Weekly News Round-Up 12/6/15-12/11/15: Light and Darkness

Stories of the Week

Islamophobia gets even scarier. Donald Trump, an American Republican candidate for president, suggested this week that Muslims be banned from entering the US. The legality of this is being contested but more importantly, Trump’s statement terrifyingly echoed dark chapters in global history when religious minorities have been singled out. Worse yet: none of the other Republican candidates for president have really disagreed with him.

Elections, elections. In France, the far right-wing National Front party is slowly rising, having scored big in regional elections. In Venezuela, President Maduro’s party were recently crushed, a sign that the country has tired of his administration. Brazil, meanwhile, may be heading for elections: the country might be impeaching its president (though, as of Wednesday, impeachment proceedings were suspended.) Rwanda’s Paul Kegame is also clearing the way for his third term, while a similar move in Burundi (where the situation is more extreme) has sparked riots so violent people are worried about what would essentially be genocide on the basis of political affiliation.

Affirmative action in the US may be on the chopping block. A white woman named Abigail Fisher is fighting a war against affirmative action, claiming it cost her a spot at the University of Texas at Austin. (However, it is highly unlikely that she would have gotten in even if she were a person of color.) Regardless, her case, which has previously gone to the Supreme Court,  been kicked back, and is now being taken up again, may determine the future of affirmative action. A lot of people are worried, which seems valid.

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The Jewish festival of Chanukah is underway around the world (Flickr – slgckgc)

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Weekly News Round-Up 11/29/15-12/4/15: Saving (or Stalling) the World in Paris

Stories of the Week

Terrorism hits Planned Parenthood, again. In the US, abortion clinics are regularly under attack and clinics are the perpetual target of violence. Last Friday, a gunman struck a Planned Parenthood in Colorado, killing one police officer and two civilians. An additional nine people were wounded. In the days since the attack, numerous Republican politicians have refused to fully condemn the murders. Both leading Democratic candidates for president, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, have re-issued their support for Planned Parenthood and abortion providers.

Paris climate talks (#COP21). Many of the world’s nations are in the midst of an intense series of climate negotiations in the French capital. The ideal outcome is an agreement-come-treaty promising to reduce carbon emissions globally. The US, however, has asserted that the final document will not be a treaty…which would essentially render it pointless.

Yet another mass shooting. In California, two (potentially three) shooters opened fire on a facility for individuals with disabilities. The two known shooters were a couple, who left the facility following a Christmas holiday party dispute and returned with weapons. Fourteen people were killed and another twenty-one (by most counts) were injured. This is unlikely to change the country’s gun laws, although the US has seen more deaths via guns in 2015 than it has days in the year.

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Stefan Lins (Flickr) – The Marshall Islands

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