog’s thoughts on last Sunday’s Grammy awards range, but a heartfelt congratulations to the talented Sam Smith!  This week brings us a seeming ceasefire between the Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists, the tragic shooting of three young American Muslims, the departure of Jon Stewart from The Daily Show, a full-fledged temper tantrum from a handful of judges in Alabama, and the fact that Ruth Bader Ginsberg apparently likes her wine. Happy weekend to all, stay warm DC residents, it’s going to be a cold one.

Pakistani Christian bride Dunya Yacob, 24, is carried by her cousin to her groom's makeshift home to attend her wedding ceremony at a slum home to Christian families on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan on Feb. 7, 2015.  “Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of the day I would get married and put on a nice dress and have a nice party with a lot of people,” the 24 year old said. “But today, my dream didn’t turn the way I imagined it, but there is nothing I can do about it. This is how our lives look like today and we have to adapt.”
Pakistani Christian bride Dunya Yacob, 24, is carried by her cousin to her groom’s makeshift home to attend her wedding ceremony at a slum home to Christian families on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan on Feb. 7, 2015.
“Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of the day I would get married and put on a nice dress and have a nice party with a lot of people,” the 24 year old said. “But today, my dream didn’t turn the way I imagined it, but there is nothing I can do about it. This is how our lives look like today and we have to adapt.”
Robert Povilat, left, and Milton Persinger, comfort each other after hearing that for a second day, the Mobile County Probate office won't issue marriage licenses in Mobile, Ala. on Feb. 10.  A federal judge on Thursday ordered a probate judge in Alabama's second-largest county to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. The ruling is expected to force other holdout probate judges in the state to give marriage licenses to lesbians and gays.
Robert Povilat, left, and Milton Persinger, comfort each other after hearing that for a second day, the Mobile County Probate office won’t issue marriage licenses in Mobile, Ala. on Feb. 10.
A federal judge on Thursday ordered a probate judge in Alabama’s second-largest county to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. The ruling is expected to force other holdout probate judges in the state to give marriage licenses to lesbians and gays.
A blind person feels with her hands a copy of El Greco's 'The Gentleman with his Hand on his Chest' at The Prado Museum on Feb. 10 in Madrid, Spain. 'Hoy Toca el Prado' (Touch The Prado) allows blind or vision-impaired visitors to explore with their hands the copies of six masterworks. The copies were created using a technique called 'Didu' which provides texture and volume to the paintings.
A blind person feels with her hands a copy of El Greco’s ‘The Gentleman with his Hand on his Chest’ at The Prado Museum on Feb. 10 in Madrid, Spain. ‘Hoy Toca el Prado’ (Touch The Prado) allows blind or vision-impaired visitors to explore with their hands the copies of six masterworks. The copies were created using a technique called ‘Didu’ which provides texture and volume to the paintings.
Fisherman Alexander Romantsov looks out of the window of his plywood lodge, placed on the frozen surface of the Yenisei River over an ice hole for fishing, near the village of Anash, in Russia's Krasnoyarsk region on Feb. 7. Some fishermen of the region equip their tiny lodges with miniature coal and firewood-burning ovens and use car batteries to supply electricity, allowing them to fish day and night despite severe temperatures.
Fisherman Alexander Romantsov looks out of the window of his plywood lodge, placed on the frozen surface of the Yenisei River over an ice hole for fishing, near the village of Anash, in Russia’s Krasnoyarsk region on Feb. 7. Some fishermen of the region equip their tiny lodges with miniature coal and firewood-burning ovens and use car batteries to supply electricity, allowing them to fish day and night despite severe temperatures.
Displaced women who fled with their families from the Pakistani tribal area of Khyber due to ongoing operations against militants, wait to receive relief goods at a distribution point in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Feb.10. The Pakistan Red Crescent Society in collaboration with the German Red Cross distributed winterized packages to 480 displaced families.
Displaced women who fled with their families from the Pakistani tribal area of Khyber due to ongoing operations against militants, wait to receive relief goods at a distribution point in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Feb.10. The Pakistan Red Crescent Society in collaboration with the German Red Cross distributed winterized packages to 480 displaced families.
Refugee children play in the snow in the suburbs of Ankara, Turkey on Feb. 11. The kids fled Syria with their families because of attacks from ISIS.
Refugee children play in the snow in the suburbs of Ankara, Turkey on Feb. 11. The kids fled Syria with their families because of attacks from ISIS.

images / nbcnews

Assorted Stand-Outs:

  • HSBC reportedly helped conceal $100 billion in Swiss bank accounts. Oof.
  • Cricket World Cup approacheth.
  • Meet the women behind #blacklivesmatter.
  • Mic has a new section: Connections.
  • Three Muslims were killed in North Carolina following what appears to be a dispute over parking, though it also clearly appears to be a hate crime. The hashtag #muslimlivesmatter has been trending following a lack of response from mainstream media to their murders. | American Muslims react.
  • In a blow to liberal millennials everywhere, their chief source of news Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show. This blog admires Stewart and wishes him well.
  • Satire, free speech, and Egypt — there’s an Indiegogo campaign going on right now to provide one Egyptian satirist with a podium.
  • Analyzing the federal government’s use of the Cloud.
  • American hostage Kayla Mueller has been confirmed killed by Daesh/ISIS. Rest in peace.
  • A decade after humanitarian reforms, how have IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) fared?
  • A WaPo article from last year has been making the rounds again, drawing attention to the double-standards applied to Muslims despite frequent instances of Christian brutality in the name of religion.
  • Opinions: The World War Inside Islam.
  • Same-sex marriage may be about to have its day.
  • Veteran 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon was killed in a car crash in NYC this week. He was a phenomenal journalist and will be missed. Also tragic: the death of New York Times critic David Carr. Sad week for journalism.
  • How America will look in 2050.
  • Fresh Off The Boat is changing a lot about Asian-Americans on tv.

South Asia:

Southeast & East Asia:

Europe & Eurasia:

  • Defiant, Greece’s Tsipras has informed the European Union that the country will not negotiate its sovereignty by succumbing to a bailout extension. No agreement has been reached as of present.
  • A young British citizen stands accused of planning to behead a British soldier with plans to die a martyr.
  • German Jews are enraged following the admission that a group commissioned to discuss antisemitism will in fact include no Jews.
  • A French Socialist candidate edged out the National Front’s competitor in the country’s first electoral test since the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
  • Turkey’s pivot away from the West is one worth monitoring.
  • Turkey is offering cash rewards to couples for marrying early.
  • Ukraine and Russian separatists reached a breaking point as Western leaders scrambled to intervene earlier this week; a deal was reached Wednesday night between powers (with Russia by far the winner). However the ceasefire is set to take place two weeks from now and in the meantime fighting has escalated.

Middle East & North Africa:

  • Jordan began the week bombarding Daesh/ISIS in retaliation for the murder of its pilot. In a show of solidarity, the UAE, who had ceased bombing assistance in December, resumed strikes on the terrorist group.
  • Aleppo’s citizens are suffering from a fuel shortage in addition to Syria’s terrible civil war during a cold and long winter.
  • Syria’s regime claims it is receiving intel from anti-Daesh/ISIS forces. Meanwhile the militants have advanced on Western Iraq.
  • The Yazidis take their revenge.
  • Hamas continues to assert that it will not recognize Israel, even as Israel seems to increasingly make its peace with Hamas.
  • Drama continues over a planned speech from Israel’s Netanyahu set to be delivered before the US Congress.
  • Over 20 people were killed in Egypt in a soccer stadium stampede at the beginning of the week.
  • Tracking Egyptian legislation, via the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.
  • Two Al Jazeera journalists have been released on bail by the Egyptian government.
  • Engaging in regional politics, Assad-style.
  • Opinion: We are human rights defenders, but Bahrain says we’re terrorists.
  • Western embassies in Yemen are closing, isolating the newly empowered Houthi rebels.
  • In a tragic turn of events, more than 300 migrants headed from Libya to Italy appear to have died.

Sub-Saharan Africa:

  • As Rwanda’s post-genocide generation grows up, one organization is teaching them how to argue about politics.
  • Niger will send troops to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram.
  • Nigeria’s president denies he played a role in the country’s election postponement.
  • US troops will for the most part withdraw from West Africa by the end of April following months of battle with the Ebola virus.

Americas:

  • Experts sent from Argentina to investigate the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico are questioning whether or not the Mexican government has the capability of fully overseeing the country’s internal investigation.
  • The murder of Argentinian prosecutor Nisman continues to intrigue with the discovery of an unidentified person’s DNA in his apartment.
  • Colombia’s Miss Universe has been invited to peace talks by FARC rebels, who are engaged in a stand-off with the country’s government.
  • Colombia’s first legal abortion clinic is a game-changer in the region.
  • Netflix is launching in Cuba.
  • Alabama is set to become the 37th state to allow same-sex marriage, a legendary moment in the Deep South.
  • After fighting Daesh/ISIS for a long time, President Obama is now about to ask permission.
  • In a vote along mostly party lines, the Keystone XL bill has passed the House.
  • NBC news anchor Brian Williams has been suspended for six months without pay following allegations of embellishment regarding his time in Iraq. Here are a few thoughts re: what could have been a better move.
  • Ashton Carter has been confirmed as US Defense Secretary.
  • FBI director James B. Comey has acknowledged some “hard truths” about racial profiling.

Oceania:

  • Australia’s Tony Abbott survived a no-confidence vote but he may lose his position in the ruling Liberal Party.
  • Two people have been arrested on suspicion of plotting an imminent terror attack in the country continent.

Weekly Wow: An interactive look at winter over the next 100 years. | “This place” : Israel and the West Bank. 

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