Stories of the Week
Putin party. The Russian premier dominated headlines this week, first for his appearance at the UN General Assembly (where he shared uncomfortable moments with American president, Barack Obama), then for Russia’s intelligence-sharing partnership with Syria, Iran, and Iraq, and finally for Russia’s less than subtle bombing of targets within Syria — which the country claims were terrorist strongholds and which the US says were American-backed rebel groups.
Palestine rising. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas spoke to the UN this week and essentially renounced the Oslo Accords. His speech has been critiqued by all sides as either going too far or not going far enough. Regardless, the Palestinian flag was raised at the UN, an historic moment.
Water on Mars? We’ve actually long known about the latest Martian aquatic information — just not the extent that we do now. NASA researchers excitedly spilled the news that water is indeed in existence on the cold red planet, and a panel addressed questions early in the week. Optimists think this will of course lead to the Earthling occupation of Mars, skeptics think the water is too salty to provide much of anything sustainable for life. Apparently there’s probably already life on Mars, brought by Earth’s space materials, so there’s that to ponder as well.
- A massacre at a community college in Oregon yesterday left ten people dead and as many as twenty wounded. Initial reports say the shooter asked students to state their religion, before he began firing indiscriminately. The shooter is now dead, and the US has had more mass shootings in 2015 than it has had days.
- Did you catch the supermoon eclipse?
- The MacArthur Genius grants are out.
- WATER ON MARS? Expanding on the above.
- @Snowden is here to troll the NSA.
- John Boehner spectacularly quit his job last week.
- Pope Francis departed the US this week after a whirlwind tour of DC, NYC, and Philadelphia.
- Alabama is seriously screwing over black voters.
- Apparently a lot of people have been thinking endometriosis isn’t real…
- Shell No in the Arctic.
- The Taliban invaded Kunduz city in Afghanistan at 3 AM Monday morning. They overran the city in a harsh blow to the government and to US forces.
- Those US forces, however, retaliated and began striking at the Taliban mid-week. The city remains firmly under Taliban control, however, which bodes ill for Western forces.
- Nepal’s government is imposing new restrictions on who it allows to climb Mount Everest.
- A man in India was beaten to death following rumors that he had eaten beef.
Southeast & East Asia:
- Japan, which accepted no asylum seekers last year, is now providing financial aid for refugees in Iraq and Syria.
- Activists in Singapore are protesting haze pollution.
- Activists in Hong Kong are marking the country’s pro-democracy uprising’s one year anniversary.
Europe & Eurasia:
- In Spain, Catalan separatists won an absolute majority in regional elections.
- Vladimir Putin met tersely with Barack Obama on Monday to discuss various issues, namely Syria. The event was, by all accounts, deeply awkward.
- To the extreme consternation of the US, Russia has signed an information-sharing agreement with Iran, Iraq, and Syria.
- Turkish and Kurdish forces have been swapping fire this week, resulting in numerous casualties.
Middle East & North Africa:
- Air strikes inside of Syria were launched by France for the first time.
- US-trained rebels did indeed hand over their weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra, an Al Qaeda affiliate, when they crossed back into Syria.
- The US has briefly stopped the training program while weighing its effectiveness.
- France wants Syrian president Assad tried for crimes against humanity. Meanwhile, Russia has begun strikes inside the country, targeting Daesh/ISIS.
- Palestine is raising its flag at the UN for the first time.
- Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas has also stated that Palestine is no longer bound to the Oslo Accords, news that has Israel concerned.
- Saudi objections have halted an independent human rights investigation into the war in Yemen.
- Around 500 prisoners escaped from a jail in the CAR, sparking some of the worst violence the country has seen this year. The country is in a crisis, with one in ten citizens fleeing.
- In Burkina Faso, fallout from the the country’s recent coup has led to minor clashes between coup leaders and the army.
- Despite an ongoing land dispute, Guyana and Venezuela are restoring their ambassadors.
- It has been one year since a large group of students went missing in Mexico, spurring uprisings all over the country.
- The US foreign-born population is set to explode within the next century.
- Will the US lift the Cuba embargo?
- Hurricane Joaquin touched down late this week.
- Georgia executed a female inmate for the first time in decades despite a plea from the pope.
- The US government averted a shutdown.
- Experts on refugee law are deeply concerned by Australia‘s detention center policies.
- New Zealand is set to turn Kermadec, a large space off its coast, into a marine reserve.