Weekly Headlines: August 9 – August 15


 Day 1: Sunday 9 August

What’s Going On: Bangladesh police in Sundarbans, a mangrove coast along the Bangladesh and Indian coastlines, shot and killed six “alleged tiger poachers” on Sunday after being attacked by the detained suspects. Three pieces of tiger hide were seized from the scene.

Why You Should Care: The region was on high alert after a census was released which showed that the Bengal Tiger population famous in Sundarban was much smaller than previously thought; environmentalists were enraged and demanded “intensified anti-poaching campaigns”. The world itself has been made aware of the issues of illegal poaching with the recent killing of Cecil the lion by an American dentist.

Day 2: Monday 10 August

What’s Going On: Google surprised the tech world with an announcement that what we know as Google will soon be rebranded under the new parent company of Alphabet. You can find more information about the new company at https://abc.xyz where co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin explain the reasons for the change.

Why You Should Care: This new move should give some more structure and separation to what we know as Google, so that “Google” can focus on features we know and love, such as the search engine, Youtube, and Maps, while “Google X” can narrow their focus to innovative projects such as driverless cars and drones.

Day 3: Tuesday 11 August

What’s Going On: The Dutch Safety Board and the Joint Investigation Team began to investigate several parts recovered in Eastern Ukraine that may shed light on what caused the crash of MH17, the Malaysian Airlines plane which fatally crashed in July last year.

Why You Should Care: Many believe that pro-Russian rebels, or even the Russian government itself, was responsible for shooting down the plane. They both deny responsibility, but these new parts have possibly originated from a “Buk surface-air-missilesystem”, according to the website of the Dutch Safety Board. Many believe that the pieces of this missile system will prove Russian involvement; others just hope that it will offer some concrete evidence behind the crash.

Day 4: Wednesday 12 August

What’s Going On:

Two explosions in a warehouse in Tianjin, China, had a devastating effect and sent over 720 people to the hospital. The effects could be felt several kilometers away from the explosion itself.

Why You Should Care: According to the China Earthquake Networks Center, the initial explosion had a power “equivalent to three tonnes of TNT detonating, while the second was the equivalent of 21 tonnes”, and that the second explosion was “so big that satellites orbiting Earth picked it up as well.” The explosion has led to more strict checks and regulations on movement and activities within the highly active industrial port.

Day 5: Thursday 13 August

What’s Going On: The British government has made public its frustration with Ecuador’s decision to harbor Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder, stating that Ecuador is preventing “the proper course of justice”. Because he has been harbored in the country since 2012, avoiding being deported to Sweden, some of the sexual allegations against him will expire while he is being harbored in the embassy. Under the law in Sweden, if he isn’t questioned before the allegations expire, then he can no longer be tried for the crimes.

Why You Should Care: While Assange is living in the embassy, the British government pushes for Ecuador to “allow prosecutors to interview the Wikileaks founder in London without delay”. He, however, claims his innocence. Assange does not want to be deported back to Sweden, because of the possibility that the authorities will deliver him to the US who want to try him for leaking classified documents in 2010.

Day 6: Friday 14 August

What’s Going On: For the first time in 54 years, the American flag was raised outside the US Embassy in Havana, Cuba. This movement comes at a time of slowly relaxing boundaries between the US and Russia, and their leaders, President Obama and President Castro. Pope Francis helped facilitate “a dialog between the two nations”.

Why You Should Care: Secretary of State John Kerry announced that “The time is now to reach out to one another as two peoples who are no longer enemies or rivals but neighbors.” Three US Marines who originally lowered the flag in 1961 during the height of the Cold War helped raise the flag in what US diplomat Jeffrey DeLaurentis calls “the beginning of a new chapter”. However, some are still not happy with the relationship between the US and Cuba, and the direction it’s moving in. While some are upset about the lack of requirements for Cuba to “improve its human rights record”, others were appalled by the fact that no Cuban dissidents were allowed into the flag raising ceremony on Friday.

Day 7: Saturday 15 August

What’s Going On: Newly released documents show that the relationship between telecommunications giant AT&T and the NSA was even closer and more productive than most assumed. They are responsible for highly important clients, like the United Nations, but have been giving the NSA access to things like emails and Internet communications which go through their network.

Why You Should Care: The Patriot Act, and NSA activities have been in the spotlight lately, as more and more news is being released about the extent of the NSA’s power and the infringement of privacy on regular civilians’ lives. Revelations like these bring up important questions about how much of our freedom we would give up to protect our freedom.

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