Stories of the Week
Refugees in need. Running from violence and unthinkable horrors at home, refugees from countries across the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, many of them Syrian and Afghan, have reached Europe and are heading further into the continent. Western nations oceans away, like the US and Australia, have been of little assistance — the US will take 10,000 refugees next year, and Australia will take 12,000. Meanwhile Eastern and Western European countries alike are overwhelmed. A plan has been put forward for Europe to take up to 160,000 refugees, which will hardly solve the problem. Certain countries, like Hungary, have shown extreme hostility to the point of abuse towards the refugees, many of whom have endured horrific events and are only seeking aid. (Reminder that the crisis is everywhere, people only care about Europe now because Western nations are involved.)
Iran deal, done deal? American President Obama reached the needed number of Democratic supporters for the Iran deal to filibuster this week. On Thursday Democrats overturned Republicans in order to pass the deal. Of course, Republicans have threatened to do whatever they can to stop the deal, including sue. As of Friday morning, that remains a possibility. (The NYT also made a point of profiling Jewish lawmakers who voted for and against the deal, which is questionable.)
- The American Congressional shutdown countdown begins.
- Everybody is Running for the American Presidency 2k15: Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina are trading barbs over Fiorina’s looks. Meanwhile, Sanders and Clinton are duking it out over Iowa and New Hampshire, two primary states.
- The shutdown, if it happens, will be over Planned Parenthood, and will not work.
- Queen Elizabeth II is now the longest-reigning monarch in British history.
- Stephen Colbert is back, everything is going to be okay.
- A famous tennis player (who is black) was tackled by the NYPD this week, because they suspected his involvement in a crime. He was uninvolved.
- New Apple products are here. Wtf is the Apple Pencil. (Also your technology is destroying the environment.)
- Baltimore has reached a $6.4 million settlement with the family of Freddie Gray.
- A conservative backlash is brewing at the Vatican against Pope Francis, who is seen as a liberal icon.
- Paid sick leave for American federal contractors has been introduced via presidential mandate.
- Amidst scandal, the chief of United Airlines has stepped down.
- Humans have an ancestor come distant cousin we didn’t know about.
- Pakistan has its own drone, the Burraq.
- Urdu has been ordered Pakistan’s official language by the Supreme Court.
- Terror attacks in Pakistan are reportedly on the decline.
- Taliban infighting in Afghanistan has reached its peak.
- A Saudi diplomat in India has been accused of raping two Nepali maids.
- Pakistan and India have border talks opening up again.
- Martyr Week in Afghanistan is off to a bloody start.
Southeast & East Asia:
- There is a slight possibility that drivers in China are killing pedestrians on purpose.
- Uber is making headway in Asia.
- Cambodia is cracking down on independent non-profits.
- Thai officials say they have a confession for the Erawan shrine bombing.
- Bad weather has been pummeling Japan, with no signs of stopping.
Europe & Eurasia:
- As thousands of refugees poured into Austria, the country warned at the beginning of the week that it planned to close its border.
- The EU has forwarded a plan for the continent to take up to 160,000 refugees.
- Meanwhile in Germany, refugees have been greeted with SIM cards and chocolates, despite railing from some conservative diplomats who feel Chancellor Merkel has overstepped her bounds in allowing them in.
- One Czech politician is encouraging anti-migrant sentiment.
- David Cameron, prime minister of Britain, is facing questions about a decision to target and kill British citizens fighting for Daesh/ISIS.
- Italian courts found glaring errors in the Amanda Knox investigation.
- Turkey and the PKK have been exchanging attacks this week.
Middle East & North Africa:
- Qatar has sent anti-Houthi troops to Yemen in an effort to assist the Saudis.
- Saudi Arabia pummeled Yemen late in the week with some of the most severe bombings since the Gulf multi-country five-month war began.
- Israel has begun constructing a wall along its border with Jordan.
- Egypt’s ongoing qualms with Facebook are increasingly worrisome for social media advocates.
- Lebanon’s government is in talks to fix the country’s trash crisis, which has sparked national protests.
- Syrian rebel groups have re-taken a key airbase after two years.
- A new Ebola case has emerged in Sierra Leone.
- Nigeria has sent at least 100 Togolese asylum seekers home.
- The US embassy in Johannesburg has issued a warning to Americans in South Africa that they may be targeted and at risk.
- Grenade attacks in the CAR killed at least two people late in the week.
- The case of 43 missing Mexican students is being revisited by skeptical investigators.
- The bitter irony hiding in the expulsion of Colombians from Venezuela is pretty depressing, actually.
- Here’s how Guatemala’s president was brought down.
- Brazil’s credit rating has been downgraded.
- Haiti’s leading opposition party has pulled out of elections.
- Kim Davis, the American county clerk from Kentucky who refuses to issue same-sex marriage licenses, was released from prison mid-week.
- Australia has said it will take more refugees from Iraq and Syria, after facing harsh criticism over its refusal to take more initially. The country will reportedly take 12,000.
- Various Australian politicians have suggested the country should prioritize Christian refugees over Muslims.
- Environmental groups feel they are being silenced by the Abbott government.