Stories of the Week
Dems Debate. Hillary Clinton dominated the debate, which most viewers seemed to agree was much more policy-oriented and engaging than expected. Though leading rival Bernie Sanders got in a few moments, the debate was ultimately Clinton’s to lose, and she didn’t.
Boots on the ground in Cameroon. You probably did not hear about this, but the US casually decided to send 300 troops to Sub-Saharan Africa to fight Boko Haram. American President Obama informed Congress that he is sending them under the War Powers Act. Congress now theoretically has under 90 days to make a decision, but Obama hasn’t really lived by the Act’s rules in the past.
The longest long war. American troops will be in Afghanistan into 2017, despite President Obama’s promise to bring them home before his term ended. The news, while unshocking, indicates the current struggle that has played out across the country, with little to no sign of stopping soon. The war is among the longest the US has been engaged in, beat out only by varying measurements of its involvement in Vietnam.
- Hillary Clinton won the Democratic debate, by most accounts. But that’s unlikely to stop people from handwringing over her campaign and candidacy.
- Elephant DNA could cure cancer.
- Death to tipping.
- Jamaican author Marlon James has won the Man Booker Prize for his saga A Brief History of Seven Killings.
- Walmart scared everyone in a different way than usual this week.
- Fantasy sports and insider training: apparently a thing.
- Driverless Tesla?
- There appears to have been a breakthrough in the Lockerbie bombing.
- Nepal, which is currently seeing uproar over its new constitution, elected a new prime minister this week.
- The Afghan Taliban currently has its highest reach since 2001.
- The Taliban ended their takeover of Kunduz after fifteen days of holding the area.
- American troops will be in Afghanistan indefinitely (or, into 2017).
- A Christian woman on trial for blasphemy in Pakistan has been placed in solitary confinement for her protection.
Southeast & East Asia:
- China has detained four Japanese nationals for the ambiguous charge of “spying.”
- Cigarettes are killing Chinese men at astronomical rates.
- Indonesia is having a fire crisis.
Europe & Eurasia:
- Belarus‘ dictator, Alexander Lukashenko, was re-elected by a landslide.
- A Turkish peace rally was hit by suicide bombers, leaving a death toll of over 100. Protesters have now turned their anger on the government, which claims Daesh/ISIS was responsible.
- A Dutch investigation into the crash of a flight over Ukrainian airspace has failed to fully blame Russian separatists, who are commonly believed to be responsible. The missile that hit the plane, however, has been determined to be Russian-made.
- Julian Assange’s 24-hour monitoring by Scotland Yard outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London has ceased.
Middle East & North Africa:
- A verdict has been reached in the trial of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.
- Iran tested a new long-range ballistic missile, which may have been a no-no according to the nuclear agreement it signed.
- The Obama administration (US) has ended efforts to train and equip moderate Syrian rebel groups.
- Celebrating the Tunisian Quartet.
- Violent uprisings by leaderless Palestinian youth may have sparked the third Intifada in Israel. Numerous Israelis and Palestinians have been killed in the ensuing chaos.
- Amidst extreme tension, voters in Guinea turned out last weekend.
- One radio station in Mali is doing pretty crucial work facilitating dialogue.
- Obama is sending 300 American troops to Cameroon.
- Chile is looking to replace its current constitution.
- The Obama administration is rethinking its pullout of troops from Afghanistan.
- Planned Parenthood has decided to stop accepting financial compensation for fetal tissue. Though this is in fact legal, the group has received criticism this year for the policy.
- Residents of one Australian town don’t want their name (“Blacktown”) taken away.
- There was a lot of drama in Vanuatu this week.
Blue Out: “Homeland is racist.”