Weekly Headlines: Sunday 31 May – Saturday 6 June

Day 1: Sunday 31 May

What’s Going On:  Rescue operations recovered 17 corpses and brought back 454 survivors this weekend in Sicily.  Since Friday, reporters claim that “[m]ore than 5,000 migrants trying to reach Europe have been saved from boats in distress in the Mediterranean… and operations are in progress to rescue 500 more”.

Why You Should Care: The plight of migrants in dangerous situations, desperate to cross the Mediterranean and enter more stable European countries, has been splashed across newspapers recently.  Deaths on crowded, dirty boats have drawn attention to the situation in the countries that these migrants are fleeing from, and the policies that the new host countries have towards illegal and undocumented immigrants.

Day 2: Monday 1 June

What’s Going On: With help from Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), key parts of the 2001 PATRIOT act have temporarily expired as of June 1st.  The sections that expired include  provisions for the bulk collection of private citizens’ phone calls, which has been a controversial talking point in recent news.

Why You Should Care: The PATRIOT Act was put in to place after 9/11 to help improve national security.  Instead, many argue, the NSA and other government agencies are using these broad and overreaching powers to collect massive amounts of unnecessary data on citizens, which they view as a breach of privacy.  While some may say that if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t worry, others think that it’s a violation of personal rights, even if they have nothing to hide.

Day 3: Tuesday 2 June

What’s Going On: 17 year FIFA Chief Sepp Blatter announced Tuesday that he would step down from his position.  The same day, United States officials claimed that he is being investigated in the recent FIFA corruption scandal. 

Why You Should Care:   FIFA is the international governing body of soccer, which organizes the World Cup.  Allegations of corruption when the organization awarded upcoming World Cups to Qatar and Russia led to investigations of bribery and vote-rigging within the organization.  Recently, 14 FIFA employees were indicted by the USDOJ for charges including “racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering”.  The next day, an official named Chuck Blazer admitted to taking bribes “in conjunction with the selection of the host nation for the 1998 World Cup”.

Day 4: Wednesday 3 June

What’s Going On:  A strain of MERS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, in South Korea has caused more than 200 schools to cancel classes.  There have been few deaths so far, and President Park was quoted saying “The initial response to MERS… was insufficient”, vowing to increase efforts to prevent the virus’s spread. 

Why You Should Care:  The disease has a high mortality rate, and even though it hasn’t spread to Western countries, if the people infected with MERS aren’t identified and travel out of the country, the virus could spread. 

Day 5: Thursday 4 June

What’s Going On: On Thursday, the government announced that an attack “apparently originated in China” breached the data of four million “current and former government workers”.  The attack targeted social security numbers and “other personal identifying information”. 

Why You Should Care: Cyberintrusions originating from China have been reportedly occurring on and off for the past couple of years, and have been a key discussion point in conversations between American President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Day 6: Friday 5 June

What’s Going On: Reports from Business Insider claim that “more than two-thirds of the Humvees the US supplied to Iraq to fight terrorists have ended up in the hands of Islamic State militants”.  ISIS has found the engineering of these models to be especially effective for suicide bombs, because they can carry a heavy load of explosives, and protect against “small-arms fire” long enough for the militants to detonate their bombs.

Why You Should Care: United States intervention in war torn countries has been a controversial issue in past years.  Circumstances like these have led to critics claiming  that the United States government needs to better research before giving American arms to rebels, even if we support them in the moment.

Day 7: Saturday 6 June

What’s Going On: Two convicted murderers, Richard Matt and David Sweat, were discovered to be missing from their maximum security prison Clinton Correctional Facility in northern New York early on Saturday morning.

Why You Should Care: A massive manhunt for the two criminals has been underway since they first escape.  It is possible that they’ve escaped across the very near Canadian border.  Police say that the two men are dangerous and should not be approached; you can find pictures and information about them at https://www.facebook.com/nyspolice/posts/661651107269970.

~ Teddy

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