Weekly News Round-Up 7/27/15-7/31/15: Trump Card

Stories of the Week

Mike Huckabee & the Holocaust. Rarely-thought of presidential candidate Mike Huckabee put his foot in it this week when he described the newly-struck deal between Iran and the P5+1 powers as an agreement that would march Israelis to the “doors [of the] ovens.” This was a Holocaust reference and went over very poorly — with Jews, with Democrats, and with many Republicans.

Malaysian Plane 317 returns. The plane disappeared over a year ago, after taking off from Kuala Lumpur and heading to Beijing. Contact was lost with the pilot and the plane has never been found — except now what may be a piece of the plane has appeared on a French island near Madagascar. Is it actually related to the flight? Unclear, but CNN will have hourly coverage for the next few months in all likelihood. Update: Markings and numbers on the piece indicate it is in fact from the plane.

Mullah Omar’s death. The leader of the nefarious Afghan Taliban, to whom all Taliban theoretically pledge allegiance, is dead. Reports indicate he died in 2013, and that Pakistan had informed Kabul of his death. However, the government had been unable to verify the reports until recently. How Omar’s death will affect ongoing peace talks between Afghanistan and the Taliban is unknown; however, he was a hardliner and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani expressed optimism regarding the future of the talks. In the interim, a new leader has been selected and peace talks have been briefly suspended.

(flickr | gage skidmore)
(flickr | gage skidmore)

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Weekly News Round-Up 7/20/15-7/24/15: If I Die in Police Custody

Stories of the Week

Did Sandra Bland commit suicide? The young African American woman was arrested following an altercation with police officers and died three days later in prison. The police are calling it a suicide, but activists question their version of events. An official investigation indicates that Bland likely did commit suicide, and many are making a point of noting she had previously attempted suicide. Others argue she was excited to start a new job, and would not have taken her life so rashly. Either way, another black American has died in an incident relating to the police. Relevant: the hashtag #IfIDieInPoliceCustody was recently trending on Twitter.

Iran redux. Now that the P5+1 powers have struck a deal with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program, the if at all possible MORE ornery American Congress will need to approve the deal. The UN quickly approved it this week, but the stage has been set for a showdown in Washington and John Kerry (leg crutches still visible) ended his week on an aggressive note as lawmakers showered him with questions and comebacks. Meanwhile, the Washington Post has taken the case regarding their reporter, Jason Rezaian, straight to the UN. Rezaian has been held in Iran for over a year without any real allegations being released or verified.

Republicans fighting and running for President in the USA. See below for more information.

(light brigading | flickr)
(Light Brigading | Flickr)

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Weekly News Round-Up 7/13/15-7/17/15: Reign of the Dwarf Planet

Stories of the Week

#IranDeal. Between Monday and Tuesday, world powers and Iran reached an historic deal to both curb Iran’s nuclear enrichment program and restore billions to the struggling economy the country has faced. The task now falls to American President Obama to sell the deal. Much of this will rely on Congress.

Pluto flyover. The dwarf planet (to whom so many children of the 90s and earlier are fiercely loyal) got its close-up this week. A nearly decade-long voyage by the New Horizons space craft flew past the distant sphere, taking around 150 high-resolution photographs. Though it will be up to 16 months before NASA receives all of the data (transmission time from Pluto to Earth is QUITE slow), the successful flyover has been heralded as unprecedented. (A sweet aside note: the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, the man who discovered Pluto, were aboard the aircraft.)

Planned Parenthood problems. An undercover video recorded by anti-choice activists went viral this week. The video reveals a top Planned Parenthood executive discussing methods of aborting fetuses that enable the organs to remain intact; they can then be sold for scientific research. While the video has led to outcry from conservatives, pro-choice advocates argue that the procedure provides those seeking abortions to channel their choice into a good cause, while also noting that there is nothing illegal regarding the process the executive was referring to.

Get us to the Greek. The IMF has come out demanding that any bailout plan for Greece involve debt relief. This runs directly counter to much of what Germany and other European nations have lobbied for, but speaks to the severity of Greece’s situation. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tsipras is struggling to sell the new bailout plan at home, where it is wildly unpopular.

Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman briefs foreign press correspondents on the Iran deal at the Daily Press Briefing in Washington, D.C., on July 16, 2015. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]
Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman briefs foreign press correspondents on the Iran deal at the Daily Press Briefing in Washington, D.C., on July 16, 2015. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

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Weekly News Round-Up 7/6/15-7/10/15: Grexit?

 

Stories of the Week:

Grexit. The Greek economy is about to asphyxiate and no one seems to have a clear solution. Following a resounding referendum against austerity and the initial Eurozone bailout plan, the Greek finance minister quit. Meanwhile the Eurozone chose to not provide crucial life support funding, which meant Greece had a number of days to come up with a plan or risk exiting the Eurozone. Prime Minister Tsipras presented a plan at the eleventh hour which makes concessions to austerity. Now it remains to be seen whether or not the country will be forced to exit the Eurozone.

The Confederacy Conflict. South Carolina has voted to remove its controversial Confederate flag from in front of the state house. This has been met with considerable resistance from various parties, namely Republican politicians who argue the flag is a part of the state’s cultural heritage. The flag came down Friday morning.

 Iran talks.  After a week of arguments and upheaval, US Secretary of State John Kerry seemed upbeat regarding nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 countries. However, many parties have still called for caution and congressional Republicans in particular have rejected any future deal out of hand. The clock is ticking on a solution, however, and any deal will likely come soon.

Secretary Kerry Chats With Energy Secretary Moniz As He and Fellow P5+1 Foreign Ministers Hold Nuclear Program Negotiating Session in Austria With Iranian Officials. (US Dept of State | Flickr)
Secretary Kerry Chats With Energy Secretary Moniz As He and Fellow P5+1 Foreign Ministers Hold Nuclear Program Negotiating Session in Austria With Iranian Officials. (US Dept of State | Flickr)

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Weekly News Round-Up 6/29/15-7/3/15: Greek Tragedy

US Department of State | Flickr
Iranian foreign minister, Zarif, meets with American Secretary of State John Kerry over Iran’s nuclear program. (US Department of State | Flickr)

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