Sunday, May 31, 2015

Could Burundi delay their Presidential elections?

Other East African leaders are asking the country of Burundi to postpone the presidential elections that have been set in June. The request by the regions leaders has been in response to the violence that has occurred due to the current presidents announcement to rerun for a third term. These protests have been occurring the past few weeks and around 20 people have died since they have began.

The main concerning matter in this situation is some discrepancy over what the constitution says in regards to re-election of presidents. The constitution states the president can only be elected for only 2 terms, but the current president is claiming that he is not violating this because he was not actually elected in 2005. He was appointed to the position by congress. 

While protesters obviously are not agreeing with his statements.

Earlier in May, a coup was attempted and failed causing nearly 90,000 of the citizens to flee the country. Could this be the start to more political unrest for East African region?

-Cara Hoover

ban smoke ban smoke

Health activists nationwide have pushed for  strong smoking restriction laws for years in China, the now largest tobacco-consuming nation in the world. As a direct result of anti-tobacco activists' efforts, Beijing will ban smoking in restaurants, offices and public transport starting on Monday. According to the law, great financial punishments/fines will be imposed against people who smoke in several public areas as well as business regulation that failed to follow the law. The store owners/restaurant staffs will be capitalized to dissuade the smokers, and if dissuasion is of no use, the law enforcement authorities will file cases against the smokers. Also, the cigarettes are banned from been sold around certain areas like near schools, etc. several other laws were been enforced against the smoking already, however the lax law regulation on smoking made them not so effective. But many anti-tobacco activists believe that this round of law enforcement will be different, as they hold faith in government's willingness to enforce the law.
- by Leiyang Guo
- link:

Australian Opposition Party Proposes Gay Marriage Law

 Australia's political opposition hopes to harness momentum from the Irish gay marriage referendum after it proposed a law Monday that would recognize same-sex marriages. Bill Shorten, Center-Left Labor party leader was the first to back a bill to overturn same sex marriage. The problem he is facing is that the prime minister of Australia is against gay marriage and does not want the bill to be passed. Tony Abbott, Australia's prime minister came out to say that the country's main focus was economic and national security for the time being rather then same sex marriage.

Patrick Cravens

Women of Isis

There have been around 550 women who have traveled from Western states to join Isis. One female who goes by Shams, is only 27 years old and probably came from Malaysia. She blogs about her love for Isis and how she found her faith and love through the terrorist group. This may be one of many females who come from Westernized areas and the process of radicalization happens fast. A 15 year old even had typical blogs of a teenage female and then all of a sudden started consistently blogging about Syrian refugees. It is believed that many of these females live in the stronghold of Raqqa and most of the females that are being tracked had a similar process of radicalization. It is interesting to see why women decide to fight in a religious battle like this.

Dean Hamrick

Dennis Hastert seems like a creepy dude

Former Speaker of the House and former Illinois Representative Dennis Hastert has recently been indicted for payments being made to an unnamed source in nearby Yorkville, Illinois, the town in which he was a wrestling coach before his foray into politics. The thing about the whole story is that Mr. Hastert is reportedly paying person A over sexual acts during the time in which he was a wrestling coach with money that he acquired from mysterious land dealings in central Illinois. Overall this sounds strange, and after the revelations of what happened at Penn State a few years ago it seems like another case of a creep in power over young kids.

FIFA Corruption

In the past week there have been numerous arrests in the football world. The arrests concerned top FIFA officials who are suspected of corruption, the investigation is going as far back as the 1980's and more importantly the circumstances under which Quatar were awards the 2022 world cup. Quatar a strict country with 1.5 million people who all live under Sharia law which includes a ban on homosexuality, and one of the most important aspects of a football World Cup: Alcohol, which is banned in public places in Quatar . There is also a current issue of migrant labour that is being used to build all 8 stadiums that are needed for the world cup all of this comes from a country that has no football league, so the question is asked, how did Quatar get awarded the world cup over countries such as the UK, and USA who were also in contention both of which would only have to carry out minimal work to get the country ready for the world stage. Friday also saw the re-election of Sepp Blatter the president of FIFA who is also suspected of being heavily embroiled in the corruption scandal, in my personal opinion as a lifelong football fan he should be arrested and have his presidency stripped. The whole of FIFA needs to be disbanded and reformed in order to rid the entire organisation of the corruption that runs so deep.

Nicole Meechan

Girl went up in flames for murder? Danyelle Hunt

Earlier this week a Guatemalan girl was burned alive for a supposed murder of a taxi driver.  The citizens of the town took justice into their own hands and beat the girl down then set her on fire and added gasoline too the fire.  What had happen earlier was that the girl and 2 other men robbed a taxi driver and one of the men shot the taxi driver dead.  The men got away and the villagers got the girl instead.  To me this is the most outrageous thing I have heard.  Beating a girl and then burning her to death will not bring back the taxi driver.  She wasn't even the one that shot him to begin with.  Killing her to just makes the towns people just as evil as the person that pulled the trigger.  The girl should of had a civil trial and not the fate she got.

Ukraine conflict hurting economy

Ukraine's economy is likely to shrink at a rate worse than previously expected, and the country is seeking help from the International Monetary Fund. The continuous instability of the country has effected the economy tremendously, and the inflation rate is likely to hit 46% by the end of the year. The IMF will only lend money to Ukraine if it is satisfied with the government's progress in reforming the economy.

Mike Bikulcius

Prices Are Down, but Saudis Keep Oil Flowing

OPEC leader Saudi Arabia has been slowly but steadily increasing their oil production despite the fact that oil prices have been hovering around $60 a barrel. This leads leaders to believe that the meeting of OPEC that will be taking place in Vienna this week will create no lowering of production levels like those that are wanted by some smaller OPEC industries. The unwillingness of Saudi Arabia to lower their current production most likely stems from two different places. Firstly, Saudi oil producers are seeing countries like the United States becoming bigger producers of oil and thusly are becoming less reliant on foreign oil. This has caused them to maximize their sales in those countries before their markets began to close up for good. Secondly, as the oil trade has made Saudi citizens more wealthy they have become more integrated into the middle class. This has made their consumption of oil to skyrocket and this in turn has made it necessary for local producers of oil to increase productions to keep up with demands.

-Kevin Nalefski

Nigeria Outlaws Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation had been criminalized in Nigeria in a landmark bill enacted by President Goodluck Jonathon this week, with a maximum punishment of $1,000 and four years in prison for those who perform it. As the first African nation to pass such a law, many are hopeful that its passage will encourage other states to do the same. Some 125 million women worldwide have been subject to some form of the practice that is performed predominantly in Africa. With newly-elected president Muhammadu Buhari being sworn in on Friday, many viewed this as a strategic move by the lame-duck president.

Kevin McMahon

US calls for an end to land reclamation in south China sea

Ashton Craft, a high ranking US official has called for an end to land reclamation in the south china sea. A major program that has been engaged by China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Thailand the US called for all stoppage of the island building. China was specifically targeted for being by far the most aggressive in creating new Islands. The chinese are arguing that there is nothing wrong and all the countries are doing it. The US said they would do anything legal within international law to stop it. The Chinese said they were unaware of the threat but said that the US should stop intruding on their sovereignty.

Burundi Election Unrest As EU Withdraws Aid

Burundi's current president, Pierre Nkurunziza, is seeking a third term next month despite an attempted coup and large unrest from the people. President Nkurunziza was elected as president by Burundi's parliament in 2005 and as such he claims that he should be able to run for a third term as president despite the fact that Burundi's constitution limits Presidents to two terms. Because Nkurunziza's first term was not decided by popular vote, he claims that his first term does not count toward his two term limit and his claim has been supported by Burundi's Constitutional Court that ruled that his first term did not count toward the two term limit due to lack of popular vote. However, the people of Burundi are urging Nkurunziza not to run for president in the June presidential elections but President Nkurunziza appears to set on running again. There have been numerous protests and the government has reacted violently to demonstrations urging the President to step down, causing nearly 70,000 people to flee Burundi for fear of political violence.

Because of the protest and violence surrounding this election, the European Union (EU) had originally offered to provide poll observers that would help ensure that the election was conducted honestly and safely. According to the EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, "her team had been on the ground for more than a month" (BBC News). The team "reported that 'the election process continues to be seriously marred by restrictions on independent media, excessive use of force against demonstrators, a climate of intimidation for opposition parties and civil society and lack of confidence in the election authorities'" (BBC News). Additionally, the EU is currently withholding about $2 million which they would have been willing to put toward the election. As of now the only solution that has been placed on the table for serious consideration is postponing the election until a safer election can be conducted.

BBC News:

- Jenn Hoffman

Syrian Airstrikes

The Syrian military airstrikes killed about 70 people most of them civilians on Saturday in the northern providence of Aleppo. The places that were hit were civilian areas including a market in the town that was held by the Islamic State group. There were two attacks that happened one on the city of Aleppo then one on a market in Bab were 59 people were killed and several wounded. Aleppo is on of Syria’s biggest cities and has been divided between government and opposition forces since 2012.
T.J. Miller

Syria crisis: 'Barrel bomb strikes kill 72' in Aleppo province

In Syria, their government is being perpetrated for the attack on the Islamic state of al-Bab-a. That current Islamic state is being ran by Isis. The attack was made through barrel bombs where barrels were filled with explosives. At least sixty people were killed in the attack.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Vice President's Son Dead

By Valarie Owino
 The Vice President's son died Saturday. Beau Biden 46, had been fighting brain cancer health conditions the Vice President had preferred to keep private. Biden has left behind a wife, Hallie and two children. The vice president released his statement Saturday night in relation to the event.

Georgian ex-President Saakashvili named Ukraine regional governor

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko appointed former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashavili as governor of Ukraine's southern Odessa region. While president of Georgia between 2008 and 2013, Mr. Saakashavili carried out many radical reforms. However, current Georgian authorities accuse him of abuse of power and have demanded his extradition. Mr. Saakashvili is pro-Western and says he will weed out corruption in the Odessa region. The Odessa region has not been hit by the fighting between the government forces and pro-Russian rebels. However, the appointment of Mr. Saakashavili shows that President Prorshenko lacked choices for the position in the Ukraine. There has been no comment from Russia.

-Cori Elsesser 

Friday, May 29, 2015

ISIS Takes Control of Libyan Airport

ISIS announced they took control of the Libyan city of Sirte, home of former Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi, on Thursday morning. In Sirte, they took control of the city's airport as well as a man made water irrigation system that provides fresh water to most of Libya. Libya has been in chaos since their leader's death last year and have succombed to ISIS control recently, leading to the deaths of Libyan civilians. The ISIS control of the Sirte airport has international ramifications and must be watched closely.
By Hannah Higgins

Putin, on guard for 2018 world cup in Russia.

The article “Putin, on Guard for 2018 World Cup in Russia, Denounces FIFA Arrests” offered an interesting perspective. The main idea of the article is centered on the developing FIFA corruption scandal. Putin is upset that the United States is getting involved, when the U.S. barely plays what the rest of the world calls football. The U.S. is the only nation that calls the sport soccer. Somehow the author tied Edward Snowden into this situation. Snowden is the man responsible for wikileaks. The relationship between FIFA and Snowden has to do with the United States attempting to extend its jurisdiction into other countries. Putin has also been defending the president of FIFA. Putin is also using as this whole scandal as a way to pick at the United States. Putin (and Russia) is worried that the fallout from the FIFA Scandal will hurt Russia’s chance of keeping the 2018 world Cup. Russia has already started building for facilities for the world cup. Overall I think this article is important because it shows how Russia and other countries don’t like when the United States gets involved in certain foreign issues.

By Josh Hubbs

Chinese Weapons Spotted on Disputed Island, U.S. Says

China has been spotted building artillery on an artificial island in the South China Sea. The island lies in resource-rich shipping lanes that other nations have a higher claim on. Many countries in the region are protesting China's placement in the sea.

Defense Secretary of the US called China and told them to halt the construction as  international law does not recognize Chinese sovereignty over these areas of the water.  The intelligence on this matter is about two months old, and more current intelligence is unclear whether or not China has moved their station.

Many US politicians are not concerned that China and the US will begin a conflict over this issue. The issue has been made into an incentive for China to stop these kinds of activities.

Lauren Edmunds

Canada Strips Citizenship From Dual-National Terror Suspects

Now a days we find terrorists in almost all countries. It's either they are doing terrorist attacks, or spying. The whole world is trying to fight terrorism. Everyone wants it to stop, but it's never that easy.  Terrorist are doing terrorism under the name of religion. People are not able to trust each other because of terrorism. Canada found 2 terrorists spying. So the government decided to take their citizenship away. Prime Minister Stephen Harper "introduced a reformed Anti-terrorism Act in January that will significantly change the national security measure if passed."

Double Hotel Bombing Strikes Iraqi Capital

On Thursday night, in Baghdad at two of the nicer hotels in the capital bombs were set off. The hotels that were targeted were two hotels where mostly tourists and wealthy Iraqi people stayed. The bombings of the hotels were coordinated with one another, because there was minutes between the two bombings. Each of the bombings were in cars, and therefore when the bomb went off the car exploded. In these bombings 15 people were killed and 42 were injured. The first bombing was in the Babylon Hotel. The second bombing was by the former Sheraton hotel. There is no information on who is responsible for the bombings. However, Sunni extremists have previously bombed hotels. 

Marissa Kulak 

U.S. Removes Cuba from the state-sponsored terrorism list

On Friday May 5th, 2015, the Obama administration has officially taken Cuba off the state sponsored terrorism list. This was an important step in the process of normalizing ties between Cuba and the United States. Although Cuba has been taken off the list, it does not mean that the disagreements revolving around Cuba's policies and actions have been resolved. According to the State Department spokesman, Jeff Rathke, the disagreements fall outside of the criteria related to the rescission of a state sponsor of terrorism designation. In addition to the still present disagreement, the Obama administration and Cuban officials have recently failed in re-establishing diplomatic relations and open embassies. Yet, by the Obama administration taking Cuba off the state sponsored terrorism list, it is a step away from the Cold War-era hostility which could possibly lead to an improvement in the relationship between Cuba and the United States.
Written by Sarah Prosia

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

India's Killer Heat Wave

RJ Ramanauskas

There's a heat stroke in India that has killed 800 people. It's also so hot that roads are melting. People are being hospitalized only to hope that the power doesn't go out there. This isn't a drought, but the heat combined with those with low income make for a deadly combination. It's unclear when the heat wave will end.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Heat wave kills more than 1,100 in India

Adam Winters

In the country of India, a week long heat wave has taken up to 1,100 lives.  Many of the victims are citizens who are considered to be the poorest of the country but even some construction workers have fallen victim since they work in direct sunlight.  Air condition or some way to cool themselves down is available to over a billion citizens but this still means that millions can still be affected.  This goes to show how in many cases the poor are forgotten while those who live in comfort go on with their lives.  The heat spell is over but another is predicted to soon come.  Monsoon season will help but it will not come to the driest areas of India for a weeks to come.

Fighting Against Australia's Tampon Tax

Australia's current tax system allows for certain essential products to be free from tax. Items like food, sunscreen, lubrication, condoms, and nicotine patches are all considered essential or health items under Australia's tax system and are free from tax. However, pads and tampons are not considered essential items or health items and have a 10% tax.

Subeta Vimalarajah has started a campaign to have pads and tampons be tax free. Her petition argues that pads and tampons are essential health items that women must buy. As such they should not be taxed because they are a necessity that women cannot go without, just like people cannot go without food. Her petition has about 90,000 signatures that call for the end of taxing a "bodily function" that women have no control over.

In light of the campaign and petition, Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey is approaching state and territory governments to ask for tampons and pads to be excluded from tax. Each state and territory has their own tax codes so each state and territory must change their laws individually. The tax on tampons and pads was originally created under a conservative government in 2000, but the current government seems more open to revoking the tax on pads and tampons. The only major opposition to this campaign seems to be Australian Prime Minister TonyAbbott who claims "he understood why many people wanted to see an end to the tax, but that it was "certainly not something that this government has a plan to do"."

BBC News:

- Jenn Hoffman

Nigeria Shuts Down Amid Fuel Negotiations

Nigeria's fuel wholesalers have been withholding fuel from the government and the public after claiming that the government owes them a few billion dollars. The companies have refused to give up any fuel until the government's "debt" has been paid. Many analysts are confused as to how this debt figure has been constructed and how the wholesalers can claim to be owed such a large, and specific, amount.

During this standoff the country has come to a standstill. Most transportation in Nigeria has come to a halt and almost all gas stations are out of gas. Life in Nigeria has also become increasingly difficult as most homes and businesses run on gas powered generators because Nigeria lacks a good electrical infrastructure.

The biggest issue in this fuel crisis is corruption. It is still unclear as to how and why the wholesalers have been able to come up with such a figure. Some speculate that the crisis is a scam to blackmail the country out of millions and others speculate that corruption is so rampant among government officials and fuel producers/sellers that is impossible to figure out who is to blame for this crisis.

BBC News:

- Jenn Hoffman

Monday, May 25, 2015

Boko Haram militants raid Nigerian village, hack 10 to death

In Pambula-Kwamda village in Madagali district, Boko Haram militants brutually murdered 10 residents of the village. This village was recently declared free of the recent violence in neighboring areas. 

The attackers used mechates and came in the night while all the villagers were asleep. The militants hacked the cvilians to death. It was reported that some did not even carry any weapons at all. It is believed that this attack was a message. The messages states that the Madagali district belongs to them alone.

The deaths are a part of a long stream of deadly attacks on the district.

Lauren Edmunds

Fire Kills 38 at Seniors Home in China

In Pingdingshan, China a fire erupted in a retirement home. The fire was fatal to 38 of the residents, and caused major injuries to 8 residents. The community was home to abut 100 residents at the time of the fire.

The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation. Residents believe it to be a mechanical malfunction. China's rapidly growing population and lengthening life-span of the elderly is causing china to create more retirement homes for their residents.

Furthermore, a similar incident happened in 2013. A fire at a retirement home in China, killed 11 residents. It was declared to be arson, set by one of the residents that died in the flames.

Lauren Edmunds

Europe grapples with the global overcapacity issues within steel industry

 Since we have talking about globalization, I thought it would be interesting to share this information. Just recently, Europe has stepped up to fight over cheap steel imports from China and Russia. They have installed protection policies to curb the steel imports. These measures are likely to promote the local steel industry in the Europe. The author also identified another problem that is related to the steel industry. He says that excess capacity issues need to be addressed because these steel manufacturing companies do not want to shut down despite the fact that their business is no longer beneficial. They fear the excess costs and therefore want to keep operating. This has caused an over capacity issue because there is literally too much steel. The problem with over capacity will exist as long as the world is on the path of development. The supply equals demand is the formula which helps deduce it.

Russia and U.S. Find Common Cause

This article is about how the United States and Russia have been discussing the Artic, and what to do when the ice caps melt. Since the ice caps near the North Pole are melting faster than ever, it raises the question, who owns the area? And the answer is no one. A couple years ago, the United States, Russia, and three other nations agreed to stop trawling the newly melted waters. Even though Russia and the United States have had their differences about issues in the past, this situation is considered to be an important one because the United States and Russia could possibly come to a solid agreement. The negotiations are mainly about fishing, not oil. When the United States and Russia start talking about oil in that area, things can get interesting. But for now, the talks are just who can fish, and when in those areas. This is important because it involves the environment as well as political moves.

By Josh Hubbs

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Carter urges Iraqi to fight

Defense Secretary Ash Carter commented on fell of Ramadi to ISIS as largely due to the weak state of Iraq's military in State of the Union interview on Sunday.Carter believed that the Iraqi forces failed due to their lacking in willingness to fight while outnumbering the opponents. The US has been supplying the Iraqi force with weapon and trainings, however, as Carter remarked, it cannot supply the Iraqi with wills, and Carter, as several others, believes that Iraqi military must step up themselves and defend themselves. Meantime, Many senators, include John McCain, urged for sending more forces into Iraq with more air strikes and offensive means from the US military. However, those recommendations were not yet been forwarded to White House. Carter Also said that the US will continue to provide support to Iraqi military against ISIS, however the Iraqi themselves must be willing to fight in order to defend themselves.

- By Leiyang Guo
- link:

Turkey to double investment in coal power

Turkey has released it's plans this week to make an investment that would double the amount of coal power being used throughout the country. Turkey currently sits as 3rd in the world in consumption of coal power, behind China and India, and though a doubling of consumption would do nothing but cement that second place it is a troubling sign. As most other European countries are cutting back or even vowing to eliminate coal power, the EU has no real power over non-EU countries on any issue much less environmental ones. This just goes to show how disturbing international politics can be with respects to the health of the world, it truly is a tragedy of the Commons. If something cannot be resolved with the various parties then the world might be seeing a regression in environmental health and well being.

Isis Suicide Bombing

Isis has claimed that they were the ones responsible for the bombing that killed as many as 20 people at a mosque deep inside Saudi Arabia yesterday. The suicide bomber just walked into the mosque with a bomb strapped to his chest and blew himself up while people were worshipping.  With 20 people dying, 90 al together were injured. This is the second attack in 6 months from Isis, which the first one they killed 8 people in Al-Ahsa an Saudi Arabia village. The countries top cleric blamed the government by saying that they should protect them rather then egg these extremist on.
T.J. Miller

ISIS bombing of Mosque in Saudi Arabia

A Saudi Arabian man suspected to be named Salih bin Abdulrahman Salih al-Ghishaami carried out a suicide bombing that killed at least 21 citizens within a Shiite mosque in a town near Qatif. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. The attack has caused concern to those of Saudi Arabia because it means ISIS is "extending its reach inside the kingdom".

Gay Marrige

This article shows how in Ireland on May twenty second gay marriage was legalized with almost a two to one ratio of people approving it. While Ireland was previously discriminating against homosexual acts until about a quarter of a century ago, they are not the first country to official legalize gay marriage. According to the article there are many cases where gay marriage is publically celebrated during parades and things like that. This will be very interesting to see what kind of pressure is put on other European countries, and even what kind of effects this has in the United States. 

Written by Anthony Colant

Defense Secretary Places Blame on Iraqi Forces

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter claims that during the ISIS invasion of Ramadi, Iraqi forces showed "no will to fight". He claims that ISIS did not outnumber Iraqi forces during the battle and that the fall of Ramadi was purely due to their choice not to fight. The article also explores Obama's administration's opinions regarding aiding the Iraqis.

Gay Couples Awake to New Ireland

            Within the past week Ireland was the first country to allow gay marriage after they had a voting poll and 62% of the votes were for gay marriage. The Justice Department plans to draft a marriage bill this week which will allow couples be decide if they want to be "husband and wife" or "spouses of each other". The bill will take a few months so the first marriages will not be able to take place until early fall but i do not think that is a big deal for couples that plan on getting married. Also i think this is a big step in legalizing gay marriage other places because usually it is a chain reaction with things like this. 

Patrick Cravens

Greece 'cannot afford IMF repayment' in June - minister

The Greek treasury has announced that it does not have the 1.6 billion euro it owes to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of an installment program to repay for its bailout. However, they are in talks to find an alternative program to help the country meet the loan payments. In recent months, unemployment has increased an GDP has fallen 25% since 2010. Greece may decide to the leave the euro currency, but this would have an even more disastrous impact on its ability to finance its massive debts.

Kevin McMahon

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Increasingly, Polish Voters Call for Change in Politics

An interesting display of voter's defiance against the political norm occurred within the past two weeks. during the first round of the presidential race the incumbent President Bronislaw Komorowski finished a close second to his conservative opponent, Andrezej Duda. Moreover, a popular Polish rock star named Pawel Kukiz finish third with twenty percent of the vote. If a celebrity gaining a fith of the entire nation's presidential nominations is not a sign of political disapproval of the current government I do not know what is. Which makes it even more interesting because the current political party that has been in power of the Polish government for the past eight years has been instrumental in making Poland's economy one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. Apparently their is a push mounting within the majority of polish citizens to take power away from the Polish elites.

-Kevin Nalefski  

Same-Sex marriage ok'd in Ireland

Ireland passed a referendum by popular vote legalizing sam-sex marriage. They are the first country in the world to do so. 60% of Ireland voters (1.8 million) went out to support this referendum and of the 43 parliamentary constituencies in the country, 42 supported it. Ireland, being a predominately Catholic country, overcame the often conservative ideals to make this liberal decision. Many of the groups that opposed the passage of this same-sex referendum gladly congratulated the supporters. Only 22 years ago, homosexuality was a crime in Ireland.

By Hannah Higgins

Saudi Arabia attack: Islamic State claims Shia mosque bombing

The Islamic State (IS) claims the suicide bombing at a Shia mosque in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia that killed at least 21 people and injured more than 80 people during Friday prayers. IS has previously threatened to attack Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia. The Sunni extremist group was looking to exacerbate tensions between the Saudi Arabia's Shia minority and the Sunni majority. Shia anger will most likely be directed at the government. IS also said it was behind a similar attack ion a Shia mosque in Yemen on Friday that injured a about a dozen people as well. It is believed that over 2,000 Saudis have joined IS with hundreds having returned home. Overall Saudi Arabia has launched a security crackdown in recent months arresting hundreds of IS suspects.

-Cori Elsesser

Myanmar rescues two migrant boats at Bangladesh border

On Friday, Myanmar rescued over 200 people from two migrant boats from waters near its boarder with Bangladesh. This is the country's first rescue. During this migrant crisis, Myanmar has been criticized for not doing enough to aid the migrants stranded at sea. Most of the migrants are Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar while others are economic migrants from Bangladesh. Over 3,000 migrants have landed in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia who have been offering aid. According to Myanmar's Facebook page, those rescued were "Bengalis" or illegal Bangladeshi migrants and that the boats were in Bangladeshi waters off of Myanmar waiting for more migrants to arrive via smaller boats. The Myanmar government is offering humanitarian assistance to those who suffered at sea but will only allow Myanmar citizens to stay. The government says none of those rescued are Myanmar citizens. The rescue mission came after a meeting with Malaysian and Indonesian foreign ministers and US Deputy Secretary of State.

-Cori Elsesser

Egypt Court Acquits 17 in Protest That Saw Mother Shot Dead

The killing of 32-year-old Shaimaa el-Sabbagh played a big role in social media. She was an unarmed protestor killed by police. Of course that's normal by know to happen in Egypt, because no one has the ability to stop it. A picture for Shaimaa with blood all over her face and another protestor was trying to save her went viral. Azza Suleiman was just a citizen that witnessed what happend and gave a statement. Just because her statement was against police no one was protecting her. She was charged in this case. She is starting a campain that wants a law to protect witnesses and encourage them to testify. Egypt needs to protects witnesses and their rights. The court acquitted 17 people.

Friday, May 22, 2015

McDonald's Breast-feeding Protest

In Hungary, a large group of mothers showed up in solidarity for a mother who was mistreated for breastfeeding her infant in a McDonald's. McDonald's assured the protesters that breastfeeding is absolutely allowed as per their "family friendly policy." It's interesting to see how the perceptions on breastfeeding are changing worldwide, as there has been a lot of pushback in the US and the UK.

Kayti Everette

Missing Plane Mystery

RJ Ramanauskas

A Lithuanian plane that was missing for a few days was found in the Baltic Sea, but the pilots are still missing. To give a little extra context, there have been a few flights throughout several decades that have gone mysteriously wrong. Many people in Lithuania claim that Russians/Soviets or some other conspiracy took place. While this may or may not be the case for this flight, there are still questions that need answers. Why did the plane go down? Where are the pilots? If there were life rafts and other safety materials, why did things go wrong and we can't find the pilots?  Hopefully we'll get some of these answers soon.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Vote in Ireland could complete a rapid shift on gay marriage

Tomorrow, the citizens of Ireland will go to the polls to place their vote whether or not to legalize gay marriage. Only twenty years ago, it was illegal to be homosexual in Ireland, and it was also the last country to decriminalize homosexuality compared to the rest of the Western World. However, if the vote passes making gay marriage legal, it would be the first country to legalize gay marriage by popular vote. There are other countries in Europe who have legalized gay marriage, yet that was due in part to uprising and conflict. The governments passed the law in those countries compared to Ireland where citizens get to vote on the law. In other places in the world, it is still illegal to be homosexual and could be imprisoned or even put to death. The Irish population is 84% Roman Catholics, and it is encouraging to see that much of the Church is supporting the law. Some are speculating if the law is passed, it could cause a rapid shift on gay marriage throughout the world.

Written by Sarah Prosia

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Chechen Forced Marriage Scandal

By Valarie

Polygamous marriage has been embraced in various societies. The police commander, Nazhud Guchigov of Chechen is 46-years-old and has one wife. The girl given for marriage goes by the name Kheda Goylabiyeva. The Chechen leader is marring a 17 yr old teenager whose family is reported to have been forced to give her up for marriage. Following the discussion of the morality of the issue on the whatsapp, Chechnya's Kadyrov calls for husbands to deprive their wives the freedom to use the social app, whatsapp and Nazhud has refused to address the issue to the media.The reporter who gave the story has fled due to fear that she was in danger. Apparently the Russian Presidents does support the polygamous marriage.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Six Chinese nationals charged with stealing US trade secrets

The United States has charged six Chinese nationals with the theft of mobile phone technology. Three of the six are university professors in China, and only one suspect has been arrested while the rest are believed to still be in China. The group stole FBAR technology which is used to block unwanted signal from mobile phones. They then set up a company in order to manufacture and sell the stolen technology. Chinese espionage has long been a concern in Washington, and according to the U.S. Justice Department this specific scheme was started more than a decade ago.

Mike Bikulcius

Monday, May 18, 2015

E.U. Agrees to Naval Intervention on Migrant Smugglers

The European Union decided upon naval intervention on to destroy ships that carry migrant workers from North Africa. The reasoning behind naval intervention is the European Union wants to stop humans from traveling over on ships that hold cargo as soon as possible. Although the European Union has agreed to have naval intervention on migrant smugglers for it to take into effect other countries will have to agree on the naval intervention, including some North Africa countries on the coast. Those that criticize the E.U.’s plant to have naval intervention state that people in the European Union do not understand what people have to go through in other countries, which is why they wish to escape from their country.  

Marissa Kulak

Lindsey Graham calls for 10,000 U.S. troops in Iraq

Adam Winters

Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator of the U.S. gave a speech the other day and criticized many things Obama has done in relations to ISIS and Iraq.  In his opinion, instead of 3,000 troops on the ground in Iraq, he would increase it to 10,000 if he were president.  He blames Obama for the condition Iraq and Syria are in now and the threat that ISIS poses to the world now.  At the end of the speech, after also addressing the question would he have still went along with a land invasion if he knew Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, he commentated that on June 1st, he will release if he is running for presidency or not.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

World's Greatest Thing in Iran?

News has been seeping out from Tehran lately that Iran is planning to set fourth a "beautiful race" on the island of Queshm. The island which is located in the Straight of Hormuz, has been seen as a scenic venue with a diverse landscape. The likelihood of racers such as Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton and Rosberg gracing the asphalt is very slim however due to a couple reasons. First is the global political machine of Formula One that does not always abide by the "If you build it, they will come" rules, and frequently passes up on tracks from globally upstanding countries (such as Italy, Germany and Japan). The second is the location, the Queshm Island is an ecological paradise and has been hinted by many historians and archaeologists as possibly have been the site of the Garden of Eden. This could cause serious environmental and religious problems if a track were to be planned there, as if Iran already has enough. It will be interesting to see if F1 were to come to Iran, as a fan of the sport I think it would do a great deal to draw the people of Iran to the people of the West and Far East that they have been isolated from.

-Mike Ciric

Discrimination at Harvard University

According to an article recently published by CNN, Harvard University is currently being sued for discriminating against Asian-American student applicants. The claim being made by the groups suing the school is that--on average--an Asian-American student has to be in much better academic standing than a white student in order to obtain equal likelihood of acceptance into the university. This has not been the first time that Harvard has been accused of racial discrimination, and the most recent voices are calling for a federal investigation to be conducted by the United States Department of Education and the Justice Department.

Posted by: Sergio A. Lopez

ISIS Leaders

Reports have been circulating that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, an important leader for ISIS was seriously injured in an airstrike back in March. The Iraqi Ministry of Defense claimed his No. 2 was killed in a coalition airstrike, a claim the U.S. military has not confirmed. A  U.S. official told CNN on Monday there is "no information" to indicate al-Baghdadi has been injured and, furthermore, there was recent intelligence indicating he "is a player" and is "absolutely participating" in the day-to-day running of ISIS. The rest of the article goes on to talk about different key players within ISIS, predicting who will rise to power if or when the current leaders die. The whole article has a fairly extensive list of ISIS leaders which only proves that the idea of “cutting the head off of the snake” simply won’t be enough for this situation. 

Written by Anthony Colant

Vladimir Putin "Sports Star"

62 year old Vladimir Putin leader/ dictator of Russia made his way onto the ice this weekend in the name of a gala hockey match to celebrate 70 years since the end of WWII, on a team with ex NHL professionals. Putin not only played, but he scored 8 out the 18 goals that were scored on his team, although comical this event shows how much pride Putin takes in his reputation and how far he will go to maintain his "action man" persona that has been cultivated by the Kremlin. Putin has previously posed bare chested on a horse, rode in a supersonic jet, and helped put satellite trackers on Tigers. His somewhat official personality cult also unveiled a bust of Putin dressed like a Roman Emperor further depicting him as a dictator and not an elected leader.

Nicole Meechan


ISIS financial expert killed

The ISIS commander as well as chief oil expert/financialist Abu Sayyaf was killed in a firefight during his resistance to the capture. It is identified that while Sayyaf is dead, his wife was captured and currently been held in Iraq. While the true identity of Sayyaf is not yet released, a close possibility is that the guy is Nabil Saddiq Abu Saleh al-Jabouri, a close associate of chief ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani.The raid on ISIS ordered by the Persident, and was led by the Army's Delta Force. The force entered area using Black Hawk helicopters and V-22 aircraft, and engaged the ISIS whom were defending a multistoried building, and Abu Sayyaf was killed during the combat. Several hostages were rescued during the raid.
The event is a supposedly big blow to ISIS. On one hand, Abu Sayyaf is a major financier of ISIS as well as its oil specialist. His death eliminated oil from ISIS's revenue list. On the other hand, Abu Sayyaf, as a major financier of ISIS, supposed to hold an importat list of ISIS income sources. His death opens the way for US army to obtain this list and hence further restrict ISIS's fiancial income. The investigation for this list is still ongoing.

-By Leiyang Guo


The Pope giving sainthood Danyelle Hunt

So in this article the Pope gave Sainthood to two Palestinians women, which is also the first in their generation.  The story of these women were very fascinating.  One of the women made a school for the poor.  The other one who's story was a miracle in itself, was that her throat got slit because she wouldn't convert to Islam.  She mention that she saw her parents in heaven but she heard a voice that said that she is not ready to die yet.  She is called the Virgin there.  I think this is a great thing for the Pope to do, it's just telling the world that not everybody in the middle east is Islamic and that everybody is not crazy.

Burundi Arrests Leaders of Attempted Coup

By: Valarie Owino

After last weeks attempted coup, the generals responsible for the coup were arrested after the presidents return into the country. The resident went on saying that Burundi was back into a state of peace and any more attempts to overthrow the President would result into war. Among those arrested was the army general and other generals. They will be tried in an army court later on.

North Korean Citizen felt like a slave in Kuwait

According to an article from CNN, in 1996 when Rim Il arrived in Kuwait with the hope of earning some money to send back home to his family. This was during a time of great famine in North Korea, and he was being promised bread, eggs, beef, and even milk. Along with this he was expecting to make $120 per month which he would in turn send home to his family. However he never actually received any pay, and most other workers like him never do. It turns our that North Korea has workers abroad which they steal wages from. These workers will almost always have 18+ hour work days, never actually receive compensation, and are treated generally like modern day slaves. This is an issue that a North Korea human rights group (based in South Korea of course) is trying to fight against and get help for the workers.

By Dean Hamrick

China Urged to Release Panchen Lama after 20 years

A large demonstration took place outside the tibetan center in London saturday. Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the dissapearence of the Panchen Lama who was accosted by the Chinese government just days after being identified as the next lama, the 2nd most important figure in Tibetan Buddhism. The Chinese government named its own Panchen Lama but many tibetans refer to him as a stooge to the chinese government. The chinese government insists that the original Panchen Lama is living a normal life in Beijing with his family but won't reveal any details. The Chinese government continues to refer to the Dalai Lsma as a seperatist despite his campaigns for autonomous rule, not complete independence.

ISIS takes over city of Ramadi

One day after the United States announced the killing of a top ISIS financier , Iraqi officials said the terror group has claimed a victory of its own, seizing the provincial Iraqi capital of Ramadi. Haimor, the spokesman governor of Anbar province claims the fighting left over 500 dead including the 3 year old of an Iraqi soldier.As a result of the ISIS advance, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has authorized Iranian Shiite militias, known as the Popular Mobilization Force, to enter the Sunni-dominated Anbar province and assist Iraq's security forces and local tribal fighters.

Patrick Cravens